These adults returned to live with their parents during the pandemic. But did they regret it? | US News
WWhen David and Linda Ellis sent their daughter Juliette, the youngest of their three children, to college in 2019, they thought they had become empty nests for good. In no time, the couple moved from their family home in Raleigh, NC to a much more manageable three-bedroom apartment nearby. The Ellis had no idea that in less than a year, two of their three grown children would join them again under the same roof.
After their school and work moved away in March 2020, Juliette Ellis and her younger brother Gregory came from their respective posts in Vancouver and Brooklyn to await the uncertainty of Covid-19 with mom and dad. Ellis’ oldest son, Justin, stayed a short drive from nearby Chapel Hill.
“It was a joy to have this time with our grown children,” says David, who sees the experience as one of the “silver liners” of an otherwise difficult time.
Throughout the pandemic, dozens of young adults have returned to their parents. This trend was especially pronounced in the first half of last year, when the Ellis were among nearly 3.5 million young adults to move in with their parents. In July 2020, a Pew survey estimated that 52% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 lived with one or both parents – the largest group to do so since the Great Depression.
Some, like Gregory and Juliet, saw the family home as a more stable environment to weather the storm of the unknown. Others have taken advantage of homework assignments to move out of their small (and expensive) urban apartments. Still others fell victim to the economic downturn at the onset of the pandemic, which cost many young workers their jobs.
At the time, speculation grew that the trend could have a generational ripple effect – that, perhaps, Americans were redefining ideas of “family” and “home” to adopt a more timeline. smoother and smoother when young adults should get started. theirs. “Maybe the pandemic is an opportunity – an untoward opportunity, of course – to reassess a way of life that is often maligned,” Joe Pinsker wrote in The Atlantic last July.
But as the world reopened and young adults became able, once again, to tinker with a semblance of normal social existence, many left their childhood homes for the second time. Others have imminent plans to do so, citing the desire to return to the “normal” life that is ingrained in so many young Americans.
And some found it boring to live and work closely with several other adults, even though those adults were their parents.
24-year-old Iva Balderacchi graduated from college in 2019 and was just starting her professional life as an architect in New York City when the pandemic took hold. Instead of continuing to shell out for her exorbitant New York apartment, Balderacchi decided to return to her parents’ place in Tenafly, New Jersey, where she could work remotely and live rent-free. While she remains grateful for being able to spend this time alone with her parents, she admits that it didn’t take long for everyone to start pissing off each other.
“It was frustrating when everyone was in a meeting,” Balderacchi says of trying to juggle the schedules with his parents, who also both worked from home. “And we were going crazy for stupid stuff, like who left the coffee all day.”
Needing a little time, Balderacchi and her boyfriend opted to rent an Airbnb in Florida from January through March of this year before returning home to Tenafly. This month, she returned to Manhattan. “It was nice to be with my family, but living at home is not something I want to do again,” she laughs.
Like Balderacchi, Shannon Slater, 27, saw the pandemic as an opportunity to save on New York rent. Slater, head of business operations for a media streaming company, was considering a major move from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to the West Coast when Covid-19 halted its plans. She realized that if she transferred the lease of her apartment to a friend, she would have one less thing on her plate as she planned her move across the country. And so, last December, she returned to Westchester County, New York, where she grew up.
“I was able to buy a car with the money I saved by not paying rent in New York City,” Slater says.
While the transition to living in her childhood bedroom was initially a bit shocking, Slater quickly fell into a comfortable routine with her parents. The trio enjoyed an evening cocktail and watched RuPaul’s Drag Race every Friday. The experience spawned a new kind of relationship with her parents, one more equal than the parent-daughter dynamic in which she was raised. As she prepares to move to Los Angeles at the end of the month, she feels a little nostalgic for what she is leaving behind.
“I’m going to miss laughing with them,” Slater admits. “I will miss walking down the hall to ask them for advice.” I will miss what we did together.
Constance Falk, 29, experienced an equally positive pandemic stint with her parents in Kinston, North Carolina, despite some initial shame at the circumstances. In March 2020, Falk lost his job as a marketing manager in Chicago – the only person in his group of friends to be fired due to the pandemic. “I was embarrassed,” she admits.
But as she charted her way back to her life in Chicago, Falk learned to take on new roles at home: helping her mom in the garden, building a new grill for family meals, and even solving household problems. house plumbing. Although she returned to Chicago in early 2021, Falk cherishes these unexpected moments she shared with her family.
“I was able to learn characteristics from my parents that allowed me to further develop my relationship with my mom and dad,” says Falk. “It was great getting to know my family better. “
Falk’s final sentiment was echoed by every 20-year-old interviewed for this story. Everyone seemed to realize that the change in how they viewed their parents probably wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t moved home during the pandemic.
Often times, and especially throughout our childhood and early adulthood, many of us see our mothers and fathers as one entity: parents. But those who have moved in the past 19 months have been able to recalibrate how they viewed their parents and redefine those relationships from a new adult perspective – a more personal perspective than a parent-child. It is striking that because of Covid-19, a micro-generation of American adults reached this training milestone at the same time.
Yet it would appear that most of them are returning to the shared normalcy of being in the world and living the young adult life in America.
Eventually, even the Ellis children would leave the nest again. Juliette returned to Vancouver during the winter. And, after renting a different apartment in the same building as his parents for several months, Gregory returned to Brooklyn in August.
Moving “has given me a wonderful and healthy experience, despite all the bad things that are happening in the world,” says Gregory. It was a meaningful chapter – “And one that I never expect to have again.”