If you would have told me this time last year that I would be back living with my parents, along with my own family, I would probably have chuckled with disbelief and then booked a family ticket to...well, anywhere. I have moved home quite a few times in my life, but I did not think I would be back again with my own kids, yet here we are - taking over my mother's house with more laundry and play doh than she can shake her paint brush at. The decision was a tough one, but it was one for a greater good - our own home. And this is something that, unfortunately, we most definitely would not achieve before our retirements if we stayed renting and living in the Dublin area.
Having the opportunity to save like this is something I am very appreciative of. When we first moved in, I was very conscious about making the kids feel at home, but also, not SO at home that my own parents felt they were out of one!
So for anyone about to embark on a similar move, here is what I have learnt....
What NOT to do moving back in with your parents (with a family of your own!)
1. Don't unpack everything at once
It was only on moving day that I realised just how little my poor mother thought we had. The vast amount of 'stuff' and boxes even overwhelmed me when I saw it all on the moving truck, Keeping in mind your parents will have years and years of 'stuff' kept themselves, space is an issue - it is base camp after all. Unpack the essentials, and do the rest in intervals so as to avoid anyone feeling the crunch.
2. Don't move in without setting expectations
It is a good idea to work out as much logistics as you can early on - bills, dinner time, shopping, etc. Of course, as soon as new routines start to happen, different things will arise and change, but at least you have something to work from.
3. Don't complain about storage
As an adult and parent, I have accumulated quite a lot over the years - some is of daily importance, some is seasonal, and some is purely for that one time you might need a box of velcro and empty egg cartons! Either way, storage has always been a sought after feature in any house I have lived in, and moving in with the mother of hoarding (aka my mother), every nook and cranny is bursting with her 'velcro' - interiors magazines, clothes, books, antiques. It is important to always remember, it may be our LEGO scattered around the carpet but we are guests. Any excuse for a trip to IKEA for storage shopping!
4. Don't slack off
We all love those weekend/Christmas visits home, where the fridge is always full, the dinner is always made, the fire is always lighting and they always know when to make tea! When we moved in, I was very conscious of 'overdoing' things. I wanted to let them know we were our own entity, pulled our weight and we were not just adding to the daily grind, but hopefully lessening it. See what needs to be done, do it, and do it first.
5. Don't forget they are parents too
It is a funny dynamic - two generations of parents under one roof, and it is only when the situation occurs that both parenting ideals and styles come head to head. Personally, I think it is impossible for there to be no overlap (currently our overlap is at 3am on the stairs each night when I have to whisht my mother away if there is even a mumbled cry - just stay in your room!) It is definitely a learning curve, but I have to remember that they are parents too, and were before I was. There will be times you spot them underhand a cupcake you said no to earlier and times they make you feel like your children are the coldest, most hungry toddlers in Munster. For that one time I need to breath and count to ten, there are ten other times they swoop in and take over when I'm loosing my mommy cool.
6. Don't forget they are YOUR parents
You may be an adult, you may have your own family, you may be a tax paying member of society, but they are still your parents and you are living under their roof. so house rules apply. I am all for the circular economy and recycle/reuse, but sponge scrubbers are only 60c per packet in Aldi, do we really have to put them in the washing machine?! How and ever - I will comply - 60 degree wash - check!
7. Don't stay out of the way too much
Before we moved in, my parents loved when we came to visit. The house would get much louder and a lot messier, but the kids always brought life and laughter with them. Being here all the time has brought this atmosphere to stay. We may log heads about leaving lights on and doors open, but I am looking on this chapter, not only as a time to save, but an opportunity - an opportunity to make some very special memories. Rather than trying to stay out of their way all the time, make the time to talk and to chat. Take out the camera and capture those moments - when Grandad is outside carving their names into the tree, when Nana is on her knees helping them make a tent, when you all join the kids performing to the Greatest Showman on the kitchen tiles. Everyone may have their own agenda and their own routine, but why not welcome a new one?
"The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it. move with with it and join the dance." - Alan W. Watts
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