So how common are similar scenarios? Common enough that it doesn’t take long to find blog after blog dedicated to the topic (here’s one: www.adultchildrenlivingathome.com/blog/category/statistics). On Amazon, a search on the subject yielded dozens and dozens of results: The Nesting Syndrome, Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children, How to Really Love Your Adult Child, and so on. Because I first ran the search without specifying only books, one result that popped up was a rollaway bed on wheels, which I found both comical and telling.
You can find statistics about adult children returning home by state and by country. You can find individual stories or wide-ranging data. According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, 13 percent of parents with grown children say one of their adult sons or daughters has moved back home in the past year. In the United States, also according to the Pew Research Center, 2.9 million children, or four percent of all children, are being raised mainly by at least one grandparent; this number increased dramatically during the country’s latest economic recession. Grandparents, AARP tells us in a different survey, are making increasingly frequent appearances on volunteer days in schools.
The Owen siblings who populate my book are all between the ages of twenty-nine and thirty-six. They should all be self-sufficient, both economically and emotionally, but in these times of heartbreak or economic difficulty they have found their way back home, where they alternately annoy and delight their parents and each other with their presence. Early readers of my book have had harsh words for the oldest sibling, Lillian, who brings her three-year-old daughter and infant boy home for a good portion of the summer, trailing baby socks and breast pump equipment. She is, the way many mothers are, so focused on her baby and her nursing schedule that it is difficult for her to see what others are going through. (I’ve been there, and I bet many readers of this blog have too!) I have been told variously that Lillian needs a kick in the pants, to have her neck wrung, to be told what’s what. I have been told that Ginny and William Owen should not have put up with some of the behavior they accept from their adult children. A very discerning reader has pointed out that the book shows how, when adult siblings return home, they often revert to their original roles in the family.
I know this is a website for moms, so how about it, moms? Do you depend on your parents more than your parents depended on their parents? When your children are all grown up is it going to be adios or call whenever you need anything?