Moving Back In With Your Parents – Ten Home Truths
Eleanor MargolisFollow author @EleanorMargolis
Eleanor Margolis is a New Statesman columnist and a freelance journalist. She has quite a lot to say about being a lesbian and a London-dwelling member of Generation Rent.
Once upon a time, in a numinous era know as The Seventies, being 25 and living with your parents was decidedly un-groovy. And when you could buy a three-bedroom semi in Bethnal Green for about 50p, it probably wasn’t especially common. Two years ago, realising that I could no longer afford the rent on a slightly mouldy room in East Dulwich, I, like so many other members of Generation Rent, followed my umbilical cord back to where I grew up. Here are ten things I’ve learnt, since moving back in with my parents.
1. How to make a proper cup of tea
Make an overly-milky cuppa for your housemate, Craig, who eats Ginsters pasties for breakfast and can fart the national anthem, and he probably won’t even notice. Make one for your mum, and she’ll send it back, repeatedly, until it’s the ideally dark shade of beige. Two years of living at home have shaped me into the tea surgeon I am today.
2. The joys of a full fridge
Long gone are the days when I’d open the fridge to find nothing but a cling filmed puddle of beans, a snout in a jar, and a suspicious ball of foil. The fridge has become my gateway to Gü puddings, exotic cheeses and in-date bacon. Your parents know exactly what you like, and they will buy it by the pallet.
3. The simple beauty of the Antiques Roadshow
Live with your parents, and you’ll quickly learn to love their TV programmes. And all the more so if they happen to involve Fiona Bruce admiring elaborate chamber pots. You’ll soon realise that there’s something very satisfying about watching a faded aristocrat’s face drop when he learns that his collection of horse-shaped banqueting troughs is worth a tenth of the price he was expecting.
4. Sex is a luxury
If you like sex, and doing loads of it, the combination of singledom and living at home is a noxious one. Unless your “room” is actually an entire floor of your parents’ palatial mansion, you’re not going to want to bring anyone back to it. The thought of a one-night- stand being offered breakfast by my mum (she’d totally do that) is enough to keep me celibate for a decade. Of course, there’s the option of going back to someone else’s place. But so many of us have moved back home, that the Mutual Parental Abode Situation is common. There are ways around it but you have to be, erm… creative.
5. Parents make good housemates
If you’re into the idea of housemates who are cooks, cleaners and therapists all rolled into one, heading back home is actually a pretty sensible move. They’re wise, house trained and they love you unconditionally. Plus, if they’re anything like mine, they won’t storm in at 3am to do coke with a load of people they met in the local Wetherspoon’s.
6. Parents make bad housemates
It’s hard to feel your age when the people who made you are obsessing over your every move. My inner belligerent teenager is awoken every time my parents ask me where I’m going.
“Out.” I reply.
7. Laundry elves exist
It’s incredible. Dirty clothes disappear, only to turn up a day later, at the end of your bed, neatly folded and smelling of meadows. For some reason this only happens when you live with your parents.
8. Suburban life is quite nice
When you’re in your twenties, leafiness tends not to be a priority when looking for somewhere to live. But I’ve learnt that leaves are the absolute best. As are quietness and safety. Not much happens in these parts, but I’m a ten minute walk from a field full of cows. Actual cows.
9. I am a disaster
When under your parents’ roof, you learn that spending an entire day in bed with a hangover is unacceptable behaviour. Why? Because they’ll tell you. Sometimes, living at home feels like being in a lab where I’m looking at all of my faults under a microscope.
“Planning on getting dressed at any point?” my dad asks, noticing that I’ve been wearing the same t-shirt and “leisure pants” for three days. Apparently this doesn’t count as “dressed”. I might as well be strutting around arse-naked, in his eyes.
10. I want to move out
Living at home may not be that bad, although I still want to take a chainsaw to the umbilical cord. But, with the average London rental cost of £1400 per month, I can’t see that happening anytime pre-menopause.