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The Light at the End of the Tunnel: Shelter from the Storm

JRI's picture

Im the mature BM & SM of 5 flashing back as i read the posts.  I wanted to talk about something all of us dread:  adult kids moving back in.

DH always liked the idea of having a spare room "in case".  He felt he hadn't had much family support and wanted to be able to offer that.  Four of our five kids have moved back in at one time or another.  The bottom line is each case is different.

Starting with the youngest, SS53 has never moved back.  He was the slowest to launch, mid-twenties.  He has a lot of pride and would consider living with us as the lowest form of life.  So even tho he is in a transitional period (just started a new job, renting a room from a relative, going thru a divorce, financial probs, separated from kids), i don't expect him to ever move back.

BD54 left at 18 for college.  She moved back for 6 months after graduation while her husband finished military service.  She worked and took care of herself.  Year's later, she, husband, 2 kids and pets moved in for 2 months during a move back to our city for better schools for GD's speech apraxia.  Luckily, they sold their house, son-in-law got 3 job offers and they bought a fixer house.  But BD54, after the closing, didn't seem in a hurry to move.  DH & I were both working full-time and it was getting to be too much.  One Saturday, it seemed like a perfect day to move but she announced they were taking the kids to a nature preserve.  !!Nature preserve!?!!?  While I was gone, DH had a talk with her.  They moved the next day 

BS55 joined the military at 19 when his GF got pregnant.  They lived here 6 months til he was assigned to a base.  It wasn't too bad except DIL has a piercing voice and I need quiet.  Last year, they moved in for 4 months following a hurricane.  He worked remotely and did a lot of handy work.  She had a back operation during this time.  They left the place in better shape than when they arrived.

SS56 launched at 28.  He moved back for 2 or 3 years during a depressive episode.  He arrived with only 3 trash bags of possessions. He was also battling alcoholism.  He had 3 legal matters going on: DUI, assault, bankruptcy.  He wasn't working and kept to himself.  I thought he might be here forever.  He got a job, got married, surmounted the drinking.  I'm proud of him.

SD58 launched at 19 when she married.  She returned about 3 years later with SGD after her divorce.  She was working and took care of SGD.  It wasn't too bad except for all the drama that accompanies her.  She moved back after divorce #2  when she was a homeless druggie.  The next 10 months were a hell of drug use, lying, theft and night creeping.  She will never move in again.

So, step-parents, we all count the days until they are 18 and fantasize that it will all be over.  Maybe that's true for some families.  Just be warned, things happen.

Good luck.


tog redux's picture

I lived with my parents for a year after college, and I remember my sister moving in for a couple months in between homes (sold one, waiting for the other to close). I can't remember about my oldest two siblings. But we were an intact family and it was not a hardship for my parents -plus it was very clear it was time-limited.

I will promise you, my SS20 will never live here. I'm not sure I'd stick around if DH tried to move him in.

JRI's picture

I moved back with my parents with my 2 kids during my divorce.  I realize now how disruptive it must have been since they still had 3 younger kids at home and here I was, adding 2 more in a small house.  My mother was incensed with me, various issues from the conduct of the divorce to my housekeeping standards.  We stayed for 9 months til BS finished 1st grade.  She helped me find a nursery school and a place to rent, hint hint.  Lol. Now, i realize she was also dealing with my sister's severe depression.  In my own defense, i was so overwhelmed with working, the kids, the divorce, boyfriend, violent ex, etc thst her real problems just didnt register.  My steplife has been karma payback.  Lol.

tog redux's picture

I also think it's a huge difference for an adult kid to move back in with both bio parents than to move in with a bio and a stepparent.  Seems the bio and step parent are never on the same page about the kid's need to contribute to the home or how long he/she can stay, whereas intact families can make that plan together.

JRI's picture

I had the opposite experience.  I was moving back with mother and stepfather.  In the past, he and I had had a strained relationship.  But when I moved back, he was wonderful.  Got up early every day to make sure my crappy car would start.  Was non-judgemental, it was all a great surprise.  My mother was on my case non'-stop.  Didnt think i was raising the kids right, disgusted by my divorce, critical of my housekeeping, etc.  She was probably right about everything but you know how us kids all think we know best.

lieutenant_dad's picture

I lived with my parents (about 6 months with my dad and a year with my mom and SF) after I got divorced. Paid rent, had to park on the street, only had "my" space in my bedroom since that's what I paid for, had to keep things cleaned to their standards, etc. I spent my paychecks paying off debt and saving for a house. I had to ask permission to stay longer when DH and I kept getting outbid on houses. 

I'm all for helping a kid who helps themselves, but they need to feel pressure to get out. I HATED living with my parents and considered moving out several times. But, staying provided me with both financial and emotional help that I needed. It prevented me from making stupid dating decisions and stupid financial decisions. My parents were on my case about the money I spent and my timeline for leaving. It was uncomfortable, but I needed it at that time. I never, ever want to do that again, though.

DH and I have talked many times that no adult kid is living with us without a really, really good reason. Like, their house burnt down or they're escaping an abusive relationship. I'd be willing to do "layover" stays, like they graduate but their job doesn't start for a month or something. Nothing long-term outside extreme circumstances. Failure to launch is not an extreme circumstance, and they can live with BM since failure to launch is her bag.

Chmmy's picture

THis kills me that you are talking about steps in their 50s.  I will never marry again with kids involved no matter the age.  IT. NEVER. ENDS.

JRI's picture

You are absolutely correct, Chimmy, it never ends.

tog redux's picture

It DOES end, if you don't let it go on and on at your expense. Sounds like your DH enabled several of his kids to continue poor behavior and addiction, and kept the door open for them to move back at any time.  The way you write, it sounds like you aren't entirely sure your 50-something skids won't move back in yet.  That would not happen here.


Chmmy's picture

You're right tog, it can end.  I think we both know my situation will only end when I walk out the door.

JRI's picture

SD will never move back, she is barred.  YSS wont move back, too much pride.  The other 3 are stable and independent enough that it won't occur.  You are correct that he enabled.  My purpose in writing is concern about the step-parents who see age 18 as a magical end date. 

EveryoneLies's picture

I'm nowhere near my 50s yet...I think it's normal for an launched adult NOT wanting to move back home.

I don't consider this "too much pride," I consider this "independence." I don't even want to let my parents worry about my situation so unless it's absolutely necessary I don't ask my parents to help. Same goes to my DH. But even then, I never thought about moving back home and munch on my parents. Like..what the hell lol.

I think I will welcome the kids "visit" once in a while after they launch. I will not enjoy they living with us because the outside world is too scary.  Same principle applies to my DD.

tog redux's picture

Exactly. I am 54 and I can't imagine what it would take for me to go back to depending on my 86-year-old mother. Mental illness, cancer, job loss, paralysis, house burning down, complete economic failure, divorce, and all of my friends abandoning me would have to happen at the same time.

ESMOD's picture

When I "ahem" returned early from college.. my parents first order of business was to get me back out of the house.. I got a full time job and once i had that... they helped me rent an apartment.. that little bit of financial help up front got me out of the home.. and made me self sufficient.  They didn't want me at home any more than I wanted to be there...

honestly... that is a route I would encourage for parents with kids who need some transition.. let them come home to find a job then quickly help them into an apt they can afford.

still learning's picture

At 29 ss33 came home after he got fired, couldn't pay rent and pronounced himself homeless to DH.  DH of course took him in with zero conditions. ss took this as a "break from life" and played video games, smoked pot, and fell asleep wherever he wanted to in the house. It was miserable and DH accused me of hating ss when I asked about when he was going to get a job or what the plan was to move out.  That episode lasted a few months and almost ended our marriage. DH and I now agree that if ss is ever in that position again we will financially contribute to a short term hotel stay or help with down payments etc but he ain't coming back! 

CLove's picture

DH has several family members, and BM is supporting her spawn right now. So Feral Forger is never to live with us ever again.

Munchkin on the other hand, Ive always told her that our goal is to teach her independance and that I want her to be a strong, independant woman who can do anything she sets her mind on.

Shes ready to do some driving lessons. Feral Forger STILL at 21 has no drivers license. No job. munchkin SD14 is excited at the prospect of having her own money and having a job to earn it.

Ive told her that she should stay with us and work parttime and go to school as full time as she can. If she can get scholarships and grants, then she can go directly to college. But after she graduates and starts her next adventure in life, DH and I will probably downsize. Who knows...we currently have a 3 bed/2 bath house with 2 living rooms...we may want to rent out the rooms...

JRI's picture

I have a soft spot for your Munchkin.  I think she will do well.  But i have a vision of her getting  her drivers livense, buying a little car then gettibg stuck driving mom and Feral Forager around.  Hope not.

CLove's picture

She and I have talked about that. She shakes her head "no". Then she laughs and sais maybe she will be her uber driver and charge per

MissK03's picture

This isn't step related but, at my age I still know a handful of people who are still home with their parents. I am 34. All have jobs, can easily do it. I do not understand this at all. Why would you want to be with your parents?!!! I know a few of SOs co workers making 100k plus a year.. still home... like WHATT?? I've been on my own since I was 21. 

My SOs oldest brother is 54. Divorced twice. 2 kids from each marriage (32, 28, 20,15) He has moved back in with SOs parents 3 times in the past 4 years. They enable him though by allowing it. He finds a gf, moves in instantly, doesn't work, and back home. Repeat. I don't get any of it.