For those of you who don’t know, I am approaching mid-20s age, and I still live at home. Home, as in: my parents’ house. An odd arrangement; a restricting one, right?—how will I ever get life experience, and be independent, and stuff? (Answer: by trying new things, making mistakes, learning from said mistakes, thinking through choices, introducing myself to people…really, it’s no different from the way I would live if I were on my own.) But I made the decision to live at home of my own volition before I graduated high school, and I’ve never regretted the choice. Here’s why I chose to live and home, and why I love it:
The benefit of my parents’ wisdom, guidance, and friendship. The older I get, the more I realize how little I know. Since my parents are years older (duh), they have the experience to give wise warnings, advice, support, and such. Yes, I could just text or call Mom and Dad if I lived somewhere else, but it’s not as easy to talk when you live two cities away. Living in the same house lets the three of us discuss matters at length easily and efficiently; and my parents’ wisdom and guidance helps me avoid pitfalls (such as relationship problems or bad financial decisions) that could hurt me for the rest of my life.
But my parents do not control or restrict me. I’m an adult, and they treat me like an adult. There’s a mutual trust involved here: I’m free to choose what to read, what to watch, how to handle my finances, and when to schedule my outings. On the other hand, because I’ve chosen to live in my parents’ house, I will not bring into it films, books, &etc. they might object to. Therefore, I ask if they mind my buying a certain movie, or if X calendar date is free for an outing so as not to wreck their schedules.
And friendship? I am absolutely friends with my parents. They are my authorities; thus, it’s not a BFF or chummy relationship. But we laugh and joke; we discuss and debate; we have thoughtful, mature, intelligent conversations. And we grow closer together every year I remain at home.
Health problems that would make it hard to keep a regular job. This was definitely one motivation, and my health problems have gotten worse through the years. When I drafted this little essay, it was 6: 50 in the morning, and I’d gotten maybe 2 ½ hours of sleep the night before. So, yeah.
Saving on room and board. Hey, what’s wrong with being practical? Mom herself vehemently defends the idea of adult children living at home to save money. Since I’m not pursuing a career or education in another city, it makes no sense to live in my hometown and pay for an apartment when my parents have the room, money, and willingness for me to live at home.
That said, I do not freeload. I buy my own books, DVDs, Christmas presents, art supplies, voice lessons, movie tickets, any software, other such personal costs—for example, I intended to cover the full cost of buying myself a new laptop. (Dad, however, kindly insisted on paying half the price.) Mom and Dad pay for things like clothes, make-up, medical insurance and expenses, but I cover the cost of personal items. And if I’m not sure what personal items fall into the family budget and what fall into my own, I just ask.
Also, Mom and Dad get the benefit of helping hands while I live here. I help run the household: my siblings and I do dishes, laundry, de-cluttering, weekly cleaning, and cook meals, leaving Mom free to handle other household matters. Mom and Dad pay for room and board, but in a way, I do earn my own keep. 🙂
I remain involved in my siblings’ lives. This is a precious benefit. I get to watch my siblings grow intellectually, spiritually, physically, and academically. I see their interests develop, and I encourage those pursuits; I give them counsel and advice and get counsel and advice in return (my brother and I critique each other’s ideas and writings, for example). The five of us laugh together, encourage each other, practice keeping temper and being patient, and grow closer every year. I love it when we all sit in the living room and talk, bouncing off each other’s ideas and creativity. We watch films together and analyze them. We disagree and debate—we have the same parents and the same education, but we kids do not always have the same opinions! Which means I can get second opinions from four different sources; and I fully intend to enlist my brothers in evaluating any suitors. They will be frank in their critique of the guy, and fierce in their defense of me.
Also, my youngest brother (I’ll call him Emmet on this blog) and I are 14.5 years apart. If I moved out, he would see little of me and would hardly know his eldest sister. And I would hardly know my youngest brother. Interestingly enough, Emmet and I are the most alike of all the siblings: we share several quirks, habits, lines of thought, personality traits–and we share similar struggles. Since I’m older, I’ve already journeyed through some trouble spots that he’s now dealing with; and so I help Emmet through his problems. This would be much harder to do if I lived somewhere else, and Emmet would lose the benefit of someone who personally understands what he’s going through.
Not everyone has to live at home—that’s a decision between you and God and you and our family. But I’m thankful God has led me to live at home, and that my parents are willing to have me, and that my siblings are my best friends!