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  • James

Living at Home (again)

This is a bit of a diversion from my normal blog posts about capital raising and the challenges of starting a company. The main point for me is, you're never too old to learn something.

TL;DRMy adult son moved home recently and it’s been challenging. However, a few simple guidelines are making the transition easier: Carry your weight; come & go as you wish, but let us know your schedule; be honest (but gentle in communicating your preferences; don’t complain; and keep your room clean. I think these simple guidelines apply not just to our situation, but maybe to life in general.

I’ve been experiencing a new challenge in life and have been thinking about it quite a lot. The challenge is new to me, but not so unique for lots of parents: my adult son has moved home. (Temporarily, thank goodness, but home nonetheless.)

After living in an apartment at college, my adult son recently moved home. He’s 22 years old and is busy finishing up the last class he needs to graduate while working to earn a slot in the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School. Between now and then, though, he needs a place to live. His Mom and I are happy to provide it, but we have found that living together again can be challenging. It’s challenging for all of us!

Not only are we all learning to live together again, we are learning to be the parents of an adult son.

His Mom and I recognize that it’s not easy coming home after being pretty much fully independent for so long, and we are committed to giving him the space he needs and treating him like an adult. But we’ve also learned that living together in peace (a primary goal!) doesn’t come without some effort and practice.

And the more I thought about these simple guidelines, the more I realized that they are relevant not just to our current situation but maybe to life in general. I won’t insult anyone by telling you exactly how I think these rules apply not just to home life but to other areas as well – but I think you’ll see how they do. It’s not rocket science, and I’m almost certain that I’m not the only one to think about this.

So, here they are - our ‘house rules:’

Pull your weight:

Keeping a home running is a lot of work, so you have to pull your weight. Pitch in with the housework. If you see something that needs to be done, do it; don’t leave it for someone else. This also shows respect for other people but it also communicates your own maturity. Teamwork is necessary at home – and in life. After all, functional teams need everyone to pitch in – no slacking.

Let us know your schedule:

You are free to come and go; you are, after all, an adult. However, home is not a hotel, and your family are not your servants, so common courtesy dictates that you let us know where you are and what you are doing. It’s not a control mechanism – it just helps us to plan and organize our lives more effectively. Communication is vital – necessary – if we are going to make things work.

Be honest (but gentle) in communicating your preferences:

How we communicate is just as important as what we communicate. Very often, it’s the mode and not just the content, so pay attention to how you let people know what you think. Don’t use ‘honesty’ as an excuse to be argumentative or cruel. Also, there is no such thing as a mind-reader and people won’t know your what you like, want or prefer unless you let them know. But remember – be gentle.

Don’t complain - ever:

If you don’t like what’s on offer at home, don’t complain. We are trying to accommodate you but complaining never achieved anything positive. Be positively proactive, and look at how you can change things without complaining or seeming ungrateful. Nobody likes a complainer. Besides, you never know what another person is going through so it pays to be sensitive to that.

Keep your room clean:

You can’t control other people, but you can be responsible for yourself. In addition to the mental health benefits of a clean room, this shows that you are taking ownership of your own life and surroundings. A dirty room – literal or figurative – attracts roaches & ants, and they are just as awful if they breed in your internal life. So keep you literal room clean and organized – while keeping your mind and heart tidy as well.

What do you think? Too many rules, or not enough?

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