My Mother, My Father, My Roommates

How to move back in with your parents.

February 19, 2010

DUE TO THE RECESSION and an untimely breakup, you've been left homeless and penniless. Couch surfing at friends' places has worn (them) thin, and although sleeping in your car is cozy, the showering in public restrooms part smacks of that unsavory spring break in Tijuana. It's time to use your last option: Move in with Mom and Dad.


* No decent job

* Scant funds

* Parents with a home

Moving back home is surprisingly easy at first, maybe too easy. Your mom is overjoyed at your return, thrilled to have someone to cook for again. As for your dad, he takes you in with an aloof, but not hostile, facial expression. For the first week, Mom cooks you briskets with sides of bok choy; everyone eats; everything's dandy.

Unfortunately, cohabiting with your parents will have its downsides. But the key is to treat them as you would any other housemates.

Are you getting reamed by Mom for leaving dishes in the sink? Or is Mom emailing you "hints," e.g., "HELP CLEAN AND PUT AWAY DISHES"? Here's what you do: On your next break from World of Warcraft, put every dish away - in the wrong place.

Has an empty nest made your dad a little too comfortable shuffling about in cut-off tees? The answer: passive aggression. Offer to do his laundry, then "lose" all those terrible shirts (oops!).

Oh. Gross. You hear your parents ... doing it. God. Not only does this make you want to go deaf, it hammers home that you aren't getting any. Namely because you're broke, you live at home, and your parents can be heard doing it in the room next to yours! Sadly, there are few solutions here. You could shoot yourself. Or, less drastically, cut off your ears  Ia van Gogh.

Despite bumps in the road, don't despair. Hang in there. With some patience, willpower and dedication to your arrested social development, you'll endure long enough to save up the deposit for a new place - or, alternatively, a Nintendo Wii.

Writer Annette Lee

Annette Lee survived living at home for two years after college.

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