Slippery Grip: Stay-at-home 30 somethings 27



View Profile

So someone did a study and told the baby boomers what they already know. Their progeny won’t leave home. Never mind getting out of Dodge. They won’t even get out of the kitchen.

The Italians call them “mammon”, or “mama’s boys”. The Japanese call them (my personal favourite) “parasaito shinguru”, or “parasite singles”. In the United States they are known as “boomerangs and in the UK they are called “KIPPERS”, which is short for “kids in parents’ pockets eroding retirement savings”.

I guess those stay at home 30 somethings have, as their life motto, “If you’re on a good thing stick to it” and stick they do! What you thought of their IQ has just jumped a few points. They’re not stupid after all if they can pull off a plan like staying in the family home until it comes down to the wire. You never realised your child had so much stick-ability. They are like bloody superglue when it comes to leaving home.

So what are those longing for a bit of empty nesting, not to mention privacy supposed to do? If the mountain won’t come to Mohammed – well…they take a package tour to the mountain, or become grey nomads. A caravan without a welcome mat is the order of the day. An extended holiday with a ‘to do’ list left on the fridge door for the velcro kid. Or sell the family home and downsize to one bedroom. As in mine not yours.

The other statistic that fits neatly with trying to get the bathroom back to two toothbrushes is that 31 per cent of baby boomers prefer communication to Govt largess or moving to a retirement community. That’s a given. As in give the kid a mobile phone and tell them to ring, preferably from their own home where they cannot reach your fridge/tool shed/washing machine without filling up the car at the petrol station.

Most parents value a phone call. It’s relatively painless, the kid can’t put you on the spot and ask for a tenner, and caller ID gives you options. Facebook is even better. Posting pictures of your mansion with a FOR SALE sign out the front on his timeline has a sobering effect.

Communication is vital when you inform your offspring you have changed the locks. Their response just reinforces the necessity for conversation. As we get older we need to know someone is still thinking of us, and still talking to us after we converted their bedroom to a den or sewing room.

Statistically speaking, baby boomers have a 1 in 4 chance of being empty nesters. The other three are still working on it…turn left when you get to the mountain.


When did you kids leave home? Or are they still there? How does it affect your life? 

Hettie Ashwin

My short stories have been published in America, United Kingdom and Australia in magazines and online. I have published a number of books over the years, all of which have been successful here and overseas. I write a humorous column for the Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette called Slippery Grip.

  1. my sons still live at home eldest is38, middle one is 32, youngest has downs and is 24, he wont leave but we wont let him go, cant look after himselfpacked to the rafters has nothing on us, oldest one still breast feeds , told his mother its only habit but she wont have it, says he needs it

    4 REPLY
  2. We were empty nesters by the time I reached 45. I was not ready for it, it was awful.

  3. Our only son stayed home till he was 21, then moved into a shared house. Did not return to us so to speak, but when we wanted to move, he bought a 50% share in the house we were leaving, and he returned to his original home, and stayed there even for a few years after he married!

  4. Was much harder than I ever imagined it to be watching the kids go but better that than having them stay for what must feel like forever. I don’t know how the other three out of four cope, you have my sympathy.

  5. Mine have come and gone over the years both married now never found it an issue when they did return ,loved having them with us miss them like crazy but visit when we can,☺

  6. Glad to say my kids were around when it was fashionable to leave home and be independent as soon as they could.We had a bit of boomeranging, l have to say I love them dearly, but I would have refused to have living with me in their 30’s

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *