The Hobo Guide to Moving Back in with Your Parents
“FINE, I’LL JUST MOVE OUT THEN.”
“NO YOU WON’T – YOU DON’T HAVE ANY BLOODY MONEY!”
I had been back at home with my mum for two weeks before our first big argument. It involved a tantrum, a broken plate and a huge amount of restraint from my poor mum, who was probably itching to give me a slap.
My mum and I are great friends. We recently travelled through Europe together and had no problem living in each other’s pockets. We get along like a house on fire, which is why I was so surprised to find that when I moved back home, all I wanted to do was set our house on fire. With us both in it.
Over the last few years, I’ve lived in a variety of situations. I’ve been in a shoebox with a boyfriend, a share house with five friends, a variety of not-so-nice hostel dorms and most recently, in my boyfriend’s mum’s house. Some of these were nice, some were great and some were average, but none can compare to living back home with my loved ones, surrounded by gum trees and overlooking the water.
Which is why I couldn’t understand why my flight back to the nest saw me regress to a teenager. A teenager who could no longer blame puberty for her mood swings. A simple enquiry into how my day was had me muttering, “It was fine,” before stomping to my room, only to realise 10 minutes later how childish I’d been, unsure where this irrational annoyance had come from and why it was directed at my mum.
After a few slammed doors and tearful arguments, I began to realise that it probably wasn’t the lack of cheese in our fridge that was causing such meltdowns. It’s easier to throw a tantrum when I can’t make a toastie than admit I’m at a loss with my 28-year old self. Adrift and unsettled, I’m shifting uneasily back into this place I haven’t called home for years and back into this life that doesn’t quite fit anymore.
I’ve spoken to friends who have experienced similar issues once back in the warm embrace of their loving parents. Confronted with a life that’s not going to plan, a lack of money or a travel comedown, we return to the comfort of our homes and tornado through the place, leaving broken plates and splintered door jams in our wake.
I realised I didn’t want to destroy my relationship with my mum over whose turn it was to unpack the dishwasher. I also didn’t want to be kicked out, because then I wouldn’t be able to find out what happens in the season finale of Poldark. As a result, I came up with some rules that would ensure I didn’t have to miss any shirtless Aidan Turner scenes and my mum didn’t have to change the locks.
My mum has led a childless life for years, and sharing a house with a wine-loving 28-year old must be more difficult than that time I was a toddler and got my head stuck between the stairs. I’m used to being independent, but so is my mum, so I realised I need to respect her and not throw out her tea towels just because I think they’re ugly.
If I’m on the edge of a frustrated moment because she’s hidden the air-conditioning remote on a 38 °C day, I take myself off for 15 minutes of quiet time. I’ll punch a pillow or do some downward dog. Whatever it takes to avoid shouting at her from the bottom of the stairs.
Maintain the Friendship
I make sure we do plenty of away-from-the-house activities so our relationship isn’t focused on why I kept forgetting to take the garbage out. Doing something we both love keeps our friendship in tact and reminds me how lucky I am to have such a cosy safety net.
There’s more chance of me marrying Ryan Gosling than bringing home a gentleman and getting him horizontal in my single bed. But that hasn’t stopped me having plans in place in case such an event occurs. I’m 28, my mum’s aware I’ve had sex, but she doesn’t need to hear me practicing at 3am on a Saturday morning. Neither does my brother, who sleeps in the room next door. Hence my ‘only engage in coital if no one is home’ rule. That way everyone can look each other in the eye at breakfast and I don’t have to sneak people in and out via my window.
So far, these golden guidelines have worked. I’ve stopped slamming doors and my mum’s stopped hiding the air-conditioning remote. Of course, there are moments when I feel both our tempers rising and an argument about to erupt. At which point I escort myself to my room and repeat the following – “You are a grown up: it is not suitable to slam doors because there are no avocados left, you can buy your own avocados, actually no you can’t because you have no money, but that’s not your mum’s fault, so stop taking it out on her,”- a mantra guaranteed to help anyone returning home with an empty wallet, dirty washing and an inability to fit back into family life.
Cover by Squared One