Susan Reimer, the self-proclaimed voice of the Baby Boom Generation has done it again—noting in her recent Baltimore Sun column, “Boomerang kids seek comforts of home,” that her generation has somehow set a superior model of parenting by welcoming home Boomerang kids (post-college) because, well, it’s the new norm. And a lot of the children, and even some parents, seem pretty okay with the whole arrangement, according to a Pew Research Center report cited by Reimer. “It is hard to be irritated by something you perceive as the norm,” Reimer writes.
Well, I’d like to say a big No Thanks to this new ‘standard’ of parenting—if only out of desperation. I don’t know if I speak for Gen X-ers, at least quite as well as Claire and Phil Dunphy on Modern Family, but I can only hope (and hope, and hope) that our children feel confident enough to go out on their own after college—or, if not living alone because of finances, then find themselves roommate situations where expenses are shared and adulthood launched.
And I also wonder about the Boomerang trend and the assertion that it’s comfortable for all involved. To some degree, the societal standard for Reimer and other moms in the 1980s and ‘90s was to go back to work right after maternity leave; Do parents who now let their kids live at home rent-free between the ages of 18 and 34 feel like they are making up for lost time? Isn’t there enough parenting guilt out there? I know I don’t need any residuals.
As a generation, admittedly, Boomers have set a lot of new standards: Hanging onto youth a good bit longer than previously thought possible. All I’m saying is don’t push back this finish line, too. I can only hope (there’s that word again) that my husband and I can concentrate a bit more on ourselves as a couple once our children—now 7 and 9—walk across that second stage, holding their bachelor’s degree in one hand and a plan for the future in the other.
I know I’ll miss them. And I dread that day, too. But I have a bit of pay-it-forward advice to Baby Boomers and Boomlet-ers: Please just grow up.