• Tue, Feb 25 - 9:00 am ET

Call Me Clingy, But I’m Totally Down With My Kids Living With Me Forever

shutterstock_172841864

I love being snarky about the “joys of motherhood,” but there’s more below the surface, I promise. Motherhood is stressful, challenging, and also amazing because I’m surprised to learn that I love my kids so, so much.

Like, a lot. Not the kind of love where I want to eat them so that they can live inside me forever and become a part of me, but the kind of love where I really enjoy hanging out with them, even as a baby and a toddler, and the thought of them moving out makes me want to die.

Granted, I have about 18 years to go, but it’s not enough, I tell you! You can imagine my happiness when I saw this recent Department of Education study that highlighted the fact that “more men and women age 27 [are] living with their parents than with roommates.”

HOORAY! I shout as I throw confetti in the air with glee. This is excellent news for me as a young mother that really can’t stand the thought of parting with my children for life. And I know someone out there will make it a point to tell me that I will “feel differently” when they are teenagers, in a delightfully patronizing tone, but we’ll see about that.

My parents started charging me rent at home as soon as I was 19. On the one hand, I appreciated that they taught me responsibility, but perhaps because of divorce and a new stepparent, I felt very unwanted. I moved out shortly thereafter and was scared shitless to be on my own. I felt very alone, and I know that is all part of the growing up process that I now appreciate, but I also wish that my parents had been more welcoming to me at the time.

I don’t know if my kids will live with me until the age of 27, but I can only hope. I want them to grow up and be amazing men, but I would also be not-so-secretly happy if they spent a few extra years at home.

(Image: Ljupco Smokovski/Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Bethany Ramos, on twitter.
What We're Reading:
Share This Post:
  • Ddaisy

    If your kids wanna live at home, and you want them to live at home, that’s cool. Everyone involved in that situation is a consenting adult, and moving out these days is freaking expensive.

    My mom, on the other hand, so DESPERATELY wants her adult children (24, 22, and almost 20) to live at home, that she has cried, screamed, begged, guilted, bribed, and blackmailed us to stay. Umm, call us crazy, but all of that just pushed us out faster.

    There’s nothing wrong with wanting your adult kids to live with you, as long as you can also be okay with it if they choose to leave.

    • Bethany Ramos

      I promise I won’t take it that far! Maybe I’ll play hard to get… And then they’ll just want to stay a little longer without the pressure. :-) I can dream.

    • AP

      My mother-in-law recently called to tell us that she found a semi-related job opportunity 30 minutes from where she lives (which is 3,000 miles from us and not where he grew up) and that my husband should apply for it and move near her so we could have dogs and babies.

      We were like, uh…we’re not bailing early on a good job to live in a state we have almost no connection to. So-rry.

  • Patty

    Hmmm…I guess I can agree with the idea of having them be close-by as adults (hubby and I joke that we are going to follow them to college and buy houses wherever then land – you know, when we make our millions and all! ha!). But the idea of them LIVING with us as twenty-somethings…..not so sure. I would be too worried that it would stifle their development, make them lazy/irresponsible, stunt maturation and independence, not to mention cramping their styles romantically, and generally would make them less happy overall (I can’t imagine living with my parents in my 20′s…would have certainly created anxiety/depression!). So I think we all just need to work on making our millions now so we can buy those summer/winter homes near all of our kids (we have 3 so we are gonna have to bounce around a bit). Or convince them to go “Everybody Loves Raymond” style! :)

    • Angela

      My cousin actually did marry a man who’s father purchases a large plot of land that he divvied up amongst his kids. The deal was that they each had to pay for their house to be built but they got the land for free. Sometimes it’s a bit claustrophobic for her but on the plus side her kids get to grow up with all their cousins and she always has free babysitting.

  • jane

    I’m not sure how I feel about them living at home forever, but I do think that if they wanted to stay a while, that wouldn’t be too bad, as long as they were acting like adults and not adolescent party-all-the-time morons.

    But I do agree with you that it does go fast. My eldest is just about to turn 9, and she was driving us a little bonkers the other day, and I turned to my husband and said “you know, she’s just about halfway through with living with us.” That was an awfully sobering thought. On one hand, I know it’s still far away. On the other hand, the years feel like they’re going quicker and quicker and it just seems increasingly strange that, while I know I’ll be her mother forever, things will change so much so soon. I feel like so many of those years will be gone in the blink of an eye.

    • Bethany Ramos

      And I saw some dumb FB share photo about only having 940 Saturdays left until your kid goes to college (or something), and I was like, NOOOOO.

    • jane

      On the upside, only 940 Saturdays left til I can sleep in, read the paper and have a cup of coffee and then go for a run and come home and take a nap. Oh, that sounds heavenly.

  • Jell

    My parents started charging me rent when I was living at home, working a full time job and not enrolled in college. I have no complaints about this. I didn’t particularly get along with them so living at home as a young adult was “trying” to say the least, but feeling financially responsible for myself was empowering. It wasn’t even nearly as much as I would have paid to rent a room or apartment on my own but I appreciate that it was done.
    If you and your kids are able to get along in adulthood enough to live in the same house, more power to you. My spouse is so close to his parents that he wants us to move to their town. It’s nice to see that kind of relationship, even if I don’t have it.

  • tSubh Dearg

    Both myself and my sister were living at home for extended periods during our 20′s but that was because we went to university locally and weren’t really working at the time. It worked pretty well.
    The last time I was living at home was because the house we just bought was being renovated and we couldn’t afford to rent and pay the mortgage at the same time. It was great having dinner made for us and my mum would throw our laundry in with hers when she was doing a wash.
    Now we live in our own house, which just happens to be right next door to my parents, which I find cosy, though my Beau gets a lot of teasing about the in laws being next door. We’ve always had mutually respectful relationship and they would never come over on a whim without checking it was okay first.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    (my kid’s not even 3, so all of this is really with a grain of salt as I know my perspective might change a lot)
    I’m fine with my kid living with us as needed – if she’s in school and having a hard time making ends meet (though I’d really encourage her to live in residence or student apartments if she can because I think it’s a great transition to living solo), or whatever…but it’d be temporary, and contingent on her working or being in school (or both) or actively trying to find work….no loafing! The rent thing…I don’t know, if she was trying to save money to go to grad school or whatever, I wouldn’t charge her rent, but if she was working and spending her cash on beer and tattoos, well then yes I would charge her rent because I want money for beer and tattoos!

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      On the other hand, the fact that she is already growing up so much and will leave our home someday does absolutely make me cry.

    • pixie

      Yeah, my parents told me that if I was just working and not saving up for school or in school and living at home, I’d be paying rent. And if I wasn’t in school they’d expect me to be actively looking for a job if I didn’t already have one. not just lazing around. I have no problem with that policy, but I live away from home eight months of the year to go to university, so I only live with them in the summer anyways.

  • G.E. Phillips

    Dear Lord. May I one day own a house with a basement or in-law apartment, so that my young adult son has a safe, quiet, affordable place to live while he is in medical school…..or to play video games and do bong hits with his sketchy girlfriend. Whatever is Your will. Amen.

    • Bethany Ramos

      This is my #mothersprayer too!!

    • G.E. Phillips

      #blessed

  • TngldBlue

    My parents made it very clear to me that there was an expiration on living at home. If I was going to college, I could stay until I graduated. If I worked instead, I would pay rent and would be expected to find my own place in months, not years. My dad was fond of saying “the door swings one way and that is out”. Another of his gems, “once you turn 18, I don’t HAVE to do anything for you, anything I do for you at that point is out of the kindness of my heart”. He can be a real dick sometimes but he sure taught me to hustle.

  • Guest

    My parents have always been good about us living at home- probably since my dad “lived at home” (stopped by to grab clothes) until he was 28. He always told us that we could live there at whatever age whenever we needed to but were not allowed to have spouses/children with us. They did tell me when I withdrew from school that if I didn’t sign up at the community college they’d start charging me for stuff. It has been helpful though being able to live there and then move out, moved back while I waited for my purchase of a short sale to go through etc. I do still wish I had gone to school and lived in a dorm for the experience but instead I purchased a house at 22 so I’m ok with the trade off.

    • Lackadaisical

      I moved out at the same time that I went to university. I only visited my parents and would get a job in the city that the university was in during holidays. My brother still lives at home at 34, although he has lived on his own and with his ex wife for a while. The thought of living a second longer with my parents fills me with dread but that may say more about our relationship than my independence. I also bought a house at 22 (but jointly with my now husband).

    • Guest

      My younger brother just moved back in with them and I tell everyone I don’t know how he does it. I couldn’t move back in at this point. Couldn’t.

    • Lackadaisical

      Yes, to go from joint head of the house to living in a house that belongs to someone who will always remember me as a kid while they were an adult, and to have to defer to them as it is their house that they have invited me into, would drive me barmy. Either they or I would be buried in the back garden by the end of the week.

  • Lackadaisical

    Noooooooooo. I would always welcome my kids back home if they needed it but I really do hope that they are able to move out and live their own lives when they grow up. This is partly because I want them to have the confidence to take responsibility for their lives and enjoy the independence I had, and partly because I am too selfish to actually want to share a house with three adult offspring and potentially their own partners.

  • Angela

    I’m certainly not counting down the days until I can unload my kids although who knows what can change during the teen years. At the same time though I feel that I learned some super valuable life lessons from living with roommates, paying my own way, etc. Plus while it’s one thing to live at home while you’re going to school or saving for a house it seems that the adults I know who continue to live at home with no expiration date in mind are living rather stagnant lives. I’m sure there are exceptions to this. Perhaps somewhere out there there is a 40 year old guy still living in his parents basement who has a thriving career, active social life, and who’s learned to basics of self care like picking up after yourself and doing your own laundry. I just have never met one.

  • JLH1986

    I was allowed to live at home free of charge as long as I was going to school and working part time. I saved and saved and graduated undergrad in December and bought a house the next August. I was 23. My brother is 28 and has moved home and out and home again several times. My mom enjoys it at first but…after about 6 months she’s ready to live on her own again.

  • Crusty Socks

    Beth, I have the perfect side business you can run with your son

    http://splatter-shack.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Bates-motel-500×250.jpg

    *runs away!!!

    • Bethany Ramos

      Hahahah #howdareyou

  • JustaGuest

    Even if they do live with you, please teach them some basic life skills (laundry, meal-planning, etc.). My husband has almost none of hat because he lived at home a long time and his mom did everything for him. It has made married life complex.

    • Bethany Ramos

      I will, promise!

  • Ptownsteveschick

    Wanting your kids to live with you forever is fine. Making you adult children feel guilty for moving out and having their own lives, and sadly asking them if they ever plan/think about “coming home” is not. Little tip from life with my mom, who will only be happy when we all are back in 1999 again.

    • Bethany Ramos

      It was a great year…

  • Ptownsteveschick

    Also, this may make me a terrible person, but having my daughter in my early 20′s was part of my plan to have my own life again by 45. Hahaha bye kiddo! Mom’s going on a cruise.

  • brebay

    I’d like them close by, but in their own place; I don’t think you ever really feel grownup until you have your own place. The relationship should change. And I don’t think nagging over household chores, noise, money, etc. is a part I want to still have when they’re grown. I do hope they’re close geographically though, so that I still get the fun parts!

  • brebay

    What gets me is that Tide commercial where the adult sons move back home and mom’s still doing their laundry! Hell to the no! If they have to live at home in or after college or grad school I’d let them; as long as they were saving up, but no way in hell would I still be cleaning up after them! I may not make them pay rent so they could save up quicker, but would expect them to contribute non – financially.

  • Kay_Sue

    This is why teenagers and adolescence exist–to kill all of these feelings inside of you so you are willing to throw them out, move, and leave no forwarding address as soon as you can.

    • SA

      haha! I was getting ready to comment on this article that I certainly feel that way now, but talk to me again when she is in high school. :)

    • brebay

      Totally! Teenagers are nature’s way of preventing you from falling to pieces when they leave…

  • val97

    I do hope my kids live nearby because I will want to see them more often than once or twice a year (which is how often I see my own mother at this point), but I know it’s good for them to be out on their own. I hope I raise them to be fully self sufficient – that is my goal.

  • Ellen

    I feel completely opposite. My SIL lived at home until she was 28 – without paying rent, etc. – and she is an entitled asshole. My kids are out at 18 either to college or to experience what life is like without a degree ON THEIR OWN. I am raising people not parasites.

    • quinoaachebe

      That is pretty late, but 45% of college graduates 18-24 live with their parents. It’s hard to pay back student loans and pay for all of your own stuff when you can’t get a full-time job unless you go to grad school/have done lots of internships.

  • Rachel Sea

    The idea of kids living with their parents at 27 gives me hives. I started living with friends when I was 14/15, and got my own apartment with a roommate at 17. I think the reason I have an amicable relationship with my parents now, is because I moved out so early. I would hope for independence for any kids of mine by the time they were 18, people learn best how to be self-sufficient through practice.

  • K

    You sound like my parents :) Both got kicked out of their house at 18, but when I moved out permanently on my own accord when I was 21, they really tried their hardest to convince me to stay longer. I moved to California and they’re in Florida. Whenever I call them now they always tell me they wouldn’t mind me moving back closer to home, or if for whatever reason I need to move back, there is always a bed for me.

  • Kelly

    Do you really want them to be unable to function independently as adults into their late twenties or beyond?

    I don’t understand that. I get that you love them and want to spend time with them but I’d be happier if my kids had their own lives as adults, for their own sakes. It’s great that you’ll be there for them but why not hope they’re successful enough to be able to live on their own and take care of themselves as adults?

    • brebay

      That’s how I see it. I think my kids would be sad, not to have to live with me (I hope) but to not have that pride of having your own place, getting to make your own rules, have people over, all that. I’d like to be close by, but I also don’t want my kids hanging around the same town they grew up in just because they’re worried about me.

  • Elisianna

    Sooo happy our house is big enough that my kids will be able to live with me for a long time. Kids around here rarely move out of their parents’ houses until quite late. It is so expensive. My sister lives with my mom and she is 25. She sometimes drives my mom nuts but she would be sooooo lonely without her (especially since my dad’s favourite hobby is working which he has been known to do for 16+ hours in one day, though he works at home).
    My siblings and I were wonderful teens. I seriously would have chosen to hang out with my mom over basically anyone else. I hope and pray my kids will be like me. Then I really will want them sticking around forever. :P

  • Raero

    My 27 year old brother and 23 year old sister still live at home. My parents moved across the state and both siblings followed them. It is dysfunctional and not cute and causes no end of strife in our family.

  • guest

    My parents seem to be the exception. We were told quite clearly as seniors in high school, “If you go to college, you will live there, if not you have 2 months to find full-time employment and an apartment.” Both my brother and myself left for college at 18 and have not been home since. While we were in college, our parents helped with rent for our (very cheap) apartments, but did not allow us to move home. The experience of living on our own and figuring things out was invaluable to us both. I talk to my parents daily, have a very close relationship with both, but haven’t lived in the same city with them since I graduated high school. At the time, their stance seemed harsh, but in hindsight, it was the best thing they could have done to foster our independence.

  • http://OhSoBold.com/ Quiana

    I simply cannot fathom this! My twins are 8 so we haven’t hit puberty yet but even still with their adorable lovable selves, they need to grow up and move on. I love them but I’m raising them to be men not man-child(s) or is it men-children???? Either way, I was charged rent by my Mom and am beyond grateful for it.

    I was the one who at 18 was in college, had a credit card, knew how to balance my check book, etc. I lived on my own when before getting married and extensively traveled. My husband wasn’t ever charged rent but he too was told to either stay home and save or move along after college. We both get along with our parents wonderfully and have BIG respect for them.

    Sure kids today have it a bit harder than we did just 10 years ago, but even still, it is not an excuse to never launch. You can always come home to regroup, but not to be a full time forever resident.

    My boys do it all now even at 8 – wash their own clothes, make their own lunches, pack their own school bags, pick out their own clothes, clean the house, help with the yard…you name it, they will know how to do it…just like their awesome Dad!

  • tk88

    You know, I think you might not understand why people are living at home so long. It’s not “I love my mom so much I can’t bear to leave her!”. It’s more like “Despite my college degree I can’t find a job that allows me to live on my own so I’m forced to stay at home.” Speaking from experience, having to live at home until you’re in your mid-late 20s because of finances is extremely depressing and a big blow to the self-esteem and self-worth of the person. You don’t want that for your kids.