This is a slightly unusual post coming from me. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, I’m not in the 20 to 34 age bracket. Living with parents is also something I’ve left behind (in a different country to be precise). And the final reason, I’m also not very much involved with art. Why am I writing this post then?
Boomerang Britain or Living With Parents (Once Again)
Earlier this year I was invited to an exhibition titled Boomerang Britain and it piqued my interest. According to the email I got, recent data from the Office for National Statistics shows that one in four people between the ages 20 and 34 is back living with parents. Apparently, the number of the so called “boomerang families” went up by 40% in Britain since 2003. And while it may be a new occurence in my adopted homeland, this is something I can understand only too well.
Living With Parents Isn’t Unusual At All
Coming from Slovenia, a small country some may not have even heard of, I find living with parents pretty ordinary. I could never describe myself or my family as a “boomerang family” purely because I never really moved out. My uni was so close to my mum and dad’s house that I lived with them while studying in Ljubljana.
Once I started adulting (or pretending to) and got my first real job, there was no way I could afford living on my own. After all, I needed a car and that costs money, which left a very meagre amount for me to have fun with. I dreamt of having my own flat, but got laughed out of the bank when I went to see if they’d give me a mortgage. And I was industrious. My full time job was teaching English and German. I translated books. I worked for a private language school, teaching English for the whole afternoon (school in Slovenia finishes by 1.20pm or so). My workdays were 12 hours long and I ended up making decent money (and completely burning out in the process). Living with parents most likely prevented me from dropping dead from exhaustion. My mum always made sure I had a good quality meal waiting for me when I came home. In return, I’d pay her a small amount of my salary.
Moving out for me was something I did when I was 29. And I did it in a very extreme way. I moved to London. So, not only was I living away from my parents, I moved to a different country. What I did was unusual. A lot of my friends still live with their parents. Some of them now have families of their own and still live with mum and dad. They can do that, because houses in Slovenia are larger than houses in Britain (after all we have more unused space and less people). Grandparents on the ground floor and the young family on the first one isn’t an exception to the rule. Of course it has its benefits as well as drawbacks, but what in life doesn’t?
Celebrating Positive Effects of Boomerang Britain
Being invited to this exhibition by the First Direct opened my eyes to a new phenomenon in Britain while giving me the opportunity to meet the artists behind the exhibition. While I don’t have any negative preconceptions about children moving back in with their parents, it looks as if this isn’t at all celebrated in Britain.
Emily Macinnes, the photographer (most of the photos in this post are hers), spent time with six “boomerang families” across the UK. The photos depict their lives and the positive effects of the two generations living under the same roof.
Millenials moving back in with their parents do it for various reasons, not all of them financial. Young people can help their parents come to grips with the social media. Your mum (or dad) can teach you to cook something apart from spaghetti hoops. The parental house is less quiet all of the sudden, helping the parents feel younger. There’s a young, strong pair of hands at home to help out with chores. Living with parents can help you save for that dreaded deposit on your own home.
Six “Boomerang Families” Six Different Stories”
There were photos of six different families at the exhibition. We learnt a bit of their background stories and they are all slightly different from one another.
Adam moved in with his parents to save money for travelling. He helped his dad set up a website for his business.
Emma’s family is a very closely knit one. Her move back home allows her to spend more time with her parents, brothers and friends. And her mum loves having a lively household.
Family bonds and support were really important when Iain and his dad were both diagnosed with cancer. But their close relationship and practical jokes helped them come out on the other side.
Jordanne and her mum not only lived under the same roof, they even worked together. The whole family appreciates the support they can give one another. Who better to really listen to your woes than a parent?
Louise (and her boyfriend) both returned to their parents to save money for a deposit. Hard work and perseverance paid off and they are hoping to buy this year.
Living with someone she loves is important for Sheree. She knows she can confide in her mum, and who could say no to a free lift to the station anyway?
What Do All “Boomerang Families” Have In Common?
Living with parents can be difficult. They are set in their own ways and always know what’s best for you. You’re bound to follow their rules, after all it’s their home.
But do the “annoying” things outweight the good ones? Parents care about us. When we have a problem, they really listen. They can teach us invaluable skills. Maybe that’s cooking, maybe it’s changing a lightbulb or making a proper cup of tea. No need for a taxi, who better to pick you up from the station than mum or dad. When you’re ill, there’s nothing like mum’s chicken soup.
And what can millenials give back? I gave my parents Samsung Tablets, and now my mum knows more about YouTube than I do. My parents got to grips with social media (although they sometimes still make me cringe). We also fixed their wifi so it works on all floors of their big Slovenian house.
Jessica Dance created a tapsetry of all the positive terms around living with parents collected by First Direct. It’s interesting to see that maybe the attitude towards living with your parents is slowly starting to change.
Do you still live with your parents? What are the benefits? I’d love to hear more stories on the topic.
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I was invited to this event by the First Direct, however, writing the post was completely up to me and it was in no way sponsored or directed by First Direct or any other party involved. All photography is by Emily Macinnes, a documentary photographer, who was named in the Photo Boite ’30 Undeer 30′ list of the top female photographers across the globe in 2015. Follow her on Instagram for amazing photos.