She sat across the table from her friend whom she was catching up with after a few months.
“So I’m looking at apartments and I think I found the one I want. My roommate is just being a little difficult,” she said. “And I have to tell my mom and I’m dreading it. I already know what she’s going to say.”
It doesn’t matter whether we’re Latinos in 2013 or 1980, the feeling is typically the same; the thought of telling your parents you want to move out is dreadful. If you’re a young woman, moving out doesn’t typically happen until you are married or just about there. Although it may be more acceptable for men to move out of their parent’s house, the mother’s desire to keep her children all under one roof is strong and commonly found in Latino families.
In order to dodge the questions coming at you, the thought process and questions simmer in your mind days and possibly even weeks before you break the news.
“¿Ya no nos quieres?” your mother asks with those eyes. The guilt trip is coming.
“¿Quién nos va ayudar por aquí? Aquí tienes todo,” says your father.
The questions are coming at you. They’re asking the questions you dreaded the most: You don’t love us? Why do you want to leave us? Who’s going to help us?
And then the doubt sets in, especially if you have traditional and possibly immigrant parents who stand strong in their convictions.
However, there is the slight chance that you’re among the lucky ones who get’s the “I-thought-you-were-never-going-to-move-out” talk or the parents that say, “Finally, my child is growing up.” This “American” way of thinking is found among acculturated families.
Either way, being prepared for the explanation never hurt anyone and in the case that your parents are divided on this issue, you will at least have to explain it to one of them.
Explaining The Need To Move Out
You’re 28, have a full-time job and you’re still living at home with your parents and younger siblings. You come home after 10 p.m. and they’re getting on you for being home too late. You can’t drink, you hardly invite friends over unless they’re of the same sex and even then, the thought to have people meet your whole family is even overwhelming for you.
You need to move out and get your life started. If you can budget the expenses, either alone or with a roommate, and stay afloat, getting out of the house will help you and your family in the long run.
1. Expanding your wings: Opportunities will arise when you find that you have more time and are able to dedicate your energy toward things you are passionate about and care about. Instead of arguing with your parents or finding ways to dodge unnecessary questions, you will have a minute or two to focus on you. You will also find your downtime and be able to have something to discuss with your parents. They won’t be upset when they find out you’re doing what you really want.
2. Your own space: The ability to place things where you want them allows for a better sense of organization and strategy in creating the grown-up version of you. Once in a while you’re going to want to spin around with your arms out wide like Julie Andrews in the sound of music and guess what; that’s OK. Being responsible for bills, cleaning and cooking your own food builds character and appreciation for what your parents did for you.
3. Opportunities for your family: By branching out and building a bridge between you and your family, helping them by being on the outside looking in will be of the best help. Assisting them with tools and resources that you’re learning about is one of the best gifts.
If you are the first to leave the nest, you are the expert and can help younger siblings do the same. You’ll be someone for them to look up to. If you’re moving out for school, it’s even better. You will learn to explore and bring back the benefits of your education for the betterment of la familia.
4. Needing Your Family: You fight a lot with your mom and dad now, but soon, you’ll be telling them stories about your adventures, the new world you’re exploring and how much you need them more than ever because of the bumps in the road that you’re going to hit. We all do. Even if it’s just someone there to listen, knowing that you have a web of support behind you will give you the courage and desire to keep moving forward with what you have to do. The family becomes the best friends and you end up building a stronger bond.
Editor’s Note: ”Entre Nos” has been created to start conversations about issues that Latinos endure at home or in personal relationships. Many of these ideas will stem into more cultural issues that will be discussed further on LatinoDr.org.