It’s Payback Time: The Kids Are Moving Back Home!

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Parenting Advice: What To Do When Kids Move Back Home
How bad is it really when the kids move back home? Find out how this empty nester coped.

The Laundry Syndrome
My mother hates sharing her washer and dryer. When I go home to Italy, she locks them. I don't use the dryer anyway, because Italian dryers shrink everything. I lost a full load of underwear the time my mother insisted on doing my laundry and left my delicates in the dryer for two hours.

So I pretend to go to bed and do the laundry then. Invariably I get caught, but at least my clothes don't shrink.

 

"Who put my shirts in the dryer?" my son asks accusingly. "They've shrunk."

Is this déjà vu? I have to confess that by mistake, or for convenience, I put a few of his work shirts in the dryer and forgot to take them out. Have I turned into my mother? According to my son, yes I have.

The Fridge
"Why is the fridge empty?" my son asks.

I want to be clever, and so I say, "Could it be because you've eaten everything in it?"

This is one of the hardest things to get used to. When your adult children move back home, the food that would last you a week is gone in a day.

"And why are there ten cans of beans in the cupboard?" he asks.

Every time my son came home for a visit, he would be on a new diet. "They're not diets, Mom," he would say. "They're lifestyle choices. And anyway, who uses the word diet anymore?" I feel old.

Just in the last two years, we have gone through the vegetable protein lifestyle, the protein-no-carb lifestyle and the high calorie lifestyle. Then came the low calorie lifestyle, followed by the no dairy, no egg, no gluten lifestyle. There was the avocado oil stage and the never-ending selection of protein powders, because you have to mix and match and have one for every type of exercise.

"I'm confused," I cry. "I don't know what you eat anymore. I was thinking of frittata tonight." That's when I was told that eggs are out. Darn it. Again I feel I've turned into my mother.

I remember the first time an eating regime changed my life. I was into the Eating Alive Program by Jonn Matsen, and I wouldn't mix protein with carbs. I was religious about it. When I went to Italy that year, I was so into it I couldn't stop talking about it.

"What? No fruit after noon?" my mother asked in disbelief. "No risotto with cutlets?"

That was sacrilege, though not as much as when I became a vegetarian for eight years. I was never much of a protein person, and being vegetarian made a lot of sense environmentally. But it was a stab in the heart of my carnivorous parents and sisters.

"Since you are vegetarian, how about prosciutto tonight?" my mother would ask.

"Prosciutto is pork," I would repeat for the hundredth time.

"No, prosciutto is prosciutto, and we have a friend who is vegetarian and he eats prosciutto. What kind of vegetarian are you?"

I'm sure I gave my mother the same look my son gave me when I asked about the frittata. Was this payback time?

Truth is, I'm proud of my son for his food choices. I was like him, and I didn't realize how hard it is to please people with strong beliefs about food. Now I feel for my mother, who had to endure my search for the perfect eating lifestyle.

Counting the Days
"Yes, my son is still living with me," I say nonchalantly to a friend. "Until the end of next month. But who's counting?"

I've surrendered. I even make shakes with his protein powder in the morning, in the hope of reducing the number of large containers on my kitchen counter. He's been taking the garbage down regularly, and he's learned that my very cute dogs attract a lot of female attention. So now he walks them. Things have evened out. The light at the end of this tunnel is 33 days away.

My mom phones and addresses me by my childhood nickname. "When are you coming, Moka?" I tell her the date. "So soon? I can't wait. I'm counting the days."

Now I'm on to her. I know what counting the days really means.

Monica Magnetti is a proud YourTango Expert. Life/Business Coach and Brand Expert, she supports people to embrace change and consciously evolve when life transforms, such as when the kids move away or come back. Download FREE Monica’s highly acclaimed book, 30 Days to a New You: Get What You Want Through Authentic Change, and enjoy getting to know who you are in the present.

 

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