Our eldest daughter left home a few months ago at the tender age of 18, and according to the Office of National Statistics she is one of the lucky few. The 2011 Census records show that levels of homeownership have gone down for the first time in 60 years. According to the housing charity, Shelter, the shortage of affordable housing is forcing young people to live at home with their parents until they are well into their 30s.
At the moment our daughter is embracing her independence with open arms. I’m not surprised – domestically, she makes Monica out of Friends look like Waynetta Slob, and her lecture notes are not just complete, they are colour-coded in matching Muji binders. We all miss her like mad and we can’t wait for her to come back for weekends and holidays, but how would we all cope, if, in a few years’ time, she came back to the big city for work and had to move back into her old bedroom with no possibility of escape until she was 35? Well, first of all she’d have to take a court injunction out to evict her younger sister, and then she’d have to decide whether a room with a bed and a desk provided her with enough privacy and independence for her new life as a working girl, especially after three years of flat-sharing. How on earth would she cope with my cooking? And my woeful range of silicon cake cases? We’ve already fallen out over my inability to stock caster sugar and unsalted butter. I haven’t even told her about my new fad of decanting Sainsbury’s Basics range shampoo and conditioner into pump dispensers and pretending they are L’Oreal. Because it’s not worth it.
It’s not that she wouldn’t have the energy and enterprise to find a place of her own, it’s just that they aren’t there to be found. My friend, Paul, is a trainee teacher and has been trying for three months to find a rented room in London. The competition is so tough that if there isn’t an X Factor queue going round the block, he knows it’s not worth seeing. He turned up to one flat to find himself bottom of a list of 40 potential flatmates all auditioning for the same room, Blind Date-style. He wouldn’t have minded but the room was so small he had to stand on the bed to open the wardrobe. He picked up his rucksack, and his GSOH, and headed back for his
He hasn’t got the option of moving back home as his family is 200 miles away, but if that is your only option, how would you and your grown-up children cope? Are you facing the prospect of a cuckoo in the nest who can’t move out? Or did you push yours too early and now regret watching them struggle? Let us know your thoughts.
Posted by Amanda Blinkhorn