The other day my eldest daughter called to tell me of her new money-saving plan which involved Husband and I. She has decided to move home in September for 6 months. Yes she has joined the Boomerang generation.
Boomerang Generation is a term applied in Western culture to young adults graduating high school and college in the 21st century. They are so named for the percentage of whom choose to share a home with their parents after previously living on their own—thus boomeranging back to their parents’ residence.Wikipedia
Currently she is living in London, sharing a flat, and with a good job in the travel business. However in her own words she says that she cannot afford London life and save any money.
I left home when I was 18 years old with barely a backward glance. I was thrilled to be free of the restrictions of home life. Ahead of me I could see a life where I could see all my own friends, eat and more importantly drink what I like and my money was my own. There was no thought that if I got into debt (credit cards were given out to young aspiring adults, in the 80’s, like sweets at a children’s party) there was a helpline back to my parents. They had done their bit, got me through school, taught me how to stand on my own two wobbly feet and generally severed the umbilical cord. Now they waved goodbye and gladly returned to the ritual of their daily G&T at 6pm with no concern about how their daughter would survive life in the ‘smoke’.
Our children, the newly named Boomerang generation, are now all living in London. They recently voiced their regrets at the day we sold our house in town in exchange for a more forgiving rural life. My daughters say that if we still lived in London they would be living with us. My sons would not be joining them. The reason for the female/male divide is the simple fact of ‘comfort’.
For my daughters they love that there is always a full fridge and rosé in the wine rack. A constant supply of warm, clean, fluffy towels in the bathroom. Plus equally clean, ironed (a real crowd-pleaser) bedlinen on their bed each week. Washing leaves the laundry basket and is returned a couple of days later, clean and fully pressed without them having to step inside the laundry room. Please note that my iron and its output is high on their list of home benefits. London irons obviously do not work as efficiently as rural ones if at all!
When I moved to London I had a relative with a 3 bedroom terraced house in Fulham. I rented one bedroom with a girlfriend. He, as the owner of the house, had his own bedroom and bathroom. My girlfriend and I shared a bedroom with two single beds. The other bedroom had two young men in a similar situation. We four all shared one bathroom and so we each had an allotted time in the morning. If you missed yours then you went to work without even cleaning your teeth.
My three younger children rent flats/houses and each have their own bedroom with double bed. In one case they have an ensuite bathroom – a real luxury. The other two share a bathroom but only with one other person. They have not experienced the bathroom rat run in the morning. It was all part of the fun of living away from home. We learned, having missed our timed slot, to negotiate the use of the basin whilst one of our flatmates was having a bath.
We all spent more than we earned so I got an evening job working in a Greek restaurant opposite a pub. I mention its position as it came into its own after the pub closed as the pub-goers would stagger over the road to grab a kebab to soak up the beer consumed that evening. For some it was too late and the beer reappeared on our restaurant floor. So some evenings I was on mopping duty. It was my London life and I loved it. It was free of responsibility and worries but I was in charge!
Eventually I managed to save a deposit and, with a girlfriend, bought our first flat, in Pimlico. Now you have to be a millionaire to afford to buy in that area. Our mortgage application was as easy as filling in a form to buy a pair of shoes online. It was a formality and no-one really worried that we might not make the repayments. They contacted our employers and then calculated the mortgage at something like 3 times our annual salary. It was all sorted in a lunch break. There was no credit check as there were no computers, world wide web or such like so our history did not drag us down. Mistakes may have been made, late payments of our credit cards inevitable but they did not haunt us when applying to buy a house.
My own children do not have that option. Saving for a deposit for a house whilst paying rent in London nowadays is no easy task. Our other daughter is living in Tooting and her commute to work is over one hour. This is probably longer than if she lived at home.
My prodigal daughter, the older one, believes living at home will save her a fortune. She believes that after her home stay she will return to the city. With a deposit saved she will look for her own home as a first time buyer.
Husband and I, naturally, are very happy that she feels happy to live with us again. However haven’t we served our 25 years of hard parental labour?
We are not looking forward to the return of the ‘school run’ i.e. we will be obliged to take her to the station and pick her up. We currently seem to manage on one food shop a week. Often husband cooks an omelette for me if I am feeling a bit tired and we have a TV supper. I think domestic life may change. Daughter may expect more than an egg for supper after a commute and a day at the office.
Researchers at the London School of Economics, who studied the effects of ‘boomerang’ children on parents’ wellbeing, found that when an adult child returns to a home occupied only by their mother and father, the parents suffer a loss of “feelings of control, autonomy, pleasure and self-realisation in everyday life”.London School of Economics
Control of the TV remote is definitely something I will miss. Plus Husband and I like to have the TV volume at 60, this is our final step before submitting to hearing aids. Daughter has already told us that this level of sound could damage her delicate, young ear drums.
Autonomy will definitely be missed – home-rule has always been mine to delegate and invariably take back again. Husband is happy to accept my command, it makes for a quieter life for him however daughter is more strong-willed. She has already told us that we need to be thinking vegetarian and even the dreaded vegan word has been mentioned. My husband revels in the words, “Shall we have steak and a baked potato for supper”. These words will be few and far between when newly veggie daughter moves home.
As for pleasure and self-realisation – the latter peaked decades ago! Pleasure, well it will just be a new-found style of pleasure. One research group said sex becomes an issue for the parents. Not sure how that can be as daughter is hardly going to be sleeping in our bedroom. Luckily daughter has a boyfriend and she will be staying with him a couple of nights a week so that’s the sex sorted for her. Interestingly that is the one thing that our daughter has thought through and planned with her new home life.
I don’t want to sound resentful that my daughter is exercising her right to be a member of the Boomerang generation. Nevertheless I am quietly admitting that, whilst I love all of my kids, I love home being just the two of us. I have had over 60 years of gang life and now it is our time before grandchildren arrive and that era begins!
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