I love my parents, but I won’t deny that living under their roof can be a challenge. Even as I type this, I can barely think straight because my Dad has been banging and crashing around with the hoover outside my bedroom door for the past fifteen minutes. A regularity in most households – you might argue – but I still contend that no human other than my Dad is capable of making this much racket. With or without a hoover.
I moved back to my childhood home almost two and a half years ago after graduating from University, and I was happy to come back to my family, my school friends and my own cosy bed – I’d missed them. I’d consider myself quite lucky that I get on with my parents and my brothers as well as I do, so I wasn’t especially anxious or sad about living with them again – in fact I was quite looking forward to it.
But like many young adults who had, for three years, cherished the independence and freedom of student life, coming home to be told that eating breakfast cereal at 3 o’clock in the afternoon is not acceptable was, to put it lightly, a bit of a shock to the system. A standard post-night-out hangover once treated with the remedy of a pyjama day, Disney movies, and pizza, was now being supplemented with pre-9am why-aren’t-you-out-of-bed-yet wake-up calls, household chores, and tutting. Not to mention the classic, ‘It was you that got yourself into that state, so you can expect no sympathy from me.’
Sometimes you end up feeling like you’re the only one floating on this boat waiting to be rescued by some kind of monetary miracle, but an article in The Guardian from last October reports that in fact a fifth of young adults are still living with their parents until the age of 26 (20% of these rent-free), with more and more millennials struggling to reach even the first step of the property ladder. It’s getting your head around the idea that you’re an actual grown-up with a job and responsibilities, but still ‘the little girl who lives at home’ that can be even more mind-boggling.
Don’t get me wrong, I love living with my Mum and Dad, and I’m truly grateful for everything they’ve done for me – from getting me through University, to supporting me when I didn’t have a job, to helping buy my first car. For now I pay rent and do my own washing, cook meals at least once a week and help with the housework. We have a system and for the most part, it works really well. And maybe that’s the secret – understanding that your parents are also adjusting and coming to terms with the fact their 23-year-old daughter is still getting under their feet. Maybe working out how you can contribute to their day-to-day and making their lives a little bit easier is actually the solution to achieving a stress-free and comfortable living situation.
I know that when I eventually move out, I’ll miss living with my parents – I’ll miss their company, the conversations, and their jokes (even the bad ones). I know it could be better, but I also know I should be incredibly thankful for what I’ve got. Living at home certainly isn’t the hellish bedlam that it’s made out to be – you just have to adjust, and make the best of what you have.
(P.s. Mum, Dad – if you’re reading this – love you! x)