real life

“I’m 23, I live at home and here’s why”

When did you leave home? Or are you still there? Much has been said about the fact that Gen Y are stubbornly refusing to be shoved out of their comfy nests. But why? Is it really because their parents have pandered to their every whim in the hope of keeping them close? Or are economic pressures making it impossible to go it alone?

Today, Mamamia reader and contributor Lucy Ormonde, who is indeed 23, casts some light for us on being Gen Y and leaving home, or rather staying at home.  She writes

Six years out of high school, in another time or another country I’d be married with a couple of kids. But at 23-years-old I’m childless, unattached and I still live at home.

And that’s fine with me.

In the past few years, a favourite topic amongst newsreaders and newspapers has been Gen Ys, like myself, who are staying at home longer than what was previously known as ‘normal.’ If you believe everything you hear, we’re selfish, we’re spoilt and we’re lazy. We play too much X-Box and we like living at home if only for the laundry facilities.  We’re kidults (yes that is a word) and we’re delaying adulthood by refusing to grow up.

Well, I don’t agree.

I live with my mum. It’s just the two of us and it works. I ­don’t have an X-Box, I can do my own washing and I boil a mean pot of pasta. Many of my friends – who have jobs and know how to use stoves – also live at home with their parents.


So let’s get down to the facts of why Y.

Like careers, marriage and having children, moving out is just another part of life that’s being delayed in this ironically fast and crazy world. Gen Ys are not lazy. They’re just living a life that takes a vastly different path than it did 10, 20 or 50 years ago. Gone are the days when parents patted their 18-year-old children on the back and showed them the way to the front gate. The dynamics of parent-child relationships are changing and nowadays staying at home is accepted, albeit encouraged, by the parents who house us.

There are many reasons for us to stay at home, most of which are based on money. Unlike those before us, we’re entering the workforce in an era that’s synonymous with an impossible-to-break-into housing market, high university debts and low cost airline carriers. Gen Ys aren’t silly. We’ve realised we can save hundred of dollars a week in rent and instead we’re putting in it high interest savings accounts (or spending it on clothes and the aforementioned Jetstar.)

We get the best of both worlds when we live at home. We live independent lives but come home to the warmth of the family house. It’s kind of like Packed to the Rafters but with less perfect bed hair. Sure we live with our parents, but this doesn’t mean that as the younger generation we act as children. No. That luxury ended around the same time our pocket money did.

Our parents aren’t our “parents” anymore. They’re more like our friends, roommates even. If they really wanted us to move out they’d charge us rent or find the number of a good locksmith. But they like having us at home as much as we like being there. They can, and do, relinquish household duties and assign them to us. And they LOVE having IT assistance only a shout away down the hall.

Of course living at home has its less than perfect moments. There’s having to introduce boyfriends to your parents earlier than would otherwise be required. And then there’s reintroducing them at the breakfast table. But that’s just what I like to call being part of a modern family.

I  love living at home. I like the comfort. I like the interaction. And yes, I like the little the perks that come with being an adult, but not the adult in the family home.  Like expensive cheeses in the fridge and the absence of water and electricity bills. I like the bedding. My friend Pippa likes having pets without responsibility. My friend Meg likes the shower gel. (Meg has just moved home after a two-year renting stint, showering with brand-less soap.)

Will I ever move out? Of course I will, but finding the right time will be difficult. I need to do it when it’s right for me and not by a general opinion of what’s ‘normal.’ For now, I don’t see what the rush is. I could prove my independence and rent an apartment, but my independent reality would be far from an episode of The Secret Life of Us. Also, if move out my mum will be living on her own. While she’s fine with that, it doesn’t sit well with me.

And besides, why would I move out when the laundry facilities are this good?


When did you move out of home ? Was it your decision or your parents? And if you have kids at home – do you think you will want them to leave when they finish school?