Do you ever wonder what your adult children think about you, especially those who have moved back home? A good friend recently found out, in the form of an op-ed piece in the New York Times.
After his graduation from Georgetown University last May, Aodhan Beirne returned to his old bedroom, still outfitted with childhood memorabilia right down to his dinosaur blanket. The situation has worked out so far; he gets along well with his parents for whom he has assumed the role of “Information Technology instructor” for their struggles with the DVR and other tech toys. A fair trade, he says, for his father brewing morning coffee and his mom making lunch.
However, while Aodhan landed a job in Manhattan and socializes with friends, he hasn’t quite been able to cut all the maternal oversight:
I try to maintain the normal social life of a 22-year-old, though I have to contend with the guilt of knowing that my mom’s irrepressible maternal instinct keeps her up until I’m home — sometimes as late as 4 a.m. “I wait because I’m your mother and I never stop being your mother,” she tells me, and it’s hard to argue with that
The major transition, like for many young adults, has been the realization that this period back home is not summer break or winter vacation. College is over, and that means those hallmarks of dorm living–midday naps, dirty dishes piled in the sink and clothes strewn on the floor—are no longer acceptable. Missing also is the sense of unlimited potential so common to young people still in college. Yet, he writes:
I do not pity myself for long, though, because only a few bedrooms away are my parents, the two people proudest of what I have accomplished, and rooting most for my success.
And, in words that should comfort all parents in a similar situation, Aodhan explains that living at home actually has some good points:
Indeed, there’s something comforting in my situation. I can experience the frustrations of young adulthood and the infancy of my professional life, and still come back to my dog’s unwavering affection and a home-cooked meal. So during the most jarring transition of my life — from student to graduate — it’s not bad having the stability my childhood home offers.
Aodhan isn’t alone in his attitude that there’s an upside to boomeranging.
An AARP column by Mary Hickey notes the good press on moving home, ranging from the Wall Street Journal’s “Benefit of the Boomerang” which featured a young woman who saved $12,000 living at home, to the New York Times’ “You Can Go Home Again.” In that article, two “emerging adult” experts wrote, “Our research shows that the closer bonds between young adults and their parents should be celebrated, and do not necessarily compromise the independence of the next generation.”
Ms. Hickey acknowledge that much media coverage (and we’d add commenters on those articles) has criticized the boomerang trend. But, she writes,
The notion of kids going off to college was fairly unique to the boomer generation.
Just because we were fully independent early on doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the way it should be.
The article also feature a hilarious cartoon about kids moving home: