Relationships

Homeward-bound: A Thought on Surviving Living Back Home

By Alex Gray | Friday 17th November, 2017

Two months ago I decided to move back in with my parents at the age of 26. There’s a good chance that you, reader, have found yourself in the same position. Record numbers (about 25%) of financially crippled young people are now living at home well into their 20s and discovering new levels of resentment for the people that raised them.

Your parents, with their political incorrectness, fondness for BBC Radio 2, and refusal to learn how to use their smartphones, are basically the worst human beings you’ve ever met. But they’re also the people who used to decide what time you went to bed, so it’s confusing for everyone.

Here are some tips to help you navigate this brave new world of domestic hell.

Grow up

Your parents will always see you as the kid who used to eat play-doh and mispronounce the word ‘spaghetti’, so it’s up to you to demonstrate that you are now at least a semi-functioning adult. When your parents start making disapproving comments about your lack of a “proper job” or your tattoos, it’s tempting to revert back into the worst version of your angsty teenage self.

But instead, you should try to show them how much you’ve matured. That means doing your own washing and cooking the occasional meal. If this fails, then try dropping a few ‘fucks’ into casual conversation because you’re a baller and you’re not afraid of being sent to your room.

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Establish boundaries

Soon after moving back home you should sit down with your parents and discuss the fact that although this isn’t your house, you’re still going to need your own space. You’re also under no obligation to let them know where you are every minute of the day and night.

If they fail to grasp this then try using weaponised honesty. For example, when you’re about to leave the house to go on a Tinder date and your mum wants to know exactly what you’re up to, just say, “I’m off to meet a stranger from the internet, you know, for sex.” Your parents should soon realise there are some areas of your life they don’t want to ask about.

And while we’re on the subject...

Accept that dating is going to be shit

If you’re in a relationship then that’s great. It means you can spend a large chunk of your time outside of your parents’ house and presumably irritating whoever your other half lives with.

If you’re single however, try asking yourself how confident you feel about bringing an attractive member of your desired gender back to your parents’ house and making out with them in the living room surrounded by old photos of yourself with bad haircuts, all the time wondering if your dad’s about to walk in in his pants and introduce himself.

It’s not impossible to date whilst living with your parents, but it is a challenge.

Avoid politics

If I want to start an argument with my dad I know that all I have to do is say something along the lines of, “So, Corbyn has some neat ideas huh?”

It’s often tempting, but guess what? You don’t really want to know all of your parents' awful opinions, and they don’t want to know about your commie leanings either. It’s much better to wait until you move out and then get into one huge argument every year at Christmas.

Realise how lucky you are

I know I’m making it seem as if living with your parents is complete shit, and that’s partly true, but it’s also true that when you live with your parents you get free Wi-Fi, good meals, fancy toilet paper, and people who care enough to worry about you when you stay out late. You’re one of the lucky ones.

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And finally, have an escape plan...

So yes, there are loads of great things about living with your parents (mainly the fact that they’re paying for literally everything) but one day you’re going to want to leave, and if you don’t have a plan for that day then it might never actually come.

The trick to surviving and even enjoying this strange period of your life is knowing that it is only temporary and that soon you’ll be in your own place, or at least on a sofa-bed in someone else’s place, or on a beach somewhere tropical teaching surfing or whatever. It’s not really important what your escape plan is, only that you have one.

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