Living With The Parents

Since I came back to Jordan I’ve met a lot of people that read the Black Iris and most of them always have some feedback for me; the main one being that I don’t have enough personal “life” posts.

So here we go…

…Coming back to Jordan after university means having to live with your parents. If you’re not married then you’re living with your parents. That’s just the way it is. That’s our environment and that’s our society. Of course the older you are the more embarrassing it becomes, but if you’re still in your 20’s and unmarried then you’re pretty much safe.

At first it’s weird. You come back to your old room, in your old bed, amidst the debris of posters and all the trappings of high school; of another life you once forgot. And at first it’s weird.

But the room finds a way to become yours again.

Which leaves us with one thing: the parents.

Let me get one thing straight and out of the way from the get go: I love my parents dearly. But as all sons and daughters, loving thy parents can never take away from the fact that they have the potential to drive you crazy. And if you’re in your 20’s and unmarried and living with them, well, that potential becomes even greater.

My mother for instance forgets that I lived several years on my own and managed to survive. Nevertheless she will always be there to provide her superb nagging abilities. Either the room is not clean enough, or I’ve taken too many showers, or I haven’t showered enough, or I put the towel in the wrong place, or my shoes are all over the place, or I forgot to put gas in the car, or my snoring is too loud, or my bedroom windows are too dirty, or there are not enough satellite channels and that’s somehow my fault, or my breathing is too loud, or I’m consuming too much caffeine. And those are just a myriad of the micro issues.

The macro issues are those topics that deserve the wrath of her nagging such as marriage, work, education, health, et cetera.

My father is more laid back. I usually feel like he has an understanding that I’m no longer a 16 year-old even if I’m living in a 16 year-old’s bedroom. There are times when I’m positive that he’s reminded my mother of that fact.

For example, during my first two months back my mother would insistently nag about me going out with friends so late at night and coming back late. Then she stopped. Not all together, but the nagging generally died down, slowly.

My mother however still has that motherly habit of having to know where I’m going and with whom, as well as their passport numbers. When and if I tell her, she’ll give me a disappointed look like I could be doing so much more with this valuable gift of time I’m about to waste.

My room is generally messy. In fact, messy is not a qualified enough adjective to accurately describe the situation. I’m one of those people whose environment looks chaotic but manages to memorize where everything is within the mess. If someone moves something around, I’ll know. My mother will journey into this room of mine every so often, when the build-up is bad, and she’ll give up. Instead she’ll give me a tough lecture that’s more of a complaint, and she’ll choose the absolute worst time to give it to me. Such times include the final week of the month when I’m working an average of 12 hours a day and my hairline recedes half an inch.

What I miss about my undergraduate life is the independence.

I miss staying up late with the TV in the background while I’m reading or writing or surfing the web.

I miss getting on my bike at any hour of the night and just going for a ride.

I miss not having to worry if coming home, unlocking and locking the front door, making my way to my bedroom, and falling asleep is a process that will wake my sensitive-sleeping parents two rooms down.


It’s not all bad.

There are the home cooked meals.

There’s the company. Even though most of the time I’m in my room or at work, there’s always that “presence”; the feeling of a “full house” so to speak.

I don’t have to pay bills so that’s always a plus.

And in truth, living with one’s parents during his or her 20 something years, can always help in getting a leg up on future plans. You don’t have to worry about the small things and instead focus on the bigger picture.

I haven’t figured out which life I prefer but I know that nothing’s perfect.

Not completely anyways.

And that’s just the way it goes.


  • I understand what you’re talking about, but I don’t understand why should it be “embarrassing” to be living with your parents in your 20’s?

    I can’t imagine living away from my parents. I admit it, I’mm 23 and still carrying a blanket :s The mere thought of finding your clothes clean and ironed makes me wanna live with them forever! I can live with some nagging from time to time 😀

  • hahahahahah!!!!! i TOLD you they would drive you nuts. nas, remember when i used to call and tell you that they were making my life a living hell and you would give me all the B.S about ‘they’re our parents and you just don’t understand them’ just wondering, do you now understand mom more when it’s the middle of a really *%#$%* up day and she starts with one of the lectures that go, ‘ did you register for the Masters subjects? Why were you still awake at 4 am this morning? On Friday i need you to drive the family down to Ghore (even if it’s 100 degrees) so that we can all clean the house” and all the time your praying to God above and swearing on all that is holly that if he just makes her stop you will fast for an extra month after Ramadan! OR my personal favorite, the all encompassing guilt trip where you know they are giving you the cold shoulder for some reason, you just don’t know what it is because no one sent you the memo, so for the rest of the week you are bewildered by everything said to you and your not sure how to answer any of the questions thrown at you in those moments when they actually do speak to you…those questions like “are you going out?” as you are clearly putting your shoes on and opening the front door! Enough to drive a sane person to drinking antifreeze I tell ya!

  • Very good article and I can not agree more!!! Now a response for Ola: you do not understand what is embarassing because you were probably brought up and educated in Jordan where delaying taking responsibility and living like an adult gets prolonged for no good reason other than being mdala3een really!! It is a choice but if you do live in a more civilised society you will find out that living away from your parents helps you learn and gain experience that would be helpful in life.

  • Sana: what are you trying to say with the words ‘More Civilized Scociety’ are you saying that Jordan is not a ‘civilized’ society? is that your meaning?

  • Nas, fun to get a glimpse into the Tarawneh household, from you AND Fad! Somehow, I pictured your mom not as quite the nagging type.

  • Can’t deny I had the same feeling when I came back from Birzeit uni and still when I come back from my room in Amman to my parents house.

    But there’s quite a difference when I go one year back. I started realizing that Im the only child in the house, they’re not getting any younger and that that nagging is their way to show their caring, so I started to absorb it cause I felt that this excatly made them happy and relaxed.

    And to say the truth, the nagging became less:)

  • Sana: I’m not sure what you mean by “civilised society” but I can tell you that the less developed the society is, the less luxurious your life is, the more you have to depend on yourself

  • Dear Ola and Fad,

    It is amazing how both of you missed the point and clung onto one expression… To both of you, I didn’t mean that Jordan is not civilised, but it is less developed and that is why it is classified amongst the developing countries not the developed ones and this ofcourse has many cultural and societal implications one of which that many people in Jordan are less forward thinking than in other countries. I agree with you Ola that you do have to depend more on yourself but that is not neccessarily a bad thing nor is it true that you have to have a less luxurious life..besides, in jordan you only have a good life because ur looked after by u r parents whilst u couldnt have made it on your own!!

  • I totally agree

    All what you mentioned is true.
    I went aboard for uni. From age 18-22 y , then I came back & lived with my parents for 2 years (23-25) after that I left to gulf & since that I am living alone ( I am now 27). I feel that I am missing something here. So after graduation I lived 2 years with them & 2 years away , now I am really confused shall I cam back or stay (add to that that I got an offer equal to what I am getting here) .

    You people please give me your ideas on ( )

  • Sana …after living in the american culture for a few years i’ve realized that because of the very thing of “move out on your own at 18” people become socially retarded. If i can’t deal with my parents nagging, and can’t bridge the generation gap between my mom and i or my 12 year old sister and i, then i’m socially retarded. Living independently means i don’t have to deal with it and i lose an important social skill set, but i’m careful not to do that so i don’t end up like the some people i know who can’t “deal” or coexist with parents or sibilings or even coworkers because they have no social skills.

    Nas …i feel the same when i go back home ..but it’s tougher cause i’m a girl ..but make the most of it’ll get used to it again ..independance retards tolerance for invasion of personal space 😀

  • see, asides from loving my parents and being back home and all– take your problems and multiply them by ten and then you have what it feels like for A GIRL moving back home after being away for more than 7 years. Its not just, oh we want to know where you’re going and with who, its, oh you’re not allowed to go certain places and definitely not until 1 am or later and don’t be seen riding alone in any boy’s car because if your conservative cousins see you they’ll think he’s your boyfriend and talk shit! (even though my parents don’t care if i have a boyfriend– they just worry that if it becomes public knowledge somehow i’ll never get married or something in amman. UGH)

    Thankfully, i’ve got very open-minded, laid back parents, and its like what you said, their nagging dies down eventually. I think that its like “outta sight outta mind.” when you’re back under their roof they worry more if you’re out late than when you’re an a different metropolitan scarier city and they know you can stay out all night. you just have to keep pushing the envelope, getting them used to the idea that you will go out and stay however late you want and still manage to come home in one piece, and that works after a few weeks!

    now the other thing about this whole having to move back in with the parents if you’re unmarried.. we have to have a revolution/movement to change this! my parents were cool with me renting my own place, and yet they go, oh the people in our mujtama3 will never accept this, an unmarried youth on their own when their parents are RIGHT in the same town… we gotta do something about this on a mass scale!

    hehe thanks for the funny article though

  • Finally! someone else said it. It’s not just me after all (as my parents claim everytime we get into this argument)

    The consistent nagging, the disappointed looks, the need to know when I last took a breath, the cold shoulder, etc.. are so frustrating sometimes they can drive you up the wall.

    Regardless of how open minded your parents are you will be expected to conform to how you were living when you were 12 even if you’re 30 when you move back. You can also froget anything remotely related to your privacy, it doesn’t exist in the parent dictionary.

    Think of moving out to regain your freedom and you’ll be accused of trying to ruin the fmaily reputation. “What will people think? what will people say?” Do it, and you’re the one that got corrupted by western values, don’t do it, and develope angina by the the end of your first year.

    We need to start a support group for people that move back lol.

  • ok I don’t mean to be bumping up all of these old posts but I just had to comment on this one because it’s sooooo my situation. I’ve been living by myself for the past 5 years (undergrad+grad school) and in june I moved back with my family, I’m 23, and honestly it’s been really difficult!

    I guarantee you my mom nags more than your mom-she also has this really bad habit of going in my room super early in the morning when she knows I’m sleeping and looking through my purse and all of my bags and pulling out receipts and questioning me about every little purchase and I’m sleeping! Now my brother is a teenager and I hate having to share a bathroom with a teenage boy….the list just goes on but you’re not alone in tihs!

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