For some of us, it was inevitable. Adults moving back in with their parents during this quarantine for an indefinite period of time. Whether you are in college, new to the real world, or are seasoned at adulting, many of us have found ourselves working from home, avoiding a very scary virus, and learning how to acclimate back into our parents’ lives and them into ours.
I’m based in NYC and my parents are in DC. My mom was kind enough to pick me up, so I arrived in DC about 5 weeks ago. Navigating this new terrain has been… interesting… but, I’m so grateful for my job, the health of my friends and family, the fact that I love my parents to death, and that I don’t have to ride this out on my own. I’m going on day 38 of quarantine and wanted to share 6 tips for sharing space with your parents while keeping the peace.
Practice Patience – If your transition back to living with your parents wasn’t as smooth as you’d hoped it would be, you’re not alone. It’s not going to be perfect at first and a little bit of patience, caring, and kindness will go a long way. Remember: you’re invading their space and although they might be so happy you’re home, it’s an adjustment for them too. Soon enough, you’ll find a rhythm and you’ll be cohabitating wonderfully.
Respect Everyone’s Space – Do your parents a favor and make your bed, clean up after yourself, and just be a good roommate. If you wouldn’t put up with it from your roommate, then don’t do it. You’re an adult now and thems the breaks.
Find Common Ground – It’s super helpful during this time to find something that you can do together as a family. My parents and I started a very complex puzzle that we add a little to each night, we are in the midst of a Tom Hanks movie marathon, and we try to get outside whenever possible. Doing something together, consistently, will help reinforce your bond and will assist in getting everyone through this trying time.
Ensure Alone Time – As an only child, when I’m home I’m often the center of attention. Now, I say this not to show off, but as more of a warning. Your parents might want to spend every moment with you, but you need to make sure to find some time to be alone and decompress. All you need are a few small doses of time. 15 minutes reading alone, 20 minutes walking around the neighborhood, or even 10 minutes of uninterrupted tech time will give you what you need to feel like you can shut off for a little while and just breathe. I’ve been taking about 15-20 minutes alone every day to work on learning a new language on Duolingo. It’s fun, easy, something I can do to take my mind off of everything, and I’m learning something new too!
Reach Out To The Squad – Although your parents might provide you with plenty of entertainment, sometimes you need to reach out to your friends and extended family. Thank goodness for Zoom, FaceTime, IG memes and the good old fashioned phone call. Reach out to those you miss and check in on those who may need some help. Staying connected during this time will help strengthen bonds that will carry you through when we return to some semblance of normalcy.
Lend a Hand – This can be a scary time for those with lower danger tolerance, those with pre-existing conditions, and those over a certain age. If you’re young and healthy, try to help in any way you can that will reduce your parents’ exposure to the virus. For example, I’ve told my parents that I will take care of the grocery shopping, will fill up the gas tank, and will visit the pharmacy when needed so they can stay quarantined as best they can. None of this is a fool proof system, but whatever you can do will make a world of difference for your parents.
I’d love to hear from you how you’re coping during this time and how you are cohabitating peacefully (or not) with your parents.
Keep staying safe and healthy!