The Case for Living At Home

Recently I had a talk with a fellow recent college grad. She told me I should move out, because moving out gives you a great sense of independence and makes you grow into an adult so much faster. She’s back at home after graduation and her mother is still washing her clothes. She asks her mom for money when she goes out to bars on the weekends. When she was at college, she would call her mom to put food money on her debit card. Such independence.

When I was thirteen years old, my father asked me if I’d like to start working at our family business, a restaurant we own and operate. I was thrilled and said yes. For the past ten years I’ve worked there, throughout high school and in college, when I commuted to the Bronx campus of Fordham university. Since I was 13, I haven’t asked my parents for a single cent for myself. And I’ve lived at home for all my adult life.

When old friends ask me what I’m doing with my life now, they get really condescending when I tell them I live at home. One friend told me, “you were always a homebody” and l941768_4889754085997_345924844_naughed. I get frustrated, because not only do I enjoy living with my family rather than have to share a bathroom with three other girls, but I truly don’t see what the big deal is all about.

True, that most of the time living at home is a luxury. There’s no rent to pay, no annoying roommates. Lucky for me, I live half an hour away from New York City, so relocating for work was never an option. I understand the necessity for moving out, but I don’t understand the stigma of staying at home.

For me at least, living at home made me force myself into independence. I never wanted to be irresponsible or take advantage of my parents’ hospitality, or stunt my adult growth by letting my mom do my chores. Also, living at home during college gave me perspective about the future. My parents never limited my college activities (shenanigans) but it helped that I knew I was grounded in reality, unlike most college students. It was a vastly different experience, but I’m grateful for it.

“So what now?” people say. “Are you going to move out?” Well, let me tell you: I’d love to follow in my friends’ footsteps and have a fabulous apartment in Chelsea or the Upper East Side, but I can’t afford it right now. Living at home gives me financial security, something I’d rather boast than Central Park views or a short commute. It’s different, once again, but I won’t feel shame about it. I’m proud of it. If my life changes and that New York dream becomes a reality, that will be wonderful. But right now, I’m content with my setup. I’ve cultivated a relationship with my parents, sisters, cousins that would have been sacrificed if I’d moved out for college or after, and those relationships are now invaluable to me.

I think the stigma of living at home is something a lot of young people fear needlessly. There’s no shame in it. And it’s pretty awesome knowing you’re coming home to people who love and support you. If you can do it, don’t be ashamed of it. And save some money in the bargain. Your student loans will thank you.

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  • I completely agree! I am twenty-five and still live with relatives and I am not ashamed of it. The reason is that everyone has been supportive and told me to focus on school and not worry for the first couple of years about working, so I did that. At one point I was very lucky and had a small part time job that I could do from anywhere, so I was able to pay for certain things and that was also my spending money so I never asked for any from my family. At one point I did stop working when I had to take medical leave from school and my family was also supportive with that and helped me. And then I went back to school last May and they told me to take it easy and they would help take care of things for a year, which was very lucky for me and I am thankful every day that I have been able to have this support. I know I have gotten more than many and I know now that the year is up, I have to support myself in most aspects. I have been searching for a job (which I will hopefully have as of Monday!) and I will be paying for things that are my responsibility such as getting a car, paying for insurance, and so forth, as well as saving money.

    As far as moving out and what not, as long as I am welcome I am content for now living with relatives. I have a room and a bathroom and, as you said as well, I don’t have to find somewhere and share it with three other girls. I live in a very tourist filled area, so finding a place that I can afford in a safe neighborhood that doesn’t have tourists coming in and out of rentals is very hard to come by especially right now with not having a steady income.

    With all of that said, I am not saying I will live with relatives forever. At some point in the next couple years I’d like to be able to afford a place of my own in a safe and affordable area. But as I said, for now I am content, doing my best, and need to save.

    • I would also love to be able to afford a place, but in the meantime, I love my family and desperately need to save money. I have my whole life to live on my own and pay crazy bills! Good luck with everything in the future!

  • I think that’s awesome that you are mature enough to live at home and still take responsibility for yourself. As you noted, there are plenty of people who move out and are still either completely dependent on their parents or simply unable to take care of themselves.

    • And that must be where the stigma originates from! Thanks for your feedback!

  • I love, love, love this post. Good for you for recognizing that your situation isn’t so bad after all. As for your friend in the first paragraph… well! Let’s just say I knew a lot of people in college whose parents gave them an “allowance” to live on!
    As for me, while I don’t live with my parents, I have gotten some flak for my living situation. I live in a one-bedroom apartment with my boyfriend, and co-habitating means that I’m able to pay off my student loans much faster as well as save a significant portion of my paycheck! Yet my relatives, and some of my more conservative friends, think it’s wrong that I’m living with my boyfriend because we’re not married. And I can never get over the irony that weddings usually cost LOTS of money, and the reason we live together is because money is always in short supply right after you graduate from college! I mean, sheesh.
    One final point: Your graduation photo is AMAZING. I was so, so late to my graduation ceremony, didn’t have time to fix my hair, and was sweating profusely because the ceremony was held outside on an especially humid day. Yeah, those photos went into the vault! haha

    • Thanks for your support and feedback! I think it’s strange to still have a stigma placed upon you for living with a significant other. Being financially secure should be a priority for all people, and anyway, what’s the big deal? The “scandal” factor is still a thing? Even my conservative, old-world, Italy-born parents aren’t quite that old fashioned. Don’t be driven to feel shameful about your decisions!
      I made the point about my friend in the first paragraph to highlight its irony; having your parents support you financially in college is not independence, even though it’s usually necessary for all students. “Independence” is not defined as not having to tell your parents what time you came home on the weekend. Ya know?
      Thanks about the photo! I think that’s the last time I actually heat-styled my hair…haha! What a difference!

  • Hey there girly!! I nominated you for a liebster award! If you want to know more please click on my blog (the post about the liebster award). As this award is meant to be a compliment and a fun thing to do please do not feel pressured and have a great day and love the post btw!!!

    • So happy!! Thanks so much for this!

      • No problem! Let me know when you answer them! I’d love to read’em!

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  • Fantastic post, Lisa. I do think it’s interesting that many people in the states have such a negative view about living at home with parents once you’ve hit a certain stage in your life (i.e. after graduating, getting a job, etc.). I come from a culture (I’m Vietnamese) where it is perfectly normal for multiple generations to live under one roof. Everyone still has their independence, and the shared responsibilities and financial stability help foster good relationships and happiness. Moving out may give some a sense of independence, but not moving out can do the same, just in different ways. Lovely picture, happy belated graduation, and I look forward to reading more of your blog!