Living with a family 101.

Hello party people!

I have had it in my heart for quite some time to do a post about proper “etiquette” on living with a host family (non blood family but could also be applied to blood family too!). All of the thoughts are my own personal thoughts based on experiences I have had and learned. Brace yourself.

  1. The move-in: I have had experiences of both talking about expectations of how the season will look like and also have moved in without a conversation. My recommendation is have the conversation! It does not hurt to hear from both parties to see where/what season you are and coming from and where your host “parents” are. Try to make it happen the within the week or so from moving in. Schedules are hard to coordinate with but make it a priority to plan ahead and have monthly check-ins (if it’s possible to have more, even better! Sometimes these catch ups happen organically in the kitchen while doing dishes. It does not have to be formal at all! Keep it casual.)
  2. You’re not living with your mama anymore: Yes, they have taken you in. They are your HOST parents. They are not your parents that are used to clean up after you, you are entering into their space, so respect that. Clean up after yourself. I totally understand that not everyone grew up with having to clean the house or do your own laundry. I’m not sure what the actually percentage is but in Sheila math, I would say 75% of kids don’t do laundry or known how to clean until they move out of their parents house. There is no shame in that, it is a total blessing to have been taken care off, but we are entering the “adult” life and that means cleaning up after yourself. Which leads me to my next point…
  3. ASK questions… no question is stupid: Regardless if you grew up with cleaning up, doing laundry, etc or not- everyone has their own way of doing things. Some hosts care a little bit more on how to clean the counters, some hosts don’t care. But ASK. ASK. ASK. ASK. I cannot emphasize the power and respect that asking has! I rather “look silly” for two seconds on asking how they want the common space cleaned then not ask and have to replace a super fancy something or another. Especially with sterling silver! Oh my sweet reader, this can go into just cleaning up after a dinner party, please ask about dishes. If you are like me, hand washing was my way growing up and dishwashers are a new concept(just ask my college housemates). I had no idea what could or couldn’t go in a dishwasher but thank Jesus that I had an incredible host that taught me the importance of the fancy dishes/silverware and how to care for them. They are not cheap and sometimes need special care!
    • Asking doesn’t only mean on how to clean up after yourself, but a few questions to ask in the beginning of your stay are what are house “rules”. You’re a grown up, use your discernment about things. It doesn’t hurt to hear about their “rules” of having guests over, ask for space in the kitchen if you need some, just ask all the questions.
  4. The servant’s heart-“But that’s not mine…”: Unless you are a live in nanny, you may have no responsibility in picking up after anyone but yourself. Especially if you’re paying rent right? Yea, but Jesus called us to be servant leaders. Just put yourself in your host parents shoes. Imagine having a 14 hour shift or a day of running around with the littles getting errands done and coming home to dishes piled in the sink, the floors needing to be swept and toys everywhere (if they have littles), that would just be like “oh man…my day isn’t near being over” kinda moment. Yes, parents are SUPERHEROS. Especially Mommas! Oh my word. I so believe that God blessed mommas with supernatural everything *not the point*. But wouldn’t you love it if things happened to be cleaned? I personally would feel sooo loved! Just because the coffee mug from the morning on the counter isn’t yours doesn’t mean you don’t have to pick it up. Common courtesy is something millennials lack, yep I said it. A lot of millennials live in a “me me me” mindset. Let’s realign y’all!  I grew up with a momma that made sure my sister and I had incredible manners. I am blessed, but that doesn’t mean we are ever to old to learn how do be considerate.
    • I just feel like I want to add to this a little about performance. I also want to protect your heart and see you become a better you. If you are struggling with a performance mindset and trying to learn boundaries- let your host parent in. There was a point where I was cleaning up the house and I had to ask myself why I was doing it, was I doing it because I genuinely wanted too or because I wanted my host parents to think I was the best person that has ever lived with them. Check your heart and motives, if your motives isn’t coming from love you are creating false expectations that can end up hurting a relationship. If you would like to chat more about this please feel free to contact me in the contact section of my page.
  5. Living “Unoffended”: although parents are superheros to get things done, they are also humans. Don’t get offended when they ask for space. I am pretty confident that they love you and want to hear your day, but if they need to just be and have their space respect that. Also, if YOU need space let it know! I had an incredible host dad that would pick up on my mood with just me saying “hey”. But if there was a time that I just didn’t want to talk about it, I had to voice that. They are not mind readers. If you have established a healthy relationship with your hosts I would encourage you that if you do need space to follow up and check in on how your doing afterwards.
    • The healthy relationship= I cannot emphasize boundaries. Know your heart, know theirs, establish boundaries and honor them. By honoring, you are living in love.
  6. Assuming: This goes back to my asking point. Never assume! Assumption is the biggest thief of any relationship. Don’t assume that they are cable of talking out all your problems, don’t assume all responsibility of cleaning up, don’t assume they are mad at you, just don’t assume.
    • You are welcome in this space. No one would open up their home if they didn’t genuinely want you there. While living with my first family I had to get rid of the mindset that I wasn’t welcome their because I wasn’t “real family”. I had grown up with the mindset that I would be in the hosts way if I would stay longer than a day. That isn’t true. If your hosts weren’t in a mind set of wanting to host someone they wouldn’t have opened their homes up. Again, if this is something you struggle with and would love to talk more about it send me a message! :]
  7. Living “Unoffended”: although parents are superheros to get things done, they are also humans. Don’t get offended when they ask for space. I am pretty confident that they love you and want to hear your day, but if they need to just be and have their space respect that. Also, if YOU need space let it know! I had an incredible host dad that would pick up on my mood with just me saying “hey”. But if there was a time that I just didn’t want to talk about it, I had to voice that. They are not mind readers. If you have established a healthy relationship with your hosts I would encourage you that if you do need space to follow up and check in on how your doing afterwards.
    • The healthy relationship= I cannot emphasize boundaries. Know your heart, know theirs, establish boundaries and honor them. By honoring, you are living in love.

Alright, I think that is it for now! I’ll end on what my mom, still, tells my siblings and I whenever we are going over someone’s house “watch what you say (use respectful language), clean up after yourself, and always say thank you.”

Please feel free to message/comment with more helpful points that have worked for you! We are all students, the more we know the better! (well sometimes hahaha!)

TTFN!

-Sheils

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