*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission
Keeping up a close relationship with your mom and dad while growing up can get difficult as a teen, but even after those years, things like money, rent, and not having a job could add tension and easily cause disagreements.
Would you agree to have your child live rent-free in your home while they were in college, even if they didn't contribute at all to your household expenses?
What if they also wanted to have your room, and you would end up sleeping uncomfortably and just doing everything they wanted without a thank you or any kind of help from them?
My friend Adriana, who lives in Phoenix, Arizona, is in her second year of college. She still lives with her parents to be able to save on rent and bills until she's ready to get a full-time job.
"I'm not working for now, and I want to focus on my studies. I think it's best to still live with mom and dad because they can get everything for me. They can afford it, too; it's not like I'm making them struggle or anything. And our relationship has always been open, and I know they understand me and want me to succeed," Adriana said.
While Rosa and Andrew, her parents, have always cared about their daughter and want her to be able to get a good job with a high salary, it's getting difficult to live in the same place. Their home in Phoenix only has two bedrooms. Adriana's parents had one bedroom, and she had the other.
But lately, Adriana has decided she needs the second bedroom in the house as her study room. And that she can't do that in the other room. So, she's asked her parents to move their things into the living room and sleep there on the couch.
"Mom isn't working anyway, so it's not like I'm disturbing her or doing anything to affect our relationship. And dad is close to retirement age and only works in the afternoons, so it's not a big deal," Adriana said.
Her parents agreed to stay in the living room, but they assumed it would only be for a while until their daughter could finish up some of her projects. Adriana also invites friends over sometimes, and they chat and have loud music in the second bedroom.
Rosa, her mom, has told her to avoid doing that too often because she needs to rest, but Adriana hasn't paid much attention. And since she's still not working, she has plenty of time to have little get-togethers or even parties in Phoenix. Her parents don't want to make their relationship worse, but they feel very close to losing patience with what's going on.
"She doesn't work or do chores; she makes us sleep in the living room. She's bored of cooking but wants me to make every meal and snack for her. She forgets about the laundry, but every time she can't find a blouse, she shouts at me to go find it and iron it nicely. It's getting too much. Maybe we let things go too far, and now she doesn't understand she has to earn money for herself and pay someone else to do what she doesn't want to. That's how life goes," Rosa said.
The mom warned her daughter she has to find a part-time job in Phoenix next month or move out. Adriana doesn't think she means it and plans to go on living the same way.
"Why would they suddenly change like that? They know I have to live with them and study. It will be their fault if they keep asking me to do things I can't. I'm going to have a good job later on; there's no need to stress about chores and cooking. Mom can do all that for me anyway. And she's a housewife. Isn't that her purpose in life? Saving and keeping the house tidy, cleaning, and laundry. She's been doing that for 20 years. It can't be that hard to do it three more for me and keep up our relationship like it used to be," Adriana said.
Unfortunately, Rosa intends to keep her promise, and she's already called some relatives to see if her daughter could stay with them for a while. She wants Adriana to realize she has to contribute either to bills or to chores and that expecting to receive everything without doing her part won't work anymore.
What do you think about this situation? Is it fair for Adriana to expect to use both bedrooms in the house for herself without realizing her parents have to be comfortable too? Should she try to improve her relationship with her mom and do more around the house as a way to prevent further arguments and be able to continue living there?