Don’t get me wrong, I love being independent and living in my student house, but there’s just something so nice about coming home for the weekend. In my opinion, a few days to a week is the best amount of time to be at home when you’re visiting. In this timeframe, you’re not considered a permanent resident. When you are a permanent resident at home, you might have to cook, clean and accept the fact that the special treatment your family gives you for a few days might fade. Furthermore, conflict can arise, personalities can clash and you have to take responsibility again. Those few days of calm before the storm, however, are magical.
My family goes above and beyond treating my twin brother and me when we come home from university and it makes me appreciate them so much. My mom goes on a huge grocery shop before we come home and buys all our favourite things that we can’t afford when we’re shopping for ourselves. She makes some amazing meals while we’re home. My sister makes time in her insanely busy schedule to hang out with us on the days that we are home. My dad’s act of service is one that I appreciate more than he knows: he washes all the dishes so that we can have a break from doing that. To come home to all of that is so nice. I feel loved, missed and cherished. We could call this the honeymoon period, where everything is perfect and everyone is happy. However, as I mentioned before, there is a turning point. After around one week of being home, things start to change.
Coming home after being at university for some time takes some adjustment. You need to learn to live with your parents as an adult child. Things are much different than when you lived with your parents in high school and a new family “system” needs to be formed. My family developed our new system while we were all stuck at home together from March to September of 2020. At the end of those seven months, we had figured out how to live together harmoniously. Every Sunday night we planned who was going to cook on each day of the week, we figured out when everyone was free to clean the house once every two weeks and we started to put signs on our doors when we were busy or did not want to be disturbed. All in all, our system worked well.
The other part of the puzzle of living at home as an adult child is independence. You have to accept that it’s not going to be the same as when you’re living alone at university. Yes, you are an adult now and can theoretically make any decision that you want to, but as a part of a family unit, there are other people you have to think about and respect. This can be something that is really challenging to balance. It’s more of a change in mindset than a change in behaviour and sometimes it can be a tough pill to swallow. I learned a lot about thinking of others, specifically how my behaviour affects my family since COVID started. It’s not easy to live at home and be responsible for more than just yourself, but it’s something that’s important to learn.
I love coming home from university because it feels like taking a big deep breath. You can relax, be looked after and most importantly, take a bath! I also love being at university because of the freedom, independence and growing up it requires you to do. All I need to do now is find a perfect balance between the two.