Back to the Basement by Annita Woz

caelgreentoesfeetI almost laughed when I read the article on CNN.com about grown children moving back home.  It brought back some old memories about moving back home for a summer.   For some, this scenario might be described as every parent and grown child’s nightmare and both child and parent can view it as signs of failure to launch. I’ve always looked at it as a gift.

Today’s economic downturn is forcing many to get creative and crowded. Families are losing homes, jobs, stability and may have to turn to family for a place to rest their heads.  I read about one family of five who lost the house but still had the travel camper.  They moved it from parking lot to parking lot to avoid camping fees and were thankful they had a place to stay at all. 

As a student, I moved back home for a summer between my second and and third year of college. I didn’t pay rent, I knew how to get around the landlord  and I was working so many hours that I avoided all the chores of the house.

I was a rotten houseguest- messy, entitled, and already all-knowing after just four semesters of college under my belt. I don’t recall buying a bag of groceries or doing anyone else’s laundry except mine. I didn’t keep a curfew but I didn’t ask for gas money, either. 

I had younger siblings at home and I had been replaced by a foreign exchange student who was also there for the summer.  Though the house had not changed my family sure seemed like strangers.

When I asked my mom how it went she claims she can’t really remember it.  She was working very hard, too and I think my return home gave her validation that she was a great parent or I wouldn’t have wanted to move back in. 

Over the past ten years we’ve hosted a few people in our home who are between jobs or apartments. Some lived here for a year or more, going to school, saving money, completing internships or working summer jobs.

While they are here, it really isn’t a burden, but a gift. 

You see, I am a better parent when others are around. I check my temper more often, I soften my voice, I use my best parenting skills.  I truly believe that even though I have to give up running around in my bathrobe, and give up my control over the remote and make polite conversation on a regular basis with one more personality, it is worth the trade off.

Has anyone else let grown kids move back home or allowed grown adults to land at your house for a period of time?  Who is living in your basement and how are you negotiating the changes?

### Annita Woz.  This post is also featured on www.EmpoweringParents.com.

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