Thursday, April 2, 2015

Boomerang Kids, Part 2: Expectations

One thing I usually do when faced with a new-to-me situation is find out what the ‘experts’ have to say on the subject. Chalk this up to my education background and the importance that my family puts on education. So, when things heated up in my house as the second daughter moved back home, I got a book. By a PhD (Susan Newman). Otherwise known as someone who thinks that all people are sweet and kind and nice and capable of working together and who also thinks that she knows it all because she has a PhD. This woman FAILED to cover the topic of difficult adult children moving back home.

PhD Lady writes: ..knowing how to understand the people you live with, evaluating and expressing your expectations--and sometimes lowering them--can help avoid disappointment and discord." (page 32)


First, don't bother having expectations. Having expectations almost assures disappointment AND discord. You become disappointed because your expectations aren't being met and then discord sets in because you are disappointed that your expectations aren't being met. It's almost like an infinite regress sets in.

Even though I always try not to, I did have expectations. I totally expected that my ground rules would be followed. Again, I had PhD Lady on my side as she feels that setting ground rules is important. I agree with this. But she never covers what to do when those ground rules are promptly ignored.

This woman is way more interested in pleasing all those involved than respecting those paying all the bills. In my mind, those adult children who move in with the parent are the ones to make the adjustments. If you’re footing the bill, everyone else can get over it. Seriously, if I moved in with either of my parents or my aunt, I would adjust to their lifestyle. NOT the other way around. Anyway...

PhD Lady says to have family meetings to set ground rules and let everyone take a turn running the meetings. Riiight. I'm pretty sure that, when you are the one paying for everything and no one else is even remotely chipping in, YOU get to run the meetings.

I don’t have to deal with the issue of drug or alcohol abuse, though I have considered it for myself lately. No. My problem is that all of the women in my family are strong, independent women who think for themselves. And about themselves. A lot.

They moved back in and they took over the house.

Perhaps my ground rules were just too much. I told both girls, at the onset, that they had to keep their rooms neat and clean. And their bathroom.  I also expressed the wish that they help keep the house clean so that not all of the cleaning fell on my shoulders alone. And that was it. Just be neat and clean.  

Apparently, that was asking way too much. Neither of their rooms have been cleaned-dusted, vacuumed, pick up since the day they moved in with the exception of the youngest who has done that in her room twice. If memory serves. Living in messes does not seem to bother them at all.

PhD Lady suggests that perhaps, if your adult children share more with you about their feelings and plans, you would be more willing to overlook said messes. Well, PhD lady, you're an idiot. Seriously. How would knowing more about anything change who I am about living in a mess? Unrelated sweetheart. Besides, sharing their feelings and their plans are not the issue. My girls share all the time. The mess is the issue. Because the mess resembles a frat house after a week long party.

Let it go. Just let them do whatever. PhD Lady writes that I should be the one to give in. PhD Lady has, apparently, never had to be the one who has to give in ALL THE TIME. Because she never mentions that it gets old. Fast.

I suppose my first ground rule was to state, emphatically, that I’m not the mommy who is here to raise them this time around. They are adults now. Not little kids. (Though, maybe I do need a re-do.)

There's about to be a revolution. If you see the mushroom cloud, fear not. It's just me. Taking back the house.


  1. Oh my. I have no experience or wisdom to share or offer. I can only sympathize and shake my head!! Keep us posted about that revolution!

  2. I was a boomerang kid myself, briefly, in the two years between divorcing and marrying again. It was a new world for my parents and me, especially since I'd brought my daughter (then 4) with me, then immediately got very sick and needed nursing for several months. For us, one of the issues was money. I was there because I couldn't afford an independent life, so I had to find ways to contribute, especially if I wanted the respect of my father. So, I took over the cooking. I couldn't buy the groceries, but I could prepare the meals! I hope your kids know how lucky they are to be taken in when they need it. It's not a given in every family!

    1. Some days I think they do realize and appreciate and, other days, I think they take advantage and make assumptions. The first one back truly has stepped up to the plate though. I have to give her credit for that. It's not that I wouldn't have let them move back. Wherever I am, that's home for them. But some contributions would show that they do appreciate and aren't just using. It sounds like you got that and made your stay with your parents a good one.

  3. In my experience they help for the first week and then you would have more luck catching the Easter Bunny hiding eggs.......

    1. Jo-Anne, you never fail to crack me up, girl! LOL

  4. I do believe that you are one of the few people who can understand why I moved south. I got FED UP!


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