This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.
In the formative years of adulthood, moving out of your parents’ place is a milestone some of us hope to cross as soon as possible. But when life happens—a live-in relationship ends suddenly, you lose your job, or rent prices in your city have reached crisis levels—some are relegated back to their childhood homes. While it’s undoubtedly a privilege just to have that option to fall back on, the challenges can be plentiful.
On Tuesday, a judge ordered a 30-year-old man in upstate New York to move out of his parents’ house. Reportedly, his parents issued him several eviction letters and even offered him $1,100 US to help him secure a place to stay.
Though parents going to court to evict their very adult children from their homes is a rarity, living with your ‘rents in your twenties can have its own set of horrors. And that’s not to mention the societal stigma that can go along with it. So, we interviewed people who’ve lived through it.
Naked Dad and Stolen Weed
I’ve been living with my parents for just over one year. I moved out originally when I was 19. I was lucky to have an insanely cheap apartment really close to where I was working. Everything was dandy. Then, I got laid off from a job I was at for about five years. Then, the lease was up at my apartment—the owners wanted to do “renovations.” But really, someone moved in a few weeks later.
We live in a really small apartment. I’ve been smoking weed since I moved out, every other day or every day. So, that had to change. My parents have a super smell. Even if I smoke outside and come in, that’s a no-no. My brother, who is 24, lives with us too. I didn’t expect him to steal weed from me when I grew up. I never thought when I grew up that I’d get annoyed by my family the same way I do with roommates when they just take up the kitchen for an hour or about dishes.
I definitely thought things like my dad walking around naked unannounced or knocking on my door just to tell me something that isn’t important, I thought that would all stop when I was a teenager. But I came back to it just still happening. —Joseph, 28
Living with Mom—with Two Toddlers
I lived my with mom and her husband for about four months, and from there moved in with my grandma for another four months. I was 25 at the time. I had initially moved out just before I turned 19. I had two toddlers with me, which was a challenge all on its own. My biggest challenge was feeling unwanted and in the way. The entire situation was just entirely awkward. I had to share a small room with both of my children so I had zero privacy. Towards the end it just got be too much. We all shared different ideals of how the household should be and rarely agreed on anything. It got to the point where finding times to shower and planning meals was difficult for everyone involved. But my husband and I had separated, and I had nowhere else to go. [My family] was extremely supportive when it first happened.
Even though it wasn’t the greatest situation, it brought my mom and I a lot closer. I was working towards it slowly, but ultimately the lack of privacy and personal space is what pushed me to move out. After being on my own for so long it was really hard to give that up. Ironically, we’re renting a house from my mom now. It just kind of happened and worked out for everyone. We’re looking into just buying it from them in the near future. —Korrine, 27
I just moved back after graduating college a month ago. I lived at home until I was 20 and then lived on my own for a good two years, moved back in, then I moved out again for three years. That leads me to now. I stopped working to focus on my studies. I was broke and used home as a safety net.
Living in the suburbs is challenging—they’re very dry, it lacks culture. My mom’s house is a few kilometers from the downtown core, but it’s such a mindset difference. It’s a slower pace, and it’s very time-consuming. Growing up as an Asian male, there’s a big stigmatization and perception that Asian males are undesirable. If you already have those issues… Moving back home is a big shut-in and cut-off. Your space you’ve had to become an outgoing person and liberated, coming home it’s just taken away from you.
I grew up in a single-parent household and am the oldest. It was very draining growing up. Then, finding myself and liberating myself, assimilating within the arts and culture in the city, it’s like I have two different personalities. It’s a switch—like an I’m an outdoor cat instead of a housecat now. I have two younger siblings. My brother is five, my sister is 14. It’s a nice plus I get to be with my sister and teach her to skateboard. But at the same time, how much my family needs from me… It’s like no, I need to progress as a professional.
I kind of live in a toxic environment. My mom is kind of a hoarder of things and accumulates stuff. I live in her storage room that is also a bedroom, but it’s full of pillows and lawn chairs and carseats, patio furniture. I wake up at 8 o’clock, and I just plot my way to spend as much time as I can in the city. —Tim, 26
Taking Care of an Ill Parent
I lived as an adult with my parents two times. I didn’t move out until I was 22. Then, I had to move back in at 27. My mom was ill with cancer. I was also living a financially unsustainable life in the big city, so moving home may have been inevitable anyway. I was in an unusual position: My mom never really wanted me to leave in the first place, so she was very welcoming when I came back.
All of a sudden, this was my reality. I went from worrying about the next weekend, to worrying about appointments at the cancer clinic in literally the span of one plane ride.
It was difficult to re-adjust to living with my mom. When you have roommates, they’re your peers, there’s a little more give and take. But your parents are your parents. There’s an expectation that you’re going to conform to them, it’s their house, and they’re not going to conform to you. There was a lot of friction about the way we wanted to live our home life. That was hard because I didn’t want to be fighting with my mom about when we’re getting groceries next, or how various things in the house should be arranged. It was actually these little things I found very challenging, not to mention the fact she was sick.
To certain extent, I had privacy, but I had to be contained to my own space. The public spaces were my mom’s: the living room, the kitchen, the dining room. Moving from a bigger city to a smaller city made everything much harder. I gave up my connections and moved back to a place where I didn’t have as many. Taking care of my mom was a full-time job. From the time she was awake to when she went to sleep, 7 AM to 7 PM, I was on call. I definitely felt I had a closer and more adult relationship with my mom. I did whatever I could.
I wasn’t the happiest with the arrangement. I prefer to live alone. But I love my mom… I learned a lot, such as how to better manage my money. I would definitely do it again, especially because that was my mom’s last year of life—and I got to share it with her.
I’ve had to deal with a lot of unexpected consequences. I live in my mother’s house. I inherited it, along with all of her possessions. It took me several years and several property tax bills to fully realize the sort of situation I was in. I honestly never seriously thought about what owning a home would mean either: how complicated, difficult, and expensive it is, how much goes into the upkeep of it. Now, I’m planning to move back to the big city. —Chris, 30
These interviews have been edited for length and clarity.
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