Today I am bringing Part 2 in the “Living As an Adult at Home” series. For all you ladies blessed to live in your parents’ home as an adult, I want to share some thoughts on How to Honor Your Parents in this special season.
If you missed my first post, go here to read my post on 5 Reasons to Live at Home.
And now, if you are blessed with the opportunity to live in your parents home, you know that there are both blessings and challenges to living in your parents’ home as an adult.
It’s a huge transition to go from a child who does schoolwork, chores, and whatever else mom and dad say, to an adult with a job, schedule, and independent goals and plans.
Honoring your parents within this new stage can be confusing and difficult. On the other hand, this can be the most fun, rewarding stage of your life so far! It has been for me.
You don’t have to have constant friction and unmet expectations. There can be a beautiful relationship between you and your parents, and you can both be blessed and be a blessing in your home.
There are, however, some principles that will bless and build the relationship you have with your parents as an adult daughter living in their home.
To start with, here are some simple, practical things you can do that will enable you to be a blessing instead of a burden:
Pick up After Yourself
This should be basic, but I know that in the busyness of life and coming and going, it’s easy to dump things or not be as neat as one should. I have had to make an extremely conscious effort in this area, as I am not a naturally neat person. When I get home from work, I try to immediately put away empty food containers, my boots and purse and laptop bag, and other items.
A little story from my family- with our various schedules, some of us eat early in the morning or late at night on occasion, as the day requires. We started having this problem: my mother (or whoever was on Kitchen Privileges) would leave a clean kitchen in the evening and wake up to various dirty dishes and messes in the morning. The same thing happened late at night! The problem was that various adults (that would be me and my siblings:) were coming and going at odd hours, grabbing/making random things to eat or packing/unpacking lunches, and not cleaning up after ourselves! After realizing what a problem this had become, we sorta made a mutual pact to clean up after ourselves. I am happy to report that the mysteriously messy kitchen problem has improved considerably, although we’re still a work in progress!:)
Be a Fountain not a Drain
As I talked about in my post last week, living at home is a great opportunity to contribute and be a blessing to your parents who have sacrificed so much for you. There are a million ways to serve, and you will find the ones that are most helpful to your parents and siblings.
Let Your Parents Know Your Schedule
This is huge. I repeat, this is HUGE!!!!!
When I started to have more responsibilities outside the home and be gone multiple days some weeks, with additional things on my schedule some evenings, my mother started to get frustrated. And rightly so! She didn’t know when I was coming or going, when I was available to help around the house, or if I would or wouldn’t show up for various meals or family activities.
It wasn’t completely terrible, and I tried to let her know on a daily basis if I would be gone and such, but it just wasn’t working. For both my parents to plan family things, and for my mother running the household, it was just too chaotic for me to come and go at random. We had a number of double bookings; for example, they scheduled a family music practice for the same time frame when I had a work meeting. Because neither of us communicated about those plans, the double bookings caused some frustration.
This is the solution we reached, which has been a game changer for us:
We communicate about our schedules!
Revolutionary, I know.:) But in our family, this has been the #1 source of contention and frustration with adults living at home.
We have used several different methods for scheduling, from a shared family Cozi account (a free, easy to use app for scheduling), to a calendar hung in the kitchen. If you have a lot of adults in the house, I would highly recommend having some kind of shared calendar. We used that when we were all still living at home (before the weddings:) and it helped tremendously. Everyone can put their outside activities (we used it particularly for evenings, trips, hosting company, and events) on the calendar so everyone knows what times are available for family activities, etc. Now that we have considerably fewer adults at home, it usually works to just communicate verbally or by text on a weekly basis regarding plans/schedules.
Something I started doing with my mother that might be helpful for you gals that work both at home and away: I try to give her a breakdown at the beginning of the week of what days I will be home and what days I will be gone and any evenings I have non-family commitments. This way, she knows when I will be around for meals and what days I will be available to help around the house. If something unexpected comes up that I didn’t communicate about (for example, I will be working till 6 instead of 3), I try to let her know right away.
Don’t be a Free Loader
Every family is different. If you haven’t yet, sit down with your parents and ask what they expect from your as an adult living in their home. Do they want you to pay rent? What part of the house can you clean? Will you do your own laundry or take a turn with the family’s? Would they like you to contribute to the grocery budget? Ask them what specific things you can do to help, such as keeping vehicles clean, doing the grocery shopping, planning/making a certain number of meals each week, mowing the lawn, etc.
Next, let’s get relational. It must be a conscious choice you make to honor your parents as their daughter. You can be simply an inmate of their house, or so much more- one of their dearest friends, a tremendous blessing in their life, and a teammate. Here are some ideas how:
Give Your Best to Your Family
Your home should be where you give your best and sweetest to those you love most. How hypocritical is it to have love and kindness for coworkers and ministry partners and Sunday school children but snap at our family and be selfish at home?
Our home and family is where we should bestow our most extravagant service, our kindest words, our gentlest touch.
They should know our brightest smiles, our sweetest affection, our most attentive concern.
Would your friends, coworkers, or pastor recognize the person you are at home? If not, what a terrible shame!
God didn’t create polor-personality gals. He made us to be whole, consistently lovely women. If you have been giving your best elsewhere and being a selfish, unloving daughter and sister, then repent and let God do a work in your heart.
I Corinthians 1:3 says, “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and thought I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”
Charity, in the Greek, literally means “a love feast”. Does your family know a constant love feast from the way you treat them?
Look for Opportunities to Serve
Don’t view the house as a landing place. Even if you are coming and going, keep your eyes and ears open for needs around you. If your mother is overwhelmed, offer to make dinner. If you don’t have time, tell her you’re picking up pizza on your way home from work.
Spend an afternoon off deep cleaning the house or doing baking projects with your siblings. Don’t vegetate in your room! Times to rest are wonderful, but look for ways to bless your family while doing so- like going on a walk with your mother, baking cookies with little Johnny, setting the table pretty for supper, etc.
As much as possible, say “Yes!” when your parents ask you to help with things.
Find ways to go above and beyond in blessings and serving. Wash your father’s car, or leave his favorite treat on his desk. Buy your mother’s favorite food, or leave her an encouraging note.
If you aren’t able to do all the household chores you used to due to a fuller schedule, be willing to teach your younger siblings how. This has been huge for me- my mother is very gracious as I have not been able to do as much house work due to increased responsibilities in other areas; however, she really appreciates when I train a younger sibling to fill my shoes. This is actually a great chance to invest in younger siblings!
Build a Friendship with Your Parents
Your parents should be your friends. Transitioning from childhood to adulthood while in their home means that you need to intentionally seek to build a different kind of relationship with them.
My parents are my dear friends and trusted counselors. My mother is my walking buddy, and we have probably walked hundreds of miles together, sharing our hearts all the while. I ask my father to help me navigate through the messiest parts of my life, and in addition to his listening ear and wisdom on a myriad of topics, I love to talk with him about business especially (this is so fun!).
Your parents are not exactly like mine, but they are the ones God gave you. Find things you can do with them to build your relationship.
Invest in the Family Culture
What does your family like to do together? Help make those things happen! Plan an outing for your younger siblings. Go to dinner with some siblings and another sibling group. Make a special candlelight meal for the whole family, or offer to plan a camping trip if your family likes camping.
Offer to watch the kids (if you’re one of the older ones at home) so your parents can go on an overnight getaway.
Make Time at Home a Priority
You can’t invest in the family culture, build close relationships with your family, and serve your family if you’re gone all the time.
I don’t know what your schedule is, but do what you can to make it a priority to spend some time at home. Your family will love it, and you’ll be blessed. It may mean saying no to some social activities or extra work hours, but that’s ok. You will never regret time spent in your home, with your family.
Alright, girls, I wanna hear from you! Was there something that stuck out to you in this post? What area do you want to work on to be a blessing to your parents?