The pros and cons of living with your Irish parents when you're 28-years-old
One man takes us through the positives and negatives of 'living with your parents' at the age of 28.
I work close to home, my parents are sound and my bedroom has yet to be turned into a gym or a ‘lets just pile the Christmas shit in here’ room.
Still, it’s not all roses. Living at home at 28 is great on one hand, but it can be very challenging on the other.
Positive: Living rent free (or as good as) in a house you could never afford.
On hot summers days like these, I would rather be nowhere else than out in the perfectly constructed family back garden. Coffee in one hand, and a book in the other, while constantly reminding myself that 'this is the life'.
Compare this to paying above the odds for a 3rd floor apartment where if you are lucky, you might be allowed share the public shadowy grass space with your neighbours' bin, a dog and an old bronze woman who leaves little to the imagination.
Negative: "Are you free for an hour?"
This question comes in many forms. “Are you free for an hour?” “What way are you working next Friday morning?” “Do you have much on tomorrow?” etc etc…
If ever you hear any of these questions at home, the key is to cause a distraction, like drop a glass on the floor, and in the time it takes you to clean it up, come up with a good impenetrable answer. “Ah sorry Dad, I’ve been asked to help build homeless shelters in Cork so I won’t be around for a week or so.”
Of course you could just take a chance and say yes. Maybe you’ll only be asked to help lift some things into the attic. But you could be asked to paint the house, or worse still, to go to the bottle bank. Would you take that chance? Me neither.
Positive: Nieces and nephews
Living at home means you spend a lot of time with your nieces and nephews. It really is a win-win in our house, because while my brother or sister drop the kids off for some free babysitting, I get to be dragged back to earth and reminded of what the most important things in life really are; ‘Tag’ and ‘What Time is it Mr. Wolf?’
Although it is very important to lay down some babysitting ground rules straight away: Entertaining and Games, YES. Nappy changing, NO. And so forth.
And so forth.
Negative: Nieces and nephews
Nothing dents your confidence as much as a 5-year-old telling you where to go, because she’s watching Paw Patrol and doesn’t give a shit what championship final is on the telly.
On more than one occasion I found myself about to run into my mam to tell on the kids, only to spot myself passing in the mirror and think “BRIAN, you’re a grown man, cop on to yourself!”
Positive: A free education in classic sayings
Ever find yourself saying something that you believe to be perfect English only for your friend to say “err, what was that?”
Some of these I have taken on automatically even though they make no sense at all. For example, “He came in at half-time and gave us “down the glen” about our passing“. (If anyone has ever heard of this “down the glen” malarky I would love to hear from you.) But there are others that I love and I actively try to make them part of my everyday vocabulary like; “Don’t mind him, he wouldn’t know if a ball was pumped or stuffed.” Classic!
Negative: Being the technology expert
I do not claim to know much about technology. However, I do know;
- How to change the source on the TV
- How to add an attachment to an email
- How to connect to WIFI on a mobile phone
- What WIFI is
- How come this charger doesn’t work with that phone
And so on…
In which case, I am a technology expert in this house whether I like it or not.
Positive: The magical clothes washing fairies
Dirty clothes go in here, clean clothes reappear here (along with my dad’s socks for some reason).
News Tragedy on the hour
“Whisht!! The news.”
This is something that I presume is common in almost every household in Ireland. Are we the only country who purposely seek out bad news and tragedy at an hourly rate? I know it might sound insensitive, but it is very difficult to have a happy morning when you’re being forced to listen to murder, crashes, bombs, corruption, war and oh, Mary the Camel had a baby at Dublin Zoo. Ah well then, today is gonna be great, good woman Mary!
The positives and negatives of dinner
Of course having a personal experienced cook live under the same roof as you is blatantly positive. But there are a few things to be aware of:
- You’ll never have a guilt free take-away ever again – “How much did that cost you?… Is there something wrong with my chicken casserole?
- The panic you create when you arrive home unexpectedly – “Ah feck, there’s nothing to eat… Have you had something?.. What will I make?...There’s only beans here…” “It’s grand Mam, I’m not seven I know how to
make my own dinnerorder an Indian“
- “What do you mean you’re not sure what time you’ll be home for dinner?”
- You’ll only be lying to yourself by saying that you’re going to start Jamie Oliver’s 30-minute meals. In the last 2 months alone, I’d say I have thrown out about €180 worth of spinach, kale and other vegetables that I cannot spell, never mind cook.
- You will gain weight. It’s a thing with Irish Mams. They see every child as a challenge. “How fat can I make this one?” Did you ever want to know the secret of why your Mam’s cooking is the best??? Butter, and lots of it.
Negative: Death notices
“Ah Jaysis, I wonder if that’s one of the McGinnity’s who used to own the shop above?”
Positive: Sweets and biscuits treasure hunt
If you’re living at home, and you’re told that there is no biscuits/chocolate/sweets in the house, DO NOT accept it. It is a lie. There is always an emergency supply somewhere. It’s hard to rival the joy of finding a packet of penguin bars hidden inside an empty bag of peas at the bottom of the freezer (true story).
Of course the positives of living at home outweigh the negatives. We just have to remind ourselves of this from time to time.
I often think of many of my friends who have been forced to live as far away as Australia and New Zealand to find work and an affordable living. What would they give to get to see their families on a daily basis?
So if you’re like me and you find yourself living at home a wee bit later than you expected, try not to take the positives for granted so much. Think about them and be grateful for them. And next time you’re getting threatened with no cake unless you tidy your room, remember to think “fuck it, free cake tastes the same at 28 as it did when I was 14.”