Dating and Relationship Advice

Smartphones, social media, wireless earbuds, FaceTime, and even Gmail have made it easier for us “adults” to stay in touch with our parents while maintaining some healthy boundaries.

COVID: “Hold my beer.”

I am just one of millions of young professionals who have chosen to quarantine with parents over remaining in tiny, overpriced apartments in crowded cities. And, considering the growing unemployment rate, our numbers are going to keep going up.

Moving back home as an adult presents some unique challenges. For me, it’s my father constantly refilling my glass with the fancy wine I normally can’t afford (wine bloat, anyone?), my mother popping into my room anywhere from seven to 57 times a day asking if I want to go for a walk/play cards/watch a movie/generally hang out, and me struggling against the urge to fully regress into Home For Winter Break mode complete with sleeping until noon and scarfing entire bags of chips.

But we’re all adults here. Literally. We need to be able to create healthy and sustainable boundaries that will not only keep us sane but will make sure our parents feel the love, respect and gratitude they deserve for taking in our broke asses.

Try these tips for living with your parents during a pandemic:

Lead with Gratitude

Even though you grew up in that house, you’re now a guest. And no matter how many times your mom says she’s so happy you’re there, your presence is disrupting their lives. Acknowledge that by saying thank you and showing your gratitude however, your parents would best receive it—cleaning toilets, baking cookies, or simply loading your dishes into the dishwasher after dinner.

Establish Clear Rules and Expectations

While “their house, their rules” is still mostly true, you do need to work with your family to create a set of clear ground rules and expectations right from the start, and that includes a schedule.

Whether you’re working from home or just maintaining your sanity, its important to be super clear about your schedule. That way, your dad knows not to mow the lawn when you have that client call and your mom is aware that from the hours of 5 PM to 6 PM, you need some decompressing alone time. Set up a routine for work, personal time, and family time so everyone knows what to expect.

Act Like an Adult

As tempting as it is to slide back into old family dynamics, you’re not a grumpy teenager anymore. So, act like it.

This is especially true if there’s a disagreement or some tension. Instead of sulking or passive-aggressively slamming your bedroom door, deal with it head-on and with empathy. Your parents are humans too, and, like you, they are just doing the best they can. Put yourself in their shoes and always fall back on gratitude.

Don’t Be Afraid to Say No

With that being said, you are also an adult with needs. If you’re truly too exhausted/emotionally burnt out/busy to do something, smile and say “No, thank you.” Being honest about your needs will help your parents understand and not take it personally.

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