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Waltzing Through Life Living With The Parents

I am part of the boomerang generation. In other words, I am part of the generation of youngish people who went to school and moved back in with their parents. I have three other siblings, two of whom are twins and in college, one who is also older and living at home.

My parents were generous and helped me out a LOT in college. They were extremely helpful and pushed me when I needed pushing. As well as being financially helpful, they were just good mentors and really prepared me for life. With their help I was able to graduate and have NO debt whatsoever. As I watch so many friends struggle I really really can’t be thankful enough for that. They have sacrificed a lot for me.

I eventually got a job in another country and moved away for a year. Being bilingual turned out to be a huge plus. But my family was very hurt by my move and it seemed like I would be able to get a job when I moved home, as I was now out of college, had two years of experience in my field and outstanding references and connections. Even though I’m the adventurous sort and kind of wanted to stay and live my independence a bit longer, I wanted to go home too, because I missed everyone. So I did- I came home and I started looking for a job.

And that’s how it’s been for three years. Oh, I’ve been working- I have two jobs at the moment, and I’ve also had three or even four to make ends meet. Both part time employment with no insurance that pay peanuts. I also have a car that’s dying. It’s been really hard… it does nothing for my self esteem to know I went from independence to living with my parents scraping by. They do not charge me rent, (I’ve asked and offered). I help around the house by cleaning and cooking.

One of the things I did upon moving back home was sign up for dance classes. There were a few things I’d wanted to do growing up that I’d asked about but hadn’t been able to do (permission or money-wise) and that was dancing and martial arts. So I barely had any money at all, but taking my change to the bank, I had just enough money to sign up.

Dance has been fun. I have met a mess of people I would never have before. Growing up in a conservative household where everyone was Christian was kind of a bubble. It was a growing process in that I had to learn for the first time what kind of people to avoid and what kind of people to embrace.

I have worked my way up and have been told by the instructor I am one of the best dance follows there. Yay! I still have a lot of ways to go, and I’ve made mistakes this year but I’m happy to have found something I really enjoy. Not to mention great for social interactions and exercise.

Now to the issue at hand… dances take place in the evenings. Which means I am out late. Sometimes it is icy and snowy in the winter, sometimes it is three in the morning and I am just tired and don’t want to drive home. I camp out on couches of friends who live next to the dance studio. In order to improve, which is my goal, I go to as many things as possible. This means Friday, Saturday, Sunday… I am Jitterbugging or waltzing. I dance a lot of weeknights, too. Because of work schedules, sometimes I leave right as my parents get home. I do skip different practices and weekends for family events. Birthdays, obviously holidays, and sometimes, hey, it’s been a long week, I just want to veg on the couch a night in my PJs and watch TV with my brother.

However I am away for most of the weekend. Or I go away at 6pm and don’t return home until 6pm the next day. This has caused outrage from my parents. I think they see me as an irresponsible kid who never comes home, and when she does just is waiting until she can go away again. I think they miss me or feel slighted. My Dad asked me if I think of our house as my home and was very offended by my answer of, “I think this is your home, where you are allowing me to stay.”

Because of my getting home late or coming in the next day (for which I now inform them before hand my plans and have to endure their anger before I leave and then again when I get home) there has been talk of making me pay rent and setting up different house rules of curfews. They also are completely horrified to learn I stay the night on my boyfriend’s couch (he also lives with his family) so I now try to make plans with other dancing girlfriends so that I never have to stay there. It’s a pain but it’s not worth the anger of my parents and I’m not willing to lie about where I am or what I’m doing.

(This seems like I sleep over at peoples houses everyday, I do not. I prefer my house and my bed! It happens once, occasionally twice a week)

I think I could understand this and try to work with them except for one thing. My Brother is an avid hunter. He goes away many weekends and weeks to a hunting cabin in the mountains and also has a job that takes him away. He sometimes stays at hotels or friends houses. We often don’t know where he is until later. Yes, he lives here, but his lifestyle and his hobbies/job take him away.

I guess I feel hurt myself. No, my hobby will not be something I can’t mount on a wall or eat for supper. But when he doesn’t call or come in on time, there’s instant forgiveness. He has a real job and makes real money. But he also doesn’t pay rent and I know they won’t make him even though there’s this talk of making me pay.

So I don’t know what to do. I have tried to find roommates and leave but I am in a financial crunch and can’t really afford to. (Luckily dance classes are now free because the Dance Instructor lets advanced level dancers attend dances for free to help beginners.) When I talk about this from the perspective of, “Hey, I am 25 and I want to move out and be independent someday…”, I am met with hostility.  “So eager to get away from us?!”

Sigh. I just want to dance. In a world where I have applied to over 50 jobs and where I’m praying that my car survives the winter… I just want to be able to do one thing that makes me feel happy and free and alive.

How do I handle this? How can I live in harmony with my family and still be true to my own interests and life. Am I wrong…? I confess… I would like them to come watch my dance, just once. But dances don’t start until 8pm and that’s too late for their tastes. 0112-15

I’m going to be the meanie in my response.   I do not agree with you that your parents “really prepared me (you) for life.”    Their financial assistance with your college education already sets you apart from the vast numbers of young adults who work while going through college and/or have student loans that must be paid.    You left college having no real idea what the personal cost of working for something you really want.  And the fact that your older brother still lives at home paying no rent whatsoever despite having what you refer to as a “real job” with “real money” tells me your parents have no vested interest in pushing a perfectly capable mid-twenties year old male out of the nest to learn how life really is as an independent adult.

I’m the parent of 3 adults in their 20’s and all three have lived at home as adults at one time or another.   We did not require them to pay rent as long as they paid their own cell phone service, car insurance, gasoline, auto repairs, bought their own vehicles, and, this one is crucial, they had to save at least $500.00 per month in a savings account or retirement fund.   They were required to show evidence of this with copies of bank deposit slips or statements.    The other obligation to living in our house was the requirement to be courteous and I’ll expound more on that later.   The only times we ever threatened that rent was to be paid was when there was no evidence of any money being deposited into a savings account.   Whines that they had no money were nearly always a case of the adult kid having spent money foolishly on what we referred to as “toys”, i.e. completely unnecessary items they could not afford or daily/weekly extravagant expenditures for very upscale cosmetics or Starbucks or clothes.

As the parent of three children who lived at home and worked at retail or food service jobs making somewhat similar amounts of money, I can attest to the fact that there was a difference in how each child managed his/her money.   In any group of siblings, it seems one is the “banker” who diligently saves and has more disposable income and on the other end of the spectrum, there is the “shopper” who wastes money on things he/she really does not need and is therefore routinely financially in extremis.  The “banker” of my children was able to save 10K to buy a nearly new vehicle with cash, went on a 16-day trip to New Zealand that cost 5K from saved funds, is planning a London trip later this year, yet also has a generous amount of money saved for a down payment on a house AND an IRA retirement account.   Meanwhile, the “shopper” moved out of the house owning an old clunker, no savings to speak of, and in credit card debt.    And the irony is that the banker made less than the shopper did annually at one point but the difference in how they managed money was light years apart.

You have no college debt, no car payments apparently, you pay no rent and probably little for food, and you have barely two nickels too rub together.  At age 25, you are still eligible to be covered under your parents’ health insurance.   Something isn’t jiving here and I suspect you are not telling me the whole story.   Even working two part-time jobs (and sometimes 3 and 4 as you mentioned) at US minimum wage,  you should be grossing 12-15K per year, most of which is not taxable.   I’ve had two adult kids working minimum wage jobs…I know exactly how much they netted each year.   So, how is it that you have no expenses to speak of yet have no money?

How can you be working “3 and 4 jobs” at times yet have the time to attend dances and dance classes, “Friday, Saturday, Sunday…”,  and, “…a lot of weeknights, too”?  My family loves contra dancing but if one of them were to dance this much per week while claiming to be financially unable to leave the home, there would be some serious discussions about priorities.  If you had to scrape together the money to take dancing lessons, that tells me you are not in a good financial position to pay for the necessities of adult life such as car repairs, and have no long term goal to save money to be able to leave your parents’ home.  I am beginning to suspect, perhaps, why your parents are resistant to watching you dance or taking dance classes….you present the case that your dancing is an obsession at a time when you don’t have the means to afford that kind of luxury.

As for telling your parents where you are going, when you will be back, where you are staying the night, and how you can be reached, this is basic common courtesy everyone should extend to those they live with.   If you were married, your spouse would have a very reasonable expectation that you will relay that information to keep him apprised of your whereabouts.   If you had roommates, this is, again, a courtesy one gives to those one lives with so that they do not needlessly worry about you.  So, no excuses for failing to inform your parents of your plans to be away from the home.


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  • Vermin8 February 2, 2015, 8:23 am

    If you are going to be paying rent, pay it elsewhere. Get your finances in order and see how much you can spare. Rent a room in a private home or see if one of your friends could use an extra roommate.

    This is the classic kid vs. adult struggle – and I’m not talking about the kid (you) vs. parents – I’m talking about the kid in you versus the adult in you.

    If you want to be an adult and be independent, start now. Your parents’ approach is odd – they are complaining about much of what you do but when you talk about leaving they lay a guilt trip on you. I understand they have made a lot of sacrifices for you but it shouldn’t be at the price of being an adult. You sound like you want to be on your own – do it.

  • NikkiB February 2, 2015, 8:28 am

    Totally with Admin on this one – I lived at home after graduating, had a job within a month, and had saved a deposit to move into my own rented apartment within another 3 months of that, whilst paying them money towards food and bills, and helping out with the household chores. Because I couldn’t afford it, I gave up horse riding until I was in my own place and could afford it again. Expensive hobbies are paid for out of what’s left after rent, bills, savings and food for the month. The way I did it was to pay all my bills and put money in my savings account, then whatever was left at the end of that month was mine to play with/save as I saw fit. If you displayed more financial planning and extended them the common courtesy of knowing when you would be home late, they might treat you more like an adult.

    • Powers February 2, 2015, 1:33 pm

      Except dance isn’t an “expensive hobby”. She gets into the sessions for free in exchange for her mentorship of beginning dancers.

      • hakayama February 5, 2015, 10:16 pm

        @Powers: Please think of how much time is devoted to dance and the peripheral activities. If the entire weekend is shot on dance, and weekends represent the best paid “stop-gap” job time slots, then dance IS a very costly passion/hobby.

  • EllenS February 2, 2015, 8:40 am

    The basic problem, as I see it, is that neither you nor your parents are committed to you living independently.
    You are an adult. You are being treated as a child, and you tolerate it because you are making choices with your employment and money that keep you dependent.

    Whether you want to stay in your hometown to be near old friends, or move to a different location in search of a career – as admin says, if you have money for dance lessons and going out, you have money to fix your car. If you have money to pay your parents rent, you have money to pay rent on an apartment or apartment-share with other young adults.

    If you want to be independent and make your own decisions…you have to decide first and foremost to live independently.

    • Anna February 2, 2015, 4:08 pm

      Agree completely. There are two things that seem to be at play here. First, your parents are treating you like a child (I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt that you DO remain in polite communication with them regarding your comings and goings). Adults get to make their own decisions on how late they stay out, where they go, and what they do, and your parents are trying to control your behavior by telling you that if you don’t behave they way they want, they will charge you rent.

      And it sounds as though what they want is for you to fill the role of “child” in the home. Meaning, you don’t spend all your time out of the house, you spend it with them, and when you do go out it is to approved activities at approved times.

      Now, this is all very hard for a 25 year old to take, especially if you have already had a taste of independence. I can understand that.

      However, unfortunately, since you are actually dependent on them right now, you may need to make some compromises to your own happiness. Since you have also put yourself in the role of a child (by moving back in with them, and I agree with the admin here that you must be prioritizing getting things you want over saving money for your living expenses), you have to expect that you would not have the freedoms of an adult. You say that you are barely making ends meet, but it seems as though you don’t really have any ends to make!

      It is true that the job market is difficult for young people, and I don’t fault you for not having a high-paying job that allows you a comfortable lifestyle on your own, but you need to take a step back and decide what is most important for you right now. Do you want to be independent, or do you want to have it easy? Because right now, you really can’t have both. Having fun isn’t something that we are entitled to in life, and you can’t treat dancing like a necessity. It may be true that you simply cannot move out on your own right now–in some areas, minimum wage, even at full time, really isn’t enough to cover renting a room with roommates (my area, for example, costs at least $750 a month in rent for a room in a shared apartment. Very hard to manage at minimum wage and still cover food, gas, and heat, and a basic cell phone).

      My only suggestion would be to sit down with your parents and present your dancing as something you realize is a luxury, and ask them, yes, ASK, if you could come to an agreement about a schedule that would work for everyone. It might be a good time to also lay out a plan that shows them you are being responsible in other ways–a savings plan, a job search plan, or a plan to increase your job skills. This is the adult way to handle it, and the more you behave like an adult, the more likely they are to treat you as one (though there are still no guarantees with parents).

      • SJ February 18, 2015, 5:21 am

        nail on the head.

  • cdubz February 2, 2015, 9:14 am

    I agree with admin. At the age of 23 (I’m 31 now, so it wasn’t that long ago) I was working part time at Walmart and going to school full time. I only made $9.15/hr, but I found a way to live on my own. I found a cheap apartment, had a junker of a car(sold it for parts when the transmission finally gave out), was within walking distance of work and school so I didn’t have to drive much and spend all my money on gas, shopped at Goodwill and went without fancy clothes and makeup, and saved every penny I could. I begged for every hour I could get, and never stopped searching for a full time job. Even when I did find one, it was only $10/hr so I still didn’t really have disposable income.

    Another thing to consider: searching for a job is itself a full time job. I recently switched jobs after months of looking, and it took time and dedication. Between the job search and working full time, I was “working” about 70 – 80 hours a week. You complain about not finding your dream job, and then spend all your time dancing. I can tell you what the problem is.

    There’s nothing wrong with having a hobby, I’m dedicated to my art. But I had to put that on the back burner because I had to be able to take care of myself. You can keep dancing, but I would maybe limit it to once a week if you’re determined to start your career, because right now it’s getting in the way. If you’re serious about wanting a better job you should be spending your time networking, working on your resume, and contacting prospects. Join groups on LinkedIn for people in your field, and see if there are any local professional organizations. Go to the career center at your school, they have career coaches and other resources specifically to help alumni. Or if you’re serious about dancing and want to make a career move to that, you should look into resources for doing just that.

    • cdubz February 2, 2015, 10:01 am

      And yes, I applied to many, many, MANY jobs (well over 100!), cold contacted about as many (where you send the employer your resume without a job being listed), and went on about 30 interviews or so before I finally landed the right one. It takes lots of patience and determination, and I admit there were times I broke down in tears of frustration and lamented that I was never going to find a job in my chosen career field. It’s hard, but not impossible.

    • Rebecca February 3, 2015, 1:02 am

      I’ll respectfully submit that Saturdays and Sundays aren’t really the best days to apply for jobs anyway, and exercise is important too: healthy body, healthy mind.

      • Another Sarah February 3, 2015, 6:18 am

        While I actually agree that there is no harm in her continuing to dance, I’ll have to disagree with you on the saturday/sunday front.
        Most jobs now are web applications and so it doesn’t actually matter what day you apply on. You apply when you have free time, which is often saturday or sunday for most people.
        On top of that, there’s a lot of work to be done to get to the job application stage – CV writing, jobhunting research, CV strengthening research (courses etc). If OP has applied to 50 jobs in her field and not gotten so much as an interview, she needs to rewrite her CV to make it more appealing.
        None of that is day-dependent.

      • Sarah February 3, 2015, 6:43 am

        Surprisingly they are great days in many ways, in my opinion. I can imagine that a job or two gets posted late afternoon on Friday – so that it is ready for Monday. You would see it first! Then imagine the interviewer seeing that you were searching for work on Saturday at 10am – so not someone out late partying. If you have the whole day to search – which you might not if you are underemployed – then you may find a job that is not what you were looking for but could be a whole new direction in life. Every day has to be a day to search because you need that job! It reminds me of a joke when contact lenses were very new (and expensive!) A woman loses her contact lens on the floor at a party, she and the people around her search and search – all for nothing. Her husband comes over and asks what is going on. She tells him. He goes to the floor and a few minutes later finds the lens. He is asked how on earth he was able to find it under those circumstances. He says “Easy, you were looking for a tiny piece of transparent plastic, I was looking for 70 pounds!” When you want something, refuse to acknowledge obstacles then success is much more likely!

      • cdubz February 3, 2015, 9:07 am

        But the OP can still look on Saturdays and Sundays; she can still send out e-mails and resumes to prospective employers, research companies that she might like to work for, work on polishing cover letters and resumes, and work on her network. I was doing this only two months ago and it paid off.

        Looking for a job, let alone a career, is not easy. With a posting online, you’re competing with hundreds of applicants and it’s likely you are going to get lost in a sea of resumes. Like I said, I spent around 30 – 40 hours a week for months trying to get noticed.

        I’m not saying exercise isn’t important, but when it takes up all your time and you’re not a professional athlete, it’s a bit much. I never said to stop, just it cut it down to one or two days a week. Plus, there are other ways to exercise that don’t take up so much time.

  • NostalgicGal February 2, 2015, 9:39 am

    You live at home, you abide by their rules. If dance is such an important thing then maybe you need an apartment near the studio so you won’t have the commute problem AND won’t be bumming couches from everyone. That’s not a good thing to do either in a long term.

    I was taught to move out and make my way. I never did go home again to live. That’s the way it was.

    Here I see people about my age or a bit older, all the kids left, then one way or another they either moved the kids back or the kids gravitated back, and they have formed a ‘clan’. They have their own residences but they are all within a few blocks, maybe even at least one lives next door to Mom and Dad; and they’re living as pretty much one big family. One woman did this over about four years, and now wonders why she’s stressed out and worrying all the time. She emptied her nest and she drug all of them back, from both marriages, and they’re all right here with their lives and problems and grandkids that are forever at her place because of this or that.

    It can be two sided but. You don’t want your parents on the case, you get your own place. So.

    You want to dance, good. You need to quit crashing couches. You want to go work, you need to move to the job. Yes parents may be hurt, but. You left once before. In other words, it’s your life and IF you want to have what you have now (living at home where your parents have you back) you’re going to have to be a good kid again and follow rules. No matter what you do in your situation someone’s going to be unhappy. You just have to decide who it’s going to be and stick to it. (you or them, being unhappy)

    • Rosie B. February 3, 2015, 2:01 am

      In this day and age, however, it’s not as simple as just getting a job and becoming independent right after college. While some people are able to do that, many are not so lucky and must borrow money and/or living space from their family or someone else. OP was one of the lucky ones who found a job, but then quit because of (what sounds like) her family’s request. Now she’s facing the same reality countless other recent college grads–and it’s probably not her fault. There just aren’t enough jobs to go around.

      I agree that it probably isn’t the wisest decision for her to be spending as much money as she is on what is essentially a hobby, but I’m not sure that quitting dance would leave her with enough to be independent, either.

  • Shalamar February 2, 2015, 9:43 am

    I agree with Admin; something isn’t adding up here. One of my daughters is currently attending university, and like OP, we’ve paid for her tuition and books, plus she’s living at home rent-free. Despite the odd shopping trip or Starbucks indulgence, she’s managed to save $7,000.00.

  • sylviatexas February 2, 2015, 10:06 am

    It sounds like you’re not happy, your parents aren’t happy, & you *could* find a job if you expanded your search to farther-away places.

    ‘ I do not agree with you that your parents “really prepared me (you) for life.” ‘

    That’s it, really;
    you have the education but not the independence.

    time to fly the nest (or the coop!).

  • Lil February 2, 2015, 10:10 am

    Totally agree with the admin. It’s true that working a minimum wage job (or two) supports a pretty bare bones lifestyle. But if are a single person who is able to room with someone and you do not have a large car payment or other expenses–such as student loans-you should be able to move out on your own. Perhaps we are missing some info–eg. that you live in a high rent area or a small town with few rental options. I am not getting that from this story though. Also–applying for 50 jobs is nothing. Double that amount and you might have a case. I’m thinking that a good chunk of your money is going to your hobby via stage make-up, costumes, travel expenses, etc. You don’t mention those expenses at all which is very telling. If you were borrowing costumes or somehow keeping those expenses to a minimum I think you would have said so as it bolsters your argument. Your money is going somewhere. It’s time to take a hard look at your budget. I also think it’s odd that you have 1-4 minimum wage jobs. Usually after 3 months to a year employees get raises, even in retail or fast food. They might be small raises but they bring you above minimum wage. Are you hopping from one dead end job to another?
    I do think your parents are treating you differently in some respects because you are a girl. Historically, boys have been given more freedom, even in non-religious households and this does sound like what is happening here. Your brother could argue that he has done the legwork and got a job in his field. Therefore he can support his hobby and so he deserves to spend his time off any way he chooses. I don’t necessarily agree as he is still living rent free but I think your parents would. You aren’t helping your cause by being a free loader. It’s great that you have found your passion. Unfortunately, you seem to think your parents have to pay for it. They see all your effort going into a hobby instead of finding a better job. Even volunteering or interning somewhere in your field would probably be preferable to them as it is a step forward towards being self-sufficient. Instead you dance.

    • Rebecca February 3, 2015, 1:04 am

      Is she supposed to work 7 days a week then?

      • The Elf February 3, 2015, 8:32 am

        Sometimes, that’s the only way to make it work. Hopefully, it will only be temporary, if it comes down to that.

      • Lil February 3, 2015, 10:53 am

        Um..no. I didn’t say anything about how much she should or shouldn’t work. I have not idea how your got that from what I wrote. My point was that she seemed to be working a lot but did not have money to live independently. From her story it appears that she has no expenses because she tellingly leaves that bit of info out. It appeared to me and many others that a piece of the story was missing–ie. where her money was going if it wasn’t being used for rent or dance lessons? If she truly doesn’t need the money from work, why work so many jobs? She might have more ammunition in her disagreement with her parents if it appeared that she was working towards the goal of a better job. That might mean taking on volunteer work or an unpaid internship. Since she apparently doesn’t need the money, she should be able to do that without working 7 days a week. She chooses to keep minimum wage jobs instead. Something doesn’t add up here.

      • hakayama February 5, 2015, 10:09 pm

        @Rebecca: Isn’t that what what “working moms” and wives do routinely? 😉 As in doing what adds up to TWO FULL TIME jobs, at least until the kids are on their own…

  • Cat February 2, 2015, 10:18 am

    Call me a skeptic, but I am not buying this one. A college graduate with no debt, two years of European work experience, and great references has unable to secure decent employment in three years. Part-time work with poor pay and no benefits is holding this lady back from independence and financial security so the parents are having to support their adult child.
    Is this a problem to this individual? Nope, the problem is that Mommy and Daddy are not happy with the late hours and not coming home because dancing is her life’s focus. “I must dance!” And brother is allowed to do whatever he wants and it’s not fair! We are past the sibling equality stage when we have graduated from college, have moved to Europe to work and are now back again.
    No, Twinkletoes, I am not buying into this. All I can suggest is that anyone so committed to dancing and so in need of gainful employment could compromise her virtue and take up dancing in a “gentleman’s club” where the young women are paid to dance.

  • o_gal February 2, 2015, 10:30 am

    While I don’t agree with everything that the admin says, it comes down to the basic fact that you are living rent-free in your parent’s house. If you don’t want to follow their rules, you have only one choice: move out. As long as you are there, you are subject to their rules. Yes, your sibling goes off hunting and spends as much time, or more, than you do out of the house. But he does an activity that they approve of. You choose to do something they don’t. It may seem unfair to you, but this is the way they are and the only thing you can do is change how you react to them. As the admin pointed out, if you are dancing as much as you say you are, you have the time to drop some dancing and get another job, which should help you afford to move out (can the dance studio pay you to give lessons?) Until you move out on your own, and are still dependent on your parents, you will have to put up with their rules. It’s harsh, but that is life.

  • L.J. February 2, 2015, 10:45 am

    Save up, apply for jobs far away, and live a good distance from your parents for at least ten years. Do NOT tell your parents that you are saving money or applying for jobs elsewhere because they will sabotage you. Even when you get a job in another state/country, do not tell them you’re moving until the last possible moment, because they will have a health or other emergency that “requires” you to cancel your plans.

    Once you’ve lived independently for ten years, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to deal with your parents. You’ll have the self-respect, experience, and perspective necessary to calmly and politely set and maintain boundaries.

    • AIP February 2, 2015, 4:37 pm

      You managed to get them to cop on after only a decade?! Tell me your secret please, LOL! 😀

      • NostalgicGal February 2, 2015, 10:13 pm

        Agreed. Only a decade? My mom complained for a good 20 years after I left about losing her cook (and maid) and that was even after I married she still complained……

      • CW February 3, 2015, 6:58 am

        No kidding! It’s been 6 years since I’ve lived in the same state as my mother and it’s a constant dig for her. “Oh, well you live so far…” Yes I do, I have good reason for that.

    • Vermin8 February 3, 2015, 9:14 am

      “do not tell them you’re moving until the last possible moment, because they will have a health or other emergency that “requires” you to cancel your plans.”

      LJ you might enjoy this story.

      I was visiting a historical home in my town that had been owned by a woman who passed away in her 90s (?) about the time I was born (many decades ago).

      Her (IIRC her name was Violet) story: her parents owned the home. She found an administrative job in the Big City about 30 miles away. This was the turn of the last century so it was not commuting distance – she found an apartment in Big City. She was engaged to marry a doctor. Her father passed away. Her mother guilt tripped Violet into quitting her job, deserting the fiance, and moving back home by telling Violet her health was bad and she wouldn’t be around much longer.
      How much longer did her mother live?

      Over 50 years.

  • B February 2, 2015, 10:53 am

    I don’t understand. If you can offer your parents digs money, and they don’t take it, what else is your money going on? You have two jobs and pay no digs. How can you be skint? How can you be unable to save anything if you were going to pay rent?

    Sorry, but you’re living rent-free at 25, and 50 job applications is nothing these days. Many people your age work 2 basic wage jobs and have to find their own living expenses somehow. They don’t go dancing. Or they scrape and ask the dance school if they can help out in exchange. They can’t afford a car. They can’t afford hobbies. You are not stuck but you probably cannot dance that much purely for pleasure, then hope things will improve. Something’s got to give; decide what it is.

    I suspect your parents don’t take your money because they can make you pay in other ways. I’d be offering digs asap.

  • viviennebzb February 2, 2015, 10:57 am

    Our son came back to our home to live after being out on his own for awhile. He is an adult with a job, transportation, and his own set of house keys. He is quiet and considerate and contributes to the household by shopping and cooking, among other things. We do not monitor his comings and goings at. all. It’s none of our business. YMMV, but it works for us.

  • B February 2, 2015, 10:59 am

    PS I paid my parents digs and also helped out around the house when I lived at home once I left school. Of course I should help! I lived there! I also cleaned urinals, gutted fish, and worked in bars. I’ve worked 4 jobs to keep my head above water, so yes, I know how hard it is. And no, I did not get to go dancing, I did not own a car, and I did not crash on people’s couches once a week because I just ‘don’t want to drive home’.

    You also say you think your parents miss you. What I don’t see is any sign at all that you have any compassion for that, because you ‘just want to dance’.

  • rachel February 2, 2015, 11:00 am

    I have a crap job and trust me you lose a significant portion to taxes.

  • Sarah February 2, 2015, 11:06 am

    My advice would be – get back to the country where you made an independent living. You thought you would be able to get a job in your field because of your references, experience and contacts. That has not happened – so wake up and smell the coffee, you have a life waiting for you somewhere else – go and grab it. In German they say “You are only X years old, but you are already X years old” – in other words; yes, you are young but not that young! I have two impressions that are of course only opinions but life brings insight – one is that if you are required to pay rent and your brother not – this will eventually lead to a strained relationship with your parents and/or your brother and two, your dancing is an escape from being under your parents control. It seems to me that the fact you took it up when you moved back with your parents is significant, otherwise you would have started when you got your first month´s salary. I know supposition. I think the longer you stay, the less employable you will become – references and experiences become dated and the longer you wait the less useful they are.

    • Enna February 7, 2015, 6:32 am

      I was thinking a simllar thing – if they charge the OP rent they should charge the brother too.

  • JC February 2, 2015, 11:09 am

    If you have that much energy to be spending that much time per week dancing, then you definitely have enough energy to be working another job, be it as a cashier, waitress, janitor. Which is exactly what you should be doing.

    Also, if I were living at my mother’s house, paid no rent, had no savings, and spent most of my evenings out of the house on leisure activities, topped off by spending one or two nights a week at somebody’s else place WITHOUT telling her first, I would be getting a free ride on what my mom calls the Size Seven Express.

    • Rebecca February 3, 2015, 1:11 am

      The OP says she does tell them first, and they get angry. She tried to pay rent, and they wouldn’t take it. What they are doing is very manipulative IMO. Won’t accept rent money so that they can pull the “Oh I let you live here for free” card. Shouldn’t they be pleased she has found a healthy activity outside of work hours that makes her happy? And as soon as she talks about her hope of being independent one day, they guilt trip her some more with the “Oh you can’t wait to get away from us” routine. Yes, I bet the OP can’t wait to get away from them – I would feel the same.

      • JC February 3, 2015, 10:03 am

        Then she should do precisely that. Whether or not they are manipulative tyrants who refuse to take rent, if she doesn’t like their rules or opinions of her lifestyle, she moves out – getting them to change their views is not an option here. They won’t change; she has to change her situation herself if she finds it unacceptable.

        If that means temporarily foregoing the dance hobby and having to work two/three jobs 7 days a week for a while, possibly sharing a place with roommates, then it’s “suck it up, Buttercup” time. I had to work two jobs for a few summers in college and literally had one, maybe two full days off during the summer with one or two weekly “half-days” where I was only at one job. It’s tough, but completely doable.

  • Susan February 2, 2015, 11:15 am

    Their house, their rules no matter how old you are. If you want to be independent, you’ll need to move out and be on your own. My son doesn’t make much money, but has an apartment with a few of his college roommates. They make it work. I suggest you find some friends and do the same. What you can’t do on your own, you might be able to do with a few other people.

  • Filiagape February 2, 2015, 11:24 am

    It occurs to me the difference may be only gender. A conservative, Christian household frequently imposes a double standard. Yes, she should let her parents know where she is going and how she can be reached as a common courtesy, but I think the admin is making assumptions about details which the LW didn’t necessarily provide.

    Is she saving with an eye on moving out? Is she cutting back her work hours to make more time for dancing? (Not okay unless she can make dancing pay.) I know how important having SOMETHING/ANYTHING in your life to feel passionate about is, but that thing cannot prevent you from becoming self sufficient. Are you saving? Working 40 hours? Actively seeking better-paying employment? As a mother of three (20-23) if you can say yes to all three and are keeping your parents apprised of your comings and goings (as I would want any roommate to do so I know when to be concerned), I would encourage your dancing. If not, the dancing is interfering with your growing up and unless IT will lead to earning potential and self sufficiency, you need to cut back on your dancing until those requirements are met?

    • SororSalsa February 2, 2015, 10:36 pm

      Totally agree. I began dancing at 31, long after I was out of my parents’ house and could support myself and spend time pursuing something fun. I lived with my parents to save money for a few years after I graduated, but I don’t think I would’ve done any of what OP is doing. I didn’t stay out without telling them where I was, and I paid rent and helped around the house. I think you just need to accept that as part of the deal of having a rent-free/below-market rent living situation.

  • renee February 2, 2015, 11:27 am

    In response to living with your parents, their house, their rules. When my nephew moved in after a disagreement with my sister I let him know that my home has a curfew. He was 23 at the time. You can’t wonder in and out of my home at all hours of the night. It disrupts the entire household. He stayed for 3 weeks and moved out.

    The last thing I want to hear at 2am is someone entering my home. No matter how quiet you think you are, you’re not.

  • Raven February 2, 2015, 11:33 am

    If you want to be treated like an adult, act like one. Save your money (yes, this will mean dancing less) and get your own place. Living off Mom and Dad means living WITH Mom and Dad – and their rules.

  • Vicki February 2, 2015, 11:33 am

    Yes, telling her parents is courtesy, and it’s a courtesy the LW is giving them: she says she is informing her parents of her plans in advance, and what that gets her is anger both before and after, and talk of a curfew to prevent her from going. They are unhappy about something other than not being informed, while accepting of her brother going hunting and not giving them as much information.

    I don’t know if they approve of hunting but not dancing, or have different expectations for daughters than for sons, but “tell them your plans” won’t solve the problem, because she’s already doing that.

    • EllenS February 2, 2015, 3:24 pm

      No, “tell them your plans” covers the (potential) discourtesy. As Admin points out, that’s just the basics of living with someone else, no matter what the relationship.

      Yes, the parents’ attitude probably is because she is a daughter and not a son. Saying they are unfair is certainly not going to change anything. I have never heard of parents suddenly changing their gender attitudes, or their relationship to their children, because their prejudices were pointed out to them.

      The only “solution” to the parents’ controlling behavior is to move out.

      • JC February 3, 2015, 10:30 am

        Bingo – a lot of the time when people write to advice columns/blogs, it seems to me that the real underlying question is “How do I get other people to change their minds to agree with me?” and about the only correct answer is “Sorry, you aren’t really entitled to that,” with the possible addendum “You can try, but you can only expect to change things in your control.”

  • Emily February 2, 2015, 11:37 am

    Something else doesn’t jibe right here with me, either. How could you have gone through college and then an International job and then not until you moved back home did you “learn for the first time what kind of people to avoid and what kind of people to embrace”? I could imagine you went to a very conservative college, but then to not have to figure that out in a real-world job? I suspect that you DID learn this and handled it like a grown up (or one in training, at least) and that once you got home your parents perhaps were witness to some of your mistakes-that-happen-while-learning. Now they have an impression that you don’t choose the right people to hang out with? (That could be another reason your brother gets leeway to be away– they approve of his friends but not your friends).

    I also agree with the Admin that your parents did NOT prepare you for life as an adult, nor did your college, for that matter. If you came home with excellent references and contacts, then you should be using them. I understand that it’s difficult to land a job, but you should be calling those people, asking for advice on your resume, and so on. Make them mentors in your field. I understand wanting to dance in your free time (although your dance schedule sounds VERY extreme to me– not simply an extracurricular activity), but you need to focus on where you want your career to be headed right now while you’re still in the developing stages of it. Why aren’t you getting call backs on your resumes? Do you need more experience? Then cut back on dance just a little and volunteer or intern in the field you chose. And, not to sound like I don’t want you to have any fun at all, but do you have time to send out resumes if you’re always at the dance studio?

    Finally, you need to make a strong decision on your own future. Your parents, while, yes, they feel perhaps under-appreciated, are bullying you into being a lesser person. You said they prepared you for life as an adult, but what they don’t seem to understand is that an adult must “leave the nest” and their disparaging comments are doing nothing but guilting you into staying (and then spending even more time at dance, which just turns it into a terrible spiral down of likely arguments).

    You need to take control of your own life. Is dance what you want to do with your life? Fine! Go full throttle and make it happen! Start working for the studio or begin teaching for pay. But it sounds to me like you need to first figure out how to get out of the house and make life and a career happen.

  • Lara February 2, 2015, 11:57 am

    I have to say I agree… I mean, where’s your money going to? Even minimum wage jobs add up when you have few expenses. In my twenties, right out of college, I supported myself by waiting tables, making $2.15 an hour plus tips. Since I worked mostly lunch shifts, some days the tips weren’t much more than the price of lunch for myself. Still, I paid all my own bills, including rent, and even saved a bit as the year went on. As an adult, I’ve had to struggle with supporting a family of 5 when one partner was making little better than minimum wage, though working long hours, and the other was bringing in only a small, very part time income. It was hard, but we did it. And I’m not even very good with keeping track of money–I just don’t spend any on anything we don’t absolutely need. So even if you were only working one part time job, if you’re not paying rent, and probably not paying utilities or very much for groceries, how is it in three years you still don’t have anything? It’s hard to believe that you genuinely can’t afford to move out, not unless you live somewhere where housing is very expensive.

    At any rate, saying that you’re so poor, while pursuing an expensive and time-consuming hobby (even if lessons are free now, there’s costumes, transportation, eating out, probably entrance fees ), sounds hypocritical. If it were only a matter of your own money, you can spend it where you please, but it’s not, since you rely on your parents to support you. I know you say they don’t want you to move out anyway, but the bottom line is that if you want to be your own woman and arrange your life the way you want to, you need to live independently. As long as you expect your parents to essentially fund your hobby (which they are doing, since they take care of all these other expenses so that you have enough money to pursue it), then they have a right to an opinion about it.

  • EchoGirl February 2, 2015, 12:02 pm

    I certainly don’t think it’s wrong for parents to help college-age kids out if they’re able and willing, especially considering how tuition has snowballed in the last few decades (it costs me more for a semester of undergrad than it cost my mother for a year of law school at the same university in the 80s, even adjusting for inflation), and I don’t think it necessarily makes the student in question irresponsible with money.

    What stood out to me was that the OP has *offered* to pay her parents rent and they’ve declined her offer, but then they try to use “living rent-free” as leverage to get her to behave the way they want. That seems a little manipulative to me.

    • The Elf February 2, 2015, 1:18 pm

      Just that? The whole thing screams manipulation.

      • Rebecca February 3, 2015, 1:28 am

        “What stood out to me was that the OP has *offered* to pay her parents rent and they’ve declined her offer, but then they try to use “living rent-free” as leverage to get her to behave the way they want. That seems a little manipulative to me.”

        Agree!! I also don’t understand where the money’s going (perhaps she is saving to move out! Though if you live where I live, I doubt minimum wage would buy much more than a cell phone plan, car repairs, gas and a few toiletry items). But it sounds as though her parents don’t actually want her to find something she loves doing.

  • PYE February 2, 2015, 12:19 pm

    I agree with Admin that something isn’t adding up in your financial story.

    However, I’m going to offer a different perspective on the “their house, their rules”. Normally, I completely agree with this. But I’ve known 2 situations where I didn’t think it applied and in both it was when the parent’s background really put pressure on the adult female offspring to live at home. In these situations, the DD’s were living at home not because they preferred it or needed it, but because the parent’s really wanted it. And in both cases the adult DD’s gave the parents an option: I’ll live at home but the “rules” will be my rules. You will not monitor my comings and goings, you will not “tut tut” about my activities, you will treat me as an adult woman. If you aren’t willing to adjust to these rules then I’ll move out.

    It was hard for the parents (especially the Dads) to accept but they eventually worked it out and both continued to live at home till marriage in their late 20’s.

    When they say “so eager to leave” you respond “so eager to live as the adult you raised me to be”.

    If it takes moving away again to gain employment then that is probably best for you to do. You’ll miss your family but you’ll gain some much needed independence.

  • Lera99 February 2, 2015, 12:38 pm

    Five years ago my mother was laid off.
    She was in danger of losing her house, so I got rid of my apartment and moved home to cover her rent and utilities.
    She has been unable to find a job since.
    After three years she took early Social Security to the tune of $800 monthly. Certainly not enough to live independently.

    So I’m 34 and living with my mom. Which really makes me seem like a winner on dates, “This has been lovely, but we’ll have to go back to your place for coffee unless you’d like to meet my mother.”

    One of the things that has made our arrangement so successful is strong communication.
    I work full time, pay the bills, and take 12-15 credits of college courses at night.
    So my mom takes care of most of the house work, yard work, and even makes dinner each night which is a HUGE help (especially since leftovers from dinner are usually lunch the next day so I don’t even have to slap together a PB&J sandwich for lunch. I just throw some of the leftovers from dinner into a Tupperware).

    And I make sure to let her know about what time I’ll be home each evening. It’s only common courtesy considering she is making a hot meal for dinner. If my plans change or I get stuck late at work/school, I call her and let her know.

    On the other hand, she understands that I’m 34 years old. Sometimes I’m going to be out late on dates. Sometimes I’m going to stay the night with my current boyfriend or girlfriend.

    But I always let her know. If it is a spur of the moment thing, I call her and say “Hey, I’m staying at so&so’s house tonight. I’ll go to work from here tomorrow. I’ll see you tomorrow night around 6pm.”

    Also, I respect that while I pay the bills, it is my mother’s home. If she feels I’m taking advantage of her when it comes to housework or that I’m using her home as a motel – she lets me know. And if I feel that she is treating me like I’m 12 or that she is taking advantage of me paying the bills – I let her know.

    It can be an uncomfortable thing living with a parent as an adult. But good communication helps a lot.

    Also, when you are living rent free with your parents, it is paramount you respect their household.
    If they are uncomfortable with you staying out all night, you must respect that.
    If they are uncomfortable with you having a significant other over all night, you must respect that.
    It is part of the deal for getting rent free accommodations.
    If their rules make you unhappy, you have the option to find a new place to live.

    You can find someone that will let you couch surf.
    Or if you can find work overseas like you did right after college, do that.
    Or make nice with your boyfriend’s parents and maybe they’ll let you move in with them.

    Mostly, I echo the admin’s sentiment. If you are living rent free and working 2 minimum wage jobs – where is all your money going?
    You have no student loans, no car payment, no rent, no utilities. Even if you are only bringing home $400 a month ($100 a week) where is it going?

    If you make $8 and hour, work 20 hours a week, and 25% of your paycheck goes to taxes etc… you would still make $120 a week. Let’s say you put $30 into your gas tank each week. That still leaves you with $90 a week for food and sundries. For $50 a week you can eat real food from the grocery store: Chicken, Tomato Sauce, Milk, Eggs, Pasta, Lettuce, Bread, PB&J, Bananas. That leaves $40 a week in savings. That means working only 20 hours a week at $8 an hour you could save $120 a month.

    That’s not a ton, but it is a good start if you ever hope to put together a nest egg of any sort. Save now so in a year you can move. Save now so in a year when you find a job, you have the money to get a couple new work outfits. Save now so in a year you and your boyfriend can put down first, last, and a security deposit on your own place.

    • Dee February 2, 2015, 2:15 pm

      Your mother can’t afford to live on her own so you’re helping by sharing a place. I get it, that works. What happens, though, when you marry or move out by choice? It seems as if both of you are putting off the reality that this situation won’t continue unless you are planning to live with her until she passes away. Temporarily this works but it doesn’t seem as if any planning for the future is taking place. Your mom is in a very similar position as the OP, so shouldn’t the advice be similar, too?

      • Misty February 2, 2015, 11:33 pm

        This situation is not like the OP. OP is a child living rent free with her parents by her choice – she chose to leave a good paying job and independence, is not managing her money smartly, then being surprised at tension developing with her parents. 50 applications in three years is less than 2 applications a month, that’s nothing when job searching. She is paying no rent or large bills, is spending her entire weekend and most week nights dancing (so is unlikely to be contributing in any significant way to the household chores) but is also completely broke and unable to move out… her money is going somewhere and clearly she is prioritizing a hobby over self sufficiency. So long as she continues choosing to act like a child living free under her parents’ roof they have the right to establish any rules they want.
        Lera99 in contrast sacrificed their independence to help support their mother who must be in her early 60’s. They are paying the bills but their mother is handling all of the household chores and responsibilities in exchange which is very valuable for a busy working adult. Realistically their mother could continue living with them once they marry as she is on a fixed income and her job opportunities are significantly fewer due to her age.

        • Dee February 3, 2015, 1:09 pm

          But both cases are the same in that an adult is dependent on another adult for their living arrangement, an arrangement that is highly likely to change in the future but no plans are being made to prepare for that. The OP is not doing anything to gain her independence back and Lera99’s mom is, seemingly, expecting to be supported by her daughter, indefinitely. Neither situation is a solution.

          • Lera99 February 4, 2015, 10:45 am

            Dee, I do expect that either I or my brother will be supporting my mom for the rest of her life.

            She is 65, has been unemployed for 5 years. In the time she has been unemployed she has developed some health issues which would make it very difficult to work in an office, retail, or food service.

            So it isn’t a matter of her taking advantage or being unwilling to work. She is really unable to work.

            Considering how independent she has been her whole life, I think the arrangement is much harder on my mom than it is on me. If I get married, having my mom living in the same house is part of the package.

            If for some reason I was no longer able to live with her and pay her bills, my mom may decide to go live with my brother in Seattle or one of her sisters in California.

            But with only $800 monthly in income – she’s going to have to live with someone just to survive. And it’s a lot harder for a 65 year old to find a bunch of roommates in a cheap apartment than it is for a 25 year old.

  • Library Diva February 2, 2015, 12:56 pm

    This letter makes me feel fortunate for my parents, who knew that the day would come when I was an independent adult. OP, your parents are using guilt to keep you in a small town where there are apparently no opportunities in your field. I can see how OP would have time to work 3 or 4 jobs and still dance a lot — a lot of service-sector jobs will only offer 10-12 hours a week, and you may need that many just to make full-time hours at minimum wage. She’s thrown herself into dance because it’s one of the only positive things in her life.

    OP, you sound absolutely miserable, and your parents are not being fair in begrudging you your dance while your brother gets to hunt all he wants. You have to take control of your life unless you want to live as a pauper under your parents’ thumb forever. Ask yourself what the ideal next step in your life would be, and identify ways to overcome the things holding you back from achieving it. It won’t be easy to stand up to your parents’ objections, but it’s something you have to do.

    It won’t be easy out on your own, either, but that’s something else you’ll work through. I remember this period in my own life. We graduated during the dot-com bust. Most of us boomeranged home, too, or lived with four roommates in crappy apartments furnished exclusively with things other people were throwing out. The wealthy among us drove cars that were produced when we were in grade school. Everyone else hoofed it. We worked jobs that were low-level, or unstable (my first job out of college ended when the place had their phone cut off. Prior to that, we’d lost electricity a couple of times, and a couple of my paychecks had bounced. The only reason they weren’t evicted was because they were using a disused purpose-built structure that they paid $10 a year in rent on). But now, everyone’s figured it out. We got better jobs, furniture that didn’t come from the side of the road, and cars that weren’t mostly rust. It will happen to you too.

    • EllenS February 2, 2015, 5:49 pm

      I graduated in a completely different time period and did pretty much the same thing, as did most of my friends, save for a very few who went straight into high-income career tracks. Of course, most of them wound up unemployed about 5 years later anyway. I didn’t even know it was called a “bust”, I thought that was just called “your twenties”.

    • WillyNilly February 2, 2015, 6:51 pm

      Myself and my contemporaries were hitting [young] adulthood during the boom before the bust. We all had crappie starter jobs along with a second part time job to make ends meet, second hand furniture, beater cars, etc. Just because it was a good economy doesn’t mean companies were handing get out corner offices to recent grads!
      We all just assumed that what with just about everyone in the middle class getting college educations that a bachelor’s was simply the new HS diploma; we all knew we would have to pay our dues to the school of hard knocks and work our way up to career jobs. And it seems we were right, as that’s pretty much how it panned out.
      The folks I knew who stayed home with parents were the ones who “couldn’t live” without cable TV, or paper towels, or premium shampoo, or the ones with expensive hobbies and designer clothes and fancy haircuts.
      It had taken our parents 20+ years to build up to their relaxed a day financially secure lifestyle, we knew we wouldn’t be able to live at that same level right off the bat ourselves.

    • LawGeek February 2, 2015, 7:16 pm

      I agree. I don’t understand why Admin and so many other commenters missed this. They’re so eager to dissect OP’s financial situation they completely overlook the emotional manipulation. Anyone who would say, “So eager to get away from us?!” to a 25 year old looking to get out does NOT have that daughter’s happiness in mind. Especially when keeping her there means curtailing her independence and keeping track of her every move.

      You may have a point – by keeping her in a small town they may be causing the financial trouble. When I was her age I also lived at home, but home is in NYC, so there were countless industries to choose from and I was able to earn enough to move out. Importantly, I was not treated like a child. If I wanted to stay out late or sleep elsewhere, I simply let them know beforehand, and was never given a guilt trip about it. I was an adult, and was treated like one.

      If the OP wants to stay out all weekend and couch surf, well, that’s what your 20s are for. Well, even at 37 people still stay on my couch, but those who settle down and have kids usually stop that, so this is really when you should be enjoying your freedom and making your mistakes. I think that remaining in a place that curtails your freedom so drastically and heaps guilt on you for acting like a normal 20-something has to be incredibly difficult.

      No wonder it doesn’t feel like home. Homes are comfortable. Homes are your own.

      If I were in her situation, I would consider going back abroad. It’s difficult, I’ve been there, but at least there you know you can make ends meet and live your own life. Perhaps next time you return to the US you can move to where jobs in your industry are, and set up a slightly less miserable 20-something lifestyle with too many roommates and a bus pas.

      Then tell your parents that you miss them, but if they want to see you more, they have to start respecting you. But I was raised by feminists, so I’m out of my element. Translate that into whatever would work in that actual situation.

  • LonelyHound February 2, 2015, 1:00 pm

    I have a feeling some things are being left out of this story, but for now let’s not concern ourselves with that. The simple fact is it is your parent’s house and therefore you have to follow their rules. If you are constantly out, crashing at other people’s houses, how much are you actually helping out around the house when you are out for 24 hours at a time? Maybe your parents were fine with the arrangement when you helped out; but now that dance is taking up all your time your parents are frustrated with the lack of help. Try not to compare yourself to your brother, your situations are not the same. He has to leave for work, and depending on what kind of work he does he might not have the time to be in constant contact. Also, depending on your parents tech-savvy, he might be texting them updates. Hunting is also seasonal. He goes for a set portion out of the year, it does not change week to week like dance can, and cell phones do not necessarily work in places like that.

    Part of what I am getting from you is the frustration that you are a 25 year old woman upset your parents are treating you like a teenager. My response to that would be, then stop acting like one. You complain about your current circumstances, but are not really doing anything to better them. You spend your money and time on dance when money would better serve you if it is saved (it would be nice to have a little something for repairs should your clunker need it), and your time would better be served by looking for jobs. If you are not finding the type of job you are looking for in your current location, expand your locations. You might have to get a job in your field that is not your “dream job”, but opens up greater opportunities or a pathway to the dream job. Look at what other areas you spend a lot of money on and tighten your belt. If you are tired of not having money maybe you need to cut down or stop dance until you are in a position to pay for all your commitments/bills/food/rent. as well as dance.

    • ImJustSaying February 2, 2015, 9:44 pm

      ~Try not to compare yourself to your brother, your situations are not the same. He has to leave for work, and depending on what kind of work he does he might not have the time to be in constant contact. Also, depending on your parents tech-savvy, he might be texting them updates. Hunting is also seasonal. He goes for a set portion out of the year, it does not change week to week like dance can, and cell phones do not necessarily work in places like that.~

      But it is the same communication is communication. If a text from him is acceptable then the same should be so for her. She’s not even leaving the area as it seems her brother might be. She is also going to work and her hobby just as he is going to work and his hobby. Both are staying rent free. both are adults. They should be held to the same rules so that resentments don’t form between the siblings or the child and parent. If the parents are giving better treatment to the brother because of his job that speaks to a whole other issue. Why not tell this son with the great job and expensive hobby (hunting can’t be cheaper than free dance lessons) to save his pennies and get his own place?
      It seems that these parents want their children to be at home even to the detriment of their children’s maturity.

  • Goldie February 2, 2015, 1:08 pm

    I agree that LW should move out and get her own place, and make this her first priority. (Her second priority, in my opinion, should be getting her career off the ground. You can’t go through life working minimum-wage part-time jobs during the day and dancing during the night. As exciting as dancing sounds, it needs to take a back seat until LW gets on her feet.) Her parents’ house, to be honest, sounds like it’s a toxic environment for LW right now. As a parent of two grown children, it never occurred to me to control their comings and goings or complain about their hobbies. LW also mentions that her brother is getting preferential treatment. That’s something else I’ve never done as a parent. One thing LW also mentions though, is that her parents get agitated each time she as much as mentions moving out. I still think she should; but there will be pushback from her parents and she should be ready for it. Again, something that never crossed my mind as a parent – to make a scene if my child told me they were planning on moving out. And none of mine are even 25 yet. You’d think 25 is about time?

    Personally, I was fortunate in that I left home at 17 to go to college, and never came back to my home town, except to visit. This really helped maintain a good relationship with my parents while I was in my 20s, working and starting a family. I recommend this to everyone. Yes, starting out on my own in a town where I knew no one was hard, sharing a room with two girls was hard, but living with my parents would’ve been harder.

    • Devin February 3, 2015, 10:52 am

      I think you are right. I left for college out of state and never returned either. After college I worked multiple jobs (60-80 hours per week) to pay my way and shared a house with multiple room mates. I always thought that’s just what you did. As much as I would love to live closer to my parents (and entire family), the job market around them does not have opportunities for me in my field. Living where the job market is better has allowed me to have the income to be able to travel to see them; and since they no longer have dependents, they have the income to visit me as well.
      Its true, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

    • Kate March 9, 2015, 3:57 am

      I’m late to this post but I completely agree with you.
      I moved out at 17 – I didn’t attend university out of state, but I have obsessive-compulsive disorder and living with my parents and sister was becoming pretty unbearable for all of us with my routines and rituals. I’m now 26, have completed both an undergraduate and postgraduate degree, and have never moved back home.
      It was hard at times – there were years when I worked three jobs, 6.5 days a week, and I had to give up a lot of the things people my age did, like overseas trips or nights out. I still think living with my family (who, like OP’s family, would have had trouble seeing me as an adult) would have been much harder. I now have a decent relationship with my parents whereas it was pretty much open warfare at home from ages 13-17.

  • Goldie February 2, 2015, 1:11 pm

    Another thing. LW mentioned being bilingual, and having been raised in a conservative family. I’ve heard of something that is common in some cultures, where the family designated one of the children (usually female) that is to live at home and take care of the parents when they get old. Perhaps this is the role LW is being shoehorned into? That would explain why her parents don’t want her to move out.

    • Mary February 2, 2015, 4:18 pm

      I was thinking the same thing. It would also explain the blatant sexism.

      • Rebecca February 3, 2015, 1:32 am

        Maybe, or she could be Canadian, where many English-speaking students go to French Immersion school so they can speak both official languages of the country.

    • Miss-E February 3, 2015, 8:31 am

      It would also explain why they wanted her to move home as an adult and get upset when their grown child talks about moving out on her own.

  • The Elf February 2, 2015, 1:11 pm

    “When I talk about this from the perspective of, “Hey, I am 25 and I want to move out and be independent someday…”, I am met with hostility. “So eager to get away from us?!”

    This sums up your entire post. This isn’t an etiquette issue. This is a parent/adult child issue, with all sorts of psychological angles. Basically, it boils down to this: do you want live independently? Then do so. You can’t set your parents rules for them or get them to like what you do. Whatever they object to, they’re going to object to, and double standards are irrelevant. As long as you live there, you’ll be subject to these rules and it doesn’t matter how old you are. Even if you do what you like anyway, it’s going to come back to haunt you because you are their child living in their house. I do think it is polite to let them know that you will be gone all night and when you expect to return. I do not think politeness dictates that you give all the details.

    My recommendation is to choose to live independently, cutting down the dance classes as necessary so that you can make ends meet. Even if they are free, living independently might mean taking on more hours or spending more time on housework/cooking/errand running. Become your own person, establish boundaries, and your parents will just have to learn to deal. This might be difficult to do, so do not overlook the benefits of counseling to help you break free. There might be some low cost counseling available through your health insurance, employer, church, or community.

  • Ms. Cindy February 2, 2015, 1:26 pm

    I haven’t posted here in a very long time, but this letter struck a nerve and I really wanted to put my two cents in.

    Many have commented that they feel like they’re “missing something” about the OP’s story. I think what’s missing is actually what is quite obvious if the letter is read objectively: Her parents are completely manipulative and controlling. I’m quite surprised at the “too bad, so sad” attitude being displayed toward her. I’ve also dealt with parents who, although they are completely loving and mean well, treat any move I make toward independence with complete resentment. This behavior from people who, up until this point in your life, have been wonderful, is extremely surprising and also confusing to deal with. It seems with the OP, no matter what she does, it isn’t good enough for them. I’m not surprised at all that she is desperate to get away from them by jitterbugging a few times a week and staying with friends.

    And right now someone reading is saying, “Well, then she should move out!” Yes, absolutely. But she states herself that her parents were “hurt” when she moved away and got a job, and “slighted” when she stated that she thought of it as their home, in which she was allowed to stay (I can’t really think of how you can find fault with that answer). That’s an extremely personal way to take the normal course of a child growing up and having their own life, which speaks to the emotional guilt she’s probably subjected to on a daily basis. How is a young woman (who seems to have grown up sheltered) supposed to deal with this? As I said, I can relate to this all too well. When your parents have been so generous, the last thing you want to do is hurt them or seem even a slight bit ungrateful. So you start to avoid, rather than feeling guilty for wanting something that quite frankly you are entitled to (her independence). For the OP, this means dance classes. Part of her may have given up the idea of really being independent or is just truly “stuck” because of feelings of guilt.

    Despite my different perspective, as many have said, the only solution is for her to do what the consensus is: Move out, and if that means skipping some dance classes, so be it. This is an extremely hard thing to do, and will probably make her the subject of her parents’ passive aggressive comments for a few years at least, but if she’s aware of that going into it, she can prepare calm, bean-dipping responses. It’s a hard lesson that your parents are . . . just people like you, with their own faults and shortcomings. Her parents’ short-comings are their emotional sabotaging, but the only way out is through.

    • Cecilia February 2, 2015, 4:44 pm

      This is exactly what I was thinking. I also think that @The Elf and Goldie are right- this is a parent/adult child issue and that OP has probably been designated as the child who will live at home and take care of the parents when they get old. They are using severe emotional manipulation to try to control OP and dance is her escape.

      I basically “ran away” from my father’s home when I was 16 because of a very similar situation. If I had stayed, I would have been that single girl, under her father’s control, guilt trips when I tried to be an adult, who ended up miserable and alone taking care of her elderly father.

      OP- it will be extremely hard-maybe the hardest thing you ever do- but you need to save, try harder to get full-time job or job in your field and get out now, before they make it impossible. If you lived on your own in foreign country, you can do this. You will probably have to stop or cut down on your dancing schedule, but you can pick that up again once you are out on your own, making your own money and supporting yourself.

  • JWH February 2, 2015, 1:39 pm

    Sorry to sound a discordant note here, but I think there’s a little bit of something to OP’s tale. I’ve seen plenty of twenty-somethings, and the occasional thirty-something, who grew up in very traditional households and who are stuck in their parents’ orbit and can’t seem to break out of it, no matter what they do.

    This is up to and including people who earn somewhere in the middle five figures, but still live at home rent-free. They exist in some kind of eternal adolescence. They’re grown-ups, nominally, but their parents have a combination of an emotional, fiscal, and psychological hold over them. And, yeah, these twenty- and thirty-somethings deal with a bunch of rules imposed by parents who can’t accept their kids are no longer teens. It’s not really a matter of etiquette, from what I’ve observed. It’s about the parents maintaining dominance over their offspring.

    Even if she finds a job that pays six figures and comes with a company jet, I don’t think that OP is going to be able to move out and stand on her own without finding a way to break her parents’ hold over her.

  • Skaramouche February 2, 2015, 2:16 pm

    Wow. This one touched a nerve. I lived away for my last year of uni, moved back home for about a year during which I got my first full time job (this was 10 years ago and in a lucrative field so I had a much easier time of it than today’s graduates). I moved out again and lived on my own for 3 years until my parents left the country for a job opportunity. My sister lived alone in their huge house and was still in school but they wanted to keep house. So, I took over their mortgage (on paper only because dad reimbursed me for most house related expenses) and moved back in. Not the same situation as OP’s at all but a few key points are similar:

    – I was living rent free. When I was on my own, it was pretty hand-to-mouth even though I had a good job. When I moved back in, the bank balance started growing significantly. If one is living at home, the point should be to save: save to move out, save for a car, save for whatever but save! The money you would have otherwise spent on rent and living expenses shouldn’t be frittered away!

    – I was also greatly frustrated by my parents. They often failed to recognize my adult status and when my mother was in town, we would get into the silliest arguments over how/when to do laundry or other such ridiculousness. For this reason, I understand OP’s issues. BUT, it is important to note that I wasn’t financially dependent on my parents. Sometimes parents and adult children just don’t see eye-to-eye. It isn’t about right or wrong, just about different ways of living. In order to freely follow your own lifestyle choices, it is important that you be self-sufficient. I truly believe in “their house, their rules”. OP, are you taking steps to become financially independent?

    I’m very confused about where OP’s money is going. She says that dance lessons are practically free, doesn’t sound like she’s fixing her car, and she doesn’t pay rent. Maybe she is saving and just hasn’t mentioned it.

  • Willynilly February 2, 2015, 2:22 pm

    There is an expression “there is no such thing as free lunch.” Well there is no such things as “rent-free” either. You *are* paying rent, or at least being asked for rent. Its just not monetary rent. The rent your parents want you pay them is living with them via their rules. That is the cost of living in their home for no-money rent. You need to decide if you are willing and able to pay it.

    Like others I think your dance schedule sounds extremely extravagant. Very few people have 6-20 hours a week to dedicate to a hobby! And to the low-wage worker, Friday nights, Saturday-day and Saturday night, well those are the “money hours” so your hobby is costing you on a well paying part time job. Waitressing, bartending, even retail, the best paying hours are weekends. Country clubs and banquet halls are great places to get waitressing and bartending experience, but *do* expect to work Friday & Saturday nights. Or get a retail job that pays commission on top of hours, a great way to make money if you work Saturdays. Once you are working nights and weekends, that frees up time during weekdays to intern or volunteer, attend job fairs, and interview.

    Also don’t stop looking for roommates at your friends. Friends of friends, roommate services,and ads for roommates are all probably better places to look.

    Good luck OP. Its tough leaving the nest, both financially and emotionally. But its worth it.

  • Denise February 2, 2015, 3:00 pm

    It honestly sounds like you’re trying to relive your childhood and do what you were not allowed to do as a child.

    The truth of the matter is, if you want to have complete say over where your money, time and energy goes than you must first achieve independence. If this means you work out of the country then you do so. Or, if you spend the “dance” time doing what you need to do to work full time in your field (more canvassing for jobs, internships or volunteer in your field and so on), then you do that while living with your parents and put dance on hold.

    In reality, it’s incredibly unlikely you will make a living with dance. You need to learn the difference between a hobby and an obsession. Considering that your brother works full time and has achieved those goals, it’s clear that his hunting is indeed a hobby. It cannot be a double standard if you are not both achieving the same things prior to being judged.

    You have a lot of growing up to do. Your parents blessed you with the opportunity to leave college with a completely fresh start, and allow you to continue to live with them so you can get on your feet. I’m sure in their eyes, you’re not appreciative. You are not taking full advantage of the opportunity. You are instead ok with working several poor part-time jobs so that you can concentrate on your hobby instead of utilizing that time and your degree to jump into adult-hood.

    • Enna February 7, 2015, 6:53 am

      But the OP said her family was hurt when she moved out and had a “real job”. They shoudln’t be giving mixed messages to her. I can’t help wondering if the dancing obessesion is a way for OP to avoid her parents.

  • RC February 2, 2015, 3:06 pm

    It might just be me… but I had to chuckle at this letter. It sounds like the plot of a terrible 80’s young adult movie… “Peeps keep tryin’a bring me down but I just wanna DANCE!” Footloose anyone?

    • The Elf February 2, 2015, 4:21 pm

      “Really? Well, on my planet, we have a legend about people like you. It’s called Footloose. And in it, a great hero, named Kevin Bacon, teaches an entire city full of people with sticks up their butts that, dancing, well, is the greatest thing there is. “

      • Ergala February 2, 2015, 10:01 pm

        Who put the sticks up their butts? That’s cruel.

      • Lil February 3, 2015, 12:30 am

        “Who put the sticks up their butts?”

    • AIP February 2, 2015, 5:04 pm

      Y’know it is very similar to a film Nicole Kidman was in when she was about 19, all curly hair and red cheeks. She was a high school athlete whose strict father was her coach and had lots of rules and wasn’t allowed to do fun things, but really, all she wanted to do was …. *DANCE*!!!

      • Anonymous February 3, 2015, 9:29 am

        I still think this story is plausible. I don’t think anyone here would be screaming “fake!!!” if the OP was a painter, or a singer, or something else, and even movies like Dirty Dancing and Footloose have some basis in reality–not that they really happened, but they COULD happen.

        • RC February 3, 2015, 6:03 pm

          I have seen no one here indicate that they believe the story to be fake – I too believe the story, and it is entirely plausible. It just reads like common movie plot, that’s all.

  • K February 2, 2015, 3:08 pm

    My grandmother was a single mother with six children to support. She had it tough, working long hours cooking in restaurants, and cleaning homes on her days off. She managed to buy a home, and keep her family fed and healthy. My dad and his older brother worked for everything they wanted. My dads youngest brother lived with my grandmother until he was over 3o years old, married, and he and his wife had a baby before they moved out of my grandmothers home. Up until that time, she did the cooking, the cleaning, and paid most of his bills. Because my mom was so afraid one of her kids would end up like her brother in law, I had one week after graduating high school to be moved out of her home. It may sound harsh, but I’m always welcome in her home, and she was always there to help out if I was short on a bill, or didn’t have enough money for groceries. She and my dad made sure I became a productive member of society who could live on his own. It’s nice having parents who love you and will help you in a time of need, but, one day they won’t be there, anymore.

  • Inkcap February 2, 2015, 3:26 pm

    I wonder how much priority OP is giving to her dancing in job applications. In my experience, one of the very first questions on job applications is whether or not you are willing to work evenings, nights, and weekends, and if you don’t answer in the affirmative, you’re severely limiting your chances to land a job that fifty other desperate twenty-somethings have also applied for.

    At 21 (a few years ago) I was in a similar position, living at home rent-free (and rule-abiding) and working for less than $9/hr. While still in school I had set aside a little bit of my savings to dance one night a week, since I deeply enjoy dancing, needed exercise, and was offered a generous student discount. After graduating and beginning work, I had to stop dancing until I could beg part of one evening off every week. I can totally sympathize with the OP for wanting to dance, which is great for physical and mental health (important to maintain anytime, and especially in stressful job situations).

    When I danced, the pricey things like costumes, makeup, and workshops were optional, so besides tuition and the one-time cost of some very long-lasting (and relatively inexpensive) equipment, there were no hidden costs. However, even if the OP is dancing for nothing but the cost of gas mileage, the old saw “time is money” applies here. If I had danced four nights a week, spending about three hours driving, warming up, and dancing, that would’ve been 12 hours of evening time free. At the job I had, that would’ve amounted to $75 a week (after taxes) that I could have earned working in that time, or $300 a month– enough to be sharing the rent with another young adult, even in the costly area where I lived at the time. Thanks to my parents’ generosity and my own discipline, I was able to save up for things like a good used car and the down payment on a house when I got married a couple years later.

    Additionally, having grown up in a family serious about the arts, I knew from an early age that if I wanted to be a dancer, musician, or writer I’d have to be willing to make it work for me while fully understanding how difficult it could be to find a niche, and how much I would have to sacrifice in other areas of my life to make that happen. There’s a lot of give-and-take in that process, and I don’t expect to have all the comforts my parents lovingly gave me while I was growing up, or to be able to follow my passion as directly as I once did. Passions are wonderful things, but you have to understand that working to enable a future security (and greater ability to pursue the passion at that time) is part and parcel of it. There will always be free pleasures in life. If your passion prevents you from enjoying them, it might be an obsession.

  • Serena February 2, 2015, 3:42 pm

    I’m having mixed feelings about this whole thing, mostly because I can relate entirely, but also not at all. I am also and 20 something living with my parents who is, surprise, a ballroom dancer. I lived at school for two years, but realized I could save about $10, 000 a year if I commuted. I am currently still in school full time, and I have 2 part time jobs, and I though I don’t pay rent to my parents, I pay for my phone bill and all things car related–and since my daily commute is 20 miles there and back, it’s not as if my bills are small.

    I agree there is some thing missing in this story. A big something. You claim to be dancing what seem to be nearly every night a week, yet working multiple jobs? Where is this money you are making going? How do you find the time? I dance about 4-5 hours a week, work 20, and am at school about 50. You don’t go to school anymore. Whats your excuse for not having a job that makes any money? Maybe you don’t have a job right now– I’m not judging you for that, times are hard, but it’s relevant to your story it would seem. If your dance studio is anything like mine, then a private lesson drops over $100. But you say you are dancing for free? Completely? Huh. This money has to be going to somewhere? And I don’t understand where.

    If it is indeed going to your dance studio then so be it. I won’t cry at you to drop your hobby and find a job. Why? Because dancing helped me get over and stay out of my depression. So my family spooned out the money to keep me going at the recommendation of my doctor. Your “obsession” for dance may actually be healing for you, so I’m not going to grill you on that like everyone else. Social dance is extremely therapeutic, and for all I know, it may be very needed in your life right now. And that’s where I disagree with admin. If it was an AA meeting taking all your time, no one here would be whining at you to quit. BUT if your love of dance is really a love of socializing, then you may need to consider more affordable or convenient methods of doing that.

    As for your parents–I understand that, but not to the same extreme. My parents also guilt me into staying at home (or try). I don’t really know why. I get that they love me and like having me around, but I am older now and even when I am at home we don’t really “hang out.” However, my parents have never threatened me with paying rent. I come from a culture where it is very common for a woman to live with her parents until she is married or much older. Its just the norm. That being said, you are under your parents roof, and owe then the respect of letting them know your whereabouts. Its annoying, I know. Every morning before I leave the house, I tell my mother my schedule, and I tell her when she can expect me home. If my schedule changes–I call her or my father and let them know. If I’m going to be much later than I expected–I call. If I decided to stay with a friend on campus that night–I call. It’s a bother, but I do it. Its respectful as I live under their roof, and it’s kind, so they don’t worry. Let me tell you, I sure get irritated with them if they aren’t around when I expect them to be. It’s a two way street.

    But when push comes to shove, it seems like you just need to move out, or genuinely work towards moving out. Parents nag and push, usually out of worry and love. If you can’t stand it, you just need to go. Their house, their rules.

  • Kristi February 2, 2015, 4:17 pm

    Though I am well aware that college costs have skyrocketed and the job market is dismal, especially for those with little or no experience, it seems that attitudes themselves have completely changed as to what constitutes ‘too poor to move out’. I have friends who have adult children living with them, some of the situations are at least semi-legit, but mostly it seems the kids are just not motivated by anything at all to want to gain their independence!

    When I and my friends were nearing graduation we were already making plans for moving out of our parents’ homes. We couldn’t wait to get out – not because we hated our parents but because we wanted to be free – free to make our own rules, free of curfews, free to make mistakes too I suppose but that’s a valuable part of growing up. We roomed together in crappy apartments with multiple roommates and ate a lot of ramen noodles. But…despite our broke status we managed to make rent, put gas in our cars, buy enough groceries to get by and have a GREAT time doing it! Eventually we all moved on to better jobs and better living situations.

    When I look back at that time of my life I feel mostly nostalgic…it was before real career pressures, marriages, children, etc. –all of the complications that come along as we grow up. I guess my point is, kids/young adults these days don’t seem to care about independence and they don’t seem to understand that they probably can afford to move out. They just won’t have Mom & Dad’s nice house to live in for free, groceries, laundry facilities, etc. Instead they will have someone’s second-hand couch and mismatched plates & silverware, and maybe have to share a bedroom with another roommate and scrounge for groceries and not have 500 channels on tv. We valued the freedom that moving out brought us, they seem to value the security and ease that living at home gets them.

    • Amanda H. February 2, 2015, 11:54 pm

      It’s also been my experience talking to various acquaintances over the years that far too many people seem to think they need to buy a nice house the moment they move out (or at least the moment they graduate college), rather than working their way up through apartments. So some go broke trying to get that house, and others just think they’re too poor to move out because they couldn’t purchase a house with all the furnishings straight out of graduation.

      Which is why I’m glad my parents reassured us (and also led somewhat by example) that it was all right to live in an apartment for a while. They even lived in apartments until I (the oldest of their kids) was seven, when they finally finished saving up to purchase a house for us to move to.

      • Kristi February 3, 2015, 8:17 am

        That’s been my experience too Amanda – they expect to have brand new furniture, a great apartment/house/condo, nice car and all the bells and whistles. It’s like there’s some shame in starting out with what you can afford and what your relatives are willing to donate from their attics and basements. I have noticed this more and more as years go by, and the only thing I can attribute it to is that parents have become more and more willing to give their kids everything they want, whenever they want, without requiring them to earn it for themselves. If you’ve been given everything your whole life it’s probably quite devastating to find that you can’t afford to live the lifestyle you’ve always been accustomed to now that it’s your dime. I think some parents are finding this out the hard way.

      • Kate March 9, 2015, 4:00 am

        I see this too among my friends. Even the assumption that renting is a waste of time doesn’t sit well with me.

  • Anonymous February 2, 2015, 4:17 pm

    Hey OP, have you considered finding out what it’d take to become a dance instructor?

    • Rosie B. February 3, 2015, 2:04 am

      I was also going to suggest this! It sounds like it may be the perfect career for her!

      The one drawback, however, is that she’ll probably have to spend a lot more money on dance lessons if she wants to be advanced enough to be a teacher. Maybe her parents would be more forgiving of her dance hobby if it was in order to prepare her for a career in the industry?

      • Anonymous February 3, 2015, 9:37 am

        I was thinking that maybe one of the senior instructors at the dance school would teach the OP how to teach dance, in exchange for the OP taking on a few more hours teaching the beginning students how to dance, and then when the OP is good enough, the studio could employ her as an instructor. I mean, she’d still have to apply at other studios (because no one studio is going to be able to give her full-time hours, unless it’s a professional dance school), but the one where she dances now would probably be the first choice.

        • Enna February 7, 2015, 6:55 am

          I’ve been thinking the same thing. What did the OP do at colleague?

  • Elizabeth February 2, 2015, 4:42 pm

    It is time for you to focus your energy on getting a job and building an independent life. At 25, I had just bought my first home, was working full-time and starting graduate school. I had ZERO time for hobbies.

    I don’t think your parents prepared you for life at all if you’re living at home and annoyed that you don’t have more time for your favorite hobby. It is time to work and establish an independent life – the luxury of a hobby will come later.

  • just4kicks February 2, 2015, 5:04 pm

    I went through this myself. It can be a really tough situation.
    When I was 17, I met through a friend a 24 year old man, who I began dating.
    Being a “good Catholic girl”, this was my first serious relationship.
    My folks did everything they could to get me away from him, including having us followed and being in contact with the police. Finally, they issued an ultimatum, and I moved out, and in with this loser.
    My parents were correct on every point, which I found out for myself in the next two years, and moved back home, with their permission and encouragement.
    Once I was of legal drinking age, I no longer had a curfew, but would always tell my folks, we are going to a club etc, I’m not going to drive home. They had the number to the house where I would be crashing in case of emergency.
    Things worked out well, as long as they knew I was safe, not drinking and driving, and they really liked all my friends.
    However, I went on a first date one night with a seemingly nice guy, who I ended up dating for a about a year. We went to dinner, closed the restaurant and then went for a nightcap (coffee) at a nearby hotel bar.
    We lost track of time, and I had stopped drinking alcohol after dinner, and I got home somewhere around three am. I wasn’t drunk, no where near it, we were just having a great time getting to know each other, with maybe a little smoothing thrown in.
    I let myself in very quietly to find my folks sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee and checking the clock. My dad had gotten up around two am to use the bathroom and saw I wasn’t home yet.
    When it crept towards three am, he woke my mom up, and told her I never made it home.
    I apologized profusely, and had actually thought about calling home, but didn’t want to wake them.
    I never came in that late again without at least leaving a message that I was ok, and would be later then expected.

    • Enna February 7, 2015, 7:04 am

      I think it is important for parents to maybe have a “Plan B” for example if their young adult child is old enough to go out and stay late and drink etc what to do if they are out later then planned. For example it is okay to call up until this time and then text after that.

      I’ve been in a situation when I’ve gone to a firend’s house and have forgotten my house keys. I relised when it was half past ten and my firend said I could stay the night. I did try and call my parents as it was a Friday and they normally go to bed around ten. I left a message saying I had forgotten my keys and I also texted. So either way if one of them woke up in the night and realsied I wasn’t back they would see my messages.

  • lakey February 2, 2015, 5:17 pm

    I feel for you, OP. I feel that it is tough for adult children to live with parents and should be temporary if possible. It’s hard for you to maintain your independence, because you aren’t independent. You’ve been living with your parents for 3 years now, apparently with no end in sight. Have you developed a plan to get out of this situation? If the job market for your chosen profession is so poor that you can’t get a decent, full time job in your area, what are your options? You could perhaps move to another city or state where the job market is better. You could change careers, perhaps with some added training.

    Instead of putting this huge amount of time and effort into a hobby, wouldn’t it make more sense to fix your employment situation through moving or changing careers? Then when you are settled in a job where you can support yourself, you could get back into the dance hobby that you love.
    Just something to think about.

  • just4kicks February 2, 2015, 5:44 pm

    Sorry….that was very long winded.
    Pertaining to OP’ s situation, you are an adult and can come and go as you please, but your folks will always worry about you, because they love you and want the best for you.
    Maybe start a conversation over dinner and get it all out on the table.
    Good Luck, and enjoy your dancing!
    My daughter is 11 and just started with dance lessons, she so enjoys them…I know where you’re coming from. 🙂

  • PM February 2, 2015, 6:47 pm

    I think the bottom line is that someone in this situation is going to be unhappy.

    YOU because you’re frustrated at your living situation and dependence on your parents.


    YOUR PARENTS who seem to think you should live with them forever.

    Your job in life is to make yourself happy and support yourself. you can’t prevent your parents from the pains of you growing up and leaving the nest.

  • JWH February 2, 2015, 8:57 pm

    This brings back memories. When I finished college, I picked up jobs in towns several hours away from my parents, then obtained a job in my hometown in my mid 20s (where my salary didn’t go far enough to lease a homeless man’s cardboard box, let alone an apartment). I lived in my parents’ place for about a year while I waited for my SO to finish college.

    That arrangement worked pretty well. I worked nights and my parents worked days. On weekends, I usually visited my SO at college. We almost never saw each other; my parents said the only evidence I was there was that they could hear me snoring in the mornings, and I occasionally left a bowl or two in the sink before I went to work. After a year, my SO graduated, I moved out, and my SO and I merrily lived in sin.

    I think it helped that my parents were pretty laid-back once I got into adulthood. It ALSO helped that I had lived on my own for three years and had thus demonstrated my early adult bona fides.

  • cassandra February 2, 2015, 9:03 pm

    I am 29, my husband is 28. I went to a 2 yr community college, he has a GED. He has a factory job and has busted his hump to move up so that it pays well enough for us to live comfortably and allow me to stay at home with our three children until I can find a job with my degree. Our children are 12, 7, and 6. They are in every sport they want to be in, have every toy they could possible want, including electronic. We own our home, free and clear. We own our vehicles free and clear. He has many man toys, also owned free and clear. No debt. No welfare. Our kids lack for nothing, we lack for nothing. How? We save. If we want something we save for it. We don’t spend money on silly things.
    I can’t tell you how many friends we have who we know make more money but spend their money on ridiculous things then cry broke.
    I have a hard time believing that dance classes werent expensive, at least in the beginning, and what about gas? Maybe a priority should be to find one or two minimum wage jobs with potential for moving up and move up? Save all the gas money etc. until you can move out? I agree with admin 100%. Seems like you don’t really want to be an adult, and your parents don’t want you to be an adult.