My ex and I have been living separately for more than six years, since our youngest went off to college. Most of that time the ex has had a girlfriend (several different ones, actually) so when this son came home for a visit he stayed with me and the ex would come by to see him when it suited his schedule.
Now the ex is girlfriendless and lonely.
The son, almost 25, has been working in LA since college (personal assistant in the film industry AKA “dogsbody”), but is ready to re-assess his life plan. He wants to move home for a few months of earning money rent-free with the goal of doing some foreign volunteer/travel as a way of gaining perspective.
Suddenly the ex wants to know if I intend to hog his company, or if he gets equal time. Crap!!! Our son is a grown man and his dad is ready for some kind of custody battle.
I’m not playing. Our son is no dummy. I don’t think he’ll play either. He can choose. And maybe he’ll decide that coming home was a bad idea after all..
Our two older children each did a 6-month boomerang stay with us after graduation but at that time the family was intact. They turned out ok and our time together did too, but the first month or two were uncomfortable.
The “custody” issue is unique, but the boomerang issue is not: about 18 million young adults ages 18 to 34 now live back at home. Someone has even written a book about it: Boomerang Nation: How to Survive Living With Your Parents the Second Time Around by Elina Furman.
One advice column suggests creating a contract with the kid:
Writing this down in a “contract” that you all sign is a great way to make sure you’re working from the same page. You don’t need a formal document; create your own by using the following points as a guide:
- Jim will move back into his old room beginning June 1 and will have saved enough money to move out by _____(date).
- He will pay $100 a month for his room and $100 a month for food, beginning with his second monthly paycheck.
- He will be responsible for buying and caring for his own clothing, doing his own laundry and purchasing items for personal use.
- He agrees to wash the car every Saturday.
- He will alternate cooking and grocery shopping with Mom.
- He will contribute half the cost of cable TV.
- He may play music and watch TV in his room, but agrees to keep the volume low after midnight.