A year has passed and again Tu Be'Av, the Jewish festival of love, is upon us. We also find ourselves in the middle of the wedding season. Every few years a new trend appears: flying doves, picture magnets or a 10-minute long fireworks display.
But it seems Generation Y outdoes them all with an exciting new trend; after the marital celebrations end they move in together- with their parents.
If you’re asking yourself why they do this, you’ve probably forgotten some of the great advantages of living with the ‘rents:
• No more embarrassing calls from the bank about being in the red. Moving in with the parents means saving money on rent, electricity, food, etc.
• Have kids? Can’t remember what it’s like to wear something nice and go out for dinner? Move in with your parents and get free, in-house babysitting. You can go out every night.
• No more complaints about the spouse working long hours or that there’s no one to share dinners with. Now there’s always someone around. Always.
If you’re currently deliberating packing your bags and informing your parents that they should arrange the spare room, stay with me for a few more minutes as we talk about those little things you need to know before making the "big move."
This house rules!
When you were in high school, your mom asked you to tidy up your room, and help with the dishes. But what’s going to happen now, when you move back in as an adult?
Over the years we all develop our own habits and quirks that might not fit so well with those of others.
You may find it hard convincing your mother-in-law that leaving the dishes in the sink to soak for a whole week is such a great idea. Also, if your dad likes watching television with the volume up just when you take your afternoon naps, it could get ugly.
It’s true you’re not going to live there forever, but is bottling it up and accepting that it’s going to be like that for a little while really the best option?
If you’ve ever seen a shaken soda can being opened - you know the answer to my question. Keeping things bottled up inside is not a practical solution in the long term, since that "emotional volcano" is bound to erupt at some point. So what other options are there?
Unfortunately, it’s the one option nobody likes to hear: make some new house rules.
The emphasis here is in on the word “new.” The old rules might have been perfectly suited to the parent(s), but with the new addition to the family, those rules need some adjustments.
If you’re afraid that asking your parents to form some new house rules will make them give this moving in idea a second thought, you may be right. But imagine the alternative; two months into the adventure, and you’re spending a large part of your day fantasizing about moving to some far away island. Your parents do to.
What topics should go on the list?
· Cooking, cleaning & shopping - Once upon a time, you either shared some of the responsibilities around the house or were let off the hook. Now you’re back with some extensions of yourself (i.e. partner, children) and the house chores grow accordingly. This area is more sensitive than it seems, since some people don’t like "strangers" ruining their kitchen and others don’t like how certain people clean. Draw a list of chores that will help your parent(s) run the house.
· Child rearing and education - Who should be the one charged with disciplining the children? If you answer: “me!” then have another look at one of my previous articles named Respecting your elders. It’s not always so simple, especially if you’re now living on someone else’s turf.
· Rooms and stuff - Placing your laptop on the living room table is very convenient. For you. But it might be in your mom’s way while she’s trying to set the table for dinner. Discuss common living areas and what can and cannot go in them. You may have to store or dispose of some of your possessions that are simply too large for your shared living space.
In essence, almost anything can be a cause for tension between you and your parents. I recommend bringing up anything you think might trigger an unwanted argument. Once you’ve identified likely problems, you can try finding ways to avoid them, or devise a way to resolve the conflicts that will inevitably arise. And, most of all, good luck!
This column is brought to you as general information only and should not be a replacement for professional advice.
Shimrit Nothman has a Masters degree in Conflict Resolution and believes that like charity, conflict resolution begins at home. She recently published her first children's book teaching conflict resolution in the family.
If you have any questions for Shimrit, please use the comments section below or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.