Tips on living in harmony when moving back in with family
Moving in with family wasn’t a tough choice for me to make; I made the decision because I felt it was the right thing to do.
There are many reasons in this era of “the sandwich generation” why some family members move in (or back in). I moved in with my grandma because she suffers from Alzheimer’s and cannot be alone. My cousin had already moved in a few years ago.
It is and has been a tough adjustment. However, financially, this is the best option for all of us. According to the most recent census data, 16 percent of families in America are multi-generational households. Some of the data attributed this fact to the economic climate and other data shows the aging population as another factor.
What the data doesn’t show is the time, energy and money dedicated to caring and living with extra members in a house. The hardest part of moving back in with family is figuring out what to do with all my personal stuff and adjusting to living with family again.
Here are a few tips I suggest when moving in with parents or relatives:
What to do with all your stuff?
Don’t assume that you can store your excess belongings in their basement or garage. Seek out a storage unit or discuss other options on the property, such as sheds or barns.
Use plastic totes to pack your stuff if it will be stored for a lengthy time, especially if belongings will be in a basement or garage. Mice are terrible little pests and love to nest in cardboard boxes with newspaper.
Pick your battles
Each person in the “sandwich” household has, at one time, lived on his or her own, and each of you live your own certain way. Thus, annoyances can arise when living with our relatives again. One member could live like “pigpen” and another can be upset over little things like not taking your shoes off at the door.
Avoid arguing over these small irritations. Pick the battles worth fighting. It is best to be patient and forget about the petty stuff.
Learn to diffuse strained situations and avoid pushing emotional buttons.
Have basic ground rules
Discuss the chores, food and other basic household duties and set up some type of agreement that works best for everyone.
If it is possible, designate specific space. If it has a door or is in the basement, be sure everyone understands the courtesy of knocking before entering. It is important to be sure the “household leaders” respect others’ privacy.
Of course, there are house rules but there should also be privacy within one’s room. Moving back in with parents, for example, may cause them to fall back into those old familiar patterns from when you were a kid and they may not consider walking into your bedroom as “barging in.”
Give a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Understand that each of you may work different hours and may work on different schedules.
Respect each other’s work and sleep schedules. You may wake up at the crack of dawn but someone else might be headed to bed then. That is their choice, we are all adults, and this is where we can get into trouble by crossing that line. Make it clear that it is okay to air grievances with each other from time to time but do it when it is a civil discussion and do it in a respectful manner.
Lonnie Allen is a staff writer for The Daily News and Carson City Gazette. He also is the columnist for “Dinner By Me,” a recipe column published with many of The Daily News’ feature sections, such as S.H.E., Young at Heart and HOME.