Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What I've Learned from Living with My Parents...While I'm Married


For the past 9 months, my husband and I have been living with my parents.  For the most part, it has been a good experience; my parents are super easy to live with and we all have good relationships.  I'm so blessed because I know that doesn't always happen.  But that being said, there are some things I've had to learn (and am still learning) about this season in life.  If any of you have ever lived with your parents, I'd love to read some tips in the comments as well! I know not everyone has the same experience (some parents are terrible to live with), so some tips from a different point of view are helpful, as well.
  • Find privacy. Take your bedroom, clean it, keep it clean so you have your own little space to chill out in.
  • Don't take it for granted.  Appreciate the fact that your parents love you enough to take you (and even your spouse) back in for a while.  Savor the good parent/daughter moments.
  • Make your bedroom your own - hang your favorite pictures on the wall, put up your curtains; if you have a rug from your previous apartment, place it on the floor.  I should also pull out our bedspread and sheet set to make the bed look like our own.
  • Don't make your mom do all the work cleaning and cooking.  I've not been as good at this as I should be.  I do okay with some cleaning, but I don't cook as often I should.
  • Take the time to get to know your parents from more of a peer-to-peer angle, rather than just a parent-child angle.  The parent-child dynamic is still there to a certain extent, but now you're all adults, and that should drastically change the relationship (hopefully for the better - less arguments!).
  • Don't go near their bedroom when they head there together...haha!  And on the same note, take advantage of the time with your spouse when your parents leave the house ;)  Or else make a game of it and see how quiet you can be...you know what I'm talking about!! Shhhhh...
  • Your parents need some space, too.  Head to the other spouse's parents' house for a night or two, go out on a date and leave the kid with someone other than your parents, spend a Saturday together at a park or on the town.
  • Surprise your parents with something.  A clean house, a cooked candlelight dinner for two, an organized bathroom.  If you're living with your parents, odds are that you can't afford to buy a thank-you gift every once in a while, so get creative. (Maybe, if you're crafty, find something in the basement or attic that needs to be re-done and get to re-doing it, using DIY ideas from Pinterest or other blogs)
  • Talk with your spouse often.  If you're living with your own parents, he is probably going to have some issues that need to be worked out.  Be compassionate and put yourself in his shoes (what if you were living with your in-laws?).  Help him out in any way you can, and give him a lot of grace.  If you're the one living with in-laws, talk to your spouse about what you're feeling, what you're wanting, what is frustrating you. Don't hold it in and assume you just need to get over it.  That's what your spouse is there for, to support you and hold you in the difficult times.
  • Don't forget about your in-laws.  They may want a piece of you, as well.  Go spend the night or the weekend at their house, and consider splitting the time living with your parents into two so the in-laws can have you, as well (or your spouse can get a break from your own parents).
  • Look to see what God is teaching you from it. Humility? Trust? Learning to respect your parents?
  • Keep an eye on the goal.  You're not going to be staying with your parents forever.  You will have your own place again, someday.  There will be hard days, but they will pass, and this season will come to an end eventually.  And there will be things that you will miss about it.

4 comments:

  1. Hey, I know this feeling! We've been living with my parents for about 2.5 months now. They're not *as* easy to get along/live with (neither are we, lol), but we make it work while we can ;)

    Your tips are good ones! I think it will really vary depending on the individual situation (we felt we had to draw some boundaries by contributing financially [because we were able to], for example), but here's some of ours:

    -We discussed rules and different problems that might crop up before we moved in. This helps with making sure everyone's expectations are satisfied and everyone is on the same page!

    -My mom and I divided up the meals so we each buy half the food, do (approx) half the shopping, and make half the meals (and do half the dishes). This way no one feels like they're doing all the cooking/shopping/whatever. I also do a smaller share of the whole household cleaning.

    -We pay rent to my parents; this helps us keep our independence (necessary in our relationship). This is really important in some situations, even if you can't pay much.

    -My inlaws live around 9 hours away, so we can't split time evenly between seeing them. But we do try to keep in contact with them and see them a few times a year when they come down or we go up.

    -Talking and spending time with your spouse is a really important one; just getting away for a few hours is sometimes a very necessary thing! We probably need to work on this more, as it's hard during the week due to schedules.

    -On the same note, talk to your parents about any issues that start to crop up; it's better to catch things early! You each are your own family unit, so make sure to keep things friendly, but distinctly separate. Don't just assume things about each other or use each other as a fallback for things (dogsitting, cleaning, etc).

    -"Making your space your own" is another important one, as is keeping boundaries with space (no going in each other's rooms, etc). This may have been easier for us as we just got an empty room to work with and were able to arrange and put our stuff in how we chose.

    That's what I can think of at the moment - it's interesting how it really depends on your overall relationship with your parents. I would definitely not recommend it for everyone, and in our case we help make it work by establishing clear boundaries and dividing up costs/labor. It'd be interesting to hear other perspectives! I've known several other couples who've done similar things, and there are varied levels of difficulties.

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    1. Talking to your parents about issues that come up is definitely a good one! I don't think we covered any rules before we lived here, but that would've been good, as well! Thanks so much for your input, Christine! You're right, it does depend on what kind of relationship you have with your parents.

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  2. Haha, I know EXACTLY where you are coming from! My husband and I lived with my parents for 5 months while we were waiting for our home. It can be stressful, but fantastic at the same time. I am grateful that we had the opportunity to do that :)

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    1. Yes, same here! And I think in our situation, the good things will overcome most of the stressful things in our memory, once we've moved out.

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