Living as an Adult at Home| Part 2: How to Honor Your Parents

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?

love,

Allison

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37 Comments

  1. Hi Allison! This isn’t exactly related to the post, but I was wondering about your family’s hotel. I think it’d be neat to have a hotel/inn, but would you still be able to make a good amount of money if it isn’t very big? I’m sure it cost a lot between utilities and paying employees and such… I’ve been thinking it’d be neat to have a inn when I’m older.
    -Laura

    1. Hi Laura,

      The hotel business, like any, is challenging and has its ups and downs. It isn’t all peaches and cream, but it’s a great industry to be in! I would suggest extensively researching the need in your area, and counting all the costs before pursuing it.
      -Allison

  2. This relates to me so much, and I really enjoyed this post. I’m a full-time college student, and I’ve found it difficult to be happy about working at home when I think of all the studying I have to do. I’ve started to slowly work some sibling moments and small amounts of work into my schedule to take a break from schoolwork, and I’ve found it to be a good way to take a break from electronics and build relationships at the same time. It’s also wonderfully relaxing! We also have a big chalkboard calendar (monthly) at home where schedules and other important information is added. I agree that communication is so important! 🙂

  3. Yes, yes, yes! This was a wonderful post, Allison! I agree – communication is a MUST. Just a simple “hey, these are the days I’m working this week” goes a long way.
    One of my favorite parts about living at home (to go along with part 1) is definitely the time I get with family members to talk and unwind after a day at work. With these times fewer and farther between, I appreciate them more and more. 🙂

    1. Thank you for sharing, Allison. You have blessed me with this wonderful conversation. I am not quite an adult yet, but I can feel myself slowly transitioning from a mother/daughter relationship to a friend relationship. It has its harder moments considering I’ve always looked up to her as a mother. I appreciate your well-thought-out deas. They are very practical. I’d love to hear what you have to say about a single woman going off to college and still having a good relationship with parents.

  4. “Would your friends, coworkers, or pastor recognize the person you are at home? If not, what a terrible shame!”

    This part caught my eye! While my closest friends would easily recognize who I am at home, my co-workers certainly wouldn’t. As a teacher I am strict and fair in equal measure and an advocate for those students who need a voice, I will not back down in the face of opposition when my students need my help. My mum knows that side of my personality (spent a lot of time teaching me to manage it and use it correctly), but rarely sees it. At home (my home or my mums house) that side of me isn’t needed much, I’m less formal and my relationship with my mum is such that a look communicate more that words ever could – she sees me on a level colleagues will never get to see and we were a team for so long (caring for my dad throughout his illness) that we became friends early.

    My Priest finds me confusing and a little scary I think.

    1. This is an interesting point, Ann. To some extent, there are parts of us- depths of our heart and personality, that only our families may know, and that’s completely fine!

  5. Thank you for putting so much thought and work into your blog posts. I’m always looking forward to reading them. I love the part where you said we should give the best to our family. Often we try to do so much for others but might forget to do something special the most important people in our lives.

  6. This is all so good, Allison! Some of it doesn’t quite apply to me as I don’t have a lot of commitments outside the home, but most of it is applicable whether or not I’m out a lot! I especially appreciate what you said about being a fountain, not a drain, and everything about being a blessing/servant to your family. SO important, yet so easy to forget sometimes, in the busyness of everyday life. Also, what you said about building a friendship with your parents: it’s not that I’m not close with my parents, but I want to work on becoming closer, in particular with my Mom. Sometimes it’s hard to just find that time to have those little chats about life, etc., that are good in bringing us closer together. 🙂 It’s easier with my Dad because we go hunting together, or in the car on an errand we need to get done, etc.
    I want to work on it, though! 🙂 Building deeper relationships with family members is SO important! I’m really encouraged by how your family is so close with each other, so intentional about relationships.

  7. I need to remember to incorporate the little notes, etc., and not just things like doing to dishes. And to take time to ask and figure out what would encourage and bless my parents and siblings. Thanks so much for your ministry to us!

  8. I think this is probably my favorite post of yours to date! And I could not agree more with you on communicating your schedule to your parents. I lived on my own for a little bit while I went to school in a different town, but moved back in when I finished and got a job in the area. I’m afraid to say it took some adjusting going from being able to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to remembering I needed to be a cohesive part of a whole! My mom and I had a lot of friction over my constantly-changing work schedule and other commitments when I first moved back home. Thankfully have gotten better at communicating what I’m doing, ahead of time. 🙂

    1. Communication has been huge for me, too, Alicia! I also have to agree that having lived on my own for awhile made me realize how important it is when living at home! It can be a struggle after living on your own, though.

  9. “Kitchen Privilege” HA! I love it! What a way to be positive, instead of “duty” 🙂 “Sibling Privilege” is def gonna be an implemented phrase in my vocab.
    Love your thoughts here dearest! I think they are so applicable, even to start practicing . Making it a priority to INVEST intentionally in relationships is such a need, whatever age. Love your thoughts about picking up after yourself (!!!) + thinking about blessing your parents in special ways. + being a YES person-convicting for sure!

  10. This Living as an Adult at Home series is so fabulous – I love all of your posts on family relationships! I second you when you say that living at home as an adult is the most fun and rewarding stage so far! I absolutely love being able to talk things out with my parents and siblings at all times of the day (and night:) and have found the home to be absolutely the best training ground to learn how to build effective and meaningful relationships outside of the family. You really encouraged me to keep working on good communication: scheduling doesn’t have to be a nightmare (!) and I am so much more productive when I learn to work with and around my family’s schedule rather than trying to jam two separately-made schedules together to see if there is any overlap. 🙂 Thank you, Allison!

  11. How about living at home with parents who have different beliefs from you, and expect you to do as they say and believe what they believe?

    1. That’s a challenge you have to prayerfully work through. I would also recommend asking wise counsel (maybe a pastor or older couple you respect). It definitely changes the dynamics, but is still possible if that’s what you are led to do.

  12. Thank you SO much for this post, Allison! Exactly what I needed to hear right now. I’ve been praying that God would help me be a servant to my family and realized last week that helping more around the house would be a big step forward in that area. It’s easy to get consumed with my own goals instead of looking for ways to serve.
    Really appreciated it (and all your posts)! You are an inspiration! <3

    1. Thanks for joining the conversation, Claudine! I think getting caught up in our own world is one of the big things to guard against.

  13. These are GREAT points!! Thank you so much for sharing! I’m not an adult by definition (I’m still a mid-teen) but these points are all still helpful and relevant even at my age.
    Communication is one of the biggest struggles in our family, although it has definitely improved! A year or two ago, my parents started making Monday date nights a priority, and I was really bent out of shape about it because I didn’t catch on and I saw it as my parents randomly just walk out while hollering, “Grace, we’re leaving; you’re in charge!” and I’d get upset because I never got a heads-up (I’m a natural planner, too). Even after realizing that it was regularly on Mondays, I was convicted about it, and now I try to sound as positive as possible when my parents leave without giving me much of a heads-up. I also babysit my siblings during the week for my mom whenever she has to go out. That is the main area I consciously make it a point to serve my parents with a cheerful attitude. Instead of viewing it as work, I try to view babysitting as an offering!

  14. Great post! As an adult living at home with a pretty full schedule and being gone alot I was encouraged to work on giving my best to my family, look for opportunities to serve (not just coming home to relax) and make the most of my time at home. Thanks so much for writing.

    1. Thanks for joining the discussion, Corina. That can be challenging, especially after a long day of work, but it’s so rewarding!

  15. This Living as an Adult at Home part 1 & 2 have got to be your BEST EVER POSTS!!
    I lived at home till 30 (when I married !) with several adult siblings as well. Absolutely, good communication is a must. 😊 Have a great day.

    1. Thanks so much for your sweet words, Hannah! You are probably a pro at this if you had 12 yrs experience! Thanks for reading.

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