It has been eight months since my family of three explored the possibility of buying a home. That exploration resulted in the realization that the current track we were on would never have home owner as the final destination. So what did we do? We moved in with my parents after they offered to help us. The intention: save for a down payment while living at home.
I want to be very clear. I am EXTREMELY grateful for the sacrifice my parents made in offering to share their home to my little family.
But UGH! I didn’t think that as a 33 year old professional with a college degree, a toddler, and a partner I would have to say, “I’m living at home, with my parents.” I feel like I have somehow failed. How is it that all my friends and people around me own homes and are living the American dream? Leaving Sonoma County is out of the question. If we don’t save enough to buy, and rents continue to skyrocket… now that we’re here, will we ever be able to leave??? Will we be here forever!?!
The worst part: living in oh-so-desired Wine Country, I feel like even this savings plan won’t be enough. Reading the dire news in the Press Democrat validates my hopeless view. And now that we have let go of our semi-decently priced rental, I feel beyond stuck.
This was not my plan. Not my plan at all!
Breath. Deep breath.
I easily get lost in a thought pattern of despair. Yes, I want to own a home and yes, it may be harder now than before. It may take us a long time to reach that dream, but we have to try.
So what to do in the mean time? First off, reality test my own thoughts. I know I am not the only one back to living at home, it just feels like it. And, the exaggeration that everyone else owns a home except me simply isn’t true. The hardest thoughts to let go of are judging myself against others’ success. Except they are not helpful at all.
The truth is, we are doing fine as a family of four adults and a toddler. Six months into it, we are making it work. Here are some reasons why I think we have managed thus far:
A plan and expectations
Before we moved in, my partner and I talked about the pros and cons. I had lived with these people for close to 22 years, so there’s a level of comfort and history that he doesn’t have. I knew I needed his YES not just his passive okay. Talking to my parents was also key. Everyone had to be on board or it’d be a no-go.
We also talked about how to divide up expenses: rent, bills and food. Communication on this is important. No one should feel taken advantage of – it’s a recipe for hurt and loss.
My partner and I also have to be intentional in adding to the savings account. It’s easy to spend mindlessly with a toddler. If we don’t focus on our savings goal and a couple years pass with nothing to show for it, I’ll regret it intensely and have no one to blame but us.
Create and define separate spaces
The layout of my parents’ home lent itself to be divided up to “front” and “back.” We have the front and they have the back, with shared kitchen and sun room. Honestly, if it wasn’t for our ability to define separate living spaces we may not have made it to six months. It’s important for all of us to feel like we have our own private space to go to when we need a break from each other, the world, or just to unwind in peace.
Share the shared space
Unless someone is gone, we always have dinner together. After all, they are not some strangers we have as roommates – we are family! So we do spend time together. We keep each other up-to-date on what’s happening in our lives. This helps us understand where each other is at any given moment. When my mom is grumpy but I know she’s had a long day at work, I’m less inclined to take it personally and create a passive-aggressive environment.
Humor and joy
We are all unique individuals who may have clashed in other circumstances, but making fun of each other helps us mesh. Early on, I joked to a friend – the only way we’ll survive living at home is with my daughter’s presence and lots tequila! Which in many ways turned out to be true. My daughter is the center of our world and keeps us entertained and laughing all the time! Plus this is a unique opportunity for her to create great memories. How lucky am I to be able to provide her with a home of four adults who adore her?
Recognize that it’s a challenge and accept it
This arrangement is nowhere near perfect but I’ve embraced it… for now!