I have to wonder if I am the only Gen X parent struggling with twenty somethings that seem to have no passion to move out. I read about my generation as parents, the way that we hovered and coddled our children, how we stuck up for them no matter what, and now, the way we all have kids still at home when at their age, we all had struck out to begin our own lives and find our purpose. I spend hours wondering if it is something I did wrong, some way that I failed as a parent, and what it is that makes them want to stay. Don’t get me wrong, there are obvious answers such as no bills, guaranteed food, and being able to spend their money where and when and why and how they choose.
I frowned on my sister who essentially gave my twenty year old niece the boot. I remember thinking, OMG I could never do that. Less than a year later, my niece is flourishing. She lives in her boyfriend’s mother’s house…so, kind of like still being at home…but works full time, pays rent, and is doing amazing. I am so proud of her overcoming where she was just a year ago, of seeing her doing so well, and shy of having her license, seeing that she really seems to have it together. Was throwing her out the right answer? I’m still not sure, but isn’t the outcome what we all wish for our children? That they are strong and successful and doing well out of our home…I would have to give that a resounding yes.
My husband spends time reading articles in the hopes of helping our sons make that transition. My youngest son has the fire and passion to work a second job if necessary to make things work. He already works full time, loves overtime, has his own vehicle, and is a chef. My older son works part time, has a vehicle that we do not have licensed, and seems content to live upstairs with his girlfriend…I really worry about this son. I love them both immensely but need to see some movement.
Here is my biggest fear though, that if I put my foot down, I will lose the relationships I have with them. Neither will move far away…on the contrary, it is me that wants to move down the eastern seaboard to Florida. I would love for them to join me but more as a neighbor vs. a housemate. I worry that this makes me sound selfish and self centered but I remember the feeling of my first apartment, the freedom, the sense of being able to afford my bills, and the immense joy I felt when I went home to visit. I knew that it saved my mother money to boot, as she was a single parent, and I was one less person she had to spend on and support. I want this for my sons…
Everyone tells me that if I step on their throats, they will move out and get it together. But what if they don’t? That scares me to death…so I’m struggling with my sense of obligation and my desire to reclaim my life. I struggle with the guilt i would feel if anything went badly with just being there, trucking along, until the light comes on. I struggle with wanting more from the money I earn with my responsibilities of being a parent. It’s terrifying…and I get frustrated…and angry..and then guilty again for thinking about this. I don’t know…maybe there isn’t a perfect answer.