Friday, October 8, 2010

Is there an expiration date?

As in.... is there an expiration date on how long you will lovingly allow your children to live in your house. 

Now of course, I'm talking about adult kiddos, I'm pretty sure that dash-1, in all his infinite 5 1/2 year old wisdom, is not ready to leave the house and strike out on his own. 

But one day.  One day there will come a time. 

Now don't get me wrong.  I'll miss my kids when that time comes, the house will go from full of noise, constant hussle and bustle to a quieter, cleaner, version, where the food last longer.  I'll probably piddle paddle around the house at first trying to get used to it all and then I'll adjust. 

And throw a party.

No seriously, I love my kids.  They are my life. And due to living the nomadic military lifestyle where you grow where you are planted, we're up here doing it on our own, so I probably spend more time with the kids than the average mom. 

But. 

There comes a time where the momma bird wants her baby birds to fly.  And if those lil birds don't spread their wings on their own a mother bird will push them out of the nest.  And this momma bird will push.

Here's what I'm thinking.  Obviously you're more than welcome to live in my house, abiding by the rules, thru your schooling.  Cause again, I have to let you live here while your in middle school and high school, no matter how obnoxious you get. But while your in college, four years {give or take a semester} that is, no 7 year plan for an undergrad degree, I'll be quite happy with the boys living at home. 

But.... the boys will not be living here after college.

Or during any time that is used to "find one's self".  I will not be supporting "finding one self".  I did not find myself.  I got a job.  Therefore they will do the same.

College isn't for everyone, I get that, please I don't need the comments that I'm assuming everyone will go to college, I don't.  Should they choose not to go to college and they want to go right into a trade, that's great, I'll give you a couple months to get things together and then you better be making enough in that trade to support yourself.  And obviously, we'd most certainly support them if they went right into the military and we'd always welcome them home. 

For a visit.

Here's the thing, I want my kids to know, now actually, cause we had this discussion the other night, in a light hearted manner of course, that there is an expiration date on your life here with mom and dad.  The time will come with this part of your life will end and a new one SHOULD and WILL start. 

Now should they need a soft place to fall, we will always be here to catch them, but they must stand on their own.  And by soft place to fall I'm thinking big, like your house gets washed away in a flood or fire, not that you don't like your roommate or you want to live at home to save money to get a kick ass car.  That is not soft place necessary. 

When I was growing up my mother joked that she had a calendar in which she was marking down the days until we left the house, which were the same guidelines I have.  I'm pretty sure she didn't actually have a calendar, although knowing my mother I wouldn't put it past her.....

So the expectation was there, you will live here, you will grow up, you will get out.  You will live your own life outside the walls of this house.

And the message was received loud and clear. 

Now the economy sucks.  I get it.  It's hard to find a job, money is tight, got it.  Trust me.  GOT IT.

But at some point, those birdies have to fly.  And keeping them in the nest forever, all tucked away safe and sound isn't really doing anyone any favors. 

They need to strike out on their own, live in an apartment with 4 obnoxious roomates, spend their money paying bills, and realizing sometimes you take the job you can get, not every first job is your dream job. 

My first job I did case work, in Baltimore, home visits where cockroaches ran across my feet.  Delightful, but it paid the bills and I was living on my own.  Well with a roomate in a crappy apartment where the AC would cut in and out on really hot days.  Yummy.

I know that I probably seem quite harsh, I blame it on my parents dammit, I was raised this way.  You live here for the first 2 decades then get the hell out. 

I'll help them when they are outside my house. My mom will randomly send my brother Omaha steaks {though he's marrying a vegetarian so I'm not sure if she still does this, maybe he's getting kumquats now, she'll get supplies and what not for my sister's classroom {she's a science teacher}, she'll pick up things here and there for the boys. She likes to do random nice things for us to make life a little brighter and we all appreciate it.

So I'm not going to cut my kids out of our lives, I'll help them out. 

I just don't want them living in my house. 

My friend and I were talking about this and she was surprised at my cut and dry attitude to this.  Again, I was raised this way and it worked for me.  I realize that come 15 years from now things could be different  and I could be singing a different tune.  You never know how life is going to turn out, but I can hope that I raise my kids to strike out on their own.

After all, that first crappy apartment is character building.

So I'm curious.... do you have the expiration date theory or do you think I'm a heartless fool?  

13 comments:

  1. I love love love our little girl and I cant wait to have more children BUT mr soldier and I have had kids young so we will still be youngish when they are ready for college and we cant wait for those days to just be us again haha

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  2. My parents just always told me that as long as I lived in their house I would abide by their rules. So that means, no matter how old I am, whether I am there for a short visit or extended stay I will be back to their house by 11pm, no matter what.

    Granted since I don't even live in the same state as them anymore and haven't for awhile, my dad still tries to keep tabs on me. ANNOYING!

    I agree with your expiration date. There comes a time where kids just need to grow up and get out.

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  3. I really agree with you. My husband and I were just talking about this. My brother, who is almost 29 is at home. He left and then returned and has been home for almost 2 years now. It's stupid IMO. His reasons are that he has to save money because he decided to go back to school. But it really bugs me to see him living like a college student at 29. I do not want my children to do that.

    I hope they would all go off to college at 18. If not maybe by 20 or 21 and that is if they go to college near us. I don't like the idea that my child would not want to go to college and would like to just continue to live at home.

    I was listening to a radio show about this and they said when an adult child is living at home, the people in the house totally revert back to the roles they had in high school. And I have totally seen that with my brother.

    I just think it is better in the long run for a young adult child to understand bill paying, grocery shopping, housing cleaning and all that sooner rather than later.

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  4. Julie, do we have the same brother?! lol. My brother (he'll be 30 in December) has been in and out of my parents house for years too. He lived there rent free *and didn't work OR go to school* for a 2 year stint just recently, while my mother took care of his 5 yr old daughter and he slept in til noon every day. Now he's living with his latest baby-momma's Father rent free :P

    Don't any of these parents (and grandparents) realize that they're actually doing a disservice to their kids when they let them sponge off them well into adulthood? They'll never have full, satisfying lives that way. Not to mention- what they heck are they going to do once our parents pass away (sad to think about but it's inevitable) and the gravy train is finally cut off?

    "Mrs", you always seem to choose these topics that drive me insane! ;)

    Listen, I moved out of my parents house when I was 16 (long story) and I worked at McDonalds til 2 AM closing the store every night, paid rent with 3 roommates in a one bedroom apartment, and still managed to finish high school with decent grades and go on to college (through loans of course). If I did it then these 20 & 30 somethings can do it now. It builds great character and responsibility to be out there on your own.

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  5. I'm with you mostly, but a little less cut and dried. I moved back in with my parents for about a year after I finished undergrad while I was working and saving for grad school (which I paid for myself). I bought my own food, babysat my younger brother and helped with his homework, and helped with chores. I wouldn't have any problem doing the same for my kids -- but both my sisters and my brother lived with my parents for between 7-10 years after high school, not working, not going to school, and not contributing anything to the household. That wouldn't fly with me.

    We always say that we will give our kids a few options after high school: go to college, get a job, join the military. If they get a job, they can live at home for a while, but they'll be paying rent to us, helping around the house, and it will in no way be a permanent arrangement. My mom thinks that's harsh... but she doesn't have the best track record.

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  6. I think we were separated at birth. Except a year apart, so I guess that would be a little weird. And awkward for our "mom".

    Anywho...

    We always say, you graduate high school and you are out of here! Now, we aren't throwing them on the street, but they will have plans starting their senior year where they will either have a college lined up or a job. They have savings accounts to use for college or living! If they go to college, they will live on campus and not in our house. When the time comes we will definitely have a smaller house with less "staying on the couch" options. If they do have to stay with us, we will charge them as if they are living on their own. I'm not past buying a small house and renting it out to them. But this will be mom and dad's house, not a crash pad.

    The count down is on.

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  7. Cut and dry. Absolutely. You can stay while you're going to college/trade school as long as you abide by house rules and contribute labor, if not money.

    After that, you're outta here. And welcomed back for short visits with open arms.

    The funniest thing, though.... My Hero took 4 of the noisiest sidekicks camping this week. My house was quiet with a capital Q. And I didn't like it. At all. I couldn't wait for them to come back and descend upon the house in a cacophony of noise and cloud of camping filth. I think I might actually have gone around the bend.

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  8. When we graduated from high school, we had three options: get a job and pay rent, join the military, or go to college. That was it. Very similar to yours (and as an aside, my first apartment had essentially no heat but it is still probably my favorite place I've lived). Little Bro, who I think my parents would love to evict from Thing in the Basement Status, has been injured on and off and is on disability at the moment. There isn't much they can do because he can't afford to live on his own--but he does pay rent so he's still pretty much abiding by their rules.

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  9. Yes! I absolutely agree!

    My brother (there seems to be a trend here...) has been in my parents' house since graduating high school. He is 25 and has not lived in an apartment, gone to college, gone to trade school, nothing. Right now he has a job working with my father, but it's a temporary thing and he has no real plans of any "career".

    I cannot tell you how much I think being able to sponge off my parents not only makes for a lot of resentment for them, but it is a huge issue for him. He literally has no real bills- no student loans, no rent, no utilities, he F*d up his car so he "borrows" everyone else's all the time and doesn't even have any car payments or insurance to worry about.

    It's like, seriously? CUT HIM OFF. Who is this helping?

    I'm totally with you on this!

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  10. Oh, there's an expiration date for our kids! Daniel and I had kids when we were young so we could get them OUT when we were still young.

    We have a neighbor who joked with his girls all during their growing up years. He said, "For your 17th birthday I will buy you luggage. For your 18th birthday it's a one-way ticket to anywhere you want."

    Brilliant!

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  11. My kids will be gone. I was given the option of a college education or living on the streets. I chose college.

    Unfortunately I have a sister that is gainfully employed, but my mom bought her a car, pays for her vacations, babysits her kids on a moment's notice, and all because she feels bad.

    Whatever. Let her flop and figure it out. if she had listened to you about marrying the idiot to begin with, then you wouldn't be in this position.

    Oh wait, I got off topic.

    My kids will go to college (Sic 'em bears!) and then off to wherever life takes them. I use my ex-sister as a perfect life example of what they should NOT be like!

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