Back to the Basement: Are Your Grown Kids Living in Your Home?

Posted March 5, 2009 by

Photo of annita-woz

I almost laughed when I read an article on CNN.com about grown children moving back home.  It brought back some old memories about moving in with my parents the summer after college.   For some, this scenario might be described as every parent and grown child’s nightmare, and a sign of “failure to launch.”

Today’s economic downturn is forcing many to get creative and crowded. Families are losing homes, jobs, stability, and may have to turn to family for a place to rest their heads. In fact, I read about one family of five who lost their house but still had the travel camper.  They moved it from parking lot to parking lot to avoid camping fees, and were thankful they had a place to stay at all.

I moved back home for a summer between my second and and third year of college. I didn’t pay rent, I knew how to get around the landlord and I was working so many hours that I avoided all the chores of the house. To be honest, I was a rotten houseguest — messy, entitled, and already all-knowing after just four semesters of college under my belt. I don’t recall buying a bag of groceries or doing anyone else’s laundry except mine. I didn’t keep a curfew, but I didn’t ask for gas money, either.

I had younger siblings at home and I had been replaced by a foreign exchange student who was also there for the summer.  Though the house had not changed, my family sure seemed like strangers. When I asked my mom how it went, she claims she can’t really remember it.  She was working very hard, too. and I think my return home gave her validation that she was a great parent, or I wouldn’t have wanted to move back in.  As a parent, I have a much different perspective on what it must have been like for my mom and dad. Now I look at that time with them as a gift.

Has anyone else let grown kids move back home or allowed grown adults to land at your house for a period of time?  Who is living in your basement, and how are you negotiating the changes?

About

Annita Wozniak grew up in a large, imperfect family in the Midwest. "As adults we have the power to build children up or tear them down," she says about the challenges of being a responsible parent, "and we never know when what we say is going to be a defining moment in a child's life." Woz is a writer and child-grower living in the Midwest with her husband and their three inspirational children. She is always learning. You can visit her website at annitawoz.wordpress.com

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