The age of the boomerang

Art by the talented Gina Boyett

I posed a question recently: “Would you move back in with your parents if you had to?” and I received several very emphatic answers on the SR Mom Facebook page:

“H*** NO!”


and my personal favorite…

“Rather my mom, than my in-laws!”

Almost 7 years ago, I was faced with the same decision. I was packing up all the belongings of my house and consolidating them in the smallest amount of boxes possible. My father came and loaded everything into a trailer and the van. And the kids and I took our seats and were driven to our new home – or rather, a home that was very familiar to us.

The home of my childhood was about to become theirs too.

We are in the age of the boomerang, when grown-up children are moving back in with their parents, mostly for economic reasons due to job loss, divorce, and myriad different situations beyond their control. It was definitely an economic choice on my part. Having spent the past year as a stay-at-home mom, I had no means to support myself or my kids now as a divorcing woman. My parents were more than willing to take the kid and me in, putting us up in the largest room of the house. They had cleared it out completely, making room for my King size bed and their bunk bed.

Moving home definitely made life easier at a time when life was at its hardest, and it just made sense. But in doing so, I had to bite back a lot of pride. Now don’t get me wrong, when I made the decision to move back home I pretty much had nothing left. Pride was the last thing on my list of worries. But as I settled in, it became embarrassing to admit, as a mid-twenties woman with two children, that I was living at home with my parents. There is a prejudgment that goes along with an adult who moves back home with his or her parents. I felt like a failure already because I wasn’t instantly capable of being the head of our household, and I needed my family’s help to make it. And I knew that without them, I would be homeless.

The second part of the equation is that while I love my parents immensely, living with them totally changed the dynamics of our relationship. Suddenly I was a child again, and my kids were also like their children. There were different rules to abide by, stricter than what would have been in my house. And it became my parents’ say that ruled over mine. Of course, being that it was their house, their rules should be the ones to follow. But it blurred the lines over who was the parent of my kids. And it left me feeling powerless, and much like a rebellious teen. Not only that, you can imagine the frustration on my parents’ part with having to share their home with three other people, two of them being noisy kids who tend to leave messes wherever they go. My parents had raised their kids. And suddenly here they were, parents all over again. All of this caused a lot of strife between the folks and me.

As I neared the time of independence, the need to stretch my legs and have a space of my own was overcoming me. That need became so overwhelming that after 2 years in their home, I finally made the jump to start looking for a place to live. 6 months later, the kids and I were on our way out the door, moving on to a life brand new to us. We didn’t have a lot, but we had enough thanks to wonderful friends and my family who made sure that we were set to start off on our own. As a housewarming gift, one of my friends painted me a picture that said “Home is where your story begins.” The “home” she spoke of was the home I was moving into, the very first place I had ever lived as the sole adult. But now when I look at that painting, I see something different. My story began long ago when I was a child. Home was where I was taken care of by the two people who would have done anything to ensure my comfort and safety. And later in my adult years, that devotion didn’t change. They took me and my two kids in so that we could heal from something very traumatic, and get back on our feet. My parents’ home will always be my first home, the place where my story began.

Would I move back home now? “H*** NO!” Well, that’s not entirely true. I love my parents very much, but we get along much better when we have our own separate places to go home to. I can say with assurance that they agree with this sentiment. But there is no shame in biting back pride and boomeranging back into your parents’ home. For me, if the only choice were homelessness (after I had exhausted every single option – such as applying as a live-in deckhand on a cargo ship that bent the child labor laws), then yes, I would move back home again and share one cramped bedroom with my two tween kids.

As you can imagine, this has forced me to be extra, extra careful with paying all of my bills and rent on time.

How about you?  Would you move back in with your parents if you had to?  Has this decision already become a reality for you?  How’s it going?


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