Signs you're ready for the kids to leave home

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Our children are staying at home longer. Renting is expensive, there is a house deposit to save and jobs, particularly part-time jobs while studying, may not pay well. And there is the small matter of ‘children’ returning home – maybe especially during a pandemic.

The most recent Housing Income and Labour Dynamics Australia (HILDA) Survey confirmed the trend. In 2017, 56 per cent of men aged 18 to 29 lived with one or both parents, up from 47 per cent in 2001. More strikingly, over the same period, the proportion of women aged 18 to 29 living with their parents rose from 36 per cent to 54 per cent.

But one day they will leave home. Here are seven signs that you might actually relish having an empty nest.

1. You want to do something else with your life
You’ve always dreamed of taking up a new hobby or going travelling (as lockdown allows, of course), but because you’ve spent the past 20 or 30 years bringing up a family, you’ve not had the time or the money. If you don’t do it soon, you might not have the energy either!

2. You can’t sleep till they come home at night
Being unable to sleep until your kids got home was reasonable when they were younger teens – but once they’ve grown up, it really is okay for them to be out until all hours while you sleep peacefully. It’s what young adults do, and (most of the time) they’re okay. But if you really can’t relax while they’re out, maybe it’s time for them to leave for good.

3. You’re sick of there being no food in the house
You fill the cupboards and fridge with a full (expensive) weekly shop, and within two days the kids are moaning there’s no food in the house. If you’re going to keep up with the snack attacks of these fully grown adults, you’ll need a hotline to a biscuit factory.

4. They won’t stick to house rules
When your kids were little, you made the rules. Simple. But it’s not quite as easy to regulate a towering 18-year-old when he has a room that looks and smells like a festering tip, or has an hour-long shower leaving no hot water for anyone else in the family. That’s not to say, of course, that you won’t miss them breaking your rules after they’ve gone. Well, maybe a bit.

5. You long for a tidy house
You’ve been cleaning up after them for at least 18 years – you just want the house to stay tidy, and for a room that you’ve cleaned to still look spick and span the next day. Is that really too much to ask?

6. You’re sick of telling them to stop staring at a screen
When the kids are at home, it’s not as if they are enjoying a deep and meaningful conversation with you. Instead, they are usually just staring at a screen, despite your constant nagging for them to put that phone/tablet down for a while. It would be so nice not to nag about that, wouldn’t it?

7. You want some peace and quiet
You turned into your own parents a long time ago and seem to spend half your life shouting, “Turn that music down!” You don’t mind a bit of noise, but that awful rap music (and it’s not really ‘music’, is it?) blasting out from their bedroom is just too wearing. Silence is golden, and you long for it.

All that said, you need to be prepared for that silence to be deafening after they’ve gone …

Do you still have kids at home? Are you happy to have them close or excited for them to make their own way in the world? Have you had children return home?

– With PA

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