When life changes, and in my case in a very dramatic way, there can be a multitude of outcomes. In 2019 I lost my husband. It sounds like I lost him walking round a supermarket but it was worse than that. I lost him, he passed away. When he passed, my life changed. I was suddenly one woman in a four bedroom house with no job!
Due to my mum needing full time care and my dad needing assistance with this, I moved home. My house will, when emptied and cleaned, be on the market to rent and that will provide me some income. So, moving home…what do you need to consider?
Ensure that a move back to a parent is what you want
Think long and hard about whether this is what you want. Look at the rationale and needs on both sides and write out a pros and cons list. Which side of that list is larger? Put the list away and come back a few days later. Redo the list and see if any priorities have shifted.
Look at the space you will have
From my perspective, I went from a four bed, two bathroom house to a bedroom with shared rest of the house. There is a pool so big tick there! Pretty quickly into the move, it was evident that one room was a not going to cut it so change was made and an old office of my parents is now back to a rumpus room with a sofa and other furniture. It will give me someone to relax where I can be alone if I want or where someone can sit and listen while I ‘try’ and play something on my keyboard.
Be realistic about the space
This goes hand in hand with above. I thought very carefully about what came back to my parents house. We had a slimline hall table in my old house that was perfect for my bedroom. Books, photos, jewellery box all now had a home. Kitchen items have come back if they were newer than my parents ones. A nice dinner service, cutlery and crystal glassware all living here now.
Be ruthless when clearing out
Clearing out especially after a death in the family is a tough one. You have to be realistic and in a way lose some of your sentimentality otherwise you would never throw anything out. I kept several items of my husbands clothes. Favourite shirts and t shirts of his. Some of his clothes went to my Dad. Lots of kitchen items I had to be ruthless with and practical. Is it cheaper to store or replace?
Be ruthless about storage
For me, storage is personal items. Large household items, unless there is a solid reason for keeping something need to be sold or used in your new abode. My storage items consist mainly of photos and odd ornaments. We were a family of pictures everywhere. A few have followed me to my new room including a beautiful canvas from Robert Irwin (son of Steve Irwin) and my NRL Legends signed jerseys.
How much independence will you have?
While you will be an older person moving back home, it is sensible to realise that you are living in someone else’s home and there will not be the 100% independence that you have in your own home. No matter what, it isn’t possible. Its about realising this straight away and setting some ground rules between you and your parents. For me, I’m a forty eight year old widow moving back after thirty years. Its working okay so far!
Show respect and courtesy
At the end of the day, they are your parents, your elders and need to be shown respect. Speaking from my point of view, I know I do not have to say I am going out and I`ll be back by…but it is polite. Especially given the situation of caring for my mum where one of us always needs to be here, I co-ordinate with Dad before I plan anything. We sync diaries to make sure that we have covered all our bases.
Set up agreements for household expenses
This is a crucial one for me. You should never expect to live somewhere for free. If your parents decide that they only want a minimal contribution to expenses, that is something for you to negotiate with them.
Help out with household chores
Hand in hand with the one above…don’t expect to live somewhere and have it all done for you. Using our house as an example, my Dad likes to cook. His rationale is because I am doing certain aspects of the caring role, the least he can do is feed me! Slowly but surely he is allowing me in the kitchen as it is something I love to do. The rest of the chores should be negotiated. Its all about working together as a team.
Have an exit strategy
You know what? Despite everything we have talked about here, there is a chance it may not work out. Then what? How do you broach that subject without offending the other party? How can the other party tell you that it is not working without upsetting you? Do you have a get together over a glass of wine every so often so you can freely chat about how things are going?
Moving back home can have pluses and minuses whichever way you look at it.
The trick to making it work is communication. If you communicate, you’re home and dry!