I’ve mentioned before that I live with my parents. As you can imagine, for a mid-30’s social worker, this…. should be totally expected??
I kid, I kid. Sorry, social work.
Living with the folks isn’t a bad gig. Is it one I want permanently? Absolutely not. Is it a means to an end? Absolutely. And you know what, they came through for my family when we needed them.
I had a job in another city as a pretty decently paid behavior consultant, until the company I worked for looked like it was going to fold. It turns out that the owner of the agency had been arrested for trafficking cocaine and heroin across county lines. I have no idea if he was ever convicted or not, but that was my cue to move on and protect my license and professional reputation. Granted, his indiscretions had nothing to do with the agency, but since he was the sole owner, his funds (meaning company funds) could have been frozen (meaning no more paychecks, at least in the short-term), and other providers were smelling blood in the water. I decided it was time to go.
At the time, I had hoped to find a job in another field. I went to grad school with the idea of one day hanging out a shingle as a private practice Christian therapist. That day may still come, but I’m not there yet. I attempted to build my skill set by looking at therapy jobs (DCS contract agencies are the huge thing around here, and probably everywhere else), but there just wasn’t anything out there that paid like behavior consulting. I ended up finding another BC job, and here I am, still holding out for that “one day” scenario of being able to do talk-therapy with clients who are at least somewhat voluntary.
Behavior consulting isn’t a bad gig, and it helps me take care of my family. So does living with my parents, because until just recently, I was holding out for a full-time slot in this part-time BC job, and eliminating rent was one way of keeping away from wage garnishment. It’s a blessing to have parents that love you and get along with you most of the time — because living with them after having lived alone will test you like few other things will.
So, four generations under one roof! I knew I’d come back to that. The Missus and the Goose and I live with my parents, and they are the caregivers for my grandmother, who is nearly a hundred years old and has been known to sing “Amazing Grace” for days on end in a voice my father describes as sounding like an “ear-splitting steam calliope“. The House of Goose is a very busy place, with not a lot of room to move or have privacy or even vent when the stress gets high.
So how do I survive? When all else fails, I have the Goose. Believe it or not, my toddler who is entering her “terrible twos” helps me relax and focus on what’s important. The Missus and I are trying to get fiscally solvent, and that’s stressful. We’re trying to have autonomy from my parents in their house, and that’s stressful. We get conflicted about the fuzzy boundaries involved with living with parents, and that’s stressful. The cat my parents have had for 17 years (no joke, he’s probably 25) has recently taken to peeing on the carpet. Stressful. Sometimes my dad and I get into conflicts, probably because we’re too much alike and both used to being the heads of our respective households, and you know what? That’s stressful.
The Goose is my buddy who helps me relax and remember the important things:
- A spoon is for “mixing mixing mixing!”
- Remember to say “peeese” and “sank you”.
- Everything is super. Her stuffed elephant is “super ephant” and her giraffe security blanket (Peter Francis – a story for another day) is “super Peensy”. They can fly.
The way she helps me the most is that she reminds me of the bigger picture and helps me get outside myself. Once I’m there, I can remember that living with my parents isn’t forever. Being a behavior consultant isn’t forever. I can remember that yes, Jesus loves me, yes, Jesus loves me, because the Goose likes the song. And she helps me remember that I love my parents, and the Missus, and myself. Sometimes she even reminds me that I love Jesus.
I try to keep good, healthy daddy boundaries with my daughter, and that means not making her into the person who has to fix my problems and the person I go to for affection and other things that screw up so many kids, even when done by parents who have the best (read: not creepy) intentions. She’s not around to fix me; I, on the other hand, have been charged with protecting her.
But boy do I enjoy her company.
I did a Google search on statistics involving moving back with parents, and there are a ton of us! So in this world where that’s getting more and more common, we have to find our sanity when and where we can.
What works for your sanity?
EDIT: Last minute addition that I thought of upon review of this entry — There’s a verse in 2 Corinthians that says: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” So even when life is hard and stressful, God can use getting you through it to help other people get through it. It seems like it would be easier if He’d just fix the issue, but I know I’ve grown more going through things than around them. And it’s a blessing both to give to and receive comfort from someone else. Solidarity, and all that.