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How To Cope When You’re An Adult Living At Home

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Any adult (still) living in the family home might re-live the following conversation on any given day: “Mam, please,” said in a pained, strained voice. “My room is my only place of privacy; please stop going in, moving things and throwing stuff away – things I like, such as the bottle of pick-me-up full-fat coke that is banned from our fridge – without telling me!”

The response, pre-blow up row, is usually intended to ensure you feel as guilty as possible: “What?” said wide-eyed and in a wounded tone. “I’m only trying to help you,” before moving in for the kill, “And anyway, I wouldn’t have to do this if you kept the room clean/didn’t eat and/or drink so much crap.”

“But it’s MY room!”

“It’s MY house.”

And that’s it. End of you – the child who is a full-grown adult – having any hope of winning the argument. I am one of many adults who grow up, move out for a brief time, and then end up living in the family home again – of the ‘Boomerang Generation.’ A new study says more than 75% of 25-45-year-olds are currently in the same situation, having either had to move back home for financial reasons as a result of the recession, a break-up or because they have to save for a house and can’t afford to pay Ireland’s astronomical rent rates. We’re no good at “adulting” as a result of this either, i.e., we’re  growing up with no knowledge of the traditional skills required to become self-sufficient adults thanks to being sheltered by parents (have you ever been referred to as “precious?” It isn’t a good thing).

Seventy-five percent is a huge amount of adults having to regress in life; they were an adult, but are once again the child, and usually not by choice either. And what of the adults who have to move back in to their parents with a family of their own? The boundaries of your relationship with your parents completely shift, and it’s profoundly awful for both parties; your parents have done their bit (and then some): they’ve raised you, fed you, and loaned you cash when you’ve been too broke to afford food (well, you said it was food, but it was really for that after-work cocktail making class). And you, the adult and fully-formed person of your own, are driven demented. You’ve no space to call your own, no privacy and nowhere to truly hide your day-from-hell junk food stash. The whole house is in a state of mourning; everyone has lost their independence.

I’ve heard and (lived through) both sides of the story; the adult children giving their nice parents hell because said parents are intruding on their life (even though they are living a pampered, rent-free existence at home) and tales of woe from the children who would actually rather live in a bedsit with a creepy landlord if they could afford to (it isn’t a good idea, ever) because they lovingly can’t stand their parents.

But, there are ways to cope with the upheaval in your life and co-exist peacefully with your parents, namely by doing the following:

Stop focusing on the negative:
You’re warm, sheltered and away from creepy landlords, your life could be worse.

Think of how great the food is:
Because when will you be ever able to cook meals like your mother can that aren’t your favourite takeaways? (Probably never). 

Remember how much you’re saving (and actually try to save):
Keep your daft rental email alerts on to remind you how expensive it is to live alone.

Keep them sweet:
Your parents raised you; they deserve nice things. And if you want to remain in their cosy home, it’s better to stay on their good sides. Contribute something to the running of the house (no, it hasn’t got any easier or less expensive now you’re a grown up) and help your dad out in the garden at least once if he asks again.

And (most importantly), appreciate them:
They won’t be around forever and are one of a kind. You won’t be living with them forever so enjoy that you can be around them and bond with them as an adult, while you can.

Now, if someone could remind me of this, the next time I come home to find all the crap (that I love) taken out of my room, I’d appreciate it.

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