Mom, I’m Home: How to Deal with Your Nest Suddenly Being Full Again

You’ve spent the last 18 years or more loving, nurturing, and providing for your children. You made sure they had three square meals a day, a roof over their heads, and clothes on their back. You spent your last to put them through college so that they could make something of themselves. You should be proud of yourself. In fact, you should give yourself a pat on the back, because raising a child is certainly a commendable action. Then, just when you start to get the hang of living on your own and pursuing your own lifelong dreams and goals, your child calls you out of the blue and asks to move back in…

Part of you is probably happy that your child wants to come back home and live with you again, however, there’s this other side of you that has simply gotten used to the idea of having an empty nest.

You can’t very well leave them homeless, but at the same time, you realize that living with an adult child will greatly differ from when you were raising them as children. So how do you allow your adult child to move back in while keeping your sanity? Below are a few suggestions on how to make the transition a smooth one.

Clearly Define Their Reason for Coming Home

Whether they’ve recently moved out of the college dorms with no place to go, don’t make enough money to sustain the daily necessities, or need a little time to get back on their feet after a major life occurrence (break-up, divorce, loss of job, or loss of a house), it will be important for you both to be on the same page. Therefore, prior to having your child move in, be sure that you sit down and have a talk with them. During this conversation you want to clearly outline their reasons for returning to the nest.

Map Out a Plan

Again, before allowing your child to move back home with you it is important to map out a plan. Allowing them to move back into the house without a clear plan could cause a lot of turmoil and strife as time goes on. While plans have a tendency to change, and some parts of the plan will rely heavily on certain circumstances, having an end game in mind is necessary to avoid conflict. Since you’ll already have an idea of what your child is coming back home for, you’ll need to consider or ask the following:

How do they plan to get on their feet? – For example, if your child is coming back home because they’ve recently graduated college but don’t have a job you’ll want to know how they intend to get a job. Are they going to fill out applications, attend job fairs, take on an internship somewhere, or consider part time employment? Etc.

How long do they intend to stay? – It might seem a little harsh at first to ask your child how long they intend to stay, but trust me when I say, they’ll stay forever if you let them… Who wouldn’t love to receive free meals, room, and board for several years? Even if they don’t have an exact date in mind, giving a ballpark idea is best to keep conflict to a minimum.

Set the Guidelines

Okay, so it goes without saying that you’re not dealing with babies anymore, you’re dealing with adults. Therefore, the household rules might change a little bit. However, as the parent and the owner of your home, you have a right to set guidelines and have your adult children fall in line with those guidelines. When considering guidelines consider the following:

  • Curfew
  • Guests
  • Financial responsibilities (i.e. monthly rent or financial contributions)
  • Chores or ways to help out around the house

Make Room

Now that you’ve ironed out all the specifics you and your adult child are likely on the same page. Now you’ll need to make some room for them to reenter your home. If you’ve turned their old room into an office space or storage room, you’re going to need to find some place to store all those things. Giving your child space in the home that they can identify as their own would be best for privacy and keeping down on the conflicts.

Packing some of your things in storage can be a great way to make room for your adult child without costing you a lot of money. United Mayflower, a moving and storage company, suggests using portable storage containers to place all of your personal belongings in. This way, you can pack at your own pace and have the contents of the storage container shipped off to a storage location. Once your child moves out, you can easily request that your personal belongings be brought back to your home.

Live Your Life

Once your child moves in, remember that your life should not stop. You’ve already spent the last few decades making sure that your children were first. They are essentially adults now and must learn to live their own lives. Don’t get so caught up in caring for your adult child that you forget to care about and live for yourself. So don’t cancel those trips or those social events. Living your life also prevents you from feeling like having your child home is a burden, and it also takes the guilt off your child (of thinking they’re a hindrance to their parents).

Well mom and dad, I really hope I was able to shed a bit of light on how to welcome your adult child back home with very little conflict. Sure there will be bumps along the road, but as long as you stick to the tips above, those bumps will be far and few in between. Here’s to having a full nest again and getting along with your adult children.

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