Dear Rachel,

I left home when I was 18. I went to college in a different state, and wound up settling down and raising my family there. Looking back, I realize that I needed to leave home in order to discover my own strengths and capabilities. I am an only child, and while my parents are very loving, they were always too involved in my life. They micromanaged almost every aspect, and I wound up feeling like I couldn't do anything without them. Living on my own, I have been able to develop strengths I didn't know I had.

Six months ago, my husband was offered a great job that necessitated us moving back home, a 10-minute drive from my parents. At first I thought it might be nice to be close to them after all these years, but I am realizing quickly that living far away was better. They come over almost every day! Whether it's to say “hi” to the kids, have dinner together, or watch the game on TV, they are always finding a reason to come here. Even worse, I feel like they have started micromanaging me again. Since neither one of us is moving any time soon, how can I work this out?

Missing My Independence

Dear Missing My Independence,

While it can be nice to have family close by, it may be that your parents are a little too close for comfortIt sounds like you’re in a tricky situation. While it can be nice to have family close by, it may be that your parents are a little too close for comfort. It can be upsetting when our parents think they still need to baby their adult children, and it can be hard for parents to see their children as grownups, especially when you have lived apart for so long. You have seen your own personal growth—they may not have.

There are a few things you can do to make the situation more comfortable. The first thing is to establish boundaries that you will be comfortable with. You know how often your parents want to see you, but how often do you want to see your parents? What about your kids? What kind of relationship do you want them to have with their grandparents? Once you have figured that out, you can decide how much togetherness you want. Maybe Friday night dinner together? The kids’ sports games on the weekends? Perhaps a mid-week visit would work?

Once you have set your boundaries, go to your parents and tell them what you want. It’s best to be honest, straightforward and loving. ("Mom, I love when you stop by in the afternoons, but it knocks our schedule off a bit. I think it would be better if you just came by on Wednesdays.")

Try to find areas where you are willing to have your parents be involved, and let them handle those areas. You may find that what your parents really want is more time with the grandkids. Perhaps you can offer them to take one child out once a week, and have them rotate. That way, you get a little break, and each child gets the chance to develop a personal relationship with Grandma and Grandpa. You could also try giving your parents their own "jobs." If they are able to drive, perhaps they could do the school carpool once a week, or help the kids with their homework before dinner.

It's all about finding a balanceIt's important to remember that although you are an adult, you still have the mitzvah of Kibbud Av v'Em, honoring your parents. Part of honoring your parents is trying to respect their wishes (this is assuming the wishes are reasonable, do not contradict Torah law or other specifc exemptions). If they want to be a greater part of your life, try to figure out a way to make everyone happy. It's all about finding a balance. Even though it is challenging, it’s a real blessing for you and your children to have your parents be a part of your lives.

Remember that the talents and strengths you found within yourself are still there. Just because you’re back home doesn’t mean you’re the same person you were when you left. You found those talents, worked on them, and they are yours. Treasure them and keep on using them. If you were able to raise your family on your own until now, you have the inner strength and creativity to find ways to make this situation work for you as well.

Wishing you lots of luck,