The day you become an adult is a great day. It’s a wonderful feeling of freedom to see your life laid out before you. At least it is until you’re deep in your overdraft and out of work. Moving out is the first major stage of true independence, so it feels a little strange being stuck in the same house you grew up in. But if you’ve found yourself in this position, it’s important to note that you are not the only one.
You don’t have to be a cliché basement-dweller just because you’re still living with the ‘rents. With high unemployment rates, ¼ of adults aged 20-34 still live with theirs. If you’re lucky enough to be able to stay at your parents’, you should be grateful for their hospitality. But that feeling of gratitude is going to be tested. A lot.
1. There’s no privacy
Firstly, you better hope that your room remains the same. I’ve known people hit their 20s only to find that they’re sharing a room with a younger sibling, or sleeping on the sofa because their room has been converted into a study. Even if you do have your room as you want it, your parents aren’t used to the life of a 20-something. That means people walking in without permission, moving your stuff, and knocking on your door every five minutes. If you appreciate some time to yourself then this is a nightmare.
2. You’ll have to get used to bad TV
From Breaking Bad to Teen Mom, whatever your particular taste in TV is, you can pretty much guarantee your parents won’t be on the same frequency. So get used to sitting through the programming that will bore you senseless and make you question your very existence. I was driven mad by the endless re-runs of Jerry Springer, but ended up getting really into Springwatch. I don’t know which is worse.
3. The return of chores
Even if you’re working a full-time job, you’ll still be asked to do your chores. And not just the kind of upkeep that you would do in your own home, but the same chores you were given as a child. Except, now you’re an adult – so you’ll be expected to do twice as much. That means precious weekends spent gardening, traipsing around DIY stores and cleaning the gutters out all to your parents’ exacting specifications and schedule.
4. They still think of you as a kid
Your parents were prepared to look after you until you become an adult. Now that you’re still around, it doesn’t matter how much you’ve grown or learned over the years, because they are used to seeing you much younger than you actually are. The thing is, you are not financially independent yet either. And it’s pretty hard to argue that you’re a mature adult when you’ve still got One Direction posters on the wall.
5. You’ll get a LOT of unwanted advice
The job market has changed a lot since your parents were in their 20s. From the rise in unemployment rates, to the advent of internet job searches and social media, your parents are probably a little out of the loop. Be prepared to get persistent advice on what you should be doing, mostly along the lines of: “there’s a young girl working down the supermarket, why don’t you try there?” when you already have several times. When you get down to sending those applications off, they’ll tell you to stop wasting time on your laptop.
6. Forget having friends over
Your parents might let you have friends over, but they’ll be expecting the sleepover parties you used to have rather than the mad nights you’ve gotten used to. Even if they’re lenient, you won’t feel comfortable enough to drink and socialise when your parents are upstairs.
7. Curfews make a comeback
Remember bed time? Well it’s back with a vengeance. Your parents might not be tucking you in anymore, but they will be sure to tell you when you’re staying up too late, however quiet you are. This happens on nights out too. Even if you’ve been clubbing for years, they will want to know exactly where you’re going, who you’ll be with, when you’ll be back and how you’ll be getting home. Being overprotective isn’t quite as cute when you’ve passed the 20 mark.
8. It makes dating much more difficult
Trying to find the perfect match is hard enough as it is. Say you’re in a bar, and you see someone you want to approach. You start thinking: “What if they ask where I live?” It’s not as though you can lie. More people than you think will understand, but often the fear will affect your confidence to spark up conversation in the first place. On top of that, you can’t exactly bring someone back for a one night stand to your childhood bedroom, complete with toy cars and Warhammer models.
9. Their irritating habits that you’ve forgotten about
Ever thought a friend was too impatient with their parents, only to have them say the same about you? You’re always going to be more easily irritated by your own parents, so when you’re stuck living with them for too long those tiny annoying habits are going to grind your gears. It can be anything from snoring you can hear across the house, to talking through movies, to the way they eat their food. Your pet peeve will become more clear as time goes on.
10. Hearing about your more successful peers
It can be demoralising when you hear about others your age who have moved out or started an exciting new job. You want to be happy for your friends, but at the same time you can’t help but feel left out. So it doesn’t help when your mum or dad keep reminding you that “Sharon’s son has a wonderful job” or “Ted’s daughter moved out the other day”. It’s best to just slowly back away.
11. You revert to your teenage self
If anything on this list sounds particularly grumpy; that’s part of the problem. When you hit your teens, you start to crave an independence that’s just out of reach. This emotional time of your life usually results in a lot of arguments and foul moods. The thing is, those times will return once you’ve hung around for too long. Even after you’ve supposedly matured from those times, being stuck at home will make you moodier than a grounded 14-year-old.
Your parents letting you live at home is a wonderful thing. But however well-intentioned they are, there are bound to be some problems. You need patience, patience, and more patience.
As the Fresh Prince once said: “There’s no need to argue, parents just don’t understand”. Wise words indeed.