Friday 27 April 2012

Just How Maternal Are You?–Kids Home after University

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         A year ago I had a very peaceful household.  I could get up when I wanted, undisturbed, write and work all day, eat when I wanted, go out when I wanted and do what I wanted, wherever.  Apart from the holidays, of course, when my three kids would come home from uni, import various friends, consume a great quantity of food and drink, bring home huge bags full of dirty washing which they seemed to have been accumulating all term…….and then disappear off again, leaving me to my peace and quiet.

According to an article in the Daily Mail, the proportion of men in their 20s living at home has risen from 59% to 80% in the past 15 years, and women from 41% to 50%.  Due of course to a number of factors, mostly financial, kids who got used to being independent at college or university are suddenly plunged back into family life, living with parents who have also become totally used to doing what they want.

I first realised what all of this was about when my eldest son came down from Edinburgh last summer.  And moved back in.  Luckily he found himself a good job quite quickly and now thunders through the house at 6.30 every morning, leaving for London in suit and tie by 7.15 and waking both the dogs and me up every time.  I am, to the main extent, a lark, which is lucky.  And he is not a financial burden, other than drinking vast quantities of milk.

My other son will finish this year and will be back shortly to argue with number 1 son.  My daughter still has a couple of years at uni.  So the house at times is much as it was when they were young, except they are noisier, messier, much much hungrier and so much more argumentative.  Much of the time I work away, which I love, and they love, as they can be as messy and noisy as they like, or hide in my office, frequently listening to Bruckner or Beethoven loudly, letting them get on with it.  Do does that make me unmaternal?

I’m happy they feel home it home.  It is as it should be, however, as a workaholic, I love my peace and quiet and ability to get on with what I want to get on with in my own time.  I don’t want to go back to family meals every evening (and thankfully neither do they) and as far as I am concerned they can do what they want, although I’d really like the washing brought down and the plates brought back to the kitchen.  Hah!  vain hope.  It’s never going to happen.

I see this as a transition period, which I’m sure it is, as they don’t want to live permanently with their tidiness obsessed mother any more than I want to clear up after them.  However it’s a tricky one to manage.  So be prepared.  No matter how old your kids are now, it’s almost certainly going to happen to you………………….