imageLet’s face it, if you live part-time at both your mom’s house and your dad’s house, it can be hard on you.  Even apart from the emotional baggage that goes along with living in two different homes (and maybe with two different families), there is the practical and organization nightmare of not having all of your stuff in one place.  That can be frustrating, in fact “frustrating” might be one of the nicer words you could use to describe it.

Here are some steps that might help ease the practical discomforts of living in two homes.  It may not be possible (depending on your living arrangements) to follow all of these, but hopefully they will give you some ideas.

  • Don’t live out of suitcases.  Unpack your stuff when you get the home you’re headed to.  Living out of a suitcase may seem easier, especially if you are only going to be there for a few days, but the process of unpacking your suitcase will help to make each home feel a little more permanent.
  • Have a space at each house that’s all yours.  Just because you’re not there all the time doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have your own space.  Ideally, you will have your own room at each place, but this doesn’t always work out depending on the number of people in your family and the space available.  At least have a dresser or a closet or a drawer that is all yours.
  • Have some clothes at each house.  If you have some essential clothes at each house, you won’t have to worry about leaving all your underwear at mom’s house or all your socks at dad’s house.  If you have a favorite pair of jeans or sweatshirt, try to get your parents to buy two of each (one for each house).  You don’t need a full wardrobe at both houses, but some essentials are important.
  • Keep in touch with the other parent.  It’s hard not to miss one parent when you’re at the other parent’s house.  Write letters or e-mails, talk on the phone, send a text or talk on Skype to keep up with what’s going on in the other house.
  • Bring along some of your favorite things.  If you have a hobby like collecting sports cards, reading, building legos or model trains, take along some of your collection so that you can enjoy it at the other house.
  • Have certain things at each home.  If there are certain toys or activities that you really enjoy (think video game systems or a bike), try to have one at both houses.  Remember, it doesn’t have to be exactly the same at each house to work.  Maybe you can have a PS3 at one house and an Xbox at the other. (This one might take some convincing, but who knows?!?)
  • Keep a calendar.  Your parents may have a calendar to keep track of you and your stuff, but keep your own as well.  Whether you use paper, an iPhone, or an online calendar like Google, knowing when you are going to be at each house will help you to schedule events and activities with friends and relatives.  Ask your parents to keep you updated on any changes in the schedule.  If you use a shared calendar like Google, you can let your parents see what you have going on so they can plan around it.
  • Make lists.  If you keep lists of the most important things that you need to remember, there is less chance that you will find yourself at one house needing something that you left at the other house.  If you type those lists up on the computer, you can print out multiple copies and use them every time you go back and forth between homes.
  • Talk to your parents.  If keeping track of two sets of rules and expectations is getting hard on you, sit down with your parents and try to agree on some basics.  If they refuse to sit down together, sit down with each of them separately and try to come to come agreement.  It might seem “cool” that the rules aren’t as strict at one house as the other, but in the end you may find life easier if both homes have similar rules and expectations.

These are just some suggestions for making it easier to live in two different homes.  What would you add to the list?  Leave a comment below to let us know.