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Moving Back Home with Parents: A Survival Guide


So you’re moving back home

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of perceived failure as you pack your bags because you’re moving back home with parents. You though’t you’d done it. You left your hometown, were making your way independently through the world, navigating adulthood. Then BAM. You’re back in a single bed with Groovy Chick bedding, staring at the piles of washing because your childhood bedroom is now a storage locker.

Perhaps you’ve just graduated from university and need to move back home with parents whilst you find your feet. Maybe you’re going through a heartbreak and need a roof over your head away from your ex. Whatever the reason, moving back home can be a difficult transition and will require a bit of adjustment.

It’s important for you to realise that it is ok to feel nervous, apprehensive, or even frustrated at the situation you’re in. Despite how much you love your family, regardless of how much you’re looking forward to eating Mum’s meals again, it’s ok to feel contested. It feels like a step back and that can be difficult to swallow. The first thing you need to remember is that it will be ok.

Moving back home with parents can be a tricky situation to navigate.

I’m speaking from experience…

I’ve been in this position, take my experience as an illustration of this. After a relationship breakdown I found myself, my dog, and all of my possesions needing to relocate 200 miles away. I’d previously found myself living in a spacious house with a big garden and my very own walk-in wardrobe. Fastforward 2 weeks after the breakup and I was sleeping in a single bed in a room not much bigger than a public toilet.

I love my parents, I have never questioned their love for me, but I was still feeling frustrated. I welcomed their hospitality and felt grateful they were in a situation where I was able to move back home. But I still couldn’t shake the feeling of failure. Coupled with the stress of dealing with my heartbreak meant I knew I was in for a rocky couple of months.

How to manage moving back home with parents

How did I cope? From time to time it was still difficult, but that’s normal. Obviously when you place 4 fully grown adults in a small house together there will be clashes. It’s how you navigate and learn to avoid these clashes that can significantly improve your home life.

There were numerous things which helped me during this period of perceived failure. (I say perceived because it was solely my perception, there is no failure in moving back home). I’m going to take you through them in this comprehensive survival guide so you can make the best out of this situation.

Accept and process your emotions

The first step, before even moving home, if possible, is to accept however you’re feeling. It’s ok if you’re frustrated. Being nervous about living with your parents again is fine. Feeling disappointed is ok, too. What isn’t ok, however, is taking out these feelings on other people.

It’s your responsibility to process these feelings so that you can manage them. Seek out help from close friends. Approach a therapist or counsellor if that’s in your budget. Many counsellors will offer discounts for students or those on lower incomes, it’s worth enquiring!

Sit with your feelings. It will feel uncomfortable, but that’s when you know that you’re processing it.

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries

I am a recent boundary convert, there is no going back. After reading this book bye Queen of Boundaries, The Joy of Being Selfish, I couldn’t not include boundaries in this survival guide.

Creating and upholding strong boundaries will teach others how to treat you, rid your life of drama and toxic relationships and allow you to love yourself and others in the best way you can.

Michelle, @michellelelman, is my number 1 go-to for learning about boundaries in all areas of my life. After reading the chapter about boundaries within family relationships I felt much better prepared to move home as an adult.

For example, if you have family members who feel entitled to opinions about your career choices, your weight, or your love life, then boundaries can teach them how you deserve to be treated. In an article in Happiful Magazine, Michelle advises readers on how to set boundaries when family members comment on your appearance.

Your body should never be up for discussion at a family event, and we need to stop normalising everyone commenting on changes in our appearance. In those situations, I simply state: “Please stop commenting on my body.” If this persists, I then say: “If you continue talking about my body, I am going to leave this conversation, and you can come find me when you are ready to talk about something else.”

Set your boundaries to teach others how to treat you.

Get social

Socialize! Maybe when you moved out you lost touch with some friends from your hometown. This is the perfect time to reignite old friendships. It’s also a great time to find some new friends, now you’re older.

It can be daunting to make new friends as an adult, but it doesn’t need to be. Here are some tried and tested ways to make friends now you’re grown up.

Plan day trips and vacations with your friends. Just because you’ve moved back home doesn’t mean you need to be there 24/7. It will do you and your parents good to get some space from time to time.

See this as an opportunity for change

Whatever the reason is that you’ve moved home, try to see it as an opportunity to reset your life. Moving home will give you the opportunity to direct your life in any direction you want to. You can even reinvent yourself, if you want to.

Use this as your chance to reconnect with what makes you happy without the pressures of a mortgage or landlord. Try new hobbies, attend a class, or reignite old friendships that fizzled out.

I personally find it beneficial to take the view that everything happens for a reason, even if I’m not quite sure on the reason yet.


If you’re able to, redecorating can be the perfect passion-project to keep you busy and give you some space back. Try to create a space that mirrors what you want your future home to look like.

It’s possible to do this on a budget, too. Think charity shops, thrift stores, carboot sales, and free items on Facebook marketplace. If you’re not able to paint or wallpaper, even some new prints and bedding can help a space to feel more like home.

Just because it’s your childhood home, doesn’t mean you still need Power Rangers bedding and a Call of Duty poster on the wall.

Act like an adult and live like a roomate

You’re an adult in your childhood home. There are some weird, blurred lines that you need to navigate.

You no longer have a bedtime. There’s no more needing to wrap your alcohol in towels when you go to a house party so they don’t rattle about. You probably won’t get grounded anymore (or maybe you will, I don’t know how strict your parents are).

However, there will still be some rules you need to follow, out of respect. You live there now, but it isn’t your home. It’s not your home, but you need to treat it as though it is. Weird, hazy rules.

  • Communicate. Speak to your parents before inviting guests round.
  • This one should be simple, clean up after yourself, and chip in with chores.
  • Respect each others’ privacy. This works both ways. No more barging in the bathroom without knocking when you’re getting changed. (This is absolutely not aimed at mothers…).

Spend time with your parents

Personally, this is my most important tip. I am lucky enough to have a very close and loving relationship with my parents so this is easy for me. I recognise that not everyone shares this privilege, and I am so lucky that my parents are mine.

Although it’s a solemn topic to even think about, you’ll never get this time back. Life is too short to hold grudges over miniscule problems. Find out who your parents are as adults, not just as parents. It’s sometimes easy to forget that your parents had a whole different life before you came along, learn about those people!

Have an attitude of gratitude

Go into this experience being grateful for everything you have. Yes, it’s not the perfect situation. There is definitely room for improvement. However, be grateful for what you have.

It’s easily to lose gratitude when your judgement is skewed because of a major life stressor, such as a breakup. I like to make a list of 3 things each morning that I am grateful for. It reminds me of how lucky I am to have a roof over my head, food on my plate, and clothes on my back.

Have an end goal in mind

You don’t need to have a solid end date, but it is a good idea to have a plan. Having a rough plan of something to work towards will help get you through difficult days. As I mentioned earlier, see this as a stepping stone to the next phase of your life.

Grab a notepad and pen and get planning. Is your end goal to save up enough to buy somewhere new? Do you want to gain more career experience before applying for jobs in another location? Or maybe you’re working all hours under the sun to fund your gap year. Whatever your plan is, remind yourself of it regularly.

However, there is an art to doing this respectfully. Although you know you won’t live with your parents forever, don’t endlessly remind them that this is just a stop-gap for you. It’s their home that they’ve built, you have to respect that.

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