How to enjoy (not just endure) moving back in with your parents.

How to enjoy (not just endure) moving back in with your parents.

So I did the uncool thing to do upon graduating college...

I moved back in with my parents for a year and a half.

No rent? Living in a home I could never afford on my own? Home-cooked meals?

Uh yeah. Mom and Dad, get ready because I'm coming home.

For some people the idea of moving back in with your parents is unimaginable. Live...with my parents? 24/7? Oh my god, no. 

Overall, living with my parents has rocked. Living with my mom and dad taught me so much both about my parents and about myself. I learned who they are as individual adults, not just as my childhood mom and dad.

And in return, my parents got to know the real me. Not the naive child "me", or the rebelish highschool "me", but the fierce, independent, feminist woman I am toady. A individual adult with her own thoughts, ideas, and dreams.  

Trust me, living with them was not always rainbows and butterflies. I'm a parent-pleaser. I thrive in the limelight of my parent's approval.  And while I shared a living space with them, I definitely didn't always please them.

I learned how to respectfully push against my parent's opinions and judgement, how to challenge their assumptions, and how to face day-to-day frustrations. I learned how to form my own path and form my own opinions outside of what my parents believe. And I had to learn how give them the same space and respect to hold their own beliefs. 

My parents and I may not have the same political beliefs. We may disagree on the best ways to spend time and money. But I was reminded of how much I love, respect, and honor them despite our differences.

And I believe you can actually enjoy (and not just endure) living with you parents, despite any differences you may face.  

 

Be prepared to tell people you're living with your parents (And be prepared for some awkwardness).

Oh man, the dreaded, "So where are you living?" question. You're going to get it. You're going to have to answer it. 

My advice? Just be honest and let go of the rest. A lot of people will be encouraging. Most people will be awkward. Sadly, some people will be judgmental. (But who NEEDS those judgmental people anyways?)

Here's a sample of the responses I've received why I reply, "I live with my parents."

  • "Wow, you're saving so much money!" Why, yes I am. 
  • "Haha, guess your dating live is going nowhere quickly." That's not really any of your business (but you're right). 
  • "Omg, how do you do it? I could NEVER do it" Uh...I just do?

No matter their response, just remember you don't need to justify yourself. 

You're living your life, making decisions YOU see as best fit. Everyone has their own reasons for where they choose to live. No one has the power to make you feel inferior for a decision YOU made for yourself.

You're in control of your life. You know your reasons for living with your parents. 

Take a deep breath, smile, and say, "Why I'm living with my parents!" If you feel at peace when telling people where you live, whoever asked you will pick up on that inner peace and be more likely to respond in a similar positive tone. 

 

Set boundaries.

Your parents are only human and the only relationship you've had with them thus far is the parent-dependent-child relationship. You're entering a new phase of parent-independent-child relationship. To help your parents transition between the two relationships, it's crucial to set guidelines upfront.

It may be lame to set "rules" with your parents, but laying out expectations up front helps lead to less frustration and miscommunication down the road. 

When you set guidelines, you are able to alert your parents in a non-threatening, anti-dramatic way when a boundary is crossed. It's way less threatening to pull people back across the line, rather than try to define lines in the heat of an argument.

"Hey Mom, I know you're frustrated that I haven't made my bed in a week, but we agreed that how I decide to upkeep my room is up to me, remember?"

"Hey Dad, remember how we talked about boundaries? I love hanging out with you and I know you just wanted to chat, but I'd really appreciate you knocking before coming into my room." 

See? Not so bad if they've already agreed to a fair set of rules. 

Some questions to consider addressing in your boundary conversation:

  • What are expectations for financial contribution?
  • How much do your parents want to know about your whereabouts? 
  • What are expectations for household cleaning/maintenance?

Breathe. Compromise. Acknowledge the fact that these compromises won't last forever. A little compromise now will create a lot of peace later. 

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"When you set guidelines, you are able to alert your parents when a boundary is crossed in a non-threatening, non-dramatic way. If you've already set the ground rules, it's way less threatening to pull people back across the line rather than choose that heated moment to decide rules."

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But respect that you're not a full-blown independent adult while living under their roof.  

So it kind of sucks, but living with your parents means actually you are not totally financially independent. Which means some strings may be attached. Which means you might have to take out the trash, clean your room past the point of your personal preference, and turn down the music when getting ready in the morning.

If you set appropriate boundaries, these strings should not be materializing out of nowhere in an attempt to manipulate you. They should be laid out up front and expected. Just remember that these compromises is your equivalent to the price of rent.

 

Make plans. Get out of the house. 

Living at home can be super cushy. Home cooked meals every night. Early parent bedtimes. Possibly a magical laundry fairy every now and then?

I personally struggled with staying in the house too much. I love my parents. They're so easy. I don't have to put on make up, or watch what I say, and I can do it all from the comfort of the comfiest couch in the whole world.

When you don't have a roommate, the spontaneous mid-twenty adventures don't come around as often. You're not living with someone your age, randomly asking you to tag along to a concert, inviting you out for drinks with her new work friends, or staying up late watching the Bachelor with you.

Since your random opportunities for social interaction aren't there, schedule those moments. Make plans to get after-work drinks with a new co-worker. Attend a Bachelorette viewing with college girlfriends. Offer to try a new restaurant with a friend you haven't seen in a while. 

Do your best to create a sense of independence within your parents home. Investing in friendships will only help you when you do eventually decide to move out. 

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"Acknowledge that the rest of your life will be brimming with friends, significant, others, and one day, maybe kids, and that this season is a special season to love your parents as adults. 

Fully and completely enjoy this time with your parents. You're creating a deep and lifelong relationship with them and that is so special and valuable. "

 

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But...Don't forget to stay in too. You move back in with your parents once (In theory).

Soak up those Wednesday nights with your parents, joining them in a glass of wine on the patio.

Savor working alongside your mom, cutting veggies, talking about your day.

Acknowledge that the rest of your life will be brimming with friends, significant, others, and one day, maybe kids, and that this season is a special season to love your parents as adults. 

Fully and completely enjoy this time with your parents. You're creating a deep and lifelong relationship with them and that is so special and valuable. 

 

Questions for you...
Did you ever live with your parents? What worked for you? What didn't?

 

5 Creative Ways to Maintain Your Long-Distance BFF Relationships

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5 Creative Ways to Maintain Your Long-Distance BFF Relationships

Have you ever felt the pains of maintaining high-quality, long-distance friendships?

Or felt as if your once deep friendship connections have faded over distance?

Or that you may know what everyone is doing (thanks SnapChat), but you're not really sure how anyone is feeling?

Yeah, same. Without the 24/7 social stimulation of college, post-grad relationships can be feel daunting (and exhausting) to maintain.

Most of my best friends left Atlanta after graduating and embarked on their adult lives in faraway cities. Through, trial, error, and a few passive aggressive "hi-remember-me-" texts, I've spent these past two years figuring out the best ways to maintain (and even grow) these long-distance friendships.

Side note: These tips could also totally work for a long distance romantic relationship. However, my single-loving-self has leveraged these best practices to strengthen my female friendships. #girlpower

 

1. FaceTime dates

Nothing beats the genuine connection of face-to-face communication.  You're able to pick up on subtle facial expressions, body language cues, and eye contact that ads so much depth and emotional connection to a conversation.

I'm personally guilty of instagram scrolling during phone calls and I end up missing a vulnerable comment or perhaps a tenor of emotion of emotion that I would have normally caught if I was paying attention.

Pro tip: FaceTiming can feel like a production and big commitment, but it doesn't have to be that way! 5, 10, or even 15 minutes is the perfect amount of time to pop in, say hello, hear about her day and say goodbye. Plus, it’s always fun to catch a friend off-guard with a video call. Sorry, bff. No time to fix your hair for me. I love you just the way you are.

 

2. Small, but mighty, daily doses

Relationships thrive in the day-to-day connecting, so take a moment or two to acknowledge when you're thinking of that friend.

One of my favorite ways to do that is to keep an active Instragram feed between my individual friend and myself.

With each of my friends I tag them in posts related to our friendship. It could be a silly french bulldog post, or an uplifting #girlboss quote, or maybe a Greek island picture, but it's always relevant to our special friendship and it lets them know I'm thinking of them.

Small daily bursts of love and attention work wonders for a friendship.

 

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3. The walk ’n’ talk

In a stroke of genius (and now a sacred tradition), my best friend and I started what we called our weekly walking dates.

We pick a time over the weekend where we're both free for an hour, we grab our phones and our headphones, and head out in our respective cities for a walk...together.

She maybe be walking through downtown Manhattan and I maybe be strolling through Buckhead, but despite that fact that we’re physically separated, there's still something so special in completing a similar activity at the same time.

Plus, it’s quality uninterrupted time, your brain is fresh from the physical movement, and you don’t have to worry about roommates overhearing your intimate conversations. 

 

4.. Good ‘ole snail mail

There’s something so thrilling about snail mail. The romantics of it - the idea of a friend sitting down with their own handwriting to tell you a story.

The personal touches of her handwriting. It's personal, thoughtful, and straight up awesome to get something in the mail besides bills. 

 

5.. Plan trips together

Yes, it's so much fun to visit your friend in their respective city, but don't underestimate the joys of traveling somewhere new together.

I love to travel and, lucky for me, I have a group of friends who are gifted at planning travel excursions.

I can't tell you how much our friendship has grown from spending quality time exploring a new city or landscape together. It takes the pressure off the host friend to plan the perfect weekend, and you all get to soak up a little bit of that new city high. 

Not only is it so much fun to take adventures with your best friends, but the planning of a trip is the perfect way to stay in touch. It gives you and your friends something to look forward to.

Pro tip: Scott's Cheap Flights have awesome international flight deals. (Like $550 for round trip from SFO to Hanoi awesome). My friends and I snagged a round trip flight to Vietnam this November and we. can't. wait. 

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So, here's to figuring out how to be better friends in a rapidly changing social environment! Are you with me?

Tell me, what are some of your tips for staying in touch with long-distance friends? How has social media impacted the quality of your friendships?

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Your Daily Dose of Instagram Chill Pills.

Your Daily Dose of Instagram Chill Pills.

My best friend have a new tradition: we send each other positive affirmations through Instagram. I love it so much. Receiving random positive words throughout my days gives me a welcomed jolt of energy. It's addicting. Not to mention, I love scrolling back through our conversations and remembering which affirmations rang true in each season of life.

I started saving some of my favorite mantras for when I'm feeling particularly anxious. I can struggle with letting go. I’m hardcore A-type personality, so naturally I feel I must hold onto everything so, so tightly to the point of anxiety. These affirmations help me remember to release and get perspective when I'm feeling particularly up-tight.

Okay, let’s all take a major chill pill. Repeat after me: 

 

Can we agree to start saying 'dope' again? @wellandgoodnyc

I always feel better looking back at how far I've come and reflecting on the many things in my life that I once wanted and now have. @jamiemendell

For when we need to remind ourselves there's purpose behind our pain.

(Also, if my future partner could just be Mark Groves, that would be awesome, kay thank you. @createthelove)

Practice is hard, but it makes perfect. @mindbodygreen

Everything falls back to gratitude. @cleowade is an all-time favorite of mine. Follow her for pure poetry and to let your inner feminist fly free. 

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I'm always looking for other poetic, uplifting, and positive Instagram accounts to follow, so if you've got a great one, I'd love to hear!