According to a U.S. Census Bureau report one in three young millennials lives at home with their parents. That report showed 24 million 18- to 34 year olds lived with their parents 2015. I am a parent with a millennial living with me.
K. Parker, “The Boomerang Generation,” Pew Social and Demographic Trends Report declared, “Economic security ranks second in the transition to adulthood. About half of adults believe that having a full-time job and being able to financially support a family are extremely important to becoming an adult (Figure 1). Despite the prominence given to economic security, only a quarter of Americans think that moving out of the parents’ home is a very important part of adulthood. Given the attention paid to the “boomerang generation” that has “failed to launch,” it is surprising that Americans do not rate living independently as a more important step toward adulthood.”
My son graduated college and immediately moved out. Although it took another two years to get him to take all of his things with him: yearbooks, clothes and the bike that sat in his room collecting dust. The outdoor shed still has scuba gear and who knows what that is yet to be cleared out. And there is a box I saved of his drawings and report cards that needs sorting out. My daughter graduated college a year ago and lives with me. She plans on staying for at least a year once she has fulltime employment. She’ll mooch off me and try to bank as much of her salary as she can before moving out and in with the current boyfriend. Then I will find myself an empty nester except for the dog.
As this Census report confirms, the steps to becoming an adult are different than they were for me. I was pressured to get good grades to get in college. Then it was work hard in college and choose the right major to ensure getting a job out of college. And after college, I lived at home for about seven months before packing up my things and moving to New York. I worked hard, opened a 401k in my early 20s and never asked my parents for a dime. I wish I could say the same about my kids who are always asking for help with paying for a vacation or a master’s class.
What you should know about having a millennial in your house:
1. You need to be clear about living arrangements.
My daughter and I struggled in the beginning of our first year living together post college. While I think of her as my daughter she wants to be treated more like a roommate. That’s not an easy adjustment. Being roommates means she doesn’t want to be asked where she’s going or when she’s coming home. But unlike true roommates, she doesn’t want to do her share of the upkeep of the apartment. I still have to nag like a mom.
2. Your millennial needs to know you are not mom, the housekeeper.
My daughter wanted mom to do her laundry. No. I bought her a laundry hamper and we now do laundry together. She went into sheer panic mode the first couple of times. I finally gave her an alliteration clue: warm for whites (both start with a W) and cold for colors (both start with a C). LOL!
3. Mom no longer does all the grocery shopping.
I might pick her up a few things from the grocery store, but if she wants food she has to come on the trip or starve. No more “mom, there’s no milk.” If we are out of milk then she should just buy some.
4. A millennial at home has it’s perks when you travel on business.
It’s been great having my daughter home because I often have to travel and that’s problematic having a dog. She takes care of him now and saves me hundreds of dollars. She does errands, picks up prescriptions and deliveries when I’m gone. I used to have to find a dog sitter or beg my Ex to take the dog. So much stress. She has promised she will come back to take care of him if and when she moves out.
And our closeness has grown over this past year. We have talked more about so many things. When I am ready to go postal over something she has not done, I remind myself that sometime soon she will leave and I will hear from her only occasionally. And that I should appreciate and value this unique time with my “very millennial” daughter.