Who would have ever thought my (Joy’s) 30 year old daughter would come back and live with us? After being on her own for the last 7 years, she made the decision to advance her career with a Master’s degree. I applauded her decision knowing that in her field of non-profit work, an advanced degree was a must to be taken seriously and to earn a better paycheck. So off she went to live a year in London studying for her Masters of Science.
Super proud of her! Her hard work and studying paid off and she earned the accreditation, completing the program in one year. She knew that getting a job in her field and reentering the workforce would not be a slam dunk, even in a robust job market. In our current administration, funding for these types of programs relevant to her field of study has been sorely impacted. Oh, to be able to start her own foundation and create her own job, but Bill and Melinda Gates we are not, but I digress!
When a millennial child needs a free place to live, enter mom and dad. I certainly came from the type of home that if ever I needed my mother or father, even as a 30 plus year old person, for any reason at all, they were there for me. Naturally, I would want to do the same for mine and have.
The statistics indicate that Boomers have children return to them for all sorts of reasons. For the first time in more than 130 years, young adult children ages 18-34 are more likely to live with their parents than in any other living situation, according to an analysis by The Pew Research Center. An astounding 32.1% live in their parent’s home with the statistic for male children being even higher at 35%.
Economics are a big contributor. In major cities a studio apartment (less than 600 sq.feet) can run $3,000 per month — that coupled with staggering amounts of student loan debt, and it is no easy task to launch a child. And keep her launched! As the saying goes, ‘’The best laid plans…” or “Shit happens”!
On the plus side, this is truly a wonderful opportunity to connect with your adult child whom you may not have spent long quality time with for a while. In my case, this has been a treasured benefit, getting to know this person again, to remember the funny things you share in everyday life, the nuances, her wry smile, her sing-song way of talking to the dog, her laughter. She makes me some concoction of natural herbs to help me sleep, binge watches a tv series with me, occasionally lets me in on a private thought or asks for guidance. This is special and will be tucked away as a memory that only we share.
On the negative side, you are now sharing a home – there’s the lack of privacy, (not that we are romping around naked or anything like that! I’m a Jewish girl!), the cleaning of the stove, preparation of meals. Who does what — putting gas in the car, picking up clothes, you get the picture.
My husband being totally obsessive about our new high-end stove watches her every move and makes visual grimaces as she fries her veggie burger. Will the grease splatter across the highly polished stainless steel? What will she do about it? He drives me crazy with this type of Felix Unger behavior and knowing that this is a potentially explosive situation for argument, I try to be the go between. Really, did anyone ever die of grease on their stove?!! This is what happens when you pair a neat freak and a “ I can take care of that in the morning person”!
The lesson to be learned is that three grown people are now trying to live under the same roof, one that was meant for two, (sold the house, bought the next chapter in life house for the two of us). Throw in a senior citizen canine, 15 ½ years old, pooping randomly, plus a refugee puppy adopted from Mexico and you’ve got the makings of a sitcom that Norman Lear might have created!
I am thrilled to have my first-born home, even if it’s a temporary blip on the road back to independence and she can stay for as long as she wants or needs. The opportunity to sock money away when she is gainfully employed is very tempting and something I am more than happy to offer.
Nothing in life is permanent, as they say, except death and taxes, so for now this is the new dynamic.
I will look back fondly on this time of life when my Boomerang child returned and know it was meant to happen in this way. As always, the most colorful words tell it best in Yiddish, bashert!
. Accept life’s little surprises as a sign from the heavens. Be happy for the time you didn’t expect with your adult children.
. They’re not in high school anymore. Let them have their space and learn from them. My knowledge of pop culture, music, tv, jargon, comes from them. That’s how I stay a cool, hip mom!
P.S- She got a permanent position in her field!
Enjoy the ride!
xox, Barclay and Joy