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Empty Nesters

Thursday, 23 April, 2015

We all come to a point in our lives where we must move away from the family home. Do you ever wonder how your parent(s) will react when this happens? Will they love it, or will they re-enact Marie from Everybody Loves Raymond and hold on to the leg of your pants screaming don’t go”?

When the day comes for you to move out, your parent(s) will fall into one of two categories which I like to call the ‘Freedom Parent’ and the ‘Nostalgic Parent’. The category your parent(s) fall into is crucial in determining their reaction at each stage of the ‘moving out’ progress.

 

Stage One: The Reaction

You tell your parent(s) you have found a place and are ready to fly the coop. The Freedom Parent will congratulate you with intense enthusiasm. They start planning what they will convert your room to after you are gone. With the Nostalgic Parent, however, do not expect excitement. Do not expect approval. Either expect the silent treatment or a re-enactment from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” where Toula’s father cries to her: “Why you want to leave me?”

 

Stage Two: The Lead-Up

As your move-out day grows closer, your parents might check to see how you’re tracking. With the Freedom Parent, expect questions about rent and the general conditions of your new residence because they want to make sure you are gone for good and won’t be moving back any time soon. The Nostalgic Parent, however, not only demands to inspect your new residence, but brings in carpenters, plumbers and other tradesman to get their profession opinions. Expect lots of criticism about the house and area you are planning to live. After these criticisms, they will remind you how good you have it not paying rent under their roof.

 

Stage Three: Your Departure

You are packed and ready to go! You go to say goodbye to your parent(s) and you find your Freedom Parent outside. They’ve already loaded all your stuff into the car. By the way, it’s 6am.

Yet, the Nostalgic Parent is inside. It is 2pm and you’re double-checking you have everything. You look around the house for your parent. They aren’t in the lounge room nor the kitchen. Where are they? You find them still in bed, not feeling well today. Maybe it’s a bad day to move out. Maybe you could leave tomorrow? Subtle, huh?

 

Stage Four: Empty Nest

The Freedom Parent becomes closer with the other parent in the house and wants to enjoy having you gone. They book that holiday they always wanted that your existence kind of ruined for them. If you have siblings still living in the house, they will blatantly ‘hint’ to said siblings that they can’t wait for them to move out too.

The Nostalgic Parent, on the other hand,is crying a lot, sitting in your old room, looking at photo albums, looking at baby clothes and toys, calling youand inviting themselves over with homemade lasagna. In fact, expect many visits to your new place.

 

Stage Five: Return to the Nest

At some point you may need to temporarily move back in with your parents. Perhaps there is a family wedding or birthday and you have to crash in your old room. Perhaps you’ve been away from home for a while now and are feeling a bit homesick. Or maybe rent is expensive, you are sick of cup noodles or your housemates are dickheads.

The Freedom Parent will tell you how happy they are to have the house to themselves now. They let you come and go, but would ‘appreciate’ a text or call so they know what time you are coming home at night. They won’t let your partner stay in your room with you, because have you forgotten, “it’s my house, my rules”?

The Nostalgic Parent will give you a massive hug and kiss. Dinner is ready and it’s your favourite meal prepared just for your homecoming, complete with dessert. Score! If you go out at night, you need to let them know where you are going, who with, and what time you’re coming home. They won’t let your partner stay in your room with you, because again, “it’s my house, my rules”.

 

All of a sudden, living away from home doesn’t seem as bad. The taste of cup noodles is now the taste of freedom and your housemates now seem just a bit quirky.  You don’t need to tell anyone when you are coming home; it’s your house, your rules. Except for the landlord, and your housemates.