When did you move out of your parent/guardian’s house? And, have you ever had to move back home for an extended period of time due to one reason or the other?
Moving out and into your own place is seen as a rite of passage by most. A statement declaring your independence and transition into adulthood.
However, extenuating circumstances could force one to move back home. This could potentially lead to conflict.
A university student recently went viral after sending out the tweet below:
"Nakuomba gari ndio nisikuwe nafika home 10PM saa hizo niko na daro ya kuamkia 6AM the next day unakataa. Tena without reason. As in? Shouldn't you be making my life easier nisipitie the same struggles as you?"
Loosely translated, the young man was venting his frustration after his mother allegedly turned down his request to use her car to commute to school. He went on a tirade and vowed to move out of his parent’s home as soon as he could afford it.
This is what informed today’s piece but with a little twist to it, what if you find yourself back home? Is there a way to cohabitate with your guardians as an adult with minimal friction? What should you be doing if you want to move out and into a place of your own?
Let’s kick things off by defining an adult. In Kenya, this can be argued to be anyone who has attained the age of 18.
The term adult refers to social and legal concepts. A legal adult, as opposed to a "minor," is a person who has reached the age of majority and is thus considered independent, self-sufficient, and responsible.
Assuming you pass the ‘adult test’ as described above, a number of factors could force you to move back home.
Take for instance, the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact in Kenya. The pandemic has had a very large impact on the labour market and some of the scarring will have longer-term implications. Some workers who lost jobs have moved into agriculture to survive, many others are still struggling to regain their footing.
According to World Bank data, Agriculture absorbed 1.6 million additional workers, increasing its share of employment from 47% to 54% in just one year.
This in turn translates to people moving from the city and back to their ancestral lands in a bid to get back on their feet.
Another reason one could opt to live at home with his/her parents could be due to the fact that they are still in school and yet to land a job that could sustain an independent lifestyle. This is very common during formative college years.
One could also be forced to stay at home after earning their degree due to unemployment. Landing a job is not as easy as advertised.
The Unemployment Rate in Kenya is expected to hit 7% percent by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations.
Census data released in February 2020 revealed that 5,341,182 or 38.9 percent of the 13,777,600 young Kenyans are jobless.
This could potentially result in such young adults staying at home with their parents/guardians, or moving in with an uncle or an aunt who lives in the city and trying to secure a job while being hosted by the relative.
One could also find themself living at home after attaining adulthood due to parental pressure not to move out.
Some parents appear all too willing to finance their children’s lives late into their 20s, and the adult children get comfortable living at home.
Challenging financial circumstances, including losing a job and moving into your parents' house, can make agreeing on dates and times for your move-out difficult. However, one can still find ways to ensure that there’s harmony in the home.
In order to minimise friction and conflict when living with your parents as an adult, here are a few tip that could help:
It's important to understand that, yes, you are your parents' child, but you're also an adult - eating, sleeping and enjoying utilities in their house.
As such, one should not go into this arrangement looking to be babied but rather looking into ways to not only help yourself out, but help out your guardians as well.
As an adult living at home, your number one priority should be finding ways to earn money and saving up. It could be as simple as washing your parent’s cars for money, or venturing into agriculture, or freelance as a content creator online.
Anything really, just as long as it’s ethical and it brings in money for you at the end of the day. The key thing is to always be willing to go the extra yard to earn money each day and save up.
Once the above is done, discuss contributions you can and can't make, particularly if a job loss led you back to your parents' home.
If you are employed and living with them to meet financial goals, consider how you can contribute to necessities such as groceries and utilities.
Setting boundaries helps you to take on a new, more empowered role in the relationship. In other words, it allows you to exercise and take ownership of your adulthood in your relationships with your parents.
Essentially, you should be searching for a balanced relationship that benefits both parties and makes you feel good.
Have a sit down with your guardian(s) and speak your mind as open communication is the key when it comes to establishing healthy boundaries.
Good communication is the key to any relationship, and it’s no different with your parents.
Avoid conflict by setting ground rules, being open and respecting others’ opinions (including any thoughts they have on the way you live).
Once each party lays out their expectations, the do’s and don’ts, it is much easier to navigate through the new living arrangement.
During the aforementioned sit down, it is important to make it clear as to why you are moving back home and what your exit plan is.
This is very important when it comes to your own mental health.
As a young adult forced to move back home due to financial constraints, keeping yourself locked in the house for weeks on end is very dangerous.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
After every two or so weeks, take an entire weekend off and go hang out with your girl/boyfriend or just go hang out with your friends.
This is good for your mental health, and by being open and honest with your close friends about your current living arrangement, it could result in one of them landing you a job.
Always remember that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, if anything, it shows immeasurable strength and courage.
Last but not least, you should always have a well laid out plan.
If it means marking Xs on your calendar while targeting a specific date to move out, do it.
You can assure the parents/guardians that you're making progress by setting your own timeline. If you've moved back in to accomplish a savings goal, update them regularly on progress related to that, too.
Don’t get me wrong, moving out as soon as possible is not the goal. In fact, staying at home as a young adult should not bring you any kind of shame.
The key thing is to set your own goals and timelines and diligently work towards them. This can be done by setting up a savings scheme.
Once again, never shy away from asking for help or guidance from your elders, it is their life’s mission to help you become the best version of yourself. Don’t deny them the chance to help you out by keeping to yourself.
Don’t make a rash decision, and make sure to consider all the avenues available to you before you move out.
After all, if you move out for the wrong reasons, or before you’re ready, you could end up moving back home just as fast.
Whether you’re 18, 21, 30, or 45 – chances are that there will probably come a time in your life when you decide to move out of home and go it alone.
Leaving home is costly, and it doesn't take long for poor budgeting to lead to financial hardship, so you must plan ahead of time.
Financial independence is the end goal, but we should not forget to appreciate the little wins along the way. If you are a parent, empowering your adult children to become financially independent is what will make them happiest in the long run.
As for those living back at home, it can be intimidating to move out for the first time. So, don't be too proud to forgo seeking help if you are experiencing financial or emotional stress, or any other type of difficulty.