A third of 25-35 year-olds back home living with parents? What a paradigm shift.
I was listening to “On Point” this morning to a discussion of “Why a Third of Millennials Live at Home.” As the parent of a 32-year-old son living in an apartment in our walk-out basement, I found this an interesting topic.
In many countries and cultures, this has always been the norm, but from at least the 1960s (my teen years) in the United States living-with-mommy has been considered failure, weakness, lack of drive… Evidently, the times they are a-changing.
I applaud the change.
The callers ranged from couples with small kids living with parents to save up a down-payment for a house, singles attending grad school, those with job changes/struggles, and choosing this situation for family closeness as well as financial benefits for all. Although host Tom Ashbrook expressed surprise at the choice, I totally understand it.
Our choice is a mix of family closeness and good stewardship of our finances. All parties involved benefit financially from this: faster internet (for less cost because together), family phone plans, rent that helps pay utilities and mortgage, sharing groceries and laundry, and more. We’re a close family, and grandma and grandpa’s house is a meeting point for extended family. Our son enjoys a lot more interaction with siblings, nieces and nephews. His friends are in and out, and we get to know them as well. He has his own entrance and can close his apartment off when he chooses—he’s an adult with his own schedule, his own life, and his own space. When he chooses, he eats with us, joins in on family gatherings, and just hangs out.
It’s the best of both worlds for us and for him.
In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit we disagree with bathroom cleanliness requirements as it is combined with our laundry room and outside his apartment, but downstairs. This is, however, a minor issue we are still finding the best way to resolve. (My description and needs for cleanliness exceed his, can you believe it?)
Always an independent thinker, I didn’t return home once I traveled halfway across the country for college. It was okay until I had children, and then I realized how much I wanted my children to know their extended family in the way that only close association brings. (You can love from afar, and we do, but it is different.) I grew up with few to no relatives even in the same state, and I felt that as a hole in my life. Now I’m experiencing (with daily thanksgiving) a close living arrangement with all my children and grandchildren. I need to make pockets of space for myself and my own pursuits, but this is honored by my family. We are learning to be individuals who are loved and supported in and by a group.
Why do I think this is a positive change? I believe a big part of our strength comes to us through our families. It takes long-term LOVE that surpasses circumstances and disagreements, shows respect for individuals and groups, and practices forgiveness and resolution of issues, and lots of fun and laughter. The stories we can tell!
Families are our launching pad, and sometimes our relaunching pad. Sometimes our launch involves extended members deciding to build a new launching pad together.
Hooray for families.