Do you remember waving goodbye to your eldest as they headed off to University with an IKEA wok and armfuls of never-to-be-opened cookbooks? Nights were sleepless, worrying how they would cope without you. But sooner than expected you settled into life without a stroppy teenager hogging the bathroom.
Fast forward three peaceful years and they appear back on the doorstep; a penniless graduate moving home to try and pay off their student loans. Although common, this scenario can be tough. Consider these top tips when adjusting back into family life:
Cruel vs Kind
Your child will have morphed into a nocturnal being; studying (partying) until 5am and surfacing the next evening to watch Hollyoaks. Don’t expect this to change for a while, BUT don’t let this attitude stick around too long. Accept that they deserve a bit of a break after the nightmare of writing a dissertation, but ultimately they’ll need a kick up the bum to get themselves motivated and into a job, sooner rather than later.
Don’t be alarmed if things go missing from the fridge. Students are primal beings, used to living in harsh conditions where food is scarce. Cheese, chocolate and dinner party leftovers will be hard for them to resist. If they’re going to steal the meals you’ve slaved over, make them cook for you once in a while. Who knows, they may have actually opened that cookbook you sent them off with three years ago.
If in their absence you’ve turned your kid’s bedroom into a yoga studio, you may need to find somewhere else to practice your Warrior One when they return and give them back their room. If you don’t have an attic to hide your things in, use self storage to store everything that‘s accumulated in their room. Once they’ve finally moved into their own place, you can bring back your mat and reclaim your inner Zen.
After having the best three years of their life, your child may feel they’ve back-tracked by moving back to their folks’. Try not to pester them too much on when they’ll be home and if they’ll need packed lunches for the week ahead. Give them advice but don’t be pushy. Encourage them to apply for jobs and look for places to live, but don’t write their CV for them or dress them in the morning. Take each day as it comes – one day you’ll eventually have a fully stocked fridge again, we promise.