Smashing Stereotypes: Why Millennials Still Live at Home

Four of our millennial authors come together to give their true accounts of what it’s like to live at home–and defy the stereotype of equating it to laziness.

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Millennial stereotypes. By this point, you’ve probably heard them all. Entitled. Oversharers. Lazy. Narcissistic. My favorite, though, is that all millennials who still live at home in their twenties are lazy freeloaders with no life aspirations. Now that’s a stereotype that needs to be smashed.

Many millennials still live at home, in part because it is a cultural tradition. But it’s not my place to tell their story. I asked them each the same three questions about living at home.

Let’s start with why Michelle, our Brand Manager, lives at home.

Why do you still live at home?
Why do I still live at home? I’m Greek. Have you seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding? If your answer is “no” here, I highly recommend you stop reading this and go watch. Greeks live at home until they get married. We’re a very cultural people and family is everything. Almost all of my friends who are Greek and unmarried still live at home (literally I can only think of one person I know who goes against this).

How do you feel about the negative connotations of living at home as a twentysomething?
I never really dealt with a negative connotation of living at home as a twentysomething. In fact, I once said that I wanted to move out at 26 married or not and I got laughed at and told it was a dumb decision. And you know what? It is a dumb decision.

What are some positives of living at home?
I’m saving so much money and I’m living with the two people in the world who love me the most — my mother and my brother. Additionally, I lost my father when I was 18, and my brother is confined to a wheelchair as he suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Living at home allows me to help out as much as I can with my brother, allows for an extra set of hands in the house and allows for my mother to take little breaks in caretaking here and there.

Even if my life were to be under different circumstances, I am extremely close to my family, and my mother is honestly my best friend. I’d rather spend my Sunday with her shopping, or a Tuesday night on the couch watching the Mets with my brother, than a lot of things. So there’s my perk of living at home — being around to help out, being able to spend as much time with my brother as I can—and of course saving money most definitely helps as well!

 

Next, we’ll hear from Mary Grace, our Editor-in-Chief. 

Why do you still live at home?
The easy answer is that I still live at home because I want to save the rent money, which is mostly the truth. The next answer is that I love where I live. Save for about five years, I’ve always lived here and I am involved in the local community. I could not imagine living in another state or town — especially one that is not 30 minutes from New York City! I truly get the best of both worlds living in a suburb. Lastly, I’m lucky enough to have a great relationship with my parents. I’m their only child — most of the time our relationship resembles a relationship among friends. We have our issues, but once we’ve all calmed down we are able to have an adult dialogue that remains respectful throughout. I do plan to move out once I have saved up enough funds to do so, but I’ll definitely relocate to a place in the area. And I know I’ll miss my parents.

How do you feel about the negative connotations of living at home as a twentysomething?
I understand where they come from, but I want to fight to change them. Not every millennial who lives at home is lazy and doesn’t pay bills. I am always working — whether it’s at my desk job or my freelance gigs. I have never missed a car or a credit card payment. I try to keep my belongings in my space. And I still ask my parents if my friends can come over — out of respect.

What are some positives of living at home?
The easy, funny answer is that there is always food around! For someone like me who is always hungry, this benefit is first in my mind. But my more meaningful positive of living at home is that someone who understands you is always at the ready if you’re not feeling like yourself.

 

Coming up next is our world traveler Gauri with her reasons for still living at home. 

Why do you still live at home?
Let me set the stage: I am the only child of parents who are at the older end of the Baby Boomer generation. There was never a doubt that I would move back after college, that job in Italy, Graduate School, etc.

My parents were born and brought up in India and moved to the States in the early ’80s (my mother at 21 and my father in his early 30s — my parents met in New York). As a result, they still hold onto a lot of “Eastern” ideals and philosophies. The primary one being: children live at home until they are married (and sometimes even after).

In addition, I work for a software company in Melville, Long Island and my parents live in Huntington, Long Island. That is a 15 minute commute. No way I could give that up!

Hence, it makes a lot of sense for me to live at home, help my family and be helped out by my parents. I travel to client sites a lot for work, so it’s good to have a home base that I don’t have to pay for! Plus, my parents try to spend the brutal New York winters in sunny Delhi, so someone has to care for the house while they are gone! Built in house sitter over here.

How do you feel about the negative connotations of living at home as a twentysomething?
Generally, I try not to let the negativity bother me—but I have my moments. Some of my close family frequently asks me why I don’t just “buy a house nearby.” Their misconceptions and negativity center around the idea that as a budding twentysomething, my parents do not allow me any independence. That is simply not true!

Instead, they encourage my independence. They are always urging me to go out, make new friends, go out on terrible dates (seriously, I wish they would stop me from doing that!) and make frequent sojourns into the chaos of Manhattan. My parents fully support all of my social endeavors and encourage my academic and professional endeavors. They always make sure that I can focus on my plans and goals and not have to worry about pesky things. So, in the end, the positives so far outweigh the negatives. Plus, when people mock me for living at home, I simply ask, “Does your mom pack your lunch? Mine does. Do you really think I will give that up?” with a wry and knowing smile.

What are some positives of living at home?
I think I have already brought some of the positives to light, but:

  • Free laundry
  • A car whenever I need one
  • A ride to the train station whenever I need that instead
  • Free food
  • The house to myself all winter
  • The opportunity to slowly take on “adult” responsibilities without fear of messing up
  • I do really enjoy every minute spent with my parents. We are always laughing at and with each other, and it is never forced. I would not change a thing!

To wrap up this collaborative effort, I answered the same questions. 

Why do you still live at home?
To address the first question, there are a few reasons why I still live at home. The first is simple economics. Neither of my parents went to college. They had no savings for my college education because they were too busy making sure I had an amazing childhood with any extra money they had. I sacrificed my ability to take on a mortgage in my 20s in order to pay for my Bachelor’s degree.

The second reason is that if college taught me anything, it’s that good roommates are hard to come by. I love my parents and we have an absolutely amazing relationship. At the risk of parroting everyone else, my parents are among my best friends and my most trusted advisors.

How do you feel about the negative connotations of living at home as a twentysomething?
When it comes to the negative connotations surrounding living at home, I have to admit that I get slightly offended. Living at home into your 20s is commonplace in many cultures.

Being a fourth generation Italian-American, my culture is no different. My mom didn’t move out until she was 30 and was moving in with my dad. Family is very important, and the thought of moving far away from my family freaks me out.

Have you ever seen The Godfather? If you haven’t, the Corleone family lives together at the Corleone compound. When my mom was growing up, her family had its version of the Corleone compound on my block. My grandfather and his brother built my grandmother’s house, both houses next door and the house across the street. Unfortunately, strangers now live in all those houses but one — my grandmother’s house. The house my parents and I live in today.

What are some positives of living at home?
This house is all I really have left of my grandfather. Unfortunately, he passed when I was three. I never got to know him, but I can feel him in the bricks of this house. He put down these bricks with his hands. His sweat dripped into the cement.

This house is a monument to both my grandfather’s and grandmother’s achievement of realizing the American Dream as children of immigrants. I may move out someday soon, but this house will always be my home.

 

Do you still live at home? We’d love to hear your story in the comment box below!

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