Tuesday, 5 January 2016

The Parenting Files: Adult Children in Your House?

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Lately I find myself thinking about, dreaming of, and anticipating the day the children all leave home and it's nice and quiet and peaceful around here.  And clean.  In fact, I'm beginning to disturb myself at the number of times I mention the possibility that the adult children leave home.  I need to stop it!  I love my kids.  I have mentioned often how awesome they are.  Because they actually are.  If I'm going to be trapped in a house of baby adults who stay around then I couldn't choose better people to be with.

But I'm tired of the parenting bit that comes with everyone living here.  They make me forget I'm really a nice person.

When I was in the car with Miss Mischief the other day I finally nailed the problem.  When I was exactly Miss Sunshine's age I was just barely married and had moved out.  I was the queen of my own little castle; boss of my own space.  I also worked full time from 18yo.  I didn't go to University so I was pretty independent from the minute I became an adult.  This is completely and utterly the opposite of my own baby adults, who are pursuing higher education and a gap year before beginning study.  Mostly kids don't leave home to go to University in Australia.  Certainly, when you live in or around a major city students simply commute rather than live on-campus.  University housing is very limited and costs more than my mortgage!

It seems like each season of parenting begins with a major mental and emotional shift and this is no different.  I need to have a long think about what this season needs to look like, and what makes sense for us.  Things like expectations and responsibilities, and then clarity for everyone in our home so we're all on the same page.  Indeed, what the page should even look like.  I remember it taking me about six months to fully adjust to having all my children off at school, and what that would look like for me, as a SAHM.  Clearly I'm a little slow off the mark for this season.  Or maybe I've just finally conceded that I'm weary!  I have recently resorted to blaming some of my parenting decisions on things like "You all know he's the youngest, he's meant to get away with more stuff".  Or, "Middle child life is hard and unfair - we're just fulfilling that for you".  Fortunately adult people get the sarcasm and lack of truth in these statements!!

Any thoughts?  What worked for you (as a baby adult, or as a parent!)?  What didn't?  I am so keen to gather all the sage advice I can find!


Lyndall @SeizeTheDayProject said...

Hmmm, I don't know that I can provide any pointers Tracy, as our kids are still in their teens. We've already started dropping hints about downsizing the house and what we plan to do when they leave home. It's never too early to start - right?

Joolz said...

Both our girls didn't have gap years - they headed off to Adelaide, 400kms away when they were 18 years old. My apron strings have been tugged!

My eldest daughter (now 25)moved up there in 2009 and did her Bachelor of Marketing (Management)for 3 years then got a job at a Media company right on finishing the degree. She's entering her 5th year there and has climbed up the ladder to a senior position. Yay!

My youngest daughter (now 22)moved up there in 2012 (making us empty nesters!)and moved in with her sister. She has completed her Bachelor of Nursing (Grad year nearly finished). She has secured a place in the casual pool (so can take whatever hours she is offered and do more if she wants) at the hospital and has just been offered 2 full days - she is wrapt!

They love to come home for a visit but I happy for them to return to the big smoke. They are better at keeping things tidy, doing their laundry and helping with meals and are a joy to have here.

I certainly missed them when they moved out but I get what you mean, they need to pull their weight. Its all fun and games, eh?

Denyse Whelan. said...

I wrote the longest comment and google decided "oops" and told me to come back. Sorry! Suffice to say, it is very different today to what it was when I left home at 20 and had my first job as a teacher. Housing affordability and a generation that is far too comfy at home to take on independent challenges it seems contributes to this staying home as an adult. Personally I couldn't do it! I think we've all made them too comfy! Cheers Denyse #teamIBOT

Beck Berger said...

Oh I feel your pain. I have one baby adult who has moved out of home, One who is still at home along with two teens. I am looking forward to a smaller food bill one day xx

EssentiallyJess said...

My youngest is only starting reception this year, so I am a long way off this. I suppose though, like you said, it's all about adjusting to the new season of life. Sometimes the adjusting takes time.

Danielle @ Several Kinds of Crazy said...

I don't have any adult Children as yet, however, as two of my Stepchildren are now in their senior years of high school, its getting closer!!! None of my kids seem to be very social either, so they are always at home. I moved out as soon as I could after high school and never looked back, whereas my Hubby's Brothers and my Brother are always popping in and out of their family home right up until their mid to late 30's.

Janet Camilleri said...

Miss 19 has always been fiercely independent, and moved out a year ago. Mr 21 has just enrolled in fulltime Uni so will be with us for the next 3 years at least. I'm not gonna lie, it IS easier when they move out in some ways. We do wish for more privacy at times, and if hubster and I argue, it will be over the kids, and if they're not in your face all the time, the arguments don't happen quite so much! Our secret to coping for the next 3 years is that we are in the process of buying a beach shack and intend to spend a lot of weekends and mini-breaks there. Did I mention Mr 21 hates the beach?!!!!

Tracy said...

Lyndall, I've been telling my kids since they were toddlers that people move out by the time they are 25. You know - time to get a degree (if they choose - that takes the longest), a job and get settled.

Joolz - 400km is a long way away. But closer than England, which is where our Malaysian friends send their kids for Uni! Hard though.

Denyse - This is why I'm thinking being at home needs to come with some sort of appropriate discomfort in the form of higher expectations.

Beck - smaller food, water, electricity and gas bill. So with you!!!!

Jess - it's taking longer to figure out than I thought. I'm still dithering about trying to imagine what it needs to look like.

Danielle - you sound just like us. Home bodies for kids. We all left home and stayed out. Dh's siblings were in and out until they married and then they stayed out.

Janet - When we were in Hobart in December I suggested we should buy a holiday house down there. Air fares are cheaper than they used to be. And we wouldn't have to take the kids. Perhaps a new "no room for children" caravan would just be cheaper though!

Thanks for your thoughts and solidarity ladies.

Jodie Sheppard said...

Hi Tracy, congratulations on your job by the way! Wonderful news for you and the school!
It is a difficult stage to navigate, having young adults still at home, especially if you yourself moved out of home earlier. I moved out at 17 and often hear myself saying "when I was your age......". But I do believe times have changed and Darren and I have concluded that we are happy for our children stay at home until they are ready to leave...especially if they are studying and can't work full time. Jake lived at home for 3 years of full time work and has almost got enough savings for a house deposit (along with his now wife who did the same). I am pleased we were able to help them in that way. Work out an appropriate amount of board, get them to take responsibility for their own washing, car expenses, life expenses etc. and gently guide them towards independence. It is tiring at times, you feel like you've put in the hard yards and need a bit of rest but one day they will all be gone and I wouldn't be surprised if I miss them a lot. xxx