Screw the Stigma!: Living with Your Parents After College is Your Call, Not Society’sFeb 09, 2021
Wondering if you’d be clipping your wings to go back to living with your parents after college? Or worse, you’re worrying people would judge you, thinking you’re avoiding responsibility, living in the basement reading Star magazine and treating your parents like room service. But it's really just that you can’t afford to live on your own right now, and all the potential Craigslist roommates you've found so far aren't even half as cool (but twice as creepy) as the ones on New Girl.
Moving back in with your parents after college has its downsides, but it can also save money and headaches while you work to launch your career. Don’t let your pride or social stigma be the deciding factor: only you and your family can decide what’s best for you based on many other factors.
Why Living with Your Parents after College is Between You and Your Family—And No One Else
Society likes to place “one-size-fits-all” rules on people, like “don’t live with your parents after college or you’re an irresponsible failure.” But you and your family don’t fit into cookie cutter rules like that.
Living with your parents after college can be a great first option, a terrible last resort, or not even an option at all, considering:
- Your relationship with your parents
- Your parents’ financial situation
- How much student debt you have
- The cost of living where you want to work
- Your career goals.
I live in an area with some of the highest living costs in the world; I have a pretty good relationship with financially stable parents; and I wanted to pursue YouTube as a career, which I knew wasn’t going to roll in cash from the onset. So living with my parents for the past three and a half years just made sense. I’m working towards moving out now, but I’m grateful to my parents and don’t regret the choices I made.
I know people in their 40s who are still living with their parents as hardworking, responsible adults. If they have good relationships and arrangements with their parents, it just makes sense. There’s no shame in that if that’s what works for you.
But maybe you know you’d be unhappy living with your parents, or you want to maintain your independence and already can support your living costs and student debt payments. That’s great too! Only you can determine how long living with your parents is “okay” for you.
How Do I Work Around The Disadvantages?
Intentionally progress toward your career goals, even if you’re living with your parents.
A 2018 New York Times article found that graduates tended to do better professionally if parents gave them money to live on their own rather than let them move back home. This could be an artifact of income inequality (children whose parents can afford to give them cash may also have access to better opportunities), but it’s reasonable that living on your own would motivate you towards quicker career progress
But you don’t have to let living with your parents after college stall your progress if you know you can motivate yourself to set timelines, schedules, and goals that you’ll stick to. If you know you’d be less motivated though, maybe you’d be better off leaving the nest.
Retain your sense of independence by managing your own affairs.
For some of us, having a sense of independence doesn't really matter, and that's fine.
If you do want to feel independent while living at home, consider:
- Helping pay the mortgage or rent
- Doing your own chores (cooking, laundry, shopping, dishes, and more)
- Making payments toward your own car
- Scheduling your own hobbies or social activities apart from your parents
Accept, respect, and communicate boundaries.
Successful life with others mandates that you communicate well and respect difference, as you probably learned from living with roommates. It's the same for living with your parents -- you'll have a better time if you don't make your parents feel like outdated boomers and if they don't make you feel like a naive child.
If your relationship with your parents allows, try respectfully communicating the following:
- Your personal space boundaries: times of day that you prefer interaction or solitude? Activities that you don’t want them to interrupt?
- The kinds of questions you hate being asked.
- Signs that you might not be in the mood to be asked a bunch of questions.
- Annoying habits that they could scale back.
And of course, listen respectfully if your parents have preferences for you in these areas, too. If you don’t think you can coexist peacefully and reasonably in these areas, then living with your parents after college may not be the best call.
So, is living with your parents after college right for you?
We hope you can clearly discern what’s best for you after graduation without being swayed by stigma. Whether you end up trying to survive your parents’ annoying habits or the bills sitting on your own kitchen table, you can end up feeling isolated and lonely. But you’re not alone! There are plenty of others trying to navigate the same decisions.
We can’t make your decision for you, but through our affordable Career Cram program, we can connect you with like-minded peers who can help run the race with you. Our experts can provide input based on their many years of experience. We’re not going to “one-size-fits-all” you—instead, we can help give you personalized advice for your situation.
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