So even the government has acknowledged that there is no hope in hell of our young adults managing to buy their own houses any time soon and instead are offering to deliver more affordable and secure rental agreements. “The belief that each generation should do better than the last is under threat” said Torsten Bell of the Revolution Foundation in the understatement of the century. We already know that the Millennials are earning 1000’s of pounds less than the previous generation, with stunted progress on pay and men aged between 22 and 39 have a deficit of £12,509 compared with those born between 1966 and 1980 (and lets not even get into the female gender pay gap conversation right now).
So instead, it has become an actual thing now that amongst 18-34 year olds that a greater percentage live with their parents than with a partner or with mates. This is a huge historical trend because in 1960, only 20% of young adults lived with their parents. I feel sorry for all those who really want to move out and buy their own properties, but I get the feeling that a lot of them quite like the new world order – a lot less pressure. Lumbering yourself with a mortgage from an early age like we all did puts a lot of pressure on young shoulders and draws you into a life-long commitment. The rental market allows you to keep your options open, although it can also be an awful experience these days. Landlords are fleecing our children and treating them terribly – I know this because my daughter is currently dealing with an awful landlord.
The financial situation is obviously one of the main reason for this shift, but additionally the Millenials are choosing to stay single for far longer than we all did, so they don’t have the same pressures to make a nest of their own so soon. It’s so different from my own experience – I left home at 17 and moved to London, leaving my parents in Hong Kong. They didn’t know what I was doing, or feeling on a monthly basis, let alone a daily basis. We used to write letters. Even telephone conversations were difficult and expensive and I’m quite sure that the positive feelings between the generations these days are grounded in the intimacy that comes with daily interactions and knowledge of what is going on in their everyday lives.
As a single parent, I really love having my children still around, we get on extremely well, but it is still sometimes hard to adapt to the new way of living. My son went away to university as my child and came back an adult. He now has a full time job and I have to keep reminding myself that he is a fully functional adult, so I can’t really treat him like I used to. Finding a way to move from parenting to co-habiting is not an easy transition to make. You move from being fully in charge of their lives to suddenly living with them like a flatmate who doesn’t pay rent or do their fair share of the washing up. Just as they did when they came back from uni for holidays, they like relaxing in their own home and they are very reluctant to do jobs. “Friend’s” tends to be on repeat as he lies on the sofa recovering from the week/weekend. All they want to do is eat, sleep, rave and repeat. Although thankfully having a full time job has reduced the amount of times he brings people back at all hours of the day or night to mainly slam doors.
His favourite spot with evil cat:-
It is strange to have a besuited adult male leave the house every morning for work, shouting “love you” as he slams the door behind him. I have to try very hard not to shout “have you cleaned your teeth and brushed your hair??” before they leave the building. It’s not like living with a partner who might bring you a cup of tea and ask how your day was and you also have to constantly remind him that it is not acceptable to drink directly from the milk bottle or eat his supper whilst standing in front of the fridge because he’s rushing off to the pub. I understand that it is a lot easier to make a sandwich by stuffing it all into your mouth and chewing it up and much quicker because you don’t have to make one for anyone else and that it tastes the same as if you had bothered with knives, plates, BUT IT’S UNACCEPTABLE AND GROSS.
I still can’t help but worry when he’s out really late, or doesn’t come home all night and can get fairly incensed when after spending a huge amount of money on food having bought it in industrial quantities, it has all gone virtually overnight. Ditto the toothpaste, the loo roll and the shower gel. Towels are an issue. They get dropped all over the place and used once. Washing, a different concern. He does his own washing which is great, but this usually consists of two pairs of underpants and three pairs of socks. It doesn’t occur to him to add some other family members clothing items to his wash.
We both have had to compromise. He has started buying the ingredients and cooking one meal a week at my request. Although this has not happened for three weeks now. It’s not terribly balanced because I can’t really rely on him to take the bins out or sort out the blocked drains, unless I firmly point out that as I’m not charging him rent, (so that he can save his money to move out before his 35th birthday), he really needs to pull his weight. I did recently manage to get him to help me with a dreadful overflow of revoltingness that occurred when sewage ended up being strewn all around the side of the house through a broken manhole cover. Sometimes, it’s counterproductive. Basically he used a new broom to sweep lots of soggy loo roll into piles whilst gagging profusely so not massively helpful and the broom had to be thrown away. This is when I wonder whether he should really be living with friends, surviving on chick pea curries, smoking in bed and annoying the neighbours by playing music all night long.
So maybe we need to come up with a new term for this new trend. They are not flatmates or roomies, nor tenants, lodgers or house-sitters. Nor are they children still living at home. They are young adults living at home, whilst trying to conduct independent lives. What about YALWAP’s?? (Young Adults Living With A Parent) or YALAH’s? (Young Adults Living At Home).