I found this old post in my drafts and decided to post it, with some editing.
It's an unfortunate stereotype that grown adults who live with their parents must be "Kid-ults" - the kind of person who can't or won't earn their own money, support themselves and get out on their own. For many of us adult daughters who live at home, though, we are responsible, productive adults, who probably could manage on our own if we wanted/had to... but why? I enjoy my family, and the room that I share with my sister has plenty of space for me. However, it is true that it's easy to remain dependent living at home. Here are some things that I do to cultivate independence, and prepare myself for the day when I might run my own household.
- Be responsible for getting up on time in the morning. This is one of the most important things for a responsible young person to start doing for themselves in my opinion. I began in high school, when I took a Chemistry class for homeschoolers. I overslept my alarm once, and was nearly late to class after leaping out of bed in a panic, throwing on clothes, grabbing my books and running out the door. I didn't get breakfast, but I survived, and I learned to be responsible and not expect my mom to make sure I was up and ready when I needed to be.
- Voluntarily do chores and help around the house, without being asked. No one should have to tell a grown adult to clean their room, do their laundry and clean up after themselves. If I lived on my own and left a mess in the kitchen, there would be no one but me to clean it up, so as an adult who is capable of cleaning up after myself, there is no excuse to leaving extra work for my mom to do. She is not my maid! I admit, I still struggle with laundry... I start a load, and then forget about it sometimes, and Mom has to ask me to move it from the washer to the dryer, or to take the clean clothes out of the dryer.
- Find a way to earn some money. This doesn't necessarily have to be outside your home, I teach piano lessons in my house. I also babysit/nanny our neighbors' kids, right across the street. I'm considering the possibility of sewing some things to sell on Etsy.com. There are lots of options!
- Pay personal expenses as much as possible. In high school, I started paying for my theatre and dance classes, because I was skipping them too often and my mom was getting annoyed at how much of the fees I was wasting by choosing other activities over class. (That had the added benefit of making me appreciate how much money my classes were costing, and I attended classes more regularly when the money was coming out of my earnings.) After graduation, the number of students I could take increased, and I now own my own car, for which I buy gas, and pay all the maintenance and repair costs. I buy my own clothes and other purchases. I do NOT buy my own groceries, though, and my parents don't charge me rent. How that works in other families will differ, but the important point is to take responsibility for some of your own costs.
- Learn how to go grocery shopping. I mentioned in the last point that I don't pay for my own groceries, but I regularly do a lot of the grocery shopping for my family, and it's been a great experience in learning how to grocery shop efficiently. Everyone should know how to purchase groceries.
- Help out with cooking. I enjoy cooking, and have made entire meals for my family on my own, although usually my mom, sister and I all pitch in with dinner. We tend to get into ruts, though, where Sarah always makes particular things, and I always make particular things, and Mom always makes particular things, so if any of us tried to switch around, it wouldn't be nearly as good (Sarah's guacamole, homemade salsa, barbeque sauce and spicy broccoli are really just inimitable...) so I'm working on mixing it up sometimes, so I won't have holes in my cooking abilities.
What would you add to this list? I recently began using a free budget manager, which has been a very interesting and helpful experience!