lifestyle

How to become a non-confident, dependent woman. Fast.

Moving back in with the parents.

By WENDY LANG

There comes a time in a girl’s life when she must move back home with her parents. It’s all part of growing down, moving backward and becoming a non-confident, dependent woman.

But it also comes with copious amounts of food and widescreen TVs. So I recommend it to everybody.

I am in my late twenties and I recently chose to move back in (temporarily) with my retired parents, for reasons too dull to mention. But it’s been a fascinating psychological experiment, and as a bonus byproduct I’ve now caught up on those missed episodes of Heartbeat!

Before I go on, I must emphasise how appreciative I am that my parents agreed to let me come home. Especially as they haven’t voiced distaste at my bags-of-disorganisation which have been lining the hallway for months. (Although I do suspect those plastic storage boxes which mysteriously appeared may be a form of non-verbal communication).

When I told my friends I was moving back, their reactions fell into two groups. The first featured comments like “That’ll be lovely to have home-cooked meals!” and “It’s such a great way to save money!”.

The second included looks of worry and objection.

“Don’t do it!” said one cautionary party, who may or may not have been my sibling.

Another friend gave me a stern talking-to. “DO NOT move back just because it’s easy. ONLY move back if you’re saving money to head overseas or buy a house. And give yourself a STRICT deadline.”

Her response echoed the urgency of a NASA director coordinating a moon landing: “Listen here, Commander. You’ve got one tank of oxygen left, so get your chunk o’ moon rock then get the Hell out, you understand me? And for God’s sake, DO NOT dawdle and attempt low-gravity Gangnam Style. You wanna die?!”

I reassured my concerned friend, “I’m not moving back just because it’s easy. It definitely won’t be easy”. It was a semi-lie. Of course it’s easy! Moving back home means you don’t have to deal with grown-up things. You can withdraw into your comfort zone. You can pretend to be sixteen again. It’s fantastic!

“It’s too easy to start doubting yourself.”

Except, she’s right to be concerned. You’re not sixteen, you’re an adult and you’ve gotten used to living as an independent adult for years. And you don’t realise how much you’ve changed until you show up to discover your parents are still telling the same jokes.

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It’s too easy to become lazy. It’s too easy to feel stuck. And it’s too easy to start doubting yourself.

As everyone knows, parents struggle to see their grown children, you, as adults. And why wouldn’t they? A huge slab of their lives has been spent distrusting you, to ensure you don’t accidentally die by way of fork-in-the-toaster.

Mine for example, still don’t believe I can now gauge my own body temperature. Anytime we’re in the same room, they’ll ask me if I’m hot or cold. And just to confuse me, they’ll assume they know the answer before I’ve responded.

Parent: “Are you cold?”

Me: “No, I’m right thaaa…”

Parent: “Then turn the fan on if you’re hot! You can angle it towards you. Or the air conditioner! You can angle it towards you. Or open the window! Here, I’ll open the window!”

Um, I’m neither hot nor cold, but thanks for asking. Or maybe I am hot? Oh no. I can’t tell anymore!

I’ve also had to get used to the changes made to my childhood home. Because what do retirees have plenty of? Time. So what do they do with it? They hunt for bargains! Like those cheap pastel-coloured solar-powered garden lights Dad discovered for the backyard! He bought a few. Then they started to breed. Now I can’t work out if he’s got a garden light addiction or if he’s trying to recreate the glowing forest of Pandora from Avatar.

And while my father has turned into James Cameron’s set decorator, my mother has become the film’s ‘Neytiri’ character, befriending every spiky reptile and vicious native bird that graces my windowsill. Why buy a puppy when far more terrifying animals will gladly show up for free? She talks to them and gives them strong Anglo-Saxon names like ‘Harry’.

This, by the way, is why the windows and doors are now kept shut. We can’t risk reptile-bird-Harry sneaking in and hiding in my bags-of-disorganisation. I’m reluctant to sort through them as it is.

So it’ll be interesting to see how this new living situation will pan out. Will I retain my maturity, or will I slip into childhood mode? And will someone please slap me if I start dancing Gangnam Style to the theme song from Heartbeat?

Wendy Lang is a writer, musician and media all-rounder at a Brisbane radio station. She blogs about silly things here, natters about music here and sporadically tweets.

Have you ever moved back home and what was your experience like?

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