Life With An Adult Child: Coping

I got to thinking about what it would be like to live with my adult daughter and, honestly, I don’t think I could cope.

I didn’t always enjoy being somebody’s mother. At first, I was very naïve about the whole parent thing. I bought into all those cute photos of seemingly darling little human beings. But I  was in no way prepared for the tantrums, disruptions, obstinacy, and the chaos that comes with civilizing another human being. 

I was once an optimist, I had dreams that my kid would eventually manage to grow up and move away.   And she did – for a while. Until she moved move back in with us. But that didn’t last long.

I can try to remember what raising a child was like, but not for long.  My daughter did a lot of idiot things when she was little, like drawing all over the bathroom with my eyebrow pencil and feeding the dogs scrambled eggs and chocolate syrup.  But that was so long ago and she was little. Raising any kid can be distressing and I don’t think sons are much different, they just have different exasperating ways.  And besides, you have to take what you get.

But children do grow up and like weeds they may be hard to get rid of.  If you’re lucky, they do eventually leave. And then the tables turn. Parents get old, decrepit, and maybe even senile and when they are as old as Methuselah, their options of independent living get smaller.  As for me, however, I do not see me living with my adult daughter – ever. I don’t like to think of what it would be like if I had to move in with her.  Let me explain why – and if my words seem limited, it’s because  I am trying to write this and not piss her off:

  • Living with your adult children means you’ve finally become an old coot.  I don’t want to be an old coot. Never!
  • My daughter is like my mother and I couldn’t live with her either.  I’m reminded of why grandchildren get along so well with their grandparents – they both have  a common enemy.
  • She has too many cats. They stand on her face in the morning. I have cats too, but mine know their place… my dining room table.
  • I hate her driving . She hates mine. She hates my car. And she doesn’t have a brake pedal on the passenger side of her car!
  • It’s hard for two people who have the same bad habits to live together – especially when they are related.
  • She’s gen X.  She can’t manage money for shit. I’m going to set up a special bank account so she’ll have some money in case I die before her father and he marries some spendthrift trophy wife.
  • We argue about “Stuff”.  I have lots of stuff.  She has stuff too but her stuff isn’t labeled or organized. It’s all over the place.  I believe in controlled chaos.  My stuff is in boxes, on shelves, in plastic crates, trays, tote bags and in piles.  I can find things – if I have to.
  • If our stuff intermingled, how would either of us ever find anything?
  • She’d piss me off if she told me to get rid of my stuff.  She’d do it too. So that my stuff wouldn’t take up the space needed for her stuff. I would have to watch my stuff at night to make sure she didn’t throw it out.
  • On the other hand, it would really be tempting to throw out her stuff and get that tent, unfolded laundry, camping stove, coolers, and dirty sneakers… out of the living room.
  • I have files, lots of files…files with important information like the health records of her grandmother and great grandmother.  I kept them because I thought she might eventually want to know why she has hypochondria and acid reflux.
  • I talk a lot. But not in my sleep.  Just when she’s trying to sleep.
  • I have a sense of humor. She doesn’t. If she does have one, I don’t know where it is.  It’s probably under a pile of laundry. She’s like my mother, she didn’t have one either.
  • My mother lived alone, too.  It runs in the family. We’re all too cantankerous to live with when we’re old.

There are some things we do agree on.  We do love each other. We dislike the same people and sometimes even the same things  And she likes goats. I like goats too – together we could be goat herders.  In Switzerland. On a goat farm in the Alps.  And I would learn to yodel and drive her crazy.  But as long as air and sea freight transport are so difficult and so expensive, that’s not going to happen

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