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Living at Home but Whose Home?

Living at Home but Whose Home?
Written by
Jackie Walker

Over the course of the last 6 years I have spent more time living with my mother than I have since I was 9 years old. Some of the time I have been embarrassed, sometimes even mortified. At other times, I’ve been sad, guilty and fear stricken. Many times I’ve forgotten to be grateful.

The truth is that there are many who when they divorce find themselves asking their parents if they can move back to live with them. Is this a personal slight? Is it testimony to them being a lesser person? Is it a red flag to some negative aspect of their personality or capabilities? Or is this simply a chance to take stock, survive and then thrive all over again?

It’s taken me a great deal of self understanding to fully appreciate how blessed I am to have had the time and opportunity to spend with my parents as an adult. My parents luckily had a house with 4 bedrooms which accommodated both my children in their own rooms and also my dog. They allowed me to take over the dining room as my office (I work from home). My kids live with their father and so during the weeks when I didn’t have them, I still had company and my mother and I shared the kitchen duties. When my father became poorly, because I was here, rather than put him into a hospice, we were able to look after him at home until he died in his own bed.

None of it has been plain sailing and it’s required input and effort from both sides. At the end of the day though, it has certainly drawn us closer as a family, something which is often missing in this day and age.

Getting over my feelings of guilt and embarrassment took a very large spoonful of humility. To begin with I was resentful of my situation. As a woman in her 40’s with 2 children, this just was not the set-up I had envisaged for my family. Adults don’t move back to live with their parents. But they do, don’t they! I’m astounded by the numbers of people I know who have done exactly that. Not everyone has gone on to carve out a great relationship with their parents. What I’ve found however is that it’s taught me even more about living respectfully with someone.

Often when you start to live on your own after divorce you get into your own wee ways of being and doing things and when the opportunity arises to live with a new partner, you begin to wonder if you can give up what it was that you’ve enjoyed!

The trickiest part of it all has been the dating scene however. It’s a little above my mother’s head to think of finding a potential suitor on a website, however over the years she’s grown accustomed to it and the last time I was online she would have a good laugh at some of the responses and pictures. I felt like a teenager when I told her I was going off for a weekend with a chap, but she just raised an eyebrow at me (phew)! Patently as relationships progress, any intimate relationship must be held outwith the confines of the parental establishment – again making one feel somewhat naughty and secretive! Even more amusing however have been the responses from the chaps, particularly if they have come to collect me for the evening. Imagine having to meet Mother!

Generally speaking it is due to financial constraints that people end up staying with their parents – I’m so grateful to mine for giving me and my children (when they’re with me) a roof over our heads and the love and warmth which is a like a balm and speeded up my healing. Over the course of time I’ve been given their belief in me and the opportunity to build my business. None of this is taken lightly, with embarrassment or guilt anymore. I’m now spreading my wings and getting ready to fly from the nest, this time keeping a close eye on it.

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