“Hey, Mom!” Series Part 2
Edited by Marissa Glover
Editor’s Note: Melissa Fenton (creator of 4 Boys Mother) has written countless articles for a very diverse audience of moms. Some of those articles have been published on the website Grown and Flown, where topics cater to parents whose children have grown up and left home. Melissa knows what this feels like, and many of her readers do too. But what are the grown-and-flown children feeling? What’s leaving home been like for them?
Each day this week, we will post an article written by a current college student. These students were recently asked, “If you could tell your mom anything at all, what would you want her to know about you or your life?” These articles are their answers and offer moms a different perspective–a chance to see the world through your college-aged child’s eyes.
Newsflash: I Don’t Want to Live at Home Forever
by Elissa Noblitt, 20, Sophomore
Living at home as a college student is taboo. After all, a major part of the collegiate experience is decorating your dorm with cool posters and pillows, becoming besties with your randomly-assigned roommate, and at some point down the road, giving a hilarious toast at your old roomie’s wedding about all of the shi—shenanigans the two of you got up to while your parents were in another town.
My professors and peers alike expect me to be a campus resident, and typically look as though I’ve grown a second head when I tell them otherwise. Yet here I am, in my second year of college, still waking up and going to sleep in a bedroom down the hall from my parents.
Several factors played into this decision—my off-campus job, the short drive from home to school, and the insanely exorbitant price that my college charges for room and board (since the entirety of my college costs come from financial aid and dreaded student loans, I don’t want to jack that number up any higher than necessary). Living at home seemed like the best option for me.
At first, my mom was extremely understanding and supportive of my decision to live at home. But lately her suggestions and “wink-wink-nudge-nudges” about moving out have become increasingly common.
“Hey, I found this apartment complex down the road; only five-hundred a month.”
“Well, your stepfather and I want to buy a house, but all these bedrooms are so expensive.”
“You know, I moved out when I was 18.”
I get it, Mom. You’re worried that your life is going to turn into some Failure to Launch movie sequel, and that you’ll be stuck supporting me into my thirties. You’re dreading the possibility that I’ve burrowed myself a cozy, convenient little nest and I’m planning on staying snug for as long as I can.
But here’s something you don’t know, Mom: I don’t want to live at home forever.
Of course, I do realize how good I have it—not paying for groceries and not worrying about rent or a phone bill or even gas for my car. And, of course, I am appreciative of these things. Freedom from these responsibilities allows me to focus and flourish at school and at my job. But I don’t want to drain your resources or take up space in your home forever. That’s not my idea of a successful, fulfilling life.
I want to go out on my own at a reasonable age, find my own place, and support myself. The thing is, I’m still working toward being able to do that.
I’m not completely dependent, I do take care of a few expenses (mostly car-related) on my own, which teaches me financial responsibility. I’m a hard worker, juggling a full-time education and a part-time job, which teaches me discipline. And while you’re stressing about my stagnation, my savings are growing. I’m earning a degree in the field of my dreams, and I’m building personal and professional relationships with the people around me. All of these things are helping to ensure that when I move out, my new life will be healthy, productive, and stable—which means no moving back home in my late twenties. It’s a win-win scenario.
I’m sure plenty of commuting college kids can relate to what I’m saying. For the moms of these students, I have some advice: Stop stressing out. Talk to us about your concerns. Help us set some moving-out goals. Don’t be passive aggressive. Address the worries we may be having; the idea of moving out can be scary.
But most importantly—trust us. After all, we were raised by the best.