The Positive Side of Medicine

Empty Nest?

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Empty Nest?

With people marrying later in life, and over the last 30 years or so of a worsening economy, for one reason or another adult children are often opting to move back home. Sometimes it seems you are just getting used to the nest being empty and enjoying your own pursuits and BAM… here comes a kid with a suitcase, and boxes, and furniture, and sometimes a spouse and/or children of their own. What’s a responsible parent to do? As long as I have a place to live my children are welcome in it, but sometimes I wonder, when is it my turn? When do I get to do all the stuff I put off until my children were grown?

grown kids

When my kids were teens I remember my daughter making a comment about someday bringing me my grandchildren to babysit, my son said, “No way I would impose on mom like that! She can have them when she wants, and I will hire a babysitter!” My daughter said, “Oh like that’s an option, when you’re 30 you’ll still live here with mom!” Which made my son laugh and reply, “So? I’ll still be a cook at the Tap too!” Well, as it turned out, my son is married, with a baby, and another on the way, and I do babysit, I am the primary babysitter, the only other one is her grandpa on her mom’s side, but they work different schedules so one of them is almost always home themselves. And, as it turned out, my daughter, who is now 25, has been back home for 3 years now.

I am not complaining about the babysitting, at all, I actually moved two states away from home to live by them and be able to babysit, being a grandma is the joy of my life! I am not complaining about my daughter being with me either, we have a great time, and we had extenuating circumstances, but then again, doesn’t everyone?


I actually moved back in with my parents myself, twice. When I was 9 months pregnant my husband, who was in the Navy, was transferred to San Diego, so I went to stay with my parents until I had the baby. When I was pregnant the 2nd time I was suddenly single and moved home again. I remember my dad saying to his friends, “We don’t care if Steph needs to move home, it’s just that every time she does, she brings more.” My dad has a dry sense of humor.

My daughter being back home is because of a tragic accident, after which she lost most of her vision, but after I became so sick it was such a blessing to have her around, she has taken amazingly good care of me, makes sure I eat, helps me get dressed every day as I am unable to put my own socks and shoes on, she even paints my toenails as that is something I am no longer able to do.

grown kids3

I think, for grown kids to come home, we need agreed upon guidelines. They can help with bills, they can help with groceries, and they certainly can help clean, and should clean up after themselves and whoever else came with them! When I was still working full-time my daughter did the majority of the housework, as she was home. She feeds herself all but once a day usually, and I enjoy cooking so I almost always make our shared meal. When I am not well she does it, and when I came walking home from the hospital at midnight in the cold she had hot chocolate waiting when I came in the door! She is in charge of popcorn, I’m in charge of smoothies. We have certain TV shows we watch together, and there are some I watch with her that I don’t really like, but I’m her eyes, and explain as we go.

Sometimes she is rather funny about things, when we go grocery shopping she will often ask me if she can have a treat, I always laugh about it. I say, “Pumpkin you are 25 years old, you have your own grocery money, you do not need to ask me how to spend it!” She still asks, almost always. I do the majority of the housework now, but that is a personal preference, it’s therapeutic for me. For some reason, I feel like if my bed is made, the kitchen counter is clear, and the dishes are done, I am more in control of my life. She leaves crumbs on the counter, not on purpose, she doesn’t see them. I like washing dishes, my hands are so bad anymore that the warm soapy water is very beneficial. I wash dishes at my son’s house too, whenever they let me!

Mutual respect, I find, goes a long way. It can be hard, after all, I was a parent to kids much longer than I have been a parent to grown-ups, and it’s hard to stop being the boss, and try to only give opinions that are asked for. In the meantime, it’s still technically my house and my rules, such as they are. We are both stubborn and like our own way which can lead to problems now and then, but for the most part we get along very well, we laugh a lot and have good times.

I have really loved the time I have been granted to get to know my kids as adults, and seeing up close what kind of amazing individuals they really are, and I am very grateful that I had someone here when I really needed someone here. That being said, I am looking forward to the day my nest is empty again, it will be good for both of us for her to stretch her wings again, and for me to discover all the parts of me I don’t know very well yet. Love peace & hugs…

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