Some of you may know what the latest title of being a “Boomerang kid” means. Many of us who were born in the late 1970s and early 1980s have recently landed facedown into the mud that is called “Moving Back in with the Parent(s)”. I like to think of us as the “Boomerang Babies” generation, a weak comeback to the ever-suffering and complaining “Baby Boomers”.
For reference purposes, I have selected Oxford University Press’ definition of the word found on their website http://www.oup.com : boomerang kid (also boomerang child) noun an adult child who returns home to live with his or her parents after being away for some time: With the country in tough economic times, more young American adults, over age 18, are returning to the family nest.
The reason(s) for this influx of Boomerang babies can be anything from mismanaged credit card debt, a blown-up relationship, loss of job, lack of employment opportunities or upside-down mortgages.
In my husband and I’s case, about a year ago we moved back to my home state after the loss of his job in a political environment that had changed and the recent birth of our son. Given the unfortunate job and housing market, both of which we were hard hit in, we decided it would be better to try to figure things out in a familiar environment with family on both sides near.
It seemed a good idea at the time: move into my mother’s house, weather the storm of uncertainty until my husband could find work. Six months later, thankfully new job in hand for my husband but still reeling from draining our savings and retirement–we couldn’t move out on our own yet. However, we’d exhausted our stay at my mother’s since our son was approaching toddler-time and was systematically taking apart her un-childproofed home, so we moved in with my grandparent-in-laws: what were we thinking?
We were following the logic that most of us Boomerang Babies are slapped with when the bills start pouring in and we realize that we cannot afford our lifestyles on our own. How rude of a letdown. We’re not talking about shattered dreams here. We’re raised to go fly on our own and we end up trying to take off with clipped wings. Thank you dot.com bubble burst. Thank you 9-11 terrorists. Thank you real estate boom and KA-BOOM. Thank you TARP bill.
Here are some Boomerang Babies survival tips that I hope you find at least amusing if not helpful, the order of tips is not important:
- Make a hopeful list of “unbudgeables”, in short, what do you want in your new post-Boomerang phase of life in your much-fantasized own home that you will not budge on? For example: I must have the pots and pans hanging from the ceiling in my own kitchen one day.
- When parent/family member who owns the home you are staying in approaches you with a request like, “Can you please make sure to return the magazines in their proper order on the coffee table?”, smile sweetly and happily concede to them while doing your best not to show exasperation in your face for fielding over a dozen of these command/requests daily from them.
- Remember: This is not your home, these are their rules that you must follow while under their roof–proof of your adult age doesn’t matter one iota, neither does having a demanding infant(s).
- You pay for your stay in your family’s home one way or another: try to select that payback by offering to pay the electric bill or for groceries…otherwise you’ll be blindsided by annoying side expenses left and right–some of which could include infuriating indulgences for your said family member.
- Just think to yourself: You will NEVER take having your own place for granted again, at least in this lifetime.
- Do something kind for your family member every week, like bringing flowers home to your mom or picking up a six-pack for your dad: whatever little pleasures they enjoy, doing so for them will soften you from being too harsh when faced with the humbling effect of having to live with them again as an adult.
- Read some historical novels, especially if you are out of work and have free time on your hands. Cost shouldn’t be an issue as public libraries do still exist and even some free books are available online. These historical novels should include story lines that will remind you that this boomerang phase was how most families lived back in the day–sometimes three generations residing under one roof.
- You are blessed: I don’t care if you an atheist, you are blessed to have a home to stay in, people who love you enough to take you in irregardless of how you got in this position. This is a hard fact to remember when facedown in the humiliation of this boomerang moment in your life, but try.
- To lighten the mood on those dark days, just think of the “Annie” song, “It’s a hard knock life for us…”
- If TV watching is a scheduling hassle in the household, try to rely on sites like www.hulu.com for your sitcoms fix.
- If no internet service, try local library, coffee shop or Kmart for your logon needs.
- Try to take pre-emptive action in household chores: the more like a Cinderella you act, the less nagging you’ll weather…trust me on this one.
- Take up a low-cost, old or new hobby. It will help you to do something that is exclusively yours as you are now living in an environment that is NOT your own.
- Recall the 1980s feel-good theme song: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”.
- Write your friends, don’t just Facebook or text them, actually take a pen and write freehand on a piece of paper or in a card…it is good to send them a personal note as if you are writing from a war battlefield far away called Your Pride.
- Exercise. It does a body, mind and heart good. The soul benefits as well.
- Consider blogging, I’ve resisted the notion for nearly a year now, but I’m glad to be sharing with the cyberworld now.
We are still living the gypsy life as I prefer to call it. If you trace back to the ancient days, nomadic living was the norm. Perhaps I should just take it a day at a time and in the meantime focus on the things that are most important: my relationship with my Maker, my husband, my son, my family and friends…these are not material things as a dwelling is, these are entities, loves and souls–eternal things not restrained by seasons of life like being a Boomerang Baby.