Your boss, your landlord and your mother walk into a bar… and she sits down to order a drink. There is no punchline. This intro is not a joke. Instead, it’s my life.
In January of this year I decided I was done being unhappy in my relationship with my boyfriend of almost 7 years (we’re happy now, it’s cool) and also very done living in the tiny town of Gulf Shores, Alabama. So I moved back home to Tampa – specifically, right into my mother and stepfather’s house. My mother, who is also my boss. Living with her again for the first time since I was 18 made her my boss, my landlord, and my mother.
Some of you reading this may be screaming internally. Some of you may actually be screaming. It’s fine, though. I was fine. Everything was fine. I wanted to throw myself against a wall a good chunk of the time, but it was fine.
See, I love my mom. She taught me how to be kind and strong and empathetic and humble and very, very stubborn. She’s the baddest boss bitch on this planet. I have the utmost respect for her in all aspects of our relationship. However, since she’s my parent, she holds the key to unlocking all of my frustration, confusion, self-doubt and annoyance.
An example: I’m traveling with her for work right now and we stopped in the hotel room to change out of our super-professional business attire before dinner. I start slippin’ on my jeans (with ease, mind you), and this woman – my beloved mother – makes this fucking face and, like, blows out air – the universal sign for “wow bitch better suck in that tub-tub so you can fit in your pants.”
If your mom/parent is like my mom, or just a parent in general, and you’ve moved back in with them… here are some tips to keep everyone safe from homicide.
1. Remember: You are a guest, and this situation is a gift.
After you turn 18, your parents don’t owe you shit. They created you. They spent 18 years trying to manipulate you into a relatively normal, functional human being. Some of them succeeded, some of them failed. Regardless, they tried. Now it is a privilege and an honor to live with them again. Treat this living situation as such, and everyone will be happy (most of the time).
2. If you’re smart, you’re saving a shit-ton of money.
One mistake I made in the very beginning of moving back in with my parents was assuming that the money no longer going to rent should still be spent. Wrong. So, so wrong. I realized very quickly that I had the opportunity to put that money towards saving for a down payment on a home (FREEDOM). Use the money you’re saving to SAVE! Or pay off a credit card/loan. Put on your sexy grown-up panties and create a budget and savings plan. Get that credit score back up. You’re not an actual adult until you get your shit together financially.
I swear, I went through my closet three times while living with my mom and each time I found enough stuff I don’t wear to fill one of those big, black, heavy-duty garbage bags. This is your chance to make a piece of your life so much simpler! Plus, it’s therapeutic, and donating those items to a shelter or church will make your heart feel good.
4. If you have a pet, create a cleaning schedule.
My parents love my black lab Addie. However, they loathed the fact that she shed all day every day. Their house is big enough to where I didn’t even realize she was shedding so much. Because of how busy I was with work, life, gym, whatever, I had to create a solid cleaning schedule in order to keep my parents from suddenly turning Addie into an outside dog (literally my nightmare – she is my princess and will live inside with A/C and fluffy pillows).
5. Show gratitude.
Actions really do speak louder than words. Thanking them for being so awesome and letting you move in and blah blah blah will get old. Words don’t take any effort. Do the dishes, take out the trash, pick up groceries, treat them to dinner, keep your space clean, respect their rules.
BE PRESENT – set the phone down when you’re talking to them. Go to church with them. Spend time with them while being pleasant (yes, it’s possible). The amount of respect they will gain for you doing those things will outweigh the shame or guilt you feel about why you moved back in in the first place.
Jessica is the co-founder of HTLYT and the apple of Grace’s eye. She lives in Tampa and works in public relations. Her hair is always perfect and her singing voice sounds like Halsey but better.