Saturday, July 29, 2006

Living at Home and Liking It

If you know of any grown sons or daughters not married who are living at home, you probably know some very interesting people. I know several women who are living at home, and enjoying every minute of it. After all, this was also the family with which they spent their childhood, and they were happy here. Some of them say that living at home prevents them from being in debt. Others really want to be with their parents and have familiar surroundings rather than go off to an apartment in a strange place and hear sounds at night they aren't used to. Home is the safest place to be for them, and it makes more sense to have a family around them that loves them, than to be with strangers.

Many of the sons and daughters living at home are very busy and like improving their home life. They feel the freedom to be themselves and to express themselves, in a family that understands them. It is here that they can develop many talents and enterprises. There is a lot more to living at home than people think. Single women at home have a variety of things to do. There is always the work of keeping the home clean and lovely, but there are also things like sewing and creative endeavors.

One woman I know says she intends to be at home until she is married and goes to her own home. In the meantime, she looks for every opportunity to be of help to her family, so that their home is better for having had her there.

I've had the privilege of visiting in families where the single men and women live at home until they marry, and they have a lively lifestyle that many single people out on their own, envy. In the evenings they do charming old-fashioned things like play the piano and sing, or have a game of chess. Indeed, some of these families seem more of a storybook than real life --that is, something you might read about in a book from the 1800's--but when I pinched a girl lately to see if she was real, she said "ouch." These families are not at all a fantasy. They really do exist, and they love their homes!

When I was younger, the single life was promoted in a much different fashion. Young women were encouraged to get out on their own and share rent with several other young women. All of them had jobs, and in their spare time, they did their laundry or went out. Most did not know what else there was to do, and therefore they rarely cooked and only sewed when they needed a button replaced. I really admire these single girls today that reside at home. Though some of them work outside the home, they are still deeply absorbed in life at home yet find time to reach out to others and show hospitality or help others.

A Game of Chess, by George Goodwin Kilburne, (1839-1924)


Sue said...

A very good friend of ours still lives at home with his parents. He helps them with their monthly expenses and the daily chores and is available to help watch his nephew as well. I can see how his being home is such a blessing to his parents.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a problem with ladies living at home but it troubles me when grown men still live at home. I think a man should be out in the world, making his own way and taking care of his own place. I find it strange that a man would live at home. I think by the mid 20's a man should be out on his own.
Please don't bring up the fact that Isaac was still at home while being in his 40's-that hardly sets a precedent for our own time.

Anonymous said...

I have a dear friend whose adult son, because of a terrible health problem that led to a complete mental breakdown, returned home ten years ago to live with her. It was the last thing she ever expected, in her retirement, to have her son suddenly a near-invalid, needing constant attendance and support, and living with her again after he had been on his own for more than a decade.

Ten years later, she will tell you what a blessing the entire situation has been. Her loving care has done much to rehabilitate her son - and in return, as she is getting older, he is now the one who often takes care of her. He leaned on her when he was so ill - now he holds her up as she grows old.

I have never heard a harsh word said between them. What started out for her as a burden and tragedy has become the perfect situation for both of them. Had this mother refused to take her son back home with her when he was so ill that he didn't even recognize her, I hate to think what their mutual fate would have been. He would have been in an institution or wandering the streets as so many mentally ill people do, and by now, she would have been in a nursing home for the frail elderly because of health problems of her own.

Instead, they have a lovely home which they both delight in maintaining and improving. He helps her with the craft work they use to supplement their incomes, and he also does all the hard and heavy work in the home. They vacation together once a year and have a wonderful time. She is never afraid and never feels threatened by intruders or possible assault, because he's by her side. It is a beautiful relationship, and has done wonders for them both.

Society so often ridicules adults who live at home, and it is vastly unfair.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the age of the man is the problem with living at home or being out in his own house. It isn't age, it is status. If he is not married, and his parents don't object, he may reside with them in order to save money. Or, if he prefers to pay rent, they can save it for him. It makes more sense for him to give it to them than to a stranger who will not make an investment out of it or who is just into the rental business to make money. Whether a man is 18, 28, 38, or 48, is not the point. Living at home with parents does not make him irresponsible. There is nothing in the Bible that commands him to leave home, until he is married. Societal pressure says he should leave home as quickly as possible, or he is not a man, but this is not necessarily so. Of course, if he is just loafing around and not saving and preparing to have his own home, and has no goals of getting married, or is not helping at home in any way, that is a different scene.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the 20 something girls at home should be just sitting around. They have to have a good reason to be home, and not because they don't want to do anything. It should be mutually beneficial to parents and daughters, and the daughters should be taking on responsibility.

Anonymous said...

What perfect timing for your post. I don't feel so alone. Thank you for posting this. Even though I have a son returning to college next month. I have always made it clear he could come home if needed. He knows that option is open. I so enjoyed the post about the mom having her son come to stay w/her and never complaining and finding it to be a "blessing" rather than a burden. God Bless.

Lydia said...

Before tje 20th century, adult children lived at home until marriage. They simply went from their parents' home to their own homes. What we are encouraging our young people to do is to stay home rather than get an apartment or share rent with someone. It is not that we don't want them to grow up: we want them to learn about wise use of money and investment. Rent is not an investment. It is not a good way to get ahead. We also want them to have the security of home life so that they can translate that into their own homes one day. Getting out on their own does not necessarily guarantee maturity. We want them to be able to use wisdom. Many people are doing this with their grown children because they themselves have learned a lesson from their own youth. Numbers of them have gone into marriage with huge debt and insecurity. Before the 20th century, and even up until the 1960's, most adult children did live at home. Some families owned stores and the children worked in them, often learning the industry so that they could one day take over or have a business of their own. The families lived in dwellings above the shops. Often they earned enough money to help their grown children buy homes. This worked well until after the 1960's when a new culture was invented for the single adult. It was promoted in tv sitcoms as a wonderful life, but in reality it is much different, as parents have now learned. This is one reason so many people are returning to the old ways of the family.

Lydia said...

The above is contingent, of course, upon the respect that the grown children have for their parents, and their willingness to cooperate in this.

DonnaB said...

I hope our children live with us until they marry. In our family that is the way it has always been done.

G said...

Thank you for this article! I'm a 27 year old young lady who lives at home and works for a Christian owned business. As difficult as it has sometimes seemed living at home, I appreciate my time there more then I can express. I'm a book-loving introvert, who would have been a hermit if I was forced into a single-living situation. Having my family around me has kept me considerate, self-controlled and less selfish, can you imagine how self-centered and inflexible I would have been if I'd been living alone for the past 10 years, regarding only myself and my own needs/wants? My difficult relationship with my father has become a joy as I love him as much as I can and deal with situations rather then run away to "take care of myself". I've been able to be a help to my mother and she has been a help, encouragement and blessing to me. As embarassing as it can feel when people are surprised, condescending and sometimes even angry by my choice, I'm so glad I haven't lost these years as I invest in the famliy God gave me first, knowing it will make me a better woman for the family I may have someday.

Lydia said...


I would be interested in knowing some of the things you do at home, and to know what advantages you think it is over leaving home.

Lydia said...

What are some things you have done for your family and the house, that you could not have done if you had gotten an apartment?

Lydia said...

I know several young men who are living at home and doing well. Their families appreciate them and vice versa. One is going to be married, and is getting ready to move into his own home. Just because a man is at home, does not mean he is irresponsible. The movies and media like to portray a man at home as some kind of lazy bum, and for sure, there may be some, but that doesn't set a standard for all men at home.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this article. I also live at home (I'm 31 by the way). I have to admit that as I was reading the article one thing going through my head is that I think being a woman allows me to get away with it more. I work as a librarian, but make just enough so I would be ok as long as nothing happens like illness or a budget cut that takes my job away. I know full well the first time something happens (and you can't assume it never will) I would be right back here anyway since I would just have my income and that's it. Sometime I think people who are married forget that working single women don't have the backup income of a husband if something happens! Also, like Jillian, I'm a book-loving introvert and am seriously afraid that living alone would have just turned me into a complete hermit. Yes, some have suggested a roommate, but I just don't feel comfortable with that. Most important of all, my parents and I get along and enjoy each other's company. We rotate the cleaning chores and cooking. They won't take money from me, but I will go out and buy groceries and anything else I see that we need.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I think living at home is the right thing to do WHEN the family is right. It is truly a sad commentary on the state of our homes, because often the best interest seems to be for the young person to leave home because home is sometimes awful...

Anonymous said...

I find it strange that in order to make a stand for living with ones parents, one must stack up profitability factors instead of examining the 'rightness' of it.

My mother:
* cooked tons of food that catered to my taste, sometimes even ignoring her own
* cleaned tons of my laundry
* ensured that I did my homework every day, totalling more than many thousand hours of scholastic supervision.
* taught me my ABCs
* held me when I was hurt
* softened the blow when Dad got tough.

My father:
* taught me how to think
* challenged everything I spoke about, ensuring that I examined my own ideas thoroughly
* instilled in me a love for reading
* ingrained in me the ideals of virtue and honor
* ruthlessly pushed me to improve myself and to do things by myself
* bought me ten books when I only asked for one

Now, both are old and ill. How on earth could I ever abandon them after all that they did for me? Dad's hearing is suffering, as is his sight; he, proud man that he is, needs me more than he is willing to admit. Mom is so attached to me that she would suffer, albeit silently, if I left. How can I leave them like that?

This isn't about me, or any young adult like myself. When two people have given you so much it is only right that you stand by them when they need you the most. Isn't it?

Lydia said...

As I noted previously, young men and women naturally stayed home previous to the last half of the 20th century, until they were married. Society in those days did not frown on it or call it irresponsible or unstable, as it insinuates in movies and television today. Just the opposite was true: families and society in general, even the government and professionals, were suspicious of young men and women who left home and lived apart from their families. It was considered rather wild and irresponsible! Trends can change, and there is definitely a trend in the direction of staying home until married, if possible. I do know some young men who have to work away from their town and live elsewhere, but they consider themselves still based at their parents home. I don't see what is so foreign about it. After all, this is where they grew up, and this is what they know best. It is less stress for the men and women, also, with all that they have to encounter in life anyway, and also safer for young people due to those who would prey on their innocence, either financially or physically. One man I know stayed with his parents because they promised to give him their home and their farm. They eventually went to travel around the world in their later years, and he married a very nice girl who loved the old house and the country.

Lydia said...

It is interesting to see people returning to the trends that existed several decades ago, and to know the reasons for it.

Anonymous said...

I agree that it's great when a single person is able to stay home with their family until they are married. What gives me pause though is whether or not they are learning how to manage finances. This goes beyond knowing how to be frugal, it means someone learns how to think strategically (invest and understand asset allocations) and tactically (save and be frugal). I think that if a single person is able to get these life skills while still living at home, that's great. If they don't though, that will cause financial turbulence once they marry.

Olivia said...

I don't know if people just can't understand daughters [or sons] staying home or if they choose not too. They think we must be bored and without a life. If they only knew the real story.

My older brother lived at home till he got married and as a result he had close to 10,000 saved to make a down payment on a house... have a honey moon etc.

I will be living at home till I get married. It gives me better oppurtunity to hone my home-maker skills and the chance to save up and buy things I want for my future home [kitchenaid, waffle maker... etc.] Plus, I'm given the unique oppurtunity to serve my family in ways I couldn't if I moved out. Mama and daddy are being able to enjoy at least part of the fruit of their labors during this time.

Anonymous said...

All of this talk of sons and daughters living with their parents until they marry makes me wonder. What about the many people who no longer have parents? What about the men and women who do not wish to marry, but instead wish to have a career? What about the many parents (and there are lots of them my own mother included)who do not want their children to continue living with them after high school or college? Or what about those who have bad, mean, abusive, unkind, etc. parents? Must they stay in that environment? My own mother was a mean and abusive woman. My father, who was elderly when I was born, would not have cared how long I stayed home as a single woman, but he was almost desparate that I get an education that I could support myself with should I never marry. He died 10 months after I graduated with a degree in nursing. In less than one year my mother had sold the house and informed my youngest brother (who was the only one still living there) that he no longer would have a home with her. I get the feeling reading these comments that people who dont live at home are somehow not as good or as Godly as those who do. There is absolutely nothing wrong with living on your own as a single adult.

Anonymous said...

I lived at home until I was 32, but the amount of abuse and criticism which I got for it (even from people who hardly knew me) was absolutely amazing. People seemed to assume I must be unable to face adult life with confidence, or that I must be very immature and childlike. This was far from the truth, since I'm actually a rather outgoing person with plenty of friends. I also get on quite well with my parents, and they felt that it kept them young to have me around. Since the arrangement suited us all, I could never understand why people took it upon themselves to lecture and criticise me for my choice of lifestyle.
I was working while living with my parents but, as my work is in the artistic field, I have never been able to make a great deal of money. Thus it made sense to live in my parents' quite large house, rather than spend every penny on a small rented apartment. I had fully as much freedom to come and go as anyone with their own apartment, and indeed often travelled abroad on my own, in connection with work (this was how I met my Swedish future husband!!)

I knew only one other person who stayed at home - a high-powered male lawyer who adored his elderly parents and stayed until the age of 40. He helped them financially, and also with tough chores around the home, while his mother made sure that all his clothes were clean and pressed for work, and that a delicious meal was on the table when he arrived home from a stressful day. This suited everyone admirably, and certainly did not impede my friend's international career. Neither did it stop him from finding his life partner.

It's a shame that many young people are often brainwashed into feeling that they are "wimps" if they choose to stay at home. It is the same erosion of Christian family values which insists that elderly people should be put in homes, instead of cared for lovingly by their families.

I was made to feel like a freak for staying at home, and it's good to hear that the trend is now swinging towards adults sticking with their families until marriage.
Mk:10:7: For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;

Lydia said...

Many grown children feel absolutely normal about being at home--after all, where else should they be, and at what age? I fail to find any rules for this. It is up to the family. However, people try their best to shame these grown children, for being at home. they seem to think they would be better off away from home, spending money on rent (no doubt paying for someone else's property!), and spending evenings alone. Out on their own, some of these people take up friendships that are not good for them, and end up making decisions that are not wise. Intimidating begins early, with thoughtless, undermining comments like, "I can't believe you are 18 and still living with your parents!" One would do well to look at the lives of the people who say things like this, and see if it is something worth emulating! I think the reason they want the young people to get out from under the family at an early age is so that they can experience a life without restraint. This is poor preparation for the serious life ahead. Family life is the best preparation for real life. There, the grown child can observe the care of the home and the roles of the parents, which is what we would hope they would emulate one day. Life out on their own in an apartment, living as a "single" (something which came into vogue in the 60's), does not prepare them for real life, and can be a waste of time and money. I know several people who paid their own parents some rent, and when they married, the parents gave back all that money, having saved it.