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But I only just made it the Guest Room!

Last year two-thirds of my children left home at the same time. I was incredibly proud of Eldest and Middle and only a little bit scared for them. If I am completely honest, friggin thrilled at the thought of almost having a house to ourselves! Youngest is a gamer so spends most of his time in his room so it was almost like he didn't count. Yes I missed my babies, but seriously, when I went to bed at night the kitchen was clean: when I woke up in the morning it was still clean! Oh, and the thrill of still having fresh, folded towels in the bathroom on a Wednesday was almost better than sex!

But a few months later Middle came home.

It made sense for many reasons. Living independently had given him a new perspective on the ‘real world’. He even though UberEats was Uber-cool, he knew now that ‘adulting’ is not all that much fun. Who knew that the washing faerie didn't do house visits? Apparently, she only lives here…

Anyway, it was no big deal to have him come home. I always said our home will always be their home. I think the reality of adulting was a little more than he was ready for but I was very proud of him for giving it a go. Plus I was lucky to now be getting those special ‘armpit hugs’ I had missed so much? (one of the ‘pit-falls’ of having tall sons, if you don't mind the pun). What I did not miss was having to ask him to put pants on please.

I have just been informed that Eldest would also like to come home for a while as he wants to move to the UK in a year or so (just wait for my freak-out article when that happens!). I am ok with this as I do miss him a lot, but seriously, we only just finished making his old room into a gorgeous newly decorated ‘creative’ space that could double as a guest room. I have always dreamed of having a guest room, I have few people I could actually invite as guests, but it is a luxury in my mind. Shit, it was like buying a block of chocolate only to have the kids swoop in and eat it…

Recently Eldest came home for a surprise visit. We had a family dinner together, had lots of laughs and I was bursting with mumma-loves. It was great to have my babies under the same roof. Loves, hugs, joy ...all that crap. I floated off to bed saying to Hubby ‘how good is it to have all our babies under the roof?’

I came home the next day after work and Eldest had gone home. The ‘guest room’ was a mess. Seriously, he only slept in there a night!? Then I find the job I specifically asked Middle to do was not done, and when I asked Youngest to please empty the dishwasher (because like that was his job everyday and should have known better) I was met with “Yeah yeah, after this game”. I was so pissed off I could not talk. Probably a good thing.

It dawned on me that when Eldest moves back in things are going to need to be dealt with differently. I decided that we would need to look at this as more of a ‘share house’ arrangement otherwise I was in danger of being nothing more than a housekeeper. Those who know me know that I am a crap housekeeper and a bitch when made to do so. I can manage to do it about once a week and prefer it stay that way. (ha ha yeah I know). I could see that there was legit risk of stress ahead.

So I sat down at the table and wrote out a residency contract. It went something like this:

You are now an adult. You have a full-time job and a decent income. You have full adult freedoms. You know what jobs need to be done to maintain a home. I am not your housekeeper. Dad and I are two other adults you are living with.

There will be three options presented to you. (This will also apply to Youngest when he finishes year 12 later this year)

Option One:

  1. You do not pay for food, but you cook dinner for everyone once a week

  2. You take the bus to work

  3. You actively participate in the maintenance of the home by doing daily and weekly required jobs (agreed in advance) without constant reminders

  4. You do your own washing and one load of household washing when required

  5. You pay your own phone and public transport costs

  6. All amenities are covered by the board

Board will be $75 a week

Option Two:

  1. You do not pay for food

  2. You take the bus to work as often as you can

  3. You do one job a week

  4. You do your own washing

  5. You pay your own phone bill and public transport costs

  6. All amenities are covered by the board

Board will be $100 a week

Option Three:

  1. You do not pay for food

  2. You get a lift to work

  3. You don’t do any jobs

  4. You don’t do washing

  5. You pay your own phone and public transport costs

  6. All amenities are covered by the board

Board will be $150 a week

My rationale for this is that I am no longer just their mum. The attitude of ‘move home so I can be waited on hand and foot’ is not a conscious one of theirs but it is one that can so easily fall into ‘norm’ - and sorry, but they are adults now. If they don't want to pull their weight around the house, then I will charge them to cover the costs of paying a housekeeper to do the shit they won't do. It will not be an automatic that I will once again be ‘chief cook and bottle washer’.

Middle’s response to the lack of job being done by the way was ‘but I have been at work all day and I am tired” - yeah, he pretty much wanted to eat those words as soon as they slipped out!

So we will be approaching a new stage of living arrangements here in Talking Teens HQ. The age of adulting by all. (Hope I am up to the task!) I am pretty sure it won't be for long though, but I want to make sure that it is a living arrangement that we are all, myself included, treated fairly.

I have decided to keep calling Eldest’s room the Guest Room and I might change Middle’s room to Music Room and Youngest to the Writing Room.

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