When adult children move home: do you have a story to share?
When our son moved back home in his mid-20s, we all thought he'd stay for a couple of months until he planned his next step into the adult world. Turned out we had him with us for a couple of years. And by the time he finally moved out (into a house we helped him buy), things had grown a bit tense between us and our beloved only child.
We were tired of repeating, as Ben headed out for a night on the town, "Call if you're not coming home" and then waking up at 4 a.m., knowing he was...where, exactly? Sometimes I'd plead, "Look, it's not because you're our son that we have to know where you are. We'd ask the same thing of a houseguest. We worry, for God's sake. We wonder if you're lying in a gutter somewhere." What can I tell you? We got nowhere. He had his pride, I guess. So we had parental jitters as we listened for the turn of his key in the lock. It was as if none of us could truly grow up while Ben lived under our roof.
With the economy headed for continuing turmoil and layoffs picking up steam, it stands to reason that more people will be bunking in with mom and dad---not because they want free laundry service (as disgruntled baby boomers have tended to think) but because they simply can't afford their own place.
My generation couldn't wait to leave home and find out how it feels to be a rolling stone. So of course we've been perplexed to see our children return to the nest without the least sign of embarrassment. Now in these days of dwindling retirement savings, I'm starting to contemplate the other side of this increasingly common family drama. Will more baby boomers be forced to move in with kids who still collect paycheques? (Please, please, not me.) Is this already starting to happen, or am I just overthinking?
Much as I crave a space of my own (which my husband gets to share, provided we have separate bathrooms), I think the plus side of this trend could go way beyond solving a financial emergency. Maybe we'll start enjoying one another's company in new and unexpected ways. Maybe we'll learn that we have more power to help one another than we knew.
Okay, I've done enough musing about maybes. Now it's your turn. I'd like to know what you think. Do you have any experience with multi-generational living? Can you see it affecting your life anytime soon? If you're not comfortable posting a reply here (and I know some of you are rather private), just shoot an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.