Thursday, February 6, 2014

Living With Mom Post-Graduation Brings Difficulties With It

Dear Tazi:

I am almost 23 and lived on my own for the last three years of college. When I graduated and my job offer fell through I had to move home with my mother - much to her delight and my shame. My mother has always hoped I would move back home with her, feeling that a young woman should only leave home "in a white dress or a pine box". My way of thinking is much more modern. I am not financially irresponsible, and have enough money in savings to provide for all of my expenses - including rent - for several months. I moved home because I did not want to be out of work and out of savings when my student loans came due. Now I am starting to wish I had thrown caution to the wind.

I have been home for about 8 months now and my mother is driving me crazy! She expects me to obey a midnight curfew on weekends and a 10 PM curfew during the week because "respectable people are not out later than that!". If by chance I meet someone and want to go on a date she insists that he come inside to meet her before we go out (which is why I usually agree to meet people for drinks and take my own car). If I forget and leave my phone laying around she will pick it up if it rings, grilling the person on the other end of the line about who they are and what their business is with me. Mom says she is just looking out for me, but it is very upsetting to me! Potential employers could be calling and I don't want her to scare them off by making me sound like a little kid who can't take care of herself!

I have a job as a waitress, so I make pretty good money. My bills are paid and I am able to add a little to my savings every month, but I am in need of a new car and in the meantime I am sure there will be unexpected repairs, so I am not wild about the idea of moving out on my own again...but nor am I wild about staying here with my mother. Last week she decided to do my laundry for me and nearly fainted when she discovered I wear Victoria's Secret and not the white cotton briefs she used to buy me when I was a kid. It's not like I am some kind of promiscuous slut (to use Mom's phrase), but I am a woman and I want to feel like one! What would you advise, Tazi? I feel like I have no placed to go but down.

Quickly Sliding Into Hell

Dear Quickly Sliding Into Hell:

It is obvious your mother is very conservative, on the verge of puritanical; while this is not a common viewpoint these days you are living in her house, where she sets the rules. Ergo, you must follow the rules she sets down for you, including those about curfews and introducing her to people you will be bringing into the home. Think of it as motivation to keep saving for your own place while you continue to search for a new job. (incidentally, when you meet people for drinks and drive yourself, I hope you limit yourself to one and don't drive for at least two hours after finishing it! Either that or stick to non-alcoholic beverages!).

Because your mobile phone is your personal property - as is your laundry - your mother should not be touching it. It is difficult for parents to respect their grown children as adults because they still see them as the little child they carried; however, boundaries need to be set. Try keeping your phone out of the common areas when it is not on you, and explain to your mother that potential employers will not appreciate receiving the third degree when they call to set up a job interview.

If the situation at home becomes untenable - or if it is already there - you have a few options for moving out on your own again. The first - and obvious choice - is to find a roommate or two and get your own apartment. If you do not want a roommate and don't mind living in small quarters a micro-apartment may be the right choice for you.

Only 300 square feet, but it's all yours for around $500 a month!
Many cities now offer micro-apartments that allow people to combine living spaces in order to save money - notice that there is no bedroom, only a living room that doubles as a sleeping area. Micro apartments are generally located in the downtown or common areas of cities, so there is no need for you to have a car - you are within walking distance of most places you need to go and are close to public transportation for whatever else you may need. If neither of these ideas appeals to you, I suggest you suck it up and respect the fact that your mother is allowing you to live at home rent free while you look for a job. Appreciate what you have.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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