The First Winter Break

I was so excited I could barely stand it. I think I started counting down the days, until he came home, from the moment I moved him into Kilachand. But when he came home, things had changed. He had changed. He was accustomed to being on his own, coming and going how he wanted, when he wanted. He had been adulting and gotten out of the habit of being at home and forgotten the house rules. Well, let’s be honest, we had to re-configure the rules. He wasn’t in high school anymore and he wanted more autonomy. However, I was working, worrying, and needed a reasonable night sleep. When is he coming home? Is he coming home? Should I even ask? Would there be a curfew? Would we eat dinner as a family? Who is doing laundry, cleaning the kitchen, taking out the trash?

After about a week, I realized that we both had gotten used to not having the other one around. I got used to my space, the house staying clean for longer periods of time, cooking when I wanted to or eating cereal for dinner when I didn’t. If we wanted to enjoy winter break without grumbling at each other, we had to have a plan we could both agree on.

My advice, have a meeting, come up with a plan—figure out the expectations on both sides. How will you handle the expectations? I found that approaching the new “roommate” situation upfront, allowed an understanding of expectations to be set. We each put out our requests of how we would like to handle situations, adult to adult. Things like how were we going to communicate? For example, I made dinner—”if you want the leftovers, they are in the fridge—otherwise, you are on your own for dinner tonight”—or saying, “I am going to be late tonight, eat without me.” It seems silly, of course, these ideas are just common sense, but it is important to have a conversation about expectations before difficulties arise. As you’ll quickly come to find out, expectations may not be the same as they were when they last lived at home.

I found that we were able to have some wonderful conversations about different things, about his growth in college—sharing experiences more openly and honestly than when he was in high school and still a “kid.” I was amazed how wise he was, how much he had experienced at college, and how his roommates and professors were shaping him into this amazing human. I realized that we didn’t agree on everything—but that was ok, he was able to share with me well-spoken ideas. I could tell he had in-depth conversations with others while away. He had things he was passionate about, and he wasn’t afraid to let me know.

I want you to know, things change, expectations change, and somethings stay the same—I still had to just close his door and not look in his room for fear the chaos would make me crazy!

They are home. Enjoy them. Set your expectations for sharing space. Open yourself up to get to know this amazing new adult who is living in your home over break. You’ll be so glad you did!