Friday, October 12, 2012

Home Sweet Home

I miss the feeling of home.
Once you've moved out of your parents house, even if it was your childhood home, and even if your parents try to tell you that you will always be welcome there, it's no longer your home. That's just the nature of things. I spent the vast majority of my life living in the house that I am back in now, but it took all of a month when I moved out for me to feel that when I am back there, I am visiting.
It doesn't take very long to develop your own way of doing things, your own routines, your own way of life. I mean to bake a lot this fall, including making homemade dog biscuits, but it's a struggle to even do that because I don't know what baking materials are in my parents' house. I know what I have, packed in the attic, what sized pans and boards, and everything else. But I don't have access to it. Of course I can check what they have, but my point is that it's not the same. I can't just wander into a grocery store and stroll up and down the aisles and shop easily.
I miss doing my own grocery shopping, and cooking. I really miss cooking. The other day I offered to make this applesauce recipe that I love, and I was shot down. I don't think maliciously; I think my parents think I should take it easy. But it makes me happy to do things like that, and it makes me sad to never be able to do it.
I miss this little red colander I have that I would use to rinse off fruit. I miss my drinking glasses. I miss my pots. Boy, do I miss my pots.
I miss my silly comic strips that I had cut out and were all over my fridge. I miss cleaning. I miss having my own bathroom in which I can put everything where I want it. I miss lighting candles. I miss hanging things on my front door for various holidays. I miss having a decently sized bed.
Right now I am sleeping on a twin, because that's what the room I'm in allows. But I'm also bigger than I've ever been before. Do you know how uncomfortable that is? At first when I moved back in with my folks, everything was an argument. I didn't want to replace anything of theirs (so that when I do move out, it's as if I was never there; a more seamless transition) so as a compromise I ordered a foam mattress cover for my bed. I think I had to explain 50 times why I needed it. I said, "This isn't my mattress. I picked out my last one myself. It was comfortable to me. This one is different. And to top it off, I'm pregnant. I'm just trying to make myself comfortable enough to sleep through the night." But I consistently felt like I had to express why I bought one. And really, who cares? I paid for it, I'm an adult, and it was only helpful to me.
I think the favorite story of most is the milk story though. When I first moved in, I went over with my parents how things should be done. I asked what they wanted me to pitch in for, if anything, and one of the items we spoke about was groceries. They wanted to continue with dinner on their own terms, but since I bring my own breakfast and lunch to work anyway, I told them I would buy everything I need in order to continue doing that (which also means I have my own food on hand for snacking as well). Let me preface the rest of this story with the fact that I am to keep my things in the pantry, which limits my space. And every time I do come home with packages I'm asked what it all is, so that I feel like I need to keep my shopping to a minimum. Anyway, my mother insisted they would handle everything else, but I said to her, "Just be aware that I've been drinking a lot of milk. I go through it quickly. You may need to buy more than you're used to when you go shopping." And this wasn't a problem.
Except that it was, because they never really bought more milk. I tried to keep my usage down, but one Friday morning before work I finished the last carton. So, during my lunch I went to buy more. I kept it in the fridge in my office until the end of the work day, and then brought it home. When I walked in the door, my father saw the shopping bag and what was in it, and he said, "OH. So you DID buy milk. We were talking about that."
I can only laugh. I want to clarify that I'm not angry about this. I just didn't buy the milk on my own at first because they told me not to. But I thought I had made it quite clear that my milk usage was going to make them have to up their stock.
I know this is a huge adjustment for them. I hate that I have to do this. It's not fair to them. But I really am trying to make it as painless as possible. Some of my things aren't even being stored there; they are at my sister's and my brother's house. I have two rooms; one for me and one for the baby. But the baby's room was going to be a baby's room anyway, because my parents were always going to be the ones watching him while my husband and I went to work. And the room I am in was a guest room, and so it was and remains a bedroom. So basically, space-wise, I am desperately trying to limit my footprints.
Also, I've never asked for anything else from them. They didn't even have to pay for my college. I was the last to move out, but I'm the youngest, and I did it at the youngest age. I never came to them needing money or help in anyway. And like I've said before, I would've gotten myself a studio apartment even, but the baby makes that not such a smart option. I'm asking for help for myself but also for my son, who will be their first grandchild. And I plan on being out again next year. (Ask anyone that knows me well...when I plan on something, it happens.) Granted, my employment situation may delay me a bit, but that's beyond my control. (I'm hoping to get a better-paying job after the baby comes. If only I could start interviewing now...but imagine me walking into an interview ready to explode with a baby? I have no choice right now but to wait it out.)
Anyway, I really do hate sounding like I'm complaining. It's just that I need to vent it out somehow. My parents have been a huge help, but they are still my parents and I am still their adult child. You know how it is. I miss the things I used to do around my own house. I miss blasting my music while I straighten up. I miss being able to leave the door open while I shower. I miss staying up late without having to answer to anyone. I miss knowing where everything is when I need it, like batteries or garbage bags.
Talk about adjustments...I went from marriage to singledom, pregnancy, and a drastic change in my living situation. I wish there was something that felt like home.
So, if you find yourself having to move back in with your parents, regardless of the reason, here is my advice:
-Feel free to explain to them that it's a huge adjustment and sacrifice for you as well, but say it once and only once. After that, continually focus on how much of a sacrifice it is for them, how much you appreciate it, and never stop offering to help out in any way you can.
-Come up with ground rules from the very beginning. This includes your financial responsibilities, and other responsibilities. Write them down if you think it's necessary. Be sure to stick to the rules. And if for any reason something has to change, even if it's just temporary, ASK them about it. Never demand or tell. Everything should be a two-way discussion.
-Clean up after yourself. Always.
-If you're going to be out late, or if your schedule is in any way going to be different, tell them. You needn't have to ask for permission, but respect that they might worry if they know you are usually home by a certain time and you don't show up when they would normally be expecting you.
-The same goes for dinner. If you usually eat dinner with them, and you are not going to be home for dinner, tell them as soon as you know.
-Allow them their space for having friends over, just like you would want them to allow you the same thing. I actually asked my parents that if they know they are having visitors ahead of time, to let me know, and then I know to make myself scarce.
-If you are out running errands, call them and ask if there is anything they need while you are out.
-Keep conversation light. Now is not the time to get into a heated political or religious debate when you can't jet out of there and not talk to them for a few days and let the situation cool down.
-If you are having a bad day, let them know gently, even if it's just by saying you aren't feeling well so you need to lay down for awhile. I know my parents get so worked up if they think any one of their kids are upset, that they end up almost making you feel worse.
-Make clear your intentions as to when you plan on moving out. In general, plans never work out, but if you keep them up-to-date on what you doing as far as working towards that goal, and any advances or pitfalls you might have along the way, they will appreciate it.
-Be aware that you WILL fight, and there will be blow-out arguments in which you will both be wrong and say things you don't mean. This is what happens between adults who are living together. Just be sure to own up to your end of the argument, and not let pride get in the way of smoothing things over. It only makes your life more difficult to live in a situation in which you and everyone else in the household is holding a grudge.
-Remind yourself as many times as necessary that this is TEMPORARY, and one day, you will once again be able to walk into your OWN home, kick your shoes off wherever you want to, and let the dishes pile up in the sink.
-Be aware that I am full of shit, and I know better than anyone that these things are easier said than done. Moving back with your parents SUCKS. No matter how you look at it.

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