Mom..Dad..I’m Home!

After college, I did what 45% of college graduates do and moved back home with my parents.  Now, did I really NEED to move back home? No. But I did because they were more than willing to take me in, and, like millions of other college graduates, I have to pay back my student loans.

Moving back home has been an easier transition than I expected. When I was in college and would come home for a weekend or the holidays, my parents always wanted to know where I was, they bombarded me with questions, and felt the need to cling on to me every moment. I felt like I couldn’t get away from them…and of course, when I would leave to go back to school, my dad would shed a few tears.

But, now that I have a full-time job, I only see them for about four hours a day..and I guess that’s enough for the both of us. Moving back, I thought that my parents would purpose chores, curfews, etc., but they’ve actually backed away from those items. I certainly don’t feel like a guest in my own home, but I do feel like they’ve realized that I’m an adult with a grown up job who’s just trying to make it week-by-week.

However, I realize that my situation isn’t exactly the norm, and that many new college graduates, and even grown adults, struggle when they choose move back in with their parents. So, below, I’ve compiled a list that I’ve received from the lovely internet, with a few tips that should help you survive when you move back in with your parents.

1. Set reasonable expectations. True, you may have been able to come and go as you please, leave your room a disaster, and have a new guest over every night before, but this arrangement may not work for your folks. Set some reasonable expectations — for everyone involved — before you even step through the door.

2. Set some ground rules. Alright, you may have to have a curfew so your poor mother doesn’t think something terrible has happened to you if you’re not home by 4:00 in the morning — but your mom also needs to understand that she can’t just barge in to your room without any notice. Set some ground rules as soon as possible to make sure everyone is clear on how things will work.

3. Expect a combination of a roommate relationship and a parent/kid relationship. Yes, you’ve had roommates for the past several years, and you may view your parents similar to them. Your parents, however, will always view you as their child. Do your best to keep this in mind as you figure out how things will work once you move back in. Sure, it seems ridiculous for a roommate to want to know where you’re going every night. But your parents probably have a legitimate right to ask.

4. Set a time frame for how long you’re planning on living there. Do you just need someplace to crash between when you graduate from college and when you start graduate school in the fall? Or do you need somewhere to live until you can save enough money on your own to get your own place? Talk about how long you plan on staying — 3 months, 6 months, 1 year — and then check back in with your parents once that time frame is up.

5. Discuss money, no matter how awkward. No one really likes to talk about money. But addressing the topic with your parents — how much you’ll pay in rent, for food, to get back on their health insurance plan, or if the car you’ve been borrowing needs more gas — will help prevent a ton of problems later.

6. Have your own support networks ready to go. After living on your own, living with your parents can become very isolating. Do your best to have systems in place that provide you with an outlet and support network that is separate from your parents’.

7. Thing creatively about how the relationship is give and take — both ways. Yes, your parents are letting you stay at their place, and yes, you may pay rent to do so. But are there other ways you can help, especially if money is tight for everyone? Can you help around the house — with yard work, fix-it projects, or technical support for the computers they can never get to work right — in ways that will make your living relationship much more symbiotic?

8. Remember that the person who moves back in with your parents is not the same person who left. Your parents may have a very specific — and outdated — idea of “who” is moving back in with them. Take a deep breath and do your best to remind them that, while you left the house as an 18-year-old college freshman, you are now returning as a 22-year-old, college-educated adult.

9. Remember that time at your folks’ is still an opportunity to build your own life — not put it on pause. Just because you are at your parents’, waiting until you can move out on your own, doesn’t mean your life is on pause. Volunteer, date, explore new things, and do your best to continue learning and growing instead of just waiting for your first opportunity to move on to somewhere else.

10. Enjoy yourself! This may seem completely unthinkable if moving back in with your folks was the last thing you wanted to do. However, living at home can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to finally learn your mom’s secret fried chicken recipe and your dad’s amazing way with woodworking tools. Live it up and take in as much as you can.

Granny Smith – over and out

How to be Happy!

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Because I’m a loud, rambunctious, in-your-face type of gal, I’m attracted to others that are very similar..so it shouldn’t come as a surprise when I say that I’m a huge fan of Jenny McCarthy! Seriously, how could you not be? She’s smart, funny, and is simply gorgeous.

Since I’m such a big fan of hers, I read her blog on Chicago Splash’s website daily! I always have a takeaway when I read one of Jenny’s posts, but one of her most recent posts REALLY struck a chord with me. It was all about how to be happy. I know, I know, you’ve already heard this before, and there are plenty of articles and “I think I know everything” speakers who will tell you that they know what the key to happiness is, and that you should listen to them. But, this article wasn’t like that at all! It was so refreshing!

Intrigued? Good, I thought you might be.

So, what did Jenny say was the secret to happiness after all?

Answer: By making peace with the present moment.

I can only guess that some of you are just as confused as I was when I read this the first time. So, what does “making peace with the present moment” really mean and how can you do it?

It’s all about the practice of “being present.” You can practice being present by becoming aware of your thoughts and emotions as they happen. This will help you see that your mind is often stuck in the future or running back to the past to find an issue to worry about. When you become the watcher of your thoughts, you are still in the present moment. You are watching the stories in your head instead of getting lost in them or believing them. The more you become the observer and not the creator of your thoughts, the more you find yourself in the present moment. And guess what? Peace and happiness live in the present moment.

That’s the secret. Become the observer of your thoughts. Watch them play out. Don’t live them out.

So, stay present and be happy!

Granny Smith- over and out

“Work, Life, Balance” or “Work, Life, Blend?”

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I stare at my desk, then back at my bed, then back at my desk again. Currently, I’m sitting on my bed with my personal laptop and debating if I should continue to write this post, or dive back into what I was working on earlier, items for my job that are due next week..

Unfortunately, I’m not the only person who has to make these kinds of decisions on a regular basis. It’s a Friday night..and look where I ended up. A recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics illustrates that American’s spend about 8.8 hours per day at work, and 7.5 hours sleeping, while the rest of their hours are spent eating, taking care of others, or for leisure activities. So basically, this means that many Americans are spending a majority of their day doing exactly what they don’t want to be doing..Don’t get me wrong, I love to sleep and I’m one of the biggest sleep advocates around..but I’m not talking about “wasted” hours sleeping, I’m talking about wasted hours working. 

In thinking about the hours that I spend on a daily basis committed to my own job, I thought that the average “8.8 hours” was a little low. Let’s take today for example, I left my home for work at 6:30 a.m., got to work at 7:15 a.m., and left the office at 5:45 p.m., no lunch or breaks included. And it’s not like I have the type of job where I can casually check my facebook or personal email!..Seriously, “ain’t nobody got time for that!” And it doesn’t stop there, most nights, like a lot of overworked Americans, I end up bringing my work laptop home, and drilling out a few projects. 

Now you may be thinking, “but Granny Smith, I’m completely in love with my job, and this post has absolutely nothing to do with me..thanks for wasting my time!” But, hang in there, because your thought is EXACTLY what I want to talk about. It’s a little something that I think perfectly describes “Work, Life, Balance vs. Work, Life, Blend.”

For those of you that have been in the workforce for awhile, or know of anything workplace related, you’ve probably heard of “Work, Life, Balance,” aka- once the clock strikes 5 p.m., goodbye, and work is left exactly where it should be left, at WORK. Some would argue that the traditional idea of “work, life, balance” has gone out the window. Or, that if this definition rings true for your current situation, then you have a “job,” not a “career.” 

So, now that you know or have been refreshed to the idea of “work, life, balance,” let me introduce you to the newest sensation, “work, life, blend.” Work, life, blend isn’t about coming in to work at 9 a.m., talking a half hour lunch, and leaving at 5 p.m., it’s about putting in those long hours, and even weekend hours to start projects, finish projects, and add a dash of perfectionism to current projects. But the real catch is that you love it, you crave it, and sometimes, you don’t even notice that it’s happening! This concept is for the person who lives, loves, and breathes what they do, day in and day out. It’s for the journalists who wake up early to review their stories before publication, or can’t fall asleep until 4 a.m., because they’re too giddy about one of their new story ideas. “Work, Life, Blend” applies to the type of people that are genuinely interested in what they do and can’t get their hands on enough information regarding their industry, or how to thrive in their current position.

Now, I’m not saying that all people who work the basic 9-5 are lazy, or that people who spend time outside of the office working on office items are crazy, overworked, slobs. What’ I’m saying is, is that I’ve realized through my own trials and tribulations with jobs, that you should ultimately strive to have a job that you wouldn’t mind incorporating into your daily life, or thinking about outside of work. More than likely, you’re going to be asked to take on extra projects and assignments in your current position, and if you don’t care about the content that you’re writing, researching, or working with, it’s going to come through in the finished product. And plus, why would you want to spend a significant portion of your day and life doing something that you just don’t care about?

It’s not always easy to find the perfect job, because there could be many factors such as timing and location that mess with opportunity. But, I’m not saying that you should sit around and wait for the “right time” either. Too much of our time is spent doing things that we don’t want to do because we feel that we HAVE to do them. And that’s one of the many reasons why I created this blog; it isn’t something that I HAVE to do, but I WANT to do. Eventually, I want to be a writer and share my thoughts on a much larger scale than just a dopey wordpress blog (sorry wordpress)! And right now, I feel too censored and restricted in my current position to express my honest thoughts and feelings. So, here I am now, ready and perfectly able to say whatever I’m thinking or feeling… without getting human resources involved! 😉 

In the end, it’s going to be the small steps that you take today that will end up making you a happier person tomorrow.

Granny Smith-over and out