The Pros and Cons of Living With Your Parents After College
You promised yourself you wouldn’t do this. You promised yourself you’d study hard, prepare for a life of gainful employment, and secure work after college. But you also promised your frat brothers that you’d host the Thursday kegger for three years if they’d let you in their club.
The cap, gown, and gloves have come off — and you’ve got no cash, no job prospects, and no glory. Enter: Mom and Dad.
Whether they offer to help or make you humiliate yourself by asking for it, parental support (read: $$$) is as common today as the overgrown adolescent’s sense of entitlement to it. News flash, people: your parents don’t owe you anything. Neither does the world. It’s a harsh reality you’ve got to be raised in suburbia to miss. It’s not your fault. But it’s now your life.
Your parents have already invested a staggering amount of love, money, and other resources into your rearing, and if they offer to let you move in with them again, you should treat your parents like the royalty they are. Now that you’re done with college, it’s time to de-program all your puffed up adolescent self-righteousness, and enjoy the long haul toward adulthood and real self esteem. Nothing is more humiliating than having to move back in with your parents. But that might be just what you need to swallow your pride and make it as a real adult, and not just another grown up.
It’s not all bad. Living with your parents after college has some perks. Heading back home? Here are the pros:
- You already have a key. (Probably. I don’t think I’ve ever had a key to either of my parents’ houses. Maybe during junior high?)
- Your ego needs a reality check. Moving in with your parents is a great way to blast that chip right off your shoulder.
- You don’t have to worry about the forest or the trees. Differently put, if you live with your parents, you may not be burdened to get several part-time jobs to keep your light bill paid, while also looking for full-time work in your field of expertise. This is a blessing. Treat it as such.
- You’ve never understood people who work all the time. Now — when your mom is cooking dinner on a humid Wednesday night and you feel like an awkward shell of your former self (just misplaced enough to be uncomfortable, and just comfortable enough to know something’s wrong) — maybe you’ll understand why some people get and retain jobs.
- The economy is awful. It’s tough to find a job. This isn’t an excuse, but at least you’re not homeless.
- You might be able to emotionally manipulate your parents into: continuing to pay your cell phone bill, buy your favorite breakfast cereal, do your laundry, get you dental insurance, and keep your pet alive. Bonus points if you’ve got the type of parents who would do that if you were home, anyway.
- You’ll never run out of toilet paper or clean towels. Thanks, Mom.
- You might annoy your parents so much that they’ll pay for your apartment just so you’ll move out. That’s the way my brothers did it.
OK, so it might be all bad. Here are the cons:
- You’re living with your parents. And you are now officially a grown up person. You’ve got a college degree, a car, voting rights, and the legal ability to purchase and consume alcohol in many public places. Bummer.
- They might charge you rent. Why not? You’re closer to 30 than you are 15.
- An abrupt and tragic end to your “party ’til dawn/sleep ’til noon” lifestyle. See how far that got you? Right back to your high school home prison. You’ve had those Star Wars sheets forever.
- Social stigmatization. At a party with your post-college crew? Prepare a vague response to all queries regarding your living situation until you’ve got your own digs. Pro tip? Get your own digs.
- Can’t bring home a date. Even if your parents celebrate your autonomy, seriously. You can’t bring home a date. Too weird.
- You’re stuck with your childhood furniture. Can you even fit into that beanbag chair anymore? Alternatively, you may find yourself without a room. Dad had to fit his taxidermy and Mom had to put her Hummels somewhere, dude.
- Assuming you’re from the suburbs, your job prospects are relatively limited while you’re living at home. The easiest way to find a job in the big city is to move there, be broke, and get scrappy. That’s how I did it. And I never lived at home after college.
Don’t beat yourself up — most college graduates are boomerang kids. It’s an unintended consequence of systemic economic and psychosocial systems that came long before you. Challenge yourself as much as you can — you won’t ever fully flourish if you’re reliant on a benefactor. Learn to cook, clean, and look far and wide for a job that will get you out of there.
Take a couple of part time jobs if you have to, just to get out of the house. As soon as you have enough saved, get an awful apartment. The grimier and older the better — it’s OK if it makes your Mom cry. She doesn’t have to live there, and you won’t be there long. Mom and Dad are great, but aren’t you destined for bigger and better things? Act like it. Believe me, if I could avoid moving home after college, I know you can, too. Couple your newly minted education with a fierce work ethic, good job seeking strategy, and unflinching determination, and you’ll be on your way to independence in no time flat. And nothing — nothing — feels better than that.
The University of Melbourne: Parents’ Economic Support of Young Adult Children: Do Socioeconomic Circumstances Matter? [PDF]
Find Colleges USA: How To Survive Living With Your Parents After Graduation
U.S. News Money: 7 Tips for Boomerang Kids