Life has certainly changed for me in just the first few weeks of 2019. My home was already bustling with two teens, 2 dogs, a handicapped husband, and my own business. At the first of the year we added 3 new members to our household (my brother a vet, my daughter and her husband), and we adopted a new dog. Now that our home is bursting the adjustment period is on going. Everything from chores to TV shows are a negotiation.
I will admit that we agreed to this change in our lives. Seeing family in need we welcomed them into our home. Although an act of love, the stress levels were anticipated to be high. I decided to sit down and write down all the tips and tricks that helped me through other high stress family living arrangements. I want to share these tips with you.
- Always start with a clean room. Either moving in or letting someone stay for an extended period of time with you always make sure to have an exclusive space ready. Clean the “stuff” out of the space. Offer to help without judgment to clean the space while respecting the things still in the room. You never know if that creepy doll is your great grandmother’s brought over on her first trip from the old country. On the flip side try to clear the intended living space of special items that are special to you. I made this mistake when I readied our guest room for my daughter. It is acceptable to leave collectibles or personal affects in a guest room but for a permanent stay you will need to box those items up. Allow them to make the space their own. Linens are an exception to this. Getting the carpets cleaned shows your new housemates that you care about their comfort.
- Chore assignments. No one will be offended with you if you take control of the chores. If you already have a chore chart you can use that as a base document. If not start making a list of chores before everyone moves in. Again it is your home you should be the one on top of making sure things run smoothly. When adults are in the mix they actually like having the structure of assigned chores. Otherwise one person will feel like they are taking up the burden of cleanliness and resentment will set in. Here is our current chore chart. Note: each person has a day off. Weekly chore schedule1 One last thing: Delegate. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Send them to the store for milk, they will gladly help you.
- Food allergies or dietary needs. My brother and I were raised in the same family but as is often the case, grew apart as adults. I married had three kids and moved around the east coast until we settled in UT. He joined the Marines, served in Iraq, and became a film guru. After living in HI and LA he moved in and turned out to be a vegan. I was not ready for this and scrambled to find things in our pantry he could eat. Luckily he, being an adult, can feed himself. However, it is still nice to stock a few items for your new housemates.
- Plan a menu. My husband and I have kept to a two week menu and grocery list for at least 17 of our 22 years together.* This allows us to plan ahead for meals and to keep the food budget low. I have further incentive to stay under budget so I can splurge on make up or crafting supplies. It is easy to continue with the same routine once extra family moves in. The argument to include the new arrivals is simple. If you allow them to contribute they will most likely a) help make the meal and b) spend time with you. Adult children often want their space which is healthy, but you can see them at least twice a week if they are in charge of a meal. *I break down our menu/shopping list process in another post.
- Have a place of your own. Be it a craft room or a reading nook always maintain a place of your own. I have a sewing studio, (watch the construction here) I use as a home office. The time I put in for creating counts as alone time. If you don’t have room perusing Target’s clearance end-caps takes about 45 minutes.
- It’s okay to have a vice. I’m not saying go gamble or take to drink but it’s ok to have a small crutch to get you through the day or week. Gummie bears or StarTrek reruns are a big stress reliever for me. I will also hit the gym to pound out the stress on the tread mill. I’m human and so is my family. I will inevitably say or do something rude. So gummie bears keep my mouth occupied when I don’t have nice things to say.
- $5 movie days.In many states there are family movie days where the theater will offer a discounted ticket one day out of the week. Here the tickets are $5. Go see a movie. When your sewer backs up into you basement, your pregnant daughter’s gag reflex kicks in, your new dog is clutchy, and a plumber shows up at 1 am you’re going to want to get out of your house and may be not see anyone’s face for at least 2.5 hours. This example happened last week. I took a shower the next day and skipped out to a showing of AquaMan. Take time for yourself, there are many cogs that need to keep moving and you are one of them.
- BONUS TIP: Prayer is always good. I will often say a quick prayer for sympathy and understanding. We also have a family prayer before school in the mornings and at night. You don’t need to pray but in my home it sets a tone of compassion and kindness for the whole family.
With family you’re most likely going to lose your “stuff” try following these tips and tell me how they work for you. Next week I will resume my video format don’t forget to subscribe.Tags: adult children, children, empty nesters, family, millennial, moving, stress