Having people live with you means you’re making yourself “vulnerable” to them. Whereas they used to see you all dressed up and at events before they moved in with you, now they’ll see you in shorts, PJs, braless, and generally in forms that make it easy for you to be taken for granted. A wise live-in will not take things for granted. However, because we are humans and not machines, and we don’t want people walking on egg shells around us or overstepping their boundaries, it is important to have ground rules for your home. Please have no apologies for your ground rules especially if it’s designed fairly. Don’t attempt to always bend to suit people in your home. Be firm and fair. After a long day at work, you want to come home and be at home. Below are a few ideas on ground rules:
Curfew: It’s wise to have a time beyond which your live-ins shouldn’t get home. Whatever time is fixed should consider commute time as well as traffic on the average city. If for any reason anyone would come home late, a call or message should be sent ahead, and this shouldn’t become regular practice. Would you do that for your children for their safety and your peace of mind? If yes, it should apply to your live-ins.
Dear live-in, be responsible: It’s very easy to live-in and live off a family, like Air B n B; you just come in, go out, eat food when it’s served and you are not responsible for anything that happens in the home. Living with a family involves being a responsible “member” of the family. This is a FREE opportunity to rehearse for when you will manage your own home too. Many little things make the home run smoothly; like taking out the trash, paying for LAWMA, PHCN, refilling dispenser water, getting some groceries/supplies for the house, etc. It’s important to be a valuable part of the home, as a responsible adult 😉
One thing I do when I have a number of people living with me (including my family, i’ve housed about 13 people in my home more than once before) is that asides from general responsibility within the home, I have clear chores assigned to specific people; that way, I don’t need to nag or get upset when I see a messy part of the house. I simply ask for who is meant to do it and tell the person to get it done. When roles are clear, life is easier for everyone. If you need to draw out the schedule for chores and paste it on the fridge, that’s fine!
Dear live-in, no matter how little or much you earn, it’s important to contribute financially to the running of the home. It’s usually not because the host can’t afford it, it’s building a culture in you. This was not my original idea; infact, I kicked against it when I first saw an Aunty of mine insist on her wards buying some specific things in the home when they stayed with her. That action changed their approach to how they used up supplies in the home. They became more responsible, accountable, less wasteful, and had a stronger sense of belonging within the home. It helps to develop a higher level of responsibility. Don’t be a freeloader; contribute to the family purse.
What happens if you realize you have made a mistake taking a person in? This and more in Part 5…….