When I grew up it was accepted that at the age of 18 you would go off to further education and, on graduating, you would move into your own place, or you would start work at 18 and share a flat with some mates. This norm unfortunately isn’t normal anymore.
Staggeringly the average age to leave home is now 32, which means I could be well into my 60s before I have the proper opportunity to experience ’Empty Nest’ syndrome. Don’t get me wrong, I do love my children. I just might love them a bit more if they were not here all the time.
As a mother you nurture your offspring. You run their childhood lives for them, you wipe away their tears and you wipe their noses. You guide them through toddler tantrums and hideous teenage tempers. By the age of 18 you have the right to congratulate yourself that you have done your very best, as you load the car, and help them move into some grotty accommodation which you personally wouldn’t sit down in.
I did that. Twice. I went through the short-lived sadness of coming home to an empty child’s bedroom, twice. I started to enjoy an immaculate home without bedrooms full of furry coffee cups and dirty socks, twice. I started to enjoy cooking quick suppers for two rather than family meals for four, twice.
The problem is my children have not quite managed to leave and stay away. I know that this year has been extraordinary, and my son, who is a university student, has been forced to live at home. My 24-year-old daughter became a full-time resident again after graduating. The cost of moving out is so prohibitive that I really am not sure whether either of my children will ever go permanently.
Two adults and 2 children living under one roof is a very acceptable family dynamic. Four adults living under one roof is not. It is exhausting. We all have our own very different personalities, our own agendas and our own very clear ideas as to what constitutes being a good housemate.
I thought the days (or nights) of having the booze cupboard raided and doors being banged at 3am were long gone but it seems they are not. I am now the mother of two grown up toddlers, still expecting me to do the washing, cook dinners, run a taxi service and apply an excessive amount of stain remover to the carpets.
Not only that, apparently life here is, I quote, ‘so boring.’ In order to alleviate this boredom Son and Daughter fill the house with their mates as well. These mates clearly do not get fed where they live, as they can demolish a whole week’s supermarket shop in one sitting and drink a month’s supply of Pinot Grigio and Budweiser in an evening. It wouldn’t be so bad if they actually loaded the dishwasher or emptied the odd bin but that is clearly beneath them.
When I do occasionally crack and REALLY lose my temper all I hear is ‘Blimey! Why is Mum in such a strop today?’ I would never be in a strop if I could just go back to living with the man I married and feeling I had ticked the parenting box once and for all.
Apparently, there are two things that children really cannot cope with, and that is the sight of their parents naked, and the thought of them copulating. This leaves me no option. Next weekend Husband and I are turning into naturists and we are going to fornicate wildly on the sofa with ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ on in the background. Perhaps, at last that will get rid of our offspring.
Thanks to Jayne Webb who wrote this very funny post which we are delighted to publish. Check out her blog – How Not To Have A Midlife Crisis – here. If you have a story you would like to contribute to A&G Magazine, don’t be shy… email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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