How To Stay Sane When Your Parents Stay With You
Whether it’s for just a few weeks while their home undergoes renovations, or for three months while they hunt for a new house, or forever, you’ll need some tricks and tools to stay sane if your parents stay with you and your partner. Having your parents under the same roof as you can be challenging enough when you’re single, but when you add the factor of a relationship—and one you’d like to keep intact, might you add—things become even more complicated. It’s the collision of a couple of worlds that were never meant to collide. Pass each other by occasionally? Sit across one another over holiday dinners? Sure! But attempt to occupy the same space? That’s how freaky things like the “Cloverfield Paradox” happen, folks. Here are tips to stay sane when your parents stay with you.
Keep them out of your bedroom
It’s completely reasonable that you have a rule stating that your parents can’t go in your bedroom in your home where you pay the rent or mortgage. If they stay out of there, you have one place where you can be a bit messy, and not worry about them finding private items like your two-sided—never mind.
Keep the place clean
Do yourself a favor and keep your place tidy because you know cleanliness will be the top thing your parents nitpick at you about. Should they criticize the place where they’re receiving free housing? No. Will that make them stop? HA! Hilarious.
Buy them tickets
Get them out of the house from time to time! Buy them tickets to a show or museum you think they’d enjoy. Make them a reservation at a restaurant. You can’t really ask them to just…leave…but you can give them a fun reason to.
Have date night, out, weekly
You and your partner should have a set date night, out of the house, once a week. There will be a clear understanding that that is your time—and they can’t be hurt that they aren’t invited because it is date night. Not family night.
Create a designated office space
Create a designated office space—even if it’s just a corner of a room—where it’s clear that, if you’re sitting there, you’re occupied and should only be disturbed for emergencies. Everybody needs a place like that.
Get their help
It’s okay to ask your parents to help out around the home, you know. They’re living there, dirtying dishes and laundry, just like you are. Ask them to walk the dog when you’re super busy, pick up the kids, or pick up the dry cleaning. These are not unreasonable requests.
You don’t have to invite them everywhere
Remember that you don’t have to invite them everywhere and they have to understand that. You and your partner have your own lives. You’ll have social things on the calendar that you didn’t quite envision bringing your parents to. Don’t feel pressured to have a plus-two everywhere you go, or you’ll just go insane.
But include them sometimes
Do include your parents on some activities. When you feel you’ve had enough space, and you think that having them there would be fun for everyone, invite them along to your power walking group, or brunch with friends.
Set up boundaries around house-related conversations
Ultimately, this is your home and as such, you make the rules—just like your parents did when you lived in their home. That being said, it’s okay to say, “My partner and I are going to talk about some house stuff (like which contractor to choose for renovations) and we’d like to keep that conversation to ourselves.
Learn to tune things out
You may be able to get your parents to cut back on some of the criticism, but not all of it. So, on your end, you’ll just have to learn to tune things out. Honestly, parents usually just want to have their say, and you don’t have to respond. Try it: they’ll make a comment about the dusty shelves, and if you say nothing, they’ll move onto a new subject.
Have a text-before-coming-home rule
It’s a simple rule to instate that can spare everyone some uncomfortable moments, even if those moments are just vacuuming the place in your underwear. Or, you know, doing something else with no underwear.
Have one weekly meal together
Set one night a week on which you all sit down and have dinner as a family. That will free you up to eat whenever you want, whatever you want, the other nights when life is honestly too chaotic to schedule a family dinner.
Set up boundaries for your partner
Don’t forget that your partner is being very generous by letting your parents stay with you. He doesn’t have the comfort level with them that you do so you may need to have a conversation with them about boundaries with your boo. Tell them which topics they aren’t to bring up with him, what he’s sensitive about when to leave him alone and so on.
Tell your partner what not to tell them
It’s also important that you have a conversation with your partner about boundaries with your parents. There may be things your partner knows about your life, that you don’t want him telling your parents. But he might not know about that if you don’t tell him. And believe me; your parents will try to get info about you out of your partner.
Leave on the weekends
A very simple way to stay sane when your parents live with you is to leave at least one weekend every month. Even if you don’t have a travel budget, you probably have friends you can stay with one town over.