It’s a fact: many adult children are moving back with their parents because the economy is so bad. The way it’s played up in the news, returning to the old abode is disgraceful. Well, perhaps it doesn’t encourage independence and personal responsibility, and it’s not good for the housing industry wanting to sell homes to young people, but things far worse than going home to live with mom and dad are happening in the world.
As a child I recall it was not uncommon for adult children, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to live under the same roof. Were they happy? I have no idea but I suspect that even if brother Charlie was crazy, or aunt Mary was paranoid, or Grandma was living in the past, and there were fights over money, the arrangement at some level had to be beneficial. Resources were pooled; “the girls” — even those who went to work every day, took care of cooking and cleaning and generally maintained the home while “the boys” brought home (hopefully) the bacon. (This was before feminism reared its head, you understand) Grandma and Grandpa were the ultimate winners because nursing homes did not exist. Grandma and Grandpa earned their keep by dispensing wisdom, (“When I was your age . . . “) babysitting, helping around the house, and generally keeping everyone in line.
Over time, things changed. Kids moved out at age 18 and parents were happy to see them go because they had done their part to raise their children, and now it was time “for us” or “for me.” Male progeny who refused to vacate the premises with the posters on the wall that glorified the drug culture, were looked upon either as mamma’s boys, dopers, or strange in some way, while females were viewed a little less judgmentally but considered doomed to spinsterhood.
So, here we are. What goes around comes around and adult children are moving in with their parents. And oh, how dreadful it is. Damn that economy!
Guess what. Our daughter Pat and her husband Bob have moved in with us. She works, he’s “retired”. Yes, they could live on their own but decided the perks of living with an amazing mom and dad outweighed any negatives, and we couldn’t be happier with their decision.
When Pat revealed to co-workers that she and Bob live with us, more than a few recoiled in horror, uttering “Eeeeee-youooooo– you live with your parents? Are you crazy, or what?”
Crazy like a fox.
Here are a few reasons the arrangement works:
1. We have room. Thankfully, they don’t require a lot of space. Just give them a closet and some space in the garage and they are happy.
2. Early on I took steps to make certain that money would never become an issue.
3. We are the same size so Pat gets to wear my clothes purchased 50 years ago and now back “in style.” In return, I get her hand-me-downs.
5. They do grocery shopping, which I hate to do.
6. We prepare and eat dinner together which is the same every night: raw salad with chicken or other protein. I have mastered the mandolin and can slice veggies faster than any TV pitchman.
7. Bob loves to vacuum so I got him a Dyson Animal for his birthday. On occasion I get to use it, but reluctantly. It’s a heavy beast to shove around.
8. We respect each other and stay out of each other’s business. We say “please” and “thank you” a lot. We are very formal and super polite when addressing each other. I am Miss Barbara, Bob is Mr. Bob and Pat is Mr. Patty. When Pat was small she addressed everyone, male and female, as “Mr” and it stuck. Even the grandkids are addressed as “Mr.” which they don’t seem to mind. Actually, the friendly formality tends to improve compliance when they are asked to do something.
9. We got Miss Lola, their spoiled (rescued) Corgi, (thankfully house broken). She sits by my chair when we eat and impatiently waits for me to toss her a morsel. If I don’t deliver fast enough, she pokes my leg and makes threatening sounds. (Isn’t that cute?). It’s my fault. I allowed it to happen.
10. Disagreements are addressed with discussion, humor and the realization that life is short and very little that happens (or doesn’t happen) is worth yelling, screaming or getting bent out of shape.
I know it’s not for everyone, but we are blessed beyond measure that “our kids” live with us.
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