I feel weird telling coworkers I live with my parents in my 30s

A reader writes:

I graduated into the recession and took some time to find a job. As a result, after living in an apartment in college, I moved back home. My initial job was much lower-paying than I’d hoped for and I owed student loans, so I couldn’t move out right away. And so on.

Cut to now, I’m in my mid-30s, a high-level manager in a good-paying job, and I still live in my childhood bedroom. At this point it’s for multiple reasons: I’m single, I have no desire to have a roommate, and it’s not good for my mental health to live alone. I’m not a mooch; I pay decent rent and provide to the general household. My parents work odd hours so I cook dinner most nights and buy groceries and other needs on top of rent.

I don’t know what to say or how to address (or dance around) my living situation if it comes up at work. I have subordinates who are younger than me who live on their own. I have an awful commute, so from that perspective it doesn’t make sense for me to live where I live. And I make good money! But most of my friends and family live nearby, I’m happy having a support network in my house, and I don’t want to live with a random roommate.

How do I address this if it comes up? Do I just never talk about my home life? Do I lie? My industry is pretty big on building personal relationships (for good reason) so I can’t really just avoid the topic forever. Previously my supervisors and some coworkers knew my situation, but I’m with new coworkers in a new division at work after my promotion to the senior level, so nobody in my current area knows much about me yet.

You like your situation, you’re happy with it, and it works for you. I say own it!

People are likely to take their cues from you. If you sound embarrassed when you say you live with your parents, they’re more likely to think there’s something embarrassing about it, or that you see it as a failing in some way and so they should too. But if you embrace it, they’re a lot less likely to take it that way.

This works with all kinds of things! It’s the difference between responding to “what did you do for New Year’s Eve?” with an embarrassed-sounding “oh nothing, I couldn’t find anything to do” versus “I stayed home and watched movies and gorged myself on cheese and it was amazing! Highly recommended.”

In fact, I’d argue it’s a social good to openly and enthusiastically embrace stuff you genuinely like but which society is weird about — whether it’s living with your parents or being a hermit or loving polka music or having separate bedrooms when you’re married or whatever — because the more people who are like “I do X and it’s awesome!” rather than treating X like a dirty secret, the more comfortable other people will be doing X. That’s especially true when you have workplace capital to spend, which as a high-level manager in a good-paying job you probably do.


* “My parents and I live together!” (said in an enthusiastic tone)
* “I share a house with my parents!”
* “I share a house with my parents and it’s awesome!”
* “My parents live with me — it’s really nice.” (I think “my parents live with me” rather than “I live with my parents” is an interesting linguistic swap.)
* “I share a house with family; we all like each other so it’s worked out well.”

You will probably get some “I could never do that” type comments, and that’s okay! You can respond, “Yeah, it’s not for everyone, but it works really well for us!” And that’s it. Don’t feel you have to hide it or justify it. This is how you live, you like it, and that’s fine.

{ 377 comments… read them below }

  1. Viki*

    There’s a cultural element involved. A lot of cultures, it’s normal to live in a multigenerational household. It appears maybe not for you, but it’s very common.

    1. Shenandoah*

      If my family is any indication, it’s getting more common in white American families as well – 4 of my parents’ siblings live with their children. There’s definitely a financial benefit to all of them, but they report living together just makes life nicer! In 3 of the cases, there are young children in the home as well – kiddos love extra attention, parents appreciate the extra help, grandparents like getting to spend the extra time with the grandkids. When it works, it works!

      Who knows, OP – you might hear “hey, me too!”

        1. Not my coffee*

          (Hit enter accidently)….

          But the discomfort aspect will be around for white American families for awhile.

          Going “away” to college. Getting your first car. Moving out into your own place.

          It’s part of the American milestones of a successful life. Many hold on to it. It’s not wrong, just very entrenched.

          1. Ally McBeal*

            This right here. White Americans (I am one) will continue behaving like temporarily embarassed millionaires until the millennial and Gen Z generations are “in power.” Even then it’ll still persist but I think the long-term effects of the double-whammy (08 recession and the pandemic) will go a long way to normalize the idea of multigenerational households.

        2. Boof*

          “I didn’t move in with them; they moved in with me!” Kidding/not kidding – as a low cutaneous melanin american who lives with their mom in law because it works out great for everyone – multigen / blended families are great if you have the relationships that make them attractive. Much more efficient than everyone having their own stand alone structure (but everyone does have their “space” in the house + common areas etc)
          The stigmata can disappear especially the way allison describes- say it cheerfully and make it clear it’s a positive choice that works well for everyone

        3. Reluctant Mezzo*

          Not in my neighborhood. We have several multigenerational homes on my block, most of which are white.

      1. Lauren*

        it’s also for other real reasons with a goal – down payments. Saving 2K a month to a down payment is nothing to sneeze at.

      2. Overit*

        In fact, the biggest builder arpund here has juat trademarked “Next Gen” housing…a plan designed for adult children (or elderly parents) living in the same household. So multigenerational living is coming back.

        1. Hot Flash Gordon*

          This is kind of my plan for my folks when they decide to sell their house and move closer to me. I’m hoping to talk them into a duplex property so they can have privacy and us around to help.

      1. Helen of What*

        And frankly as someone who has toxic parents and thus needs to live away from them to stay sane, it’s a beautiful thing that others are able to live together with their parents happily!

        1. Shakti*

          Yes I’d love this scenario if my parents or in laws were different people it would be amazing!! But I live 1500 miles away for a reason lol I wouldn’t think much of it other than I love that works for them!!

        2. Garblesnark*

          yes! I am so happy with people whose parents are the kind of people one could be close with and share space with into adulthood.

        3. Dog momma*

          Agree, although did this in my 30s after trying/ failing to get out several times earlier on. Very difficult if you have no money, no car and no one who is willing to help you. So I worked FT,went back to school almost FT& by the time I graduated ( BSN), I had almost enough $ for a down payment on a house. Took several yrs but I managed. Moved out of town, new job and while I still saw family, it was far enough away that nothing affected me on a daily/ weekly basis.

        4. Flower*

          right? I also fall into the category of “finishing college super excited that I NEVER had to live with my parents EVER again,” and the category of “to move back in with my parents I’d need to be in EXTREMELY dire straits.”

          But I’ve come to realize that’s really more about my relationship with MY parents than about living with parents in general, or even about my personality. people who have the kind of relationship where they can live long into adulthood with their parents and (presumably) save a lot of money? good for them. I’m happy for you.

          1. Abundant Shrimp*

            Hear, hear. For decades, this was the only thing my parents and I always agreed on – that we’d all be beyond miserable if we had to live under one roof. I left their place to go to college, and never moved back. But my adult children have been intermittently moving back in and out again and back in again with both myself and their father (who I don’t live with) for life reasons, and things are mostly working out well. Add me to “if it works, great!” crowd.

        5. MassMatt*

          I think a lot of the stigma against living with your parents is projection. While I wouldn’t call my parents toxic, but they are divorced, and living with either of them would quickly drive me (and them) nuts. People naturally assume others would have the same experience.

          I agree with comments saying the attitudes towards this is changing. Quite a few of my nieces/nephews and extended family live or have lived with their parents, mostly with varying degrees of success.

      2. NotAnotherManager!*

        I totally agree. One my mom’s siblings always lived with their parents, except when they went away to college. It was good for everyone involved – my grandparents got to stay in their house (well-maintained) for their entire lives, and my mom’s sibling had a higher quality of life than they could have afforded on their own – and being able to save for retirement meant that, when they developed health problems in late middle age, they were able to retire early and get decent medical care.

        The difference, to me, is if you are a contributing member of the household. In this case, the adult child helped pay bills and buy groceries, and helped with household upkeep. When my grandparents got older, they also helped with medical appointments/care and driving.

        There was definitely stigma and negative commentary from some. My uncle’s wife, who has no filter on a regular day, has made snide comments for years about how they never left home and were not an “independent adult” – my grandparents passed decades ago, and they didn’t fall apart without parents to guide them, so I can’t agree that they’re not an “independent adult”. They also picked up a lot of slack on elder care that my uncle didn’t contribute much to at all, so I kind of think they should shut up or maybe even try for “thank you”.

        My mom told me that, if I moved back home after college, I’d have to pay rent – I graduated into a recession, I had no money, and the place I’d interned had a hiring freeze. Guess who I went to live with? Their sibling, who let me live rent free (I cooked dinner, walked the dog, and did the laundry) while I was job searching. My mom and I also have a difficult relationship, and I was grateful to have somewhere else to stay.

    2. Jaina Solo*

      Same as the OP–in my 30s and living with my parents by choice. Part of my childhood was in a multi-gen house and I didn’t ever find it weird. Half of my family is non-white so I think that’s why. We’re just used to pooling resources and helping each other out. (I’m still training my American-born parent on the whole helping each other out piece though.)
      The only time people have found it weird, they’ve really not been people worth knowing. Judgy or other issues simmering at the surface; so I’ve made peace with my lifestyle being weird to some but it’s what I want and that’s all that matters.

    3. Random Dice*

      There really is a stigma in the US, one I disagree with heartily. I think most people are desperate for more community, and our current model decidedly does not work. But you don’t actually want to debate the limitations of post-WWII nuclear family structure, or the ignorant opinions of those whose opinions you actually don’t want to hear.

      I recommend a deep internal acceptance of your situation, LW, and then some strategic weasel wording.

      “My parents have some health issues [you can mentally add: asthma and color blindness are technically health issues] so we live together to allow for caregiving [you can mentally add: I give care, they give care, care is given].”

      Or “I provide live-in support to my aging parents.” [Technically we’re all aging until we die, right?]

      Keep it bland and boring, then change the subject to them.

      1. Still*

        I don’t love the idea of lying about the parents being ailing and pretending that you live with them as a caregiver because you’re embarrassed that you genuinely enjoy living with them.

        I see why you’d suggest it – it’s wild that we live in a culture where being forced to care for your parents is more socially acceptable than just wanting to share a household; and really, it’s nobody’s business so there’s no reason not to bend the truth – but, unlike other white lies that Alison has suggested in the past, this one feels really icky to me. I can’t imagine it would feel great for the parents to know their child pretends they can’t take care of themselves because that’s the only way she can admit to living with them.

      2. They, Their, They're*

        What about … “my parents are getting older and we live together” (we’re all getting older + “and” doesn’t necesarily imply a causal relationship ).

        Although, my vote is just to own it without shame or embarrassment. It worms for you and you’re happy – who doesn’t want that???

        1. Cris*

          LOL! I have to give a high five to you for the brilliant typo “it worms for you and you’re happy”

          I also agree 100% with your comment. I think Americans got a little too intense about living alone there in the 90’s and now we’ve got a whole bunch of lonely people and too few houses. I think multi-generational homes are a great idea for people that genuinely enjoy their family’s company for more than just financial reasons (though those are unavoidable for most of us).

        2. Abundant Shrimp*

          Yes, I like this. And I’ve been looking for a good place to comment that, after a certain age, if I hear that someone lives with their parents, I assume that it is so they can help their parents – not the other way around. E.g. Cliff does not live with his mom at age 45 so mom could do Cliff’s laundry and make him sandwiches because he cannot be bothered to do those things himself, it’s so he can take his mom to medical appointments and fix things around the house. I assume this probably is, at least to some degree, true for LW.

    4. lilsheba*

      I kind of like the idea of multi generational living, and it seems to me I read that people started doing that a lot more during the first part of the pandemic. That bigger houses were being built to accommodate more of a village lifestyle. I wish I could set up something like that with my kids and my husabands parents and siblings, I like the idea of having a compound with everyone there, as long as everyone could have their own private spaces to escape to as needed.

      1. retired3*

        I live in a rural area in WA state. I had 2 friends in their 60/70’s who lived in compounds…mom was there and various adult kids came back. It was life altering for me to see; I now live with my son and dil in a duplex (we altered a very large house to allow for independent living). In my current rural area many families are multigenerational…and these are solidly middle class folks. My kids and I have very different political views, so we stay away from that. We spend a lot of time saying “thank you.” I wouldn’t be here writing this if my dil hadn’t been tracking how sick I seemed to be getting and got me into an ambulance (turned out I had e coli…)

      2. Gumby*

        A family compound is on my list of things to acquire when I win big at the lottery (that I don’t play). We could buy out a cul-de-sac or an entire smallish condo complex. I’ve spent time browsing loopnet for ideas. Of course that would mean convincing my siblings to co-locate instead of living in 4 different states which might be even more unlikely than the lottery win in the first place.

      3. Merry and Bright*

        My mom and sister keep talking about building a compound for our family live on, lol. As someone who moved back in with my parents after a health crisis, and now lives with them permanently, it was hard to make the mental shift and accept that I wasn’t “defective” in some way because I live with them.

        Some things that helped me get over myself are: knowing other people who live in multi-generational/multi-family homes (so much more common than American culture would have you believe), contributing to the household (in money, chores, food, whatever), and having my friends and activities outside of my relationships with my parents.

        As my mom likes to put it, we take care of each other.

    5. AnotherOne*

      I think location is also a thing. I live in a HCOL area and when coworkers mentioned living with their parents, it’s always followed with everyone who’s single going “I wish I could do that.”

      1. doreen*

        Location is definitely a thing – I grew up and still live in NYC and have never known anyone who moved out of their parent(s) home alone. Ever. They either moved out with a spouse or SO or had roommate(s). Or didn’t leave at all. And there is no stigma for most of them – there is for a certain type , but co-workers wouldn’t know the details that result in the stigma.

      2. Indigo a la mode*

        Genuinely. I think a lot about a coworker I had for years – we were two weeks apart in age, probably making about the same amount of money, but she still lived at home and I had moved away from where my parents lived. That single difference meant she was banking at LEAST $16k more than I was every year. What a great opportunity for a 20- or 30-something! If I was still in my hometown, I’d have done it too.

      3. NotAnotherManager!*

        When I first moved to DC, I had three roommates, and I could not figure out how some of my coworkers could afford their own apartments without roommates at what they were paying us. (Turned out that, 90% of the time, it was because their parents were helping with rent.) I’d have loved to have been able to live rent-free or reduced rent and be able to save money.

    6. Doc in a Box*

      My family is originally from South Asia, but I was born and grew up in the US. When I went to college in a town 2 hours away from my parents, my aunts and uncles were stunned; I might as well have moved across the country. There is also a gendered aspect of this (at least in my case) in that my younger brother and my male cousins (even the ones who grew up in the Old Country) went to college several hours away, and one of my cousins even went to a different country! But girls are expected to live with their parents until they marry.

      I am not sure what gender the OP is, but I wonder if that is playing into the discomfort with either “I live with my parents” (implying you are a mooch) or “my parents live with me” (implying you are caregiving).

    7. The Grinchess*

      I was just going to post the same thing. There are A LOT of households out there that are multigenerational for a lot of reasons (expense sharing, chore & responsibility sharing, childcare, eldercare, etc) and find it incredibly weird that other households all scatter and everyone lives “alone.” I think it’s going to become super common for a lot of people who never would have thought they’d end up there.

    8. Avery*

      And it used to be more common historically, too.
      I see this in genealogy a lot. You get Mom, Dad, and then grown kid on the census form, all living together. Or sometimes it’s Husband, Wife, maybe their kids, and then one spouse’s grown sibling in the same house. Or Husband, Wife, their kids, and Husband’s parents. Or other variations thereof.
      (And being that this is my genealogy, it’s fair to say the cultures involved have some connection to my own, white American culture, though admittedly this may be more common for recent immigrants with connections to Old World cultures as well.)
      But the whole “once a kid is grown, they move out into their own place, with only a spouse as roommate, and never ever move back in with their parents or other relatives” thing? Yeah, it’s still a pretty recent cultural addition.

      1. Freya*

        My dad and I had this discussion with regards to some of the stuff in our genealogy – he was looking at a census from 150 years ago and going “I don’t know where this random teenager in the household came from” and I had to point out that there were several small children in the household and one of the parents had a younger sister of around that age, so why wouldn’t family come and help out while the littles were small?

      2. WS*

        I live in a largely white rural area and it’s incredibly common here too – if they’re not living in the same house, they’re often living in a different house on the same property. It’s really common for teenagers to move out to go to university or into an apprenticeship and then come back in their late 20s, it’s also common to have 3-4 generations in the same house. The only catch (for me, working in healthcare) is when you have four or five “John Smiths” of various ages all with the same address and you have to check that other healthcare providers got the right guy and that we have the right guy now! You can tell great-grandpa’s medications from infant medications easily enough, but it gets more complicated in between.

        1. Avery*

          Yep, that wrinkle gets tricky with genealogy too–if there’s two or three John Smiths on that form, you need to make sure you’re matching up the right ones!

    9. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      Right now our son is back with us after years of living studying and working abroad. He split with his girlfriend, and wanted to come back to his home town, and is staying here until he’s sorted out his job. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. He helps with cooking and cleaning, he pays if we eat out or order in because we don’t make him pay rent. We no longer have to pay a mortgage so we’re only paying tax on the house, and repairs, so no need for rent. He’s working from home, and I do too, it’s nice to have lunch together.

    10. Bruce*

      In my old neighborhood having grandparents in the home was pretty common, there were a lot of families where the grandparents were the built in childcare while both the parents worked. The family across the street had grandparents at home who’d lived through “interesting” times, I loved chatting with them while our kids were playing in the street…

  2. Looper*

    I agree with using terms like “sharing a house” or multi-generational household or something similar. It’s only a negative if you think it is and it doesn’t seem like you do!

    1. Mari*

      My child and their spouse share a home with my husband and me. We share household expenses, workload, and most of the time everyone gets along. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, like Allison said. Help normalize multigenerational living, which is more sustainable anyway in these crazy times.

    2. Guacamole Bob*

      Yes, “my parents and I share a house” reads differently than “I moved back into my childhood bedroom at my parents’ house” in a way that OP might want to project. It comes across as an intentional choice rather than a lack of other options.

      OP, as you get even just a bit older there will be more folks your age who have a parent living with them because the parent needs some amount of care, or is caring for grandkids in the home, or wanted to move to be closer to family and this was the most affordable way to do it, or what have you. So depending on the ages of colleagues you’re interacting with, they may not think it’s as unusual as you feel like it is right at your age.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        I think it might be time for the LW to shake things up within their living arrangement, though. Maybe talk to the parents about moving out of their childhood bedroom, or reworking it into a more adult-feeling space? I know that I might have trouble expanding my notion of myself as a grownup if I was still surrounded by the detritus of my adolescence and childhood.

        Also, unless the space is reworked a bit, it might become harder and more awkward to date, if the LW wants to do that. It’s tough to see “my parent’s living room” or even their own room as a romantic or sexual space when you still think of the setup as living with your parents. LW pays rent and contributes to the household–they’re entitled in a say to how they can use the house (not in a “start a fight” way, but in a “we all need to break some patterns to keep this arrangement ticking” way.)

        All this is only if the LW has Feelings about the current setup, of course!

        1. I'm just here for the cats!*

          We don’t know if te room is the same as it was when they were a kid. I took “childhood bedroom” to mean the room she had as a kid, in the house she grew up in. Not that it looks exactly the same way. And honestly, who would keep it the same?

          And there might not be another place in the house for her to move into.

          1. Kayem*

            Agreed, we can’t assume the LW’s room looks the same. The only reason my childhood bedroom looks the same is because my mother insists on keeping it that way. But I don’t live with her. If I did, I certainly wouldn’t keep it decorated with my old stuffed animals, Power Rangers posters, and Strawberry Shortcake sheets.

            1. Lionheart26*

              my mother has a room in her new house that she calls “lionhearts room” and decorates with the detritus of childhood memories. Think stuffed toys, picture books etc. Not from my actual childhood (she threw all that stuff out years ago), but that she buys and then proudly puts on display and says “look, here’s your favorite snowglobe” when I come to visit.
              (I know, I know mama lions got some issues)

        2. hello*

          I’m almost 30, living out of the same bedroom with my brother (in his mid-30s) that we’ve shared for over 20 years, except for the time that one or the other was at college. It still looks the same, because we never bothered to change anything. The only thing we do in there is sleep anyways, so why bother?

          (To be fair, neither of us are interested in dating, so we don’t care about that stuff. YMMV)

      2. Hats Are Great*

        Yeah I’m 45 (white American) and it is just so dead-ass normal for people to be living with their parents/having parents living with them/similar. I mean, housing is expensive, for sure. But childcare is hard and having a retired parent able to help with after-school care is AMAZING, and a lot of people have parents who are getting older and who are independent but maybe not as mobile as they used to be and a nursing home seems like a really drastic choice when “living with relatives” is on the table. And I have a lot of friends who may be WASPy themselves but their spouse is from a culture where living in multigenerational households is more common. I don’t even think twice when someone mentions they live with parents or siblings or whomever, seems normal.

        I have seen younger people fresh out of college who are having their first apartment etc. be a little more taken aback, but I think since Covid, everyone kind-of went, “whoa living totally on my own without the kind of social network that’s like family actually kind-of sucks.” I’ve seen a lot of people move “back” to be closer to their family networks since Covid, even if they don’t move IN with family. I think a lot of us really realized the value of living near or with “people who would give me a kidney, probably” whether those people are friends or family when we were cut off from travel and normal socializing.

        1. SpaceySteph*

          I used to really value my independent life but since having kids I really see the value of being around family. Not even for like full time babysitters (I probably wouldn’t stop sending my kids to daycare if our parents lived with us, unless I couldn’t afford it) but just for the chance to have someone at grandparents day lunch or in the audience of a recital or to occasionally have a date night or call in another pair of hands when my husband got injured earlier this year.

          And also to not have to wrestle a family of 5 and all their crap onto a plane anytime we want to visit them. We did that last Christmas (first year with 3 kids) and it was so miserable we moved this year to be within a day’s drive of both sets of grandparents, which is a big improvement although still not enough for the full benefits. (we work in a niche industry and can’t live just anywhere).

      3. Project maniac-ger*

        Love “my parents and I share a house.” It signals that everyone’s an equal in the arrangement. It feels more “I cook while my dad cleans and my mom grocery shops” instead of “ my mommy rubs my feetsies every night and tells me I’m a good girl, despite being 32 and able to rub my own feet.”

    3. Smithy*

      Absolutely this.

      I know the OP is in their 30’s and lives in a community where their social circle has known about this dynamic since they were in their 20’s – but the older you and (most importantly) your parents get – the less weird this will sound to people who don’t know you. Having a living situation with your parents when they are older will start to imply that you are supporting their care due to age or illness, and most people in a work setting won’t pry. Especially if you’re upbeat and caring, but not self-deprecating or uncomfortable.

      I will also add, that I’ve known lots of people who had living situations that “I could never” – and I think it can help to realize they’re talking about their own parents or their own ability to commute more so than thinking you’re weird. I’m in the DC area, and there are lots of people who live hours away from DC but commute to the city – sometimes up to 5 times a week. And while I could never, I also know that they may live in bigger places, spend less money on housing, like proximity to nature, have family/friends close by, like the school district, have a partner that works around there, etc etc etc.

      Personally, I don’t need a big place and don’t want to have a car – so for me to spend more money to be closer to work makes sense. But someone else can’t imagine giving up space for proximity – we all get those tradeoffs. And we also all get that while some of those are obvious, some aren’t and most of us know not to push too hard at work.

      1. All het up about it*

        I will also add, that I’ve known lots of people who had living situations that “I could never” – and I think it can help to realize they’re talking about their own parents or their own ability to commute more so than thinking you’re weird.

        This and the rest of your example are such a good point, for the OP and everybody. Plus, sometimes our “I would never!” might change based on our age, health, just general growth as a human being. So yeah – these people a decade younger than you may think they could never live with their parents, but maybe in 10 years they do for their own reasons. Don’t let anyone (including your own brain) shame you for doing what works for you and doesn’t hurt anyone. And actually sounds like it helps others. I do not have kids, but the thought of someone else doing the cooking for me and my partner sounds amazeballs.

    4. Prismatic Garnet*

      Agree! “Still live with my parents” is the phrasing to avoid, because that’s how it would be phrased as a hacky joke, or insult. But just changing the wording to “My parents live with me” or “my parents and I live together,”or “I live in my childhood home” or something phrases it in a much more “this is intentional and neutral fact” kind of way.

      1. Nicosloanica*

        To be honest, “my parents live with me” feels deceptive to me because it sounds like they moved into your house that you own, a la Frasier, somehow. I was scrolling down to see if anyone else felt this way so I apologize if this point has already been made and debated at length.

        1. Baron*

          This was even a joke on “Frasier”, which is why I did a control-f for Frasier when I opened this comment section—someone accuses Frasier of living with his dad and he responds, “He lives with me!”

          1. cee*

            Agreed, I thought the same thing when Alison suggested it. “My parents live with me,” implies that the child owns the home ( or is the lease holder or something) and the parents moved in with them.

            Maybe not a full fledged lie but id feel mislead if I found out this was not the situation.

            “My parent and I live together!” is much more accurate

      2. Alienor*

        I think “my parents and I live together” is the way to go. My dad and I shared an apartment when I was in college, and it was very much a situation where we lived together – I paid a share of the bills, bought groceries etc. My daughter is in college right now and lives with me, but I’d be perfectly fine with her telling people that we live together, because we do.

  3. new old friend*

    The linguistic swap to “My parents live with me” is so clever and might be the way I would go about it, especially in LW’s specific position!

    1. Anonym*

      Yes! There’s an implication of dependency, I think, which is part of what feels uncomfortable. But OP isn’t dependent. “My parents live with me” implies to a degree that they’re dependent on her, but it’s simpler that getting into the nuances.

    2. HonorBox*

      Change the dynamic (and the thinking) a bit and the mindset is even more normalized. If my mom or dad passed away, and the other came to live with me and my family, “my parent lives with me” is something people will fully understand and embrace. So saying “my parents live with me” really is something that shouldn’t prompt further questions about whether that’s odd or embarrassing. Your parents live in the same house as you. It sounds like you (LW) are providing support to the household, so while you’re not assisting your mom up and down the stairs, you are helping them just the same as you would be if a parent came to live with you because they needed more care.

    3. Tin Cormorant*

      That definitely sounds more like it’s *your* house and they needed somewhere to live now that they’re retired, as opposed to it being *their* house that you’re paying them to live in. Go ahead and let them make that assumption.

    4. I'm just here for the cats!*

      I use that one. My last year of college my mom happened to get a job in this city. I had no reason to go back home after I graduated. She had a rough patch for a bit so I found us a place to rent. Been here for 10 years now. Now she has some health issues so it is better that we live together anyways, otherwise I’d be taking care of 2 houses.

    5. Victoria*

      Eh, I think “I share a house with my parents” is a potentially useful linguistic swap, but “My parents live with me” is clearly intended to imply that the parents live in a home that the OP owns, rather than vice versa.

      1. oranges*

        Not necessarily. Just like “he’s standing with me” or “she’s running with me”, it would be accurate if both parties said it. LW’s parent live WITH him, just like he lives WITH them.

        The listener doesn’t need to know who’s on the mortgage and who sleeps in the biggest bedroom.

      2. Random Dice*

        Yeah but… who cares? Does Bob Whatshisnane Accounting actually have a right to know the specific details of whose name is on the deed? No. Bob doesn’t.

        Bob gets a generic phrase that allows LW to feel comfortable sharing the actual interesting details of her life. We all get to choose what details we share, including glossing over things we don’t want to get into with folks we aren’t intimate with.

        1. UKDancer*

          Definitely. I don’t think you need to tell your colleagues the exact details of your life and I certainly don’t think you need to give them more information about precisely how things work domestically. The older I get, the more I realise that as long as you say something broadly conventional and within the scope of answers people expect to a question, most people will nod and move on. Usually people aren’t that interested in any event. Saying “my parents live with me” is as much information as it’s necessary to share with colleagues in my view.

          1. I forgot my user name again*

            Agree, except it sounds like LW is in the kind of industry where people are closer to each other. So imagine if LW goes with ” My parents live with me” and coworkers eventually meet the parents expecting frail older adults, they are going to be confused when they meet presumably healthy adults who still work.

    6. The OG Sleepless*

      I had a friend at that age who would tell people with a straight face, “I have a couple of roommates. Nice older couple.”

    7. Beth*

      Agreed! “I live with my parents in my childhood bedroom” sounds like you feel a way about the situation, OP, and that hint of negativity is likely to make the reveal weirder. “My parents live with me”, “I share a house with family,” or “I’m part of a multigenerational household,” all sound a lot more neutral. It’s perfectly normal for adults to share a household! I wish I lived close enough to my parents to consider it, honestly–sharing housing costs, meal prep, and other home things among several adults who are invested in building a long-term shared home sounds pretty nice.

    8. The Other Lacey*

      I tell people that my husband and I “share a house with my mother” and that works just fine for everyone I’ve met.

    9. Ellis Bell*

      My mum, sister, brother in law and niblings all live together; my mother paid a third of the cost of their new house so there’d be room for them all. Even though no one “moved in” to a pre existing living arrangement, my sister will say “Mum lives with us”, and my mum will say “They live with me”, or “we live together”, or whatever words fall into place; they don’t overthink it. Before my mum entered this arrangement – I lived with her, in my childhood home. Not my old bedroom, but only because we were in the habit of moving rooms around a bit. I was late thirties/early forties and I was selling my own property, but it made sense to split bills with my mother and keep her company after my dad died. She’s a terrific roommate. It never occurred to me to feel embarrassed about this! I paid her keep, as an adult does. It probably helps that I’m working class British and this is more or less expected. My partner was living with his mother when we met (they were both joint tenants), and my middle class friends assumed he wasn’t paying his way or that he was relying on her for domestic duties (so wrong, he was a child carer and a pretty great house steward).

  4. higheredadmin*

    You can also say: “I support my parents”. Which, since you are paying rent and otherwise contributing, is the truth.

    1. MsM*

      And social support matters, too. My sibling and I have both lived at home at various points in our adult lives, and while our parents supported our independence, I know they miss us.

    2. Nicosloanica*

      That said, I think if I allowed my daughter to keep living with me because she moved back home after college and never moved out, and I found out she was telling people “her mother lives with her” or “she supports her mother (me)” I might be a bit hurt. It’s not very gracious to accept a favor from someone while denying to others that the favor exists. “My parents and I live together” seems equally accurate and not so off.

      1. chocolate muffins*

        Yes, I agree with this. If my adult kids lived in a house I owned because that worked better for them than living elsewhere, and I found out that they were misrepresenting the situation to others, we would have a conversation that would likely end either in them apologizing and changing their behavior or them moving out. And saying something like “my parents live with me” *is* a misrepresentation in this case – the entire point of saying it is to imply that the parents are dependent on the child rather than the other way around. Grammatically it communicates the same housing situation as “I live with my parents” but if grammar were the only thing that mattered, the OP would feel equally fine with either phrasing.

    3. hiding under the library steps with a cheese tray, giggling*

      Yes. A friend of mine in her late 30s lives with her mother for a variety of social, financial, and health reasons. Most of the benefit goes in her mom’s direction, though my friend’s mom would almost certainly not agree that that was the case. Anyway, my friend was embarrassed to tell people she lived with her mom, and I told her to explain she lives there because she supports her mom, or takes care of her mom, or needs to help her mom out. Or even that her mom lives with her. Because of all of that clarifies that she does in fact have an adult role in the household, she’s not just some kid still living at home.

        1. Hlao-roo*

          Read story #1: The new offices from the post “the deliberately terrible lunch, the vindictive daffodils, and other petty moments at work” on July 5, 2023!

    4. Clare*

      You can truthfully take this even further:

      “I support my parents. You know, I cook dinner for them, do the grocery shopping, that kind of thing.”

    5. Ellis Bell*

      You wouldn’t say you’re supporting a roommate, or even a lower earning partner, so this seems like a bit of an overcorrection to me. Another way to phrase it (if you really think it’s anyone’s business) is to say “it makes sense to share the bills” or “I could afford to live alone, but I prefer to pay my rent to people I like”.

  5. Mollie*

    I just want to second Allison’s advice. Own it! It’s wonderful to be in a situation that works for you!

    1. Goldenrod*

      “You like your situation, you’re happy with it, and it works for you. I say own it!”

      Yes, I second this as well! I have close friends (sisters) in their 30s who have lived in the house they grew up in since their 30s. Their mom got sick, they moved back home to help take care of her, and never left again. After their mom passed away, they continued to live there with their dad, it’s a nice big house with a garden, they all get along and it’s great!

      They sometimes withhold this information out of embarrassment, but in my opinion, they have a great set-up and should own it too! I live with my husband in a wildly overpriced small apartment, and I’m personally very envious of their situation. They don’t have to pay rent! That would be amazing. Oh, and I forgot to mention, they both have good professional jobs.

      You’re lucky enough to have a nice family and a great living situation. So yeah, definitely: own it! :) If anyone judges it negatively, whatever. That’s on them!

      1. KateM*

        They don’t have to pay rent, but I sure hope it doesn’t mean that their dad has to pay it alone, or mortgage, or all water/power bills while daughters with good professional jobs enjoy their situation.

        1. Dr. Vibrissae*

          I took it to mean the parents likely own the home. Someone in their 40’s whose parents owned the home when they were children, you would expect that with a traditional (US) mortgage term, the parents would own the home outright by this point. Even contributing to other bills and upkeep would be significantly less than rent.

        2. Goldenrod*

          KateM – I’m not sure how they work out the finances specifically – but I do know that their dad has the better end of this deal! My friends do ALL the shopping, cooking, cleaning and gardening (and it’s a BIG yard). And they are great cooks and bakers. I think their dad makes dinner once in a blue m0on…

          So they are more than earning their keep!

    2. Anonym*

      100%! It goes a long way to cheerfully / confidently / enthusiastically say “I do [unusual thing] and it’s great!” I’ve been doing this for years with various hobbies and interests, and it often makes other people feel more comfortable opening up about their own unusual stuff, which in turn is a great trust and relationship builder. I get intrigued questions, not weird looks or criticism.

    3. The Person from the Resume*

      Yes, yes, yes; own it.

      I noticed that the LW says this situation came about because she “graduated into the recession and took some time to find a low-paying job and had student loans to pay off” so it started because of financial necessity. And there could be some embaressment in that – not that there should be – but she was somewhat forced into it.

      At this point, though, LW you’re making this choice for yourself!

      I think reframing it in ways that you are equal to them in house like:
      – my parents and I share a home
      – my parents and I are housemates
      describes your current situation better and also makes it sound more like something you’re choosing (which you are) than a decision forced upon you.

      1. Banana Pyjamas*

        I love this take.

        “I moved back home after college, and I decided to stay. It’s really great!”

  6. ferrina*

    Hopefully you won’t get any flack from your coworkers (multigenerational living is getting more common), but if you start getting pushback, you could position it helping care for your parents. You’re able to cook healthy meals for them (since you make dinner) and support them as they age. They don’t need to know how independent/not independent your parents are, and don’t tell them what age your parents are. Let them picture what they will.

    Note that positioning yourself as a caregiver can come with its own stigma, so use your discretion on this.
    Again, ideally you’d be able to tell the truth without getting any judgement (cuz there’s nothing to judge!) but if you need an out, this is an option.

    1. Bibliothecarial*

      Yes; my partner (30s) lives with his parents, not by choice. If we tell people he still lives with them, they always ask what’s wrong with him. If we say he lives at home helping take care of his parents, people say he is a wonderful, caring son.

    2. Typing All The Time*

      Some people will judge because (in the US) it’s an assumption that people move out once they are out of school/in the workforce and they should be on their own for good. I was late to leaving home because I didn’t make enough money to rent a place and I couldn’t find reliable roommates. I moved back home in my forties due to being laid off and to also look out for my senior parents. I run errands for them, clean their house, and prepare meals.

      1. I Have RBF*

        IMO, as people age it is really helpful to have younger roomies. Parents and their kids, if they get along well, are perfect for this.

        The LW moved out, then moved back for financial reasons. Even if it was their parents finances that were at issue, it still just makes sense.

        One response could be “I moved back into my parent’s home because a) they owned it, b) they needed the extra income to meet expenses and c) I can help out with things around the house. It’s a win-win on many fronts!”

    3. Smithy*

      I would also put it out there that getting flack in your social circle or from people you go on dates with about living with your parents is one thing – but you really shouldn’t at work.

      The first thing, is if the comments are like “wow I could never” or “commuting from XYZ to ABC, my goodness how long is that?” – it’s really helpful to hear those as coming from a place of people commenting on their preferences. They could never live with their parents, they could never commute that distance to work themselves. And if the chat kind of dies there and isn’t more snide or nasty, then it really is helpful accept the comments that way and not as more unkind.

      But if the comments are snide – it’s really inappropriate at work. Lots of people have all sorts of living situations, and to boldly announce something as weird or strange, shouldn’t happen. Especially from those the OP supervises.

      1. pope suburban*

        I don’t say it out loud, but my first thought always is “I could never,” and you’re right, it’s entirely because my family of origin is…not pleasant. I would likely have taken that path at some point in the last 20 years if things were different, because I would be much better off in every respect if I could have saved money and been more selective about the jobs I took. Like LW, I graduated into the *previous* “once in a lifetime” economic collapse, and took a beating from which I genuinely do not believe I will ever recover. If someone has that support available to them, then of course they should take it! It’s the norm in a lot of the world, even, we’re just weird about it in the US. But yeah, my feelings that I couldn’t do it are entirely about my own circumstances, and I suspect I am not unusual in that regard.

        1. ferrina*

          I’m with you. My family of origin is also not exactly healthy, and the last time I had to live with them my mental health took a serious nose dive. Living with family isn’t an option for me, but reading all these beautiful comments from people who have family members they love and they live with/next to is really heartwarming!

  7. Rebecca*

    a good friend is in the same situation; she lives with her parents in her 40s and everyone is happy about it. It’s becoming more and more helpful for her parents as they are starting to have some age-related health concerns, and she’s had 2 decades to really build up her retirement accounts without having to pay rent/mortgage. There’s no need to follow anybody’s rules about where and how you live!

    1. EngineeringFun*

      Yep! My brother and I just bought a three family house. We are both single professionals in our 40s. Last year we lived together to fix up the first 1 and rent the 2 and 3. This year we live alone and rent unit 1. Goal is that when our folks need it, they can live on the first floor. It’s great because we can have dinner together or not talk to each other for a week! :)

  8. T2*

    Listen, I have a friend who is in his 50s now. He never left home. He is perfectly nice and well adjusted. And he has a good job. His situation works perfectly for him.

    Last year his father died and his mom is ill. Being home enables his sweet mom to live at home too.

    If modern culture has taught anyone anything, it is that you do you and people need to leave you alone about it.

    1. Not Australian*

      I too have a friend who never left home and is now approaching the age of 80. After her father died, she just stayed on and shared the house with her mother – all while having a very successful career in public service – but is now on her own with her cats. All her friends are local, the house is in a wonderful location, and there has been absolutely no reason for her ever to move out. There’s a lot to be said for being where you belong.

    2. Kayem*

      My grandmother also never left home. She went to a local university and there was no reason to live in the dorms. She continued to live with her parents even after she got married and started a family. She had an amazingly full life, traveled all over the world, did some pretty cool research in her thesis program at the university, even was a member of the city orchestra. Her staying with her parents meant she could be there for them when they got sick so they didn’t have to go to a nursing home and her kids had plenty of memories with their grandparents before they died.

      Plus back then, it wasn’t considered weird or shameful for people to continue living with their parents. It was far more acceptable, especially from a practical standpoint. It’s silly that there’s now a culture that looks down on it.

    3. NotAnotherManager!*

      I had family members in the same situation, and it kept my grandparents in their own home their entire lives and with someone who was capable of driving and helping them the entire time. (The people with the most negative commentary are the people who contributed the least to elder care.) It’s only a bad situation if there is mooching or failure to mature involved, which is not the usually case with adult children who never leave home.

  9. Ripley*

    I’m 44 and I live with my aunt and uncle. They have a basement suite that came up empty a couple of years ago and they offered it to me because they didn’t want to rent to strangers. I pay $800 a month, which is a steal and a half in my city, and we have a great relationship – my aunt watches my dog while I’m at work, my uncle does my “handyman jobs” in exchange for cheesecake, and my aunt and I regularly borrow ingredients from each other – the other day she came down in search of tomato paste.

    People used to live communally much more than we do now, and in many parts of the world it’s totally normal to live with your parents and/or extended family. I find it better for my mental as well as financial health, and I know I will be able to help my aunt and uncle as they age. Normalize living with (healthy, functional) family! A lot of us are better off for it.

    1. FricketyFrack*

      I’m 39 and live with my mom in a similar situation, although in our case, she paid upfront to finish the basement so I’d have a separate space, and I pay her back the loan plus a little interest and some extra toward other expenses. Whoever does the grocery shopping just pays for it (we don’t track that one too closely) and we tend to cook together a decent amount of time. I originally moved home after my divorce 7 years ago because I couldn’t afford a place alone, but now I’m here by choice. I love my mom and I’m very conscious of the fact that she’s getting older and the time we have is valuable. I’d much rather spend it with her than some random roommates, that’s for sure.

  10. Texan In Exile*

    If you and your parents are happy with this arrangement, I think it’s wonderful! It’s environmentally responsible and you’re not wasting money and when you go on vacation, you don’t have to find someone to feed the cat and then be incredibly stressed when the furnace breaks on Saturday while you’re on another continent.

    More power to you!

  11. Jiminy Cricket*

    I suspect you will get more than one person who wants to know, “How do I get my kids/parents to do that?”

    1. Brevity*

      Seriously. I remember reading an article, at least a decade ago, by a woman in her forties who pooled her financial resources with that of her son (married with two kids) and her mother to buy a really nice, big house that had plenty of room for all of them. They all shared childcare, cooking and household chores. It sounded ideal!

  12. Hawthorne*

    Having spent a lot of time with people from other cultures, and coming from a familial culture myself, where children and parents and even grandparents live together, you’d be surprised at how many people actually have experience with this or just don’t find it weird. The way I’ve handled it in the past when I’ve lived with family members (including when I lived with my mom after college), is saying, “I live with my family.” I would also frequently say, “My mom lives with me”. I was the primary breadwinner in my family so it was natural for me to say, but that doesn’t have to be the case for it to still be true! Your parents do live with you!

  13. Caramel & Cheddar*

    “My parents live me — it’s really nice.” (I think “my parents live with me” rather than “I live with my parents” is an interesting linguistic swap.)

    This is the only one I’m iffy on because I think it implies a situation where your parents moved in with you rather than vice versa, which isn’t LW’s situation. Probably doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of owning it and changing the topic, but I don’t think you need to mislead people to own it if the point is that you’re not embarrassed about it.

    1. KTB2*

      I don’t think that it’s misleading necessarily. Of course, people will make assumptions, but it’s also not the OP’s responsibility to make sure everyone has complete clarity on their living situation. It’s all somewhat semantic, but the sentence in and of itself is not actually misleading. It’s true on its face.

      1. Jiminy Cricket*

        I agree. You don’t owe anyone at work details on your living situation. I can’t imagine the lw being embarrassed should someone find out that it’s actually her parents on the mortgage or title. (What a weird thing to find out.)

      2. Tupac Coachella*

        This is where I landed-it feels misleading because it wouldn’t be UNreasonable for someone to assume there was a caretaking element there…but it’s really not any more misleading than for someone who is actively contributing financially and personally to the household to say “I live with my parents.” OP can expect that people might make assumptions either way, but that’s not within their control. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to phrase it in the (still factually accurate) way that doesn’t have as much risk of undermining them as a professional and manager.

      3. Antilles*

        Frankly, even if the sentence IS misleading, I still think it’s perfectly fine. You don’t owe anyone at work a full transparent discussion of your living situation.
        If someone wants to just dodge the whole long conversation with a vague “oh my parents live with me” to end the conversation very quickly without getting into details, I think that’s totally fair.

        1. UKDancer*

          Yes I don’t think we owe people all the details of our personal lives. Just say “my parents live with me” and move the topic on and if people try and dig into the detail then don’t give them anything more than this.

          A lot more people are doing this now either to care for parents or because of the need to cut costs.

    2. MyStars*

      I agree, it’s not quite right if you live in the house they own. on the other hand, “I rent from my parents” is accurate and more neutral than “I live with my parents in my childhood bedroom.”

      1. Lydia*

        OP doesn’t owe anyone any kind of accuracy. There is no ethical necessity to be more honest here.

          1. pope suburban*

            Also, LW is reasonably worried about the stigma of living in the family home as an adult. If they have to adjust their phrasing in order to surmount that barrier, fair play. They are trying to convey what their living situation is, and because our culture has some real backwards judgments on people who live in multigenerational homes, that requires picking words for the spirit rather than the letter.

      2. Kayem*

        I don’t see where the OP said their parents own the house. Granted, it’s likely they do, but for all we know, the house is owned by a landlord, trust, or other family member and they all pay rent. Multigenerational rentals are also very common. Aside from that, OP doesn’t owe their coworkers the specifics of who owns what; it’s not misleading to say their parents live with them because that’s literally the situation. Each of them lives with the other two people. If people are jumping to conclusions based on where the pronoun falls, that’s on them.

        Besides, saying it’s misleading that the OP says their parents live with them because they actually live with their parents is also jumping to the conclusion that the OP doesn’t have a financial stake in their home and that they are in a somehow subservient social position. They already stated they financially contribute, so they have a financial stake in their home, whether or not they have asset ownership. Which again, none of their coworkers’ business. And again, going back to the ownership thing, it doesn’t matter who owns what. Even if the OP’s parents own the house, it’s still the OP’s home.

    3. I'm A Little Teapot*

      My parents did live with me for a few months when they retired and moved – it was my house, my mortgage, my utility bill, and they were living with me. I used the phrase my parents live with me, because it was true. OP – if its your parent’s house, then don’t say they live with you, because it isn’t true. Use one of the other phrases.

      1. Tundra dog*

        Why does the LW owe her co-workers details about who owns the house where she lives?

        She lives with her parents. Her parents live with her. Both statements are true. The fact that people might jump to untrue conclusions is really not her problem at all, and I think it is really weird that people are hung up on this! It is none of their business who holds the title of the house!! She should use whichever wording she is comfortable with.

        There were several years where, if asked, I’d say my partner and I live in our house on such and such street. I was not on the title of the house. Never would have occurred to me that I was lying or harming anyone — to the two of us, it WAS our house, regardless of the picky financial details!

        1. Irish Teacher.*

          I actually don’t even know if my sister is on the title of her and her partner’s house (it’s her partner’s family home that he bought from his mother). I know they share the mortgage but I have no idea if she’s a co-owner or not. It’s none of my business. I can’t imagine caring about whether a coworker owns the house they live in or not.

    4. Kindred Spirit*

      I felt the same way about that one. It implies that it’s LW’s house instead of the other way around.

      1. Saturday*

        That’s what I was thinking – to me it seems like it runs counter to the goal of owning it because it’s giving people a different impression of what going on and suggests the LW isn’t fully comfortable with the situation as it is.

        I get what people are saying about not owing everyone the whole history, but at some point, the LW might have a reason to mention that it’s their childhood home, and it would be better not to have to feel like she’s contradicting anything. Just being able to be open about it sounds like the way to go.

    5. Random Dice*

      I disagree. There’s this false idea that we owe strangers the most categorically strict version of the truth… but we don’t. Most people are snap-judgers who lack enough data to make good judgments – but they’ll sure share them anyway.

      It’s good self-care to feed randos a curated truth, so that you don’t have to exhaust yourself on their ignorance.

      1. Caramel & Cheddar*

        I don’t think LW or anyone else owes strangers a strict version of the truth; they can tell people whatever they want! I just think if the goal is “owning” it, then this isn’t doing that. If they don’t care about owning it, lots of avenues of explanation open up.

      2. KTB2*

        Yes, THIS! That’s pretty much exactly the point I was trying to make above. I do not understand why people think they are entitled to the truth and nothing but the truth anywhere outside of a courtroom.

        And I absolutely love your last sentence and will be stealing it for future use.

        1. Saturday*

          True – but I’ve spent a lot of time avoiding telling people basic things about my life to avoid judgment, and it can be exhausting and isolating.

          It’s up to the LW of course, but just being straightforward about this simple fact might feel less stressful and awkward for her (I’m disregarding the coworkers’ feelings entirely).

      3. Saturday*

        My thought is that it’s not about owing anything to strangers but about the LW feeling comfortable with what she’s sharing with others in a workplace that’s “pretty big on building personal relationships.”

        Personally, I would find it exhausting to tell curated truths when I could just be open about something (I mean, we’re not talking about super-personal information here). I love the advice to just own it (without spin/curation) because that feels freeing to me.

        1. chocolate muffins*

          I commented on this above but reading through this thread, one thing that stands out to me is that saying “my parents live with me” is misrepresenting the parents. People do not owe their coworkers the entire truth about their personal lives, but I do think that someone in OP’s housing situation owes it to their parents not to misrepresent them. And, more broadly, that we owe it to people who are doing a kindness for us not to misrepresent them (especially if that misrepresentation will make people think that we are doing a kindness for them – to me, at least, it would feel icky to communicate in a way that would have me taking credit for a good thing that someone else is doing for me).

          OP’s parents could care not at all about how they are represented to OP’s coworkers, in which case none of this matters and OP should feel free to use this phrasing if they want. But it might be a good idea to have a conversation with their parents about this if this is the phrasing they want to use, because the phrasing seems problematic to me if the parents don’t agree to it.

          1. But what to call me?*

            I agree with this. OP doesn’t owe the coworkers any information, but it feels icky to misrepresent the parents’ situation. My grandparents have kindly let me live with them throughout grad school and I would feel really weird representing that relationship as me doing them a favor/taking care of them, no matter how helpful they say it is to have me here.

            The more neutral language like ‘my parents and I live together’ sounds like the best way to go, because it doesn’t imply anything other than a group of equal adults who have all chosen to live in the same home.

      4. Ellis Bell*

        We don’t owe people the absolute strict truth and if OP really, really needs to imply he owns the house, then …ok. I would just be surprised if the stigma were truly that strong. It’s not okay to just own the fact that he rents from family or prefers living with relatives? It just seems counter to the ‘own it’ advice.

    1. Kingfisher*

      I wish I could like comments – I completely agree. And as some other commenters have mention, the world is weird and difficult right now! Any situation that actually *works* right now is a win.

    2. Lily Rowan*

      Yeah, I love this answer so much in general.

      Own your choices! Celebrate what you like!

      (To be fair, I say this as a middle-aged person who lives in my childhood home and has a weird hobby. But I also agree with “I had a great weekend! Very relaxing!” if that just meant hanging out on the sofa.)

    3. Okay*

      Totally agree….. the secret to life itself!

      I love Alison’s reply!!!!

      OP, Live your life unapologetically in your terms and never be embarrassed for living your truth…. it’s all about perspectives!!

  14. Jessica Clubber Lang*

    I don’t see why any of your coworkers would care one or way or another who you live with, where, and why… But if you are feeling hesitant or embarrassed about it, any of the suggestions will probably work.

    Of course this assumes you are happy with the current arrangement and want to stay living there.

    1. I'm just here for the cats!*

      you’d be surprised. I’ve seen similar things happen. If her coworkers think its wrong, they may change the way they think or act towards her. Like she is not capable.

    2. iglwif*

      You’re right that OP’s coworkers shouldn’t care, but it’s amazing the things coworkers sometimes decide they need to care about!!

      But IME the key is to telegraph that the situation works well for you. In my old job we had several people on the team who had some kind of multigenerational living arrangement, but the only one who got a significant number of comments was the one who was constantly complaining about her mother-in-law.

  15. diasporacrew*

    I was in the same situation for a few years and was embarrassed to bring it up at work. I would word it more like, “I’m staying with my parents for now” or “I’m back at my parents’ place at the moment”. I think people would mostly figure I had to move back in with them temporarily after a break-up, which is common where I live for people around my age, though it wasn’t the case for me.

    1. MsM*

      I feel like that leaves the door open for people to make “helpful” suggestions of places to rent/buy or check in on the situation, which is still going to eventually lead to OP needing to say “thanks, but the current setup works fine.”

    2. Random Dice*

      That leaves way too much room for speculation or probing, which LW doesn’t want. Keep it bland and boring.

  16. Ashley*

    I would definitely make a jokey response about how I could never do that but it wouldn’t be because I am judging you, that is just my relationship with my family. I suspect more people older then you may raise an eyebrow then those that are your age and younger, but as Alison said own it for the positives and don’t let it be a big deal.

    1. Not that other person you didn't like*

      My thought was “I could never do that… and I’m so very jealous you can!”

      1. Goldenrod*

        “My thought was “I could never do that… and I’m so very jealous you can!””

        Me too! My family is waaaaaay too dysfunctional for this to work. I’d rather sleep in the gutter!

        But I think it’s great when it works.

        1. User name lost in the mists of time*

          Same! I can see myself saying “I could never do that” while internally fixating on all the reasons why that wouldn’t work with my parents (untreated mental health issues, being in a cult…) and only later realizing that I sounded judgmental rather than envious (and I’m definitely envious!)

        2. Kayem*

          Same! The list of things that would have to happen for me to move back in with my mom would start with utter financial collapse and would end with all my other friends and family were gone. My mom has no boundaries and thinks cruel criticisms are how you show someone you love them. My mental health would not hold up.

  17. Watry*

    I’m in the same situation, OP! Graduated high school into the 2008 recession, still living at home in my 30s. I own it and have never come across someone who cared, or at least not cared enough to affect me. In fact, when I mention it, a lot of people have sympathized with me over medical and especially housing costs, which are out of reach here on one income and still rising.

    1. Meghan*

      I’m a single mom and my son and I live with my mom and stepdad. It’s great! We have the whole upstairs to ourselves, are able to have nice family dinners together, my stepdad works from home so he picks my kid up from aftercare or if my kid is sick, he can stay home with my stepdad. The internal struggle is real, though- I want a house for me and my kid. My industry notoriously underpays so while I have a good job, that I love, and that would probably support me by myself, I have to think of my kid and I’m climbing out of a Covid debt-hole. I just keep telling myself to focus on getting my car paid off and then I can think about saving for a house, though my stepdad thinks I am insane since we have our own area and can come and go as we please.

      Maybe 2024 will be the year my internal struggle will cease!

    2. londonedit*

      The vast majority of my friends whose parents lived anywhere near London carried on living ‘at home’ for as long as they possibly could. They’re the ones who have managed to save for a deposit and eventually buy flats of their own. Unfortunately my family are 150 miles from London so it wasn’t an option for me – which means I’ve spent 20 years paying rent and I haven’t been able to save anything. That’s my choice, of course, and I’d rather rent in London than have to live somewhere else. But when I was in my thirties if someone said they were living with their parents I’d think ‘Oh wow, how lucky’ and assume they were saving for a deposit. To be fair I’d probably still think that now! If my parents lived in London there’s a very high chance I’d be living with them.

    1. GingerNP*

      I have been the boomerang adult child multiple times – not anymore, and the last stay was short, but having that soft place to land after the demises of my marriages was life-affirming for me and made so much difference for my future and that of my children.

    2. mrs whosit*

      I have a coworker in her late 20s who does the opposite – in her conversations, her parents are her roommates. She doesn’t keep it a secret, but “roommates” is also, you know, true and fine.

  18. Lacie*

    I’m on the keen side of ‘own it’. I’m 33 and share an apartment with my mother! It’s fab! We save money, enjoy the same media all around so we always have someone to laugh with over our favorite cheesy shows or share tips with on video games. We’re there to take care of each other when we’re sick and share meals, etc. Contribute equally to the bills and rent. As a millenial the savings value is huge. You have to like each for it to work but when it does it’s a blessing imo. The last time someone tried to make it weird I looked them square in the eye and was like, “I have more fun money, better meals, and someone’s always there to accept my amazon packages. Tell me again why this is bad for me?”

    1. Anontoday*

      I love this. I lived w my parents for a good while after college for various reasons and it probably wouldn’t have worked forever for us specifically but this sounds great

  19. ThatGirl*

    I have a friend who’s a brilliant PhD, has been gainfully employed as a college professor since getting her doctorate, and primarily lived with her parents for about 10 years. They have a lovely big house, she had her own suite in the basement with a small kitchen, living room, full bath and two bedrooms, and most of all she and her parents have a very friendly and chill relationship.

    (She currently splits her time between her parents’, her condo in the town she actually works in, and her fiance’s house which is not quite big enough for her to live in full time.)

  20. Green great dragon*

    Hopefully your parents will remain healthy and independent for a long time yet, but some people of your age will have their parents living with them because the parents need support. My cousin has done almost exactly the same as you for similar reasons, is just a few years further down that path, and I strongly suspect is now staying to ensure they have the support they need. Well, that and his mother’s cooking.

  21. Problem!*

    The information I have regarding where my coworkers live and who they live with has been gathered entirely through information they volunteered, so the fact your parents are your roommates is something you could omit entirely and no one would be the wiser unless they make a habit of walking past on Zoom calls or something.

    The last time I had a colleague physically at my home was over a decade ago when we were all early 20s recent grads and were all friends outside of work. These days I could live in a yurt with a herd of alpacas for all my current colleagues know.

    1. takeachip*

      Exactly! I can’t recall a conversation at work in the last 20 years where anyone questioned me in detail about this. OP, resist the temptation to over-explain out of self-consciousness. People don’t usually actually care about coworkers’ living arrangements; when it comes up it’s a small talk conversation or maybe someone new to the area trying to figure things out. Just keep your side of the conversation to a boring minimum and if necessary refer to your parents as your “housemates,” generically.

      1. UKDancer*

        This so much. It’s probably small talk. I mean I don’t know where most of my colleagues live beyond what they’ve said and I have limited knowledge and odd snapshots from their lives. For example in my team, I know Michael lives with his brother who has Downs because he’s the brother’s carer, Bhupinder lives in a house share with 3 of his ex university friends and they all take turns cooking so he always wants new recipes, Katie lives with a man called Rob and 2 cats called Xena and Joxer, Davey lives on a house boat and is always complaining about the maintenance issues.

        I only know this because these are things they’ve said (more or less) in conversation at the teapoint or in the margins of meetings.

    2. Kayem*

      Same. The only reason I know one of my coworkers is renting an apartment is because they were asking me about our neighborhood in search of a new place. I assume the overpaid manager owns a house in one of the nicer neighborhoods, but for all I know, he’s built a secret treehouse in the national park and rappels to work every morning.

  22. I should really pick a name*

    I think the advice would hold fine otherwise, but as a high-level manager, I think this is particularly low stakes for you.

    Worst case scenario is that someone thinks it’s a bit weird, but there’s not much they can do that can affect you professionally.

  23. Deborah*

    “My parents live with me” implies that you are the homeowner and your parents are the ones benefitting from the support — but the words are not a lie!

    1. Broadway Duchess*

      Why does this matter? Are people regularly getting this granular about living arrangements? I pay a mortgage, so technically the I live in the bank’s house — does this need to be disclosed for the sake of accuracy?

  24. Irish Teacher.*

    I am in my early 40s and live with my mother and brother. Most of my colleagues are aware of this and at least two of my colleagues who are a similar age to me have similar living arrangements or did up to recently (one of them was planning on buying a house of his own; I haven’t heard if he did or not).

    In my case, there isn’t even any reason beyond it’s convenient and I don’t feel any great obligation to move out. It made sense when I was subbing to have a base (and either commute or rent short-term if I were subbing somewhere too far to commute) rather than buying or renting long term when I didn’t know where I’d be working the following year and now, it’s just convenient.

    I think Ireland probably has a different culture around this than the US but generally, I don’t think it’s something that’s likely to be a big deal, especially in your situation, since it would be fairly ridiculous to see a mid-level manager as still in the role of a child.

    And there are so many reasons one might live with parents. The colleague I mentioned above said at one point, when he was talking about buying his own home, that he had intended to some years earlier but one of his parents fell ill and he felt it would be unfair to move out then and leave the other parent to care for them alone.

  25. Fluffy Fish*

    “I live with family”

    But really it probably wont ever come up. I know nothing about the actual living situation of most of my colleagues. Sure I know so and so is married and his and her has a kid, but I know zero about the full human contents of their household.

    And should someone decide to tell me, I promise I would have zero thoughts.

    I don’t care in a not my business doesn’t affect me kind of way.

  26. SparklePlenty*

    My daughter (then four years old) and I moved in with my mother after I divorced. It was awesome. My coworkers came over weekly for Stitch N Bitch ~ she taught us to knit!
    Adults living with adults isn’t weird at all ~ you’re fully adult! Own it!

    1. Dog momma*

      Yes but then your parents should treat you like an adult, & in toxic families, that doesn’t happen.

  27. Wahlee*

    I’m 43, single, and childless, and also live in my childhood bedroom. I make enough that I could technically rent an apartment, but not enough that I can afford to buy even a small condo, and if I did rent it would make saving for retirement or larger purchases very difficult unless I get a roommate, which, like OP, I really don’t want to do (been there, done that, have the emotional scars). So here I am. I do sometimes feel embarrassed about it, but like the OP, my living with my parents is mutually beneficial. They’ve both had health challenges in the past few years plus family issues like ailing parents and siblings that take up a lot of their time, so it’s nice for me to be available to pick up the slack. It was great while we were being so careful with covid (my dad is immunocompromised and my mom has a rare form of cancer, so we were careful for longer than most and still are when needed) to have each other’s company, and for me (as the least vulnerable member of the household) to do the grocery shopping and other more risky activities. I also pay all my own expenses, contribute to the household chores, cook at least once a week, pay a nominal rent, run errands, pay for the family Netflix and Disney Bundle subscriptions, and just generally be as helpful as possible. We all get along great and enjoy spending time together, and have similar interests in TV shows and movies and such.

    Honestly, with Covid, the recession(s), wage stagnation and inflation, and just life in general getting harder, I think adults living with family is becoming much more normal and accepted. It’s really only in the last 50-60 years or so that adults were expected to leave their home and live on their own prior to marrying, and in many cultures, having multiple generations living together is still the norm. It’d be one thing if we were playing video games for 12 hours a day and letting our moms do our laundry, but that’s not the case here, and I don’t think we should be ashamed for doing the best we can in a way that works well for us. And the more we can be okay with how we’re living, the better it will be for others like us.

    1. Aldabra*

      This is true; it’s really only since the post-WWII boom that people have been expected to move out, marry, and get their own little suburban house with a white picket fence for their own little nuclear family. Prior to that, multi-generational homes were much more common, and now the pendulum is swinging back. It’s too hard now for every young person to afford their own home on a single blue- or white-collar salary while starting a family.

  28. i like hound dogs*

    I think that sounds really nice! My parents made it clear we were not welcome to live at home after age 18 or so. They have always been loving and supportive, but we had a more formal parent-child relationship and I’ve always envied families who were a bit warmer and friendlier with each other. I have an eight-year-old now and I wouldn’t mind if he lived at home into adulthood if it was working for everyone. I suspect this is becoming more common, anyway?

    Also, my husband and I sleep in separate bedrooms and it’s GREAT.

    1. WorkingRachel*

      Ditto, I would in theory totally live with my parents if a) they found it more acceptable and b) our relationship was a tiny bit better. I don’t want my future kids to feel that they must move out at 18 to be considered adults.

    2. Twenty Points for the Copier*

      Oh, man, your last sentence. My husband and I have our own place but spend 1-2 months a year living with my parents and my parents, conversely, spend about a month of each year living with us. This is entirely by choice (we want to spend some time where they live and they want to spend some time where we live) but the #1 downside is there is not enough room for my husband and I to sleep in separate bedrooms when we’re sharing housing with my parents.

      [in the interest of 100% owning my choices, I am writing this from my parents’ guestroom while my husband snores next to me.]

      1. i like hound dogs*

        Lol! I feel you on that. My bedroom is also our guest room, so when we have guests I have to sleep in the original shared bedroom with my husband. I … do not prefer it.

        Spending so much time with your parents sounds so nice — I live far away from mine and I think I’d enjoy your set-up. Whenever we visit them, not only do we have to share a room, but we often have our son in there, too. It is a tiny room and I always sort of feel like I’m in a youth hostel, ha.

    3. I Have RBF*

      Separate bedrooms for married folks is the bomb, especially if they are both introverted. My spouse and I do it, and that way we can go to bed at different times, have our own preferred temperature for sleeping, never have to fight over blankets, etc. Yes, we have shared a bedroom before, but when we got our house we made sure that we each had our own space.

      1. i like hound dogs*

        Yeah, exactly! We are both introverts who like our space, and since we both work partially from home we see each other a LOT. He snores and has insomnia, so I really enjoy being able to get a good night’s sleep in my dark quiet room, and he enjoys not having me elbow him to be quiet after he’s finally fallen asleep. The only bummer is that the dogs prefer to sleep with him and not me, ha.

    4. NotAnotherManager!*

      My mom told me I’d have to pay rent if I moved back in after college and then, somehow, was hurt when another relative took me in after college (rent free because I was broke and there was a recession going on – I made dinner, did laundry, and walked the dog while I was there).

      Our kids are teenagers, but we’ve told them repeatedly that they are welcome to come back home at any time as adults. They’ll have to contribute to the household, but that’s not really different than it is now as they do household chores and go to school all day. I don’t ever want them to feel unwelcome at our home or like they have to suffer to be “adults”.

  29. Dust Bunny*

    “My landlords have a vested interest in maintaining the property.”

    Make them envious.

  30. anon24*

    Anyone who knows anything about the financial world we live in and still gives you the side eye is just an awful human being. Even if you aren’t living with your parents for financial reasons, if you told me you lived with your parents I would assume that you just got along with them really well and saw the opportunity to squirrel more money away into savings. Personally if I lived with my parents one of us would be dead in a week, but I’m a little jealous of the families who can happily make it work. I once had someone very hesitantly admit to me that they lived with their parents and the shame that came over their face… I responded, “you must be such a blessing to them!” Their face lit up so much. Change your mindset. There’s nothing wrong with it if everyone is benefiting from it.

  31. Jade*

    I houseshare with my 30 year old son. We are both highly paid professionals. It works for us. It is my home. We both just say “we houseshare”. Nothing to be embarrassed about.

  32. Kermit's Bookkeepers*

    Listen, I’m firmly in the “I could never” camp, but that’s specific to the dynamic between me and my family — I’m frankly often envious of the friends I have who can healthily and joyfully live with their family. The rent savings! The emotional support! The sense of community! It all sounds theoretically wonderful. All of which is to say, I think you can expect a fair amount of people to think about how lucky you are that this works for you, and not that you are in some way pitiful.

    1. Hermione Danger*

      This is where I fall as well. Family dynamics make even the thought of sharing a home with my parents distressing, but I think it would be wonderful to be able to have that kind of relationship with family. I’m sure there are many more people with this perspective out there.

    2. Maleficent2026*

      THIS. Most of my friend’s kids are teenagers now. I’m constantly in awe of both how much time the kids want to spend with their parents and all the things my friends do for their kids that would never haven’t even occurred to mine. It’s so foreign to me but so enviable at the same time.

    3. NotAnotherManager!*

      I feel the same way – not necessarily envious, but a little wistful. I get along much better with my mother with 100+ miles between us. We’re close enough to visit but not close enough to get back into dysfunctional patterns.

  33. i dont have one*

    I think that just owning it is the best way. My dad is an alcoholic in recovery who went off the deep end a little after my mom died; he has been in recovery for a little over 2 years now. He lives with me and my husband and he has claimed that it has been instrumental in his recovery.

    I just tell people that my dad lives with me and the only ones who have asked more questions are people who knew my dad previously, because they are curious about his recovery and how he is doing, but no stranger or coworker has ever asked any further questions. Occasionally I get an “I could never do that!” but I just say “it works for us.”

  34. Decidedly Me*

    I agree with owning it if it comes up, but I’m not convinced it will. I don’t think anyone in a work context has ever asked who I live with, just whereabouts I’m at.

    1. UKDancer*

      Yeah I don’t think anyone’s ever asked who I live with. People in my company ask where you live because London is a big place and it’s interesting to talk about cycle lanes / the underground / Thameslink’s complete inability to run a train service and compare notes on our commutes but very rarely does anyone ask who you live with. That sort of emerges more organically, e.g. if someone is getting married / has care responsibilities / has a DIY emergency.

      1. londonedit*

        Definitely. ‘Whereabouts do you live?’ is a standard London question, but simply because everyone wants to get into the ‘Oh wow, easy journey for you on the Lizzie Line now!’ or ‘Blimey, how do you find commuting in on Southern? Is it still as much of a nightmare?’ or ‘Oh, my sister used to live in Tooting’ stuff. Unless you said you lived somewhere unbelievably central, no one’s going to ask who you live with or whether you own or rent or what. Those things do come out in more general conversation – for example I’m likely to mention at some point that I live by myself, in the context of always having to do the washing up or something, or I’ll mention living in a small flat because I’ll be moaning about a lack of storage – but it’s very uncommon for anyone to actually ask for the specifics of your situation.

  35. Lacey*

    I think part of the weirdness comes from people associating living with your parents with not paying any rent & not being willing/able to.

    A friend of mine dealt with this and you could see people’s feelings about her living situation change once they understood that she was actually helping her mom by living there, not mooching off her.

    I also think people’s feelings about this have changed a lot post covid & with the housing market being so wild.

    But the biggest thing you have in your favor is that your coworkers already know that you’re gainfully employed and so clearly this is a choice you’ve made and not just your only option.

  36. Annsy*

    Maybe “I share the family home with my parents” (or “my childhood home”) would feel better? It doesn’t imply greater ownership by either you or your parents, and it makes it sound positive and like it was a choice on all your parts versus something that just happened. It feels accurate based on what you’ve said!

  37. T'Cael Zaanidor Kilyle*

    The idea that everyone should move out on their own in their early 20s is a relatively new one, and ever since the 2008 recession my observation is that it seems to be diminishing. It is definitely still less common for people in their 30s than for people in their 20s, but I think the overall stigma is lessening.

    My job gives me the opportunity to see a lot of multigenerational groups interacting in public. Who the “leader” is tends to shift over time. When the adult child is in the 20s, the parents are nearly always central and leading the group. Thirties or 40s, it’s more equal and the dynamic often looks similar to a sibling relationship. Fifties and up, it’s nearly always the adult child who assumes the role of the person around whom the group orbits.

    OP is in that awkward middle space, so it probably doesn’t FEEL right to say “my parents live with me,” especially since it was their house first. But the switch from “I live with my parents” to “my parents and I share a house” seems like it would probably work.

  38. Spicy Tuna*

    I know a lot of people who live with their parents (or, their parents live with them), including my 52 year old brother-in-law, who is himself a grandparent! He provides a LOT of great in person navigation for my in-laws and it generally reduces stress for everyone.

    It’s not weird unless you make it weird.

  39. Dawn*

    You’re also cooking meals regularly for your older parents so you could to some extent be considered a caretaker. Not to the point where they need one so much but to the point where it wouldn’t be unreasonable to imply that you’re doing it partly to help them out as they get older.

  40. Not Mindy*

    As someone who shares a house with her parents, I absolutely agree with “my parents live with me.” One the face of it it means the exact same thing as “I live with my parents” but the difference is there.

  41. Nelalvai*

    I’m late 20s and moved in with my mom and her partner a year ago, for the mental health reasons more than the financial. I was embarrassed at first, thinking of that “30-year-old living in mom’s basement” stereotype, but that’s just judgy TV nonsense. None of my coworkers or friends have reacted badly/judgementally when I say I live with my mom. Once or twice people had questions about it, I answered, and we moved on.

  42. Janeric*

    When people in their 30s tell me that they share a house with their parents I tend to assume that either they’re a very close family and/or that one party has some additional care needs. The vibe is less “has not yet launched” and more “this is what’s best for our family”.

    I think this is doubly true since the start of the pandemic — I think increased understanding about multi-generational households might be one of the unheralded changes Covid wrought. (I mean, I was obviously nakedly jealous of people who could rely on their family for child care during lockdown. I still am.)

  43. Hyruseki*

    I’m in my 50s and me, my spouse, and my parents share a house. I’ve had some disability issues that make it difficult for me to work and my parents also need help so the four of us make a great team. We get along well and I feel very lucky to have a family that cares about each other. Plus, it’s wonderful getting to know my parents as an adult.

    Because I live in the US I get a few unsolicited comments about me “living with my parents” and I always ask them if they want me to go into poverty and discomfort just so they can feel good about a living situation I’m very happy with (as rents in my area are sky-high) and that usually shuts them up. Of course, my friends in Europe and Asia think I’m smart, because multi-generational living is normal in other coutries. Don’t let anyone put you down about it, OP, and enjoy spending time with your family!

  44. Alisaurus*

    Seconding everything here! I lived with my parents until nearly 30s, and I don’t remember getting any weirdness from anyone when I would tell them. In fact, I remember one manager saying something along the lines of, “Good for you! You should stay as long as you can; you’ll never get that time back after.”

    Honestly, I wish I still was at home. I now live in another state after a job move, and I don’t regret that, but yeah… I miss that multigenerational living situation!

  45. rayray*

    I’m in a similar situation. I’ve learned to just not care what people think. Honestly, it’s becoming more common the past couple years for people to do this. I have another person on my team who is mid 20s and moved back in with his parents too.

  46. KAB*

    Hey OP – I’m turning 29 this year and live with my parents. I would second Alison’s advice here and just own it. I just usually say I live “at home” if it comes up and then move right along. I felt a bit weird about it when I started supervising someone last year (who is double my age and knows more about her job than I do lol – gotta love reorgs!) but I was very casual about it when it came up and so she was too. Any polite human being will just follow your lead :)

    As an aside, where I live the cost of living and the rental market are pretty brutal; if that’s the case for you like it is for me, people will probably get it.

    1. MamaSarah*

      The rental market is crazy in our part of California and thus it is also becoming more common for 20 somethings to live at home.

  47. Resentful Oreos*

    I think “my parents live with me” indicates his parents live in his house, don’t do that.

    1. Irish Teacher.*

      I agree that it gives that impression, but does it really matter? Her colleagues don’t need to know who owns the house and they probably don’t care either.

      I also think it depends on how it comes up. “My parents live with me” does sort of give that impression, but “my mother, who lives with me, was saying last night that…” wouldn’t necessarily, at least not to me (others may interpret it differently) and it’s probably more likely to come up in that sort of context.

    2. Lana Kane*

      Is the concern that people might be misled? If so, does that matter? The words are true, people can interpret them however they want. It’s not like anyone is owed a detailed explanation of other people’s living arrangements.

    3. Jade*

      Yes. Don’t do that. It’s not truthful. Simply say “we houseshare”. It’s true and enough of an explanation.

  48. ABK*

    Anyone who balks/side-eyes this situation has a very, very narrow perspective on life. Perhaps they’re very sheltered, or naive, or young, not well travelled, have a narrow social circle, etc etc etc. Basically, most people who have a certain amount of life experience will understand why choosing to live in your childhood home with family has benefits and could make sense. By owning it, you’re opening their small world and expanding their horizons.

  49. Alex*

    This is super normal in other cultures, just not here in the US. And it’s normal for good reasons! Support systems and multigenerational living can be extremely beneficial for everyone (when everyone gets along/respects each other).

    I doubt most people will judge you or even find it weird–especially if you frame it as something you are proud of/works well for you.

  50. Kara*

    I’m in the “own it” camp.

    I shared a house with my ex-husband for nearly 10 years. Yes, we had separate bedrooms. Yes, we both dated other people during that time. No, we weren’t “friends with benefits”. It was an unusual situation that came about due to health issues and finances and it worked well for us. It allowed us to have lifestyles and save money that we couldn’t have, had we lived separately at the time. Sure some people thought it was weird and some people were freaked out by it, but that was their hang-up, not ours.

    So “my parents and I share a house” is something to own, in the same vein, I think.

  51. Gray Lady*

    I like “I share a home with my parents” rather than “my parents live with me,” because if it ever comes up later that your parents are the owners/leaseholders of the home rather than you (if that’s the case), it could come off as a bit disingenuous. It’s not that it’s not literally true that “my parents live with me” regards who is the actual party in possession of the residence, it’s that (at least in American English) there’s a connotation that if someone lives with me, it’s my home and the other party has some kind of economic or non-economic arrangement within that setup.

  52. Happy*

    I’m on the parent side of this. My daughter, 29, is just getting ready to move out. Sigh! She helps so much with the dog and we travel a lot, so it’s nice to have her here. Multi-generational living can be beneficial to everyone … provided you get along :)

  53. Youarelucky*

    One way to shut down any negative comments is to phrase it: “I am very lucky to have my parents live with me.” This conveys that it is a happy arrangement. And you are very lucky to be able to live at home with family members and it be a happy situation. My family life was very toxic with multiple untreated mental illnesses and I could not live with any of my family members, I escaped as soon as I could. I did make the mistake of having my brother live for me for a couple of years when he was in his 30s and he was a mooch who didn’t contribute any rent or anything to help the household. I am much happier living on my own.

    1. Melissa*

      This is good phrasing. I was having a conversation with someone recently and she kept using the phrase, “I am privileged to have—“ in the same manner. She did it several times, so I noticed it, but I think she did it to make clear the response she was looking for. It was like, “I was very privileged to have my grandparents raise me.” Indicating that I should say “Oh how nice” instead of “Why?”

  54. Avery*

    Hey OP: you’re not alone.
    I work a professional, decent-paying job, am in my early 30s, and live in my childhood bedroom as well. Some of the same reasons you cite apply to me–I’m single, living alone would be tricky for my mental health… and, well, I just started working full-time about a year ago, and my plan is to save up for a couple years until I can afford to buy a condo outright rather than renting.
    I don’t pay rent, but I do do a variety of household chores, including helping with our several pets (two dogs and three cats), ad-hoc “IT help” for my less-technologically-inclined parents, and some other odds and ends, and I make a point of sometimes paying for our meals out and the like.
    Also one of those pets I mention is a dog that’s specifically attached to me, and leaving without her would break her little heart, but she also barks incessantly and the last thing I want is for THAT to be how I start my reputation as a neighbor in a new place… but she’s also about 11 years old, so, that problem will be resolved in some years’ time with patience…
    Honestly, OP, I’m glad you wrote in, because I feel awkward about mentioning it too, especially at work, and I needed to hear Alison’s answer.
    (It’s honestly not the best living situation for me at the moment either, and I’m starting to look more seriously into moving out sooner rather than later, but that’s beside the point…)

  55. fine tipped pen aficionado*

    Oooh I didn’t know I needed to have this convo. I’m in my 30s, successful in my career and finances, and I live with my aunt! We just enjoy each other’s company. I would be perfectly happy elsewhere and she has a wholeass husband and step-kids (not as confident she’d be happy without me there as buffer lol); we really just chose this arrangement because we like it!

    And boy is that tough for people to get. It seems like a lot of people in the US either don’t really know or don’t like their families (which is fair! family is what you make it I just got lucky enough to be born into the one I wanted to make). Then we have all our nonsense cultural markers of adulthood: move out of your parents’ house, have sex, get married and/or have kids, take on debt, and have a full time job outside retail or service industries. If you choose to live outside these rules you’re forever explaining yourself or justifying your choices or being judged.

    The easiest path I’ve found is to explain my living situation as Golden Girls-ing. I was about to type that “it helps I’m ace” but I usually have to explain that too so I don’t know that I’d call it helping. But taken together, both things seem to make more sense to folk.

    Anyway, solidarity OP and everyone else in the comments who doesn’t live with a partner, a pet, and 2.5 kids.

  56. Formerly Ella Vader*

    I agree with Allison and other commenters – if you act matter-of-fact about it, your co-workers are likely to pick up on that without showing judgement.

    Do you already have friends and out-of-work associates who know about your living situation? If you feel like it might be too high-stakes to talk to co-workers, you can practice telling other people first.

    I know people of various ages who chose to move in with family members during the pandemic, and stayed because it worked for them. That’s one good way for you to tell this narrative. Some of the people I know also give the impression that they are being generous to the family members by making that choice, supporting aging parents by taking over home maintenance tasks etc, or living with a sibling and their small children and helping with childcare. You can tell it like “I wasn’t planning to stay so long, but it turns out that it works really well for all of us! I’m so lucky!”

    If you feel like people might be picturing you as less independent than you are, then in different conversations you can also mention some of your other interests/projects. Do you travel alone or with friends? Do you volunteer at local events or serve on the board of a non-profit? Do you foster rescue cats?

    Being able to be open about the broad strokes of your living situation will also let you choose to be open about little things, without feeling like you need to explain why you have a long bus commute to knit on, or why you have access to a big backyard where you can garden or barbecue or whatever. Those little things might turn out to be opportunities to bond with co-workers, which you’d be missing out on if you try to keep your living situation under wraps. (I have experience with this.)

  57. Ainsley Hayes*

    I have lived with my parents since ~2014 – my situation is now a bit different as we bought a house together but say it positively and as a matter of fact. I get a lot of comments about how nice it is, especially having lived with them during Covid. I hope your situation continues to work well for you!

  58. Sally Rhubarb*

    You’d be surprised how many other people still live with their parents or how many people would find that set up ideal.

    Up until recently, I lived with my parents. It was a blessing in disguise during COVID because I was able to do the shopping for them and then when my dad got sick, I was already there to help.

    Mentally I couldn’t do it anymore but there’s nothing to be ashamed of, OP.

  59. PhilG*

    At this point you’re essentially roommates. Financial and household duties are divided. Would you feel as strange if you were sharing a house with your sister or brother? (FWIW my late wife lived with her sister for 3 years before we got married). As everyone else has pointed out: it’s what works for you and them. Period. No more to discuss.

  60. PotsPansTeapots*

    I’m in my mid-30s and lived with my parents until 2 years ago. It wasn’t as happy a situation as yours (I had health problems, no money, and no other options) BUT people were generally cool about it.

    As Alison says, the key is to make it sound like NBD. You can even share some of your reasons if you want to (eg “I like having roommates I know,” “We’re on opposite schedules so we don’t see each other as much as you might think!”)

    Honestly, I got a surprising number of co-workers and acquaintances who were seemed mildly jealous or at least intrigued. That helped me reframe the situation for me.

  61. Random321*

    Similar situation, just wanted to add. For most work interactions, “I rent from a family member” is directly vague enough to keep the conversation moving.

  62. finn*

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with living at home, but “my parents live with me” in this particular situation seems misleading at best. If someone said that, I would assume that they owned the house and the parents had moved in. I’ve seen this in multiple TV shows, even; some guy leads his date to believe he owns his home, and then she’s unpleasantly surprised upon learning the truth.

    1. Have you had enough water today?*

      While it is disingenuous, it is also a different situation to a date. I don’t think starting a potential relationship on a lie is a great idea, but when it is coworkers who are asking invasive questions small white lies are fine.

      1. Irish Teacher.*

        And honestly, I don’t think I’d even remember whether a colleague said “I live with my parents” or “my parents live with me.” It is different when dating as you might be hoping to eventually move in together whereas I can’t imagine caring whether a colleague misled me as to who owned their home. Worst case scenario, if it did come out, I might think, “oh, I thought they owned that. Oh well, must have misheard or misinterpreted something.” And that’s assuming I cared enough to think about it in the first place. If my colleague is telling me a story about how their dad finished off all the biscuits while they were at work, my interest is in the story. I really don’t care who owns the house.

        1. UKDancer*

          Yes this so much. I expect someone I’m on a date with to be more honest with me about their circumstances if it’s turning into a relationship. I don’t expect my colleagues to tell me the exact details of their domestic arrangements. I mean it’s not like I’m going to be living with my colleagues so why would I care who owns the house?

    2. Tundra dog*

      Assuming the LW isn’t planning on dating her co-workers, this isn’t a problem at all. The exact ownership of her home is actually not any of her co-workers’ business, and it harms no one if they jump to an incorrect conclusion. I find it pretty weird that anyone would bring this up as an “issue” with the “my parents live with me” wording.

    3. Ginger Baker*

      Agree with others that this objection is weird wrt coworkers or, really, anyone who does not have a vested interest in your financial situation. Admittedly, I am biased: I happily lived with my mother (and sister, two kids, briefly my grandmother before she passed, and a few other family-ish folks at various times) in a big multi-generational home that is 100% my norm at this point and very normal to my now-adult kids as well…and often just said “my mom lives with me” despite that it was technically *her* house. Anyone in my personal life quickly could find that out – I was not and am not ashamed of the choices I have made home-wise or finances-wise and quite openly discuss that it is her house/my childhood home – but when giving a quick explanation it was just easier to put it in a way that folks would understand (“parent has some caretaking needs I assist with” which was technically true) without triggering weird hangups a lot of Americans have about living “independently”. My colleagues 100% do not need, nor are owed, any explanation of my financial details so this is the WEIRDEST hill to die on!

      1. Jiminy Cricket*

        Right. My coworkers don’t know whether I rent, own my home outright, or pay a mortgage. They don’t know whether my name is on the title or just on my spouses. They don’t know if it’s the only home I own, or whether anyone lives in the house besides me. And they don’t care!

        The objection that “People could find out that your parents actually own the home” is so weird. How would they find out? Why would they care if they did? What deception has actually taken place here?

  63. Have you had enough water today?*

    I actively tell my young staff to stay at home as long as their parents will have them so they can save some money. I expect that my kids will stay at home until they are well into their 20s & possibly even 30s unless they decide to settle down with a partner. I would rather them contribute a small amount to the household to cover their food & bills than spend half their pay on rent to a stranger then have to also buy food & pay bills.

  64. Annie*

    It is so nice hearing about successful, happy family cohabitation! I feel like one only hears about obnoxious parents/(-in-laws).

    The only neutral fictional example I can think of was SyFy Alice, 2009, where 30s Alice lived with her mother. In New York, maybe? So that made sense. (Except that the flat was large so there must have some generational wealth as well.)

  65. Woebegone Wednesday*

    Why even offer that much information if someone does ask? Few, if any, will want to know more than your location.

    “I live in (place name)” is more than enough.

    1. Lily Rowan*

      I would think it’s less about people directly asking and more about how it comes up in conversation — like, I spend way more time with my mother than you might expect, because we live in the same house! So it just comes up.

      1. Irish Teacher.*

        Yeah, I know who a lot of my colleagues live with, not because we’ve specifically discussed that but because it comes up in contexts like “oh great. My parcel has arrived. I got it delivered to work because it’s a present for my husband/wife/mother/father/brother/sister/son/daughter and I didn’t want them seeing it arrive” or “I’ll just text my dad to be sure he’ll be home when my kids get in because I didn’t know I’d be working late” or “you should see the colour my wife wants us to paint our living room!”

  66. Green Goose*

    I have a coworker in your same situation and she does what Alison suggests and happily owns it, she’s mentioned that she is really close to her parents. Since she’s happy about the arrangement it doesn’t seem weird. It would only seem weird if she was over justifying or said she was embarrassed/unhappy with the arrangement.

  67. OP*

    Wow, thanks for answering my question! You’ve all really helped me reframe the topic in my head. I think I was kind of feeling like that broke grad still, rather than a successful manager. Part of the reason I’m hesitant to bring it up now is that of the six people at my level in my division, I have 10 years experience and the others have 140+ years combined. So there’s a lack of shared experiences already in that I have no kids, let alone grandkids, and they were in the industry while I was in elementary school. But I think I was focused wrong and since I’m not embarrassed to be living with my parents (and my mom wants me here! We watch the same tv shows and she loves my cooking), I need to just reframe it to we’re living together with mutual support rather than I’m a drain on them (because I’m not).

    1. Have you had enough water today?*

      Just out of curiosity, do you find this line of questioning at all invasive? I would never ask someone about their living situation & would only discuss if they brought it up first because I feel like it is none of my business how my colleagues & reports live.

      1. fine tipped pen aficionado*

        I’m pretty reserved so I found it shocking at first too, but in my experience every time I’ve started a new job it’s one of the first small talk-y, get to know you things folk bring up.

        Folks just find the line between conversation and invasion in different spots; neither one is really right or wrong as long as you don’t get weird about anyone politely declining not to answer.

      2. OP*

        I work in a field that kind of by necessity requires a bit more of a personal connection than I think most jobs would, so discussion about family, home life, etc. comes up fairly regularly. Also just small talk kind of leads to it too. Like if someone asked what I did last night or last weekend it probably involves my parents to some extent. Or if we’re talking about cooking and I say I made something and everyone loved it. Or lately my dad can only eat certain foods so I’ve adjusted my cooking habits and if that comes up it would lead to us living together. Even if people don’t outright ask I feel like I’m either dancing around conversations or lying.

        1. Billy Preston*

          Yes, this is exactly how it comes up. I was in a similar situation until last year, and it worked out well! I did end up just saying it matter-of-factly and people didn’t judge, and I didn’t have to think of ways to answer questions without mentioning my living situation. I’m glad you have a living situation that works for you all!

    2. Ainsley Hayes*

      Also “my parents and I live together” reads very differently than “I live at home with my parents.” Good luck!

      1. Forrest Rhodes*

        Absolutely agree, Ainsley, and I think “together” is a much better description of OP’s actual living arrangement.

        And to OP: You’re doing just fine. You have a great living setup that’s working for both you and your family. At a couple of different times in my life (both well after I turned 30) I also spent 1-2 years living with my parents; they’re both gone now, and I’d give a lot to have them back as housemates. Much laughing, music, and shared tv-watching; much good cooking; and we were all respectful of each other’s occasional needs for privacy.

        I say good on ya.

    3. new old friend*

      I’m not quite at your level career wise but I feel that sense of trying to avoid infantilization so much. It’s so weird working with– and giving advice to– people who’ve been in an industry as long as I’ve been alive, and I always worry a little bit that talking about family too much makes me come across as even more juvenile.

  68. Emmy*

    I think multi-generational households are becoming more common in American households. Our lifespans are longer than ever, so middle-aged people are having to take care of their parents and their kids. That’s a lot easier to do when everyone is in one house.

    My boomer great-aunts and uncles lived in one house in Chicago. My Aunt, her husband, and her daughter lived on the first floor. My two bachelor uncles (her older brothers) lived on the second floor with their aging/invalid mother. Each floor was basically an independent living space. They shared the garage. Now they live in the suburbs after retirement with three generations again living together (aunt/husband, divorced daughter, and twin grandchildren).

    Everyone’s situation is different, and I think we are slowly shifting to a society that judges less. However, I do acknowledge there are still some areas that will look down on this as something “wrong” or something to be embarrassed by. I’m fortunate enough in my role in HR that I’m more aware of this dynamic, so it’s been “normalized” for me for longer than it may be for others.

    1. londonedit*

      Here in the UK it’s very normal for people to have elderly parents move in with them – if you watch TV programmes like Escape to the Country it’s quite common for people to be looking for properties with what we’d informally call a ‘granny flat’ or ‘granny annexe’, a self-contained or semi-self-contained part of the property where an elderly relative can live independently but still be connected to the family, and which often can be adapted to allow for increasing care needs (usually they’re all on one level on the ground floor, and there might be a connecting door to the main property). No one bats an eyelid at that. I feel like we also don’t have the ‘Right, you’re 18, out the door you go and don’t come back’ culture that I’ve seen a couple of people mention here, but there is still a certain amount of stigma about ‘still’ living with your parents in your twenties/thirties. It’s definitely less in London because housing costs are mad and if your parents live near London and you have the opportunity you’d be mad not to live with them until you can afford to move out, but it is there. I think it’s becoming more normal throughout the country, though, especially as Covid lockdowns led to all sorts of different living situations.

  69. Almost 30-something*

    Not sure if it helps, but my first instinct upon hearing the somebody lived with her parents wouldn’t be to assume it’s anything worth thinking twice about, especially from an established senior professional! From my own work expereince, my 20 and 30-something collegues have cohabitaed with parents for so many reasons: parents helping with young toddlers, temporarily bridging a gap while a new house was being built, helping recover from a divorce or surgery, a parent who aged a bit quickly and simply wasn’t able to live alone any more but wasn’t ready for assisted living, etc. And if a few more details were shared, I’d simply think it’s awesome that it works for you and be a bit jealous! (my parents are amazing people but we just could not make that work long term).

  70. She of Many Hats*

    Between the horrendous cost of housing in many parts of the world, differing cultural norms, and the aging of the Boomer generation & their related exorbitant late-life expenses, being in a multi-generational household isn’t as weird as it was 20-30 years ago. Embrace it and don’t hesitate to point out the benefits that flow both ways.

    1. Nonanon*

      This exactly. My partner was wanting to get back into Magic The Gathering, but was hesitant for a few different reasons, one of which being that the group at our local shop looked like stereotypical middle-aged nerds who “lived in their parent’s basement.” The first thing out of my mouth was that sounded more like a sound financial decision and do you think they pay less rent than us for a comparatively larger space.
      Gotta love the overall changing of societal norms where once was a devastating insult is now considered a mutually-beneficial relationship, lol

  71. Rach*

    Hey OP! This letter means ALOT to me!

    I am in a similar situation too with my family – I have two jobs (but don’t make THAT much money – yay arts!), don’t want to live with a roommate, don’t want to move to the city but also don’t want to live alone. I contribute to food, house chores, cooking, pay my own bills, contribute to vacations etc. I don’t sit on my butt all day play video games like some people think: I volunteer weekly at the animal shelter, go to the gym, work late (sometimes lol), hang out with friends & travel to the Disney Parks (my new hobby). I am lucky that I get along really well with my parents, especially my Dad, and we do lots of things together. I also help out with extended family – for example when my grandfather got ill and put into hospice, I made sure that my dad had the emotional and physical support he needed when was taking care of him. We’re very close knit.

    I know people find it weird that I still live at home and sometimes I feel odd that I have to tell people that. And I know that I get judged by some of my friends that grew up with more “traditional” ideals about moving out. Yet , I’ve come to realize that this is a culturally American/Somewhat Western thought: get a job and move out when you’re 18. One of my friends I made in Grad School was from Turkey and she was shocked that one of my brothers moved out and away for a job before he was married and I came to realize that multi-generational homes are common all over the world, so it’s nothing to be ashamed about. But, I think with all the recent changes in our society (COVID, Student Loans, Recessions, Low Paying Jobs) these situations are becoming more common. In the recent years, I realized that it is was it is and I just have to live my life.

    I still try to skirt around it for the reasons that you list – but I generally say, I live with family and most folks don’t try to pry further.

  72. Natalie*

    Similar situation. I’m in my mid-30s at a fairly senior high-profile admin job and live with and rent a room from a parent, mostly by choice (though admittedly the ridiculous housing market in my area means that buying is currently out of reach). I usually just say that I rent a room from or live with a parent, very matter-of-factly, and nobody has raised any eyebrows.

  73. Woman in the Booth Behind You*

    As someone who is in a similar situation, I have to say that owning it is the best way to handle it. Just being casual about it, or maybe mildly confused about why they are bringing it up? My go-to response is usually something like, “Oh, yeah, my mom does live with me, it’s super helpful because she takes care of my dogs when I have long shifts.”

    And then heaven help them if they have more questions because I can talk about my dogs *forever*.

  74. You Can't Pronounce It*

    I had a co-worker, almost 40, who still lived in her childhood home. No one thought twice about it. I have always been a supporter of living at home as long as you can to save money (while not taking advantage of your parents – which it doesn’t sound like you are at all)! With the housing market the way it is, it’s even more economical and common now.

    You are a contributing member to your household, the same as you would with a roommate. Your roommates just happen to be your parents.

  75. Michelle Smith*

    I agree with the advice, but also want to say that it seems like you are worried other people will judge you. I would focus less on that to the extent you can and more on the great privilege you have. You have parents that you love, that love you, and that are happy to live together in the same home. What a gift that is! I do not have that (in fact, I just got home after spending a week home with my parents, one of whom told me how much they didn’t want to live with me while I was visiting so…). I wish I had that kind of positive relationship with my family! Definitely own it, but also reframe what the situation is in your own mind. If you feel in any way embarrassed because you think you should be different, don’t. Be grateful, because you really do have something special.

  76. PieAdmin*

    If I didn’t have a partner (and a toxic family) I’d be living at home in my 30’s too. It’s not shameful or childish, just how it is. Rent is insane everywhere now.

    1. iglwif*

      Yeah, I would totally share a house with my mom and stepdad if we lived in the same place. They have way more house than they need, they’re right by an LRT station, and as long as we don’t spend 24/7 in the same room our relationship is great.

  77. Nuke*

    I wound up in a very complicated living situation when my mom got sick in 2010. My grandfather had had a stroke the same year my mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor, so she and I moved in with my grandparents. Unfortunately they both passed in 2011, so then it was just me and my grandmother until February of 2023 when she also unfortunately passed (from completely natural causes at least).

    Before the pandemic, people really sneered when I said “I live with my grandmother”. I would get “You need to sell all your pets and MOVE OUT!” lectures from borderline strangers. If I did, I would be living alone in some apartment, while my aging grandmother also lived alone. That juts wasn’t an option! It wasn’t easy living with an old lady for so long, but it worked for us.

    But after 2020, when I said I lived with my grandmother, attitudes shifted dramatically. Responses became “Oh, that’s so nice, she’s so lucky to have you to care for her” and similar. People became much more understanding of my wacky situation once the world also went wacky!

  78. Akili*

    I’m in my mid-30s and I honestly wish I could share space with my mom (we get along fine, and have lived in the same house repeatedly on and off during my 20s, but due to a terrible housing market, she ended up buying a tiny condo that just doesn’t have the space for 2 people). I have a friend who lives with his parents (and contributes to the household, etc), and he’s in his early 40s – but the housing market is even worse where he lives. I have another two friends (a couple) who rent the upstairs half of a house from one of their parents, while the parents live downstairs. Seriously, it’s only a big deal if you make it one (provided it works for you of course – the biggest problem I’d have is finding space for any intimate time with a partner, and even that can likely be worked out, but as you said, you’re single now, so maybe not on your radar at the moment).

  79. PleaseNo*

    I have taken the two phrases to not be the same-

    “I live with my parents” means your parents own the property and you do not;
    “My parents live with me” means you own the property and your parents do not.

    I agree with Alison though, that people will most likely take cues on how to react based on how you say it

    1. Minerva*

      I use “My parents and I have combined households” because it is accurate – we combined resources to buy a home in my hcol area, which is big enough for my kids and adapted for disability needs. My parents get grandchild time and someone cooking for them, I get an adult to keep an eye on things when I’m out, and everyone benefits.

      Saying they moved in with me is misleading, and I don’t want to paint this as pure altruism on my part.

      And honestly, owning the situation to yourself is more important than what you tell your coworkers. They really don’t care. I am 100 % sure my coworkers live lives I wouldn’t and have different values than I do. I don’t take much note other than who might care about certain things I do, and who wouldn’t.

  80. Dulcinea47*

    Assuming the parents own the house, saying something like “my parents & I share a house” seems less than honest. I think just saying you live with your parents b/c you get along & your support system is in that area is plenty! Also, people don’t really pry into your living situation much in my experience.
    Also also, this seems pretty normal these days. I had to get away from my family living situation ASAP but I know that’s about me, not about what’s okay or necessary for others.

  81. suzyk*

    I’m 50+ and I live with a parent. I’ve lived here just under 15 years and I moved here first because I needed a job (better economy here) I love living at home and I get along well with my parent.

    After a couple of stumbles, I’m working a wonderful job & getting paid nicely. I’m very happy with the work I do.

    It’s now gotten to the point where being “home” is also necessary. Parent needs more & more assistance and I’m able to use FMLA as needed. Also, if I need to get home quickly, there are no questions at work, I just let the person in charge know & I’m off. Clients just know that I take care of family and sometimes there are emergencies. I’m not open with details, just generalities.

    So, yes, I live with my family, but it is also a privilege to do so. The positives outweigh the negatives by a long-shot. And everyone is happy!

  82. Ana Gram*

    My coworker is 30 and lives with her parents. I’ve admired how matter of fact she is about it and nobody’s ever commented on it. She just says something like, “oh my parents and I live together in XYZtown. They’re really cool and I’m so lucky we have such a great relationship”. She’s super professional so she has a reputation that really isn’t affected by where/how she lives.

  83. iglwif*

    There will always be some people who say “Oh, I couldn’t possibly do that” or “Oh man that sucks” because they know (or think they know) it would suck for them.

    But it’s not actually that uncommon — certainly not in my city, where housing is bananapants expensive and a lot of folks belong to cultures where multigenerational households are the norm — and I think Alison’s right that if you treat it matter-of-factly and cheerfully, people will get over themselves.

    “My parents and I share a house” or “I share a house with family” is a nice neutral way to put it.

    Also, I am saving up all these ideas in case my uni-age kid follows through on her current plan to move back home for a while after she gets her degree, because she’s going to need to find both a job AND a roommate in order to afford to live anywhere in this city other than our apartment. Which her dad and I are fine with, but I’m not sure how she’ll feel about it if it happens…

  84. Bob-White of the Glen*

    My parents were both gone by the time I was 32. I’d kill to be able to live with them again. Enjoy the time you have with them!

  85. Bookworm*

    This is increasingly common in the States (I assume that is where you are?) with the economy, an aging population, etc. It is also fairly common in many other countries/cultures, so it is not weird at all. Alison’s advice is on point. Please don’t feel weird–I did this in my 20’s and felt weird about it then (although I knew several people who would nod knowingly, with one former co-worker saying his dad, who is Iranian, kept bugging him to move home XD).

  86. ifitworksitworks*

    If you are contributing, then you are living with roommates. They just happen to be your parents. Not sure why living with a couple of equally broke 30-year-olds should be any more prestigious. Generational households are underrated. They provide a great support network for young and old. It won’t be the right fit for everyone, but it shouldn’t be embarrassing if it is.

  87. Ranon*

    I’ve had coworkers of various ages living with parents in all kinds of configurations and they’ve done what Allison advises and just owned it, whether it was gloating about all the great meals they shared or giving their parent credit for the gorgeous house plants I can see behind them in zoom. People live in all kinds of different ways.

  88. Nea*

    Looking at broader history, you quickly see the idea that living with extended family = failure to launch is just a blip in American society, a 1940s-1950s ideal created by the housing boom of the GI Bill. These days housing is neither cheap nor plentiful, meaning people have nowhere to move to even if they want – especially now that so much of the housing market has been snapped up by investment companies trying to flip shabby houses for inflated prices or build Air B&B empires.

  89. BubbleTea*

    I moved in with my stepmum for six months, bringing along my kid and my dog. We were between houses – sold one, needed to find the right new one to buy – she had space and the rent I paid was useful income. Almost as soon as we moved out, her younger son (older than me) moved in, having ended a long-term relationship. He’s moved out now and my stepmum is looking at hosting a Ukrainian refugee, although it’s possible we might need to move in again briefly while some building work is done and my house. Family supporting each other is excellent and we should normalise it!

  90. Jonathan MacKay*

    I turn 40 in March, and aside from a brief period working in Kapuskasing, Ontario from 2010 to the end of 2011, I’ve lived with my parents in the home where I grew up. They’re both retired now, so there’s been some tension every now and again, which is understandable from their perspective. The fact is, I’ve started working towards the CHRP (Certified Human Resources Professional) designation in the hopes of a successful career change, as I’m currently working as a warehouse coordinator, and renting my own place would probably take at least 60% of my monthly take home pay in this area.

    It’s certainly been a cost-saver however, as though I pay them for room and board, (much lower than market rates!) I’m setting a New Years Resolution to have banked $10K by August – that might just be all the breathing room I need to finally find a place – and if I can find a job in the HR field, finally feel like my life’s back on track!

  91. EmmaPoet*

    I wouldn’t bat an eye if someone said they lived with their parents. I’d probably have more questions if I were dating them, but it wouldn’t affect my opinion of a coworker, even an older one.

  92. jane's nemesis*

    I am someone who would blurt out “omg I could never” at the idea of living with my parents, but it’s about me and my relationship with my parents and my childhood trauma, not about judging the person I’m blurting it at!

    In fact, I’m reading all these comments from all of you lovely people who do share homes with your parents and feeling very happy for all of you, while also a bit sad and envious. I love the idea of communal living and community and caring for each other! Sadly, I couldn’t have that with my family of origin.

    1. OyHiOh*

      Same! I wish my parents and I “worked” well enough that this could be an option for all of us. Sadly, not currently the case.

  93. nnn*

    Thought experiment:

    Imagine you and your sister were both living in the same city and both needed roommates at the same time, so you decide to be each others’ roommates – you get along, you’re a known quantity to each other, it just makes sense.

    Think about the tone and delivery you’d use to say “I live with my sister.”

    Now use the same tone and delivery to say “I live with my parents.”

  94. Meghan*

    I would just like to say it is so refreshing to see all the support and others who are in the same boat. My son and I have lived with my mom and stepdad since he was 4 months old and it has been great, we’re a close family anyway but the internal struggle is real. I’ve started this year thinking “okay, pay off my car and then save for a house!” But who knows what the market will look like in a couple of years? If it is more affordable, then sure! Even my stepfather thinks I am crazy for wanting to buy a house right now since my son and I have the upstairs to ourselves and just do what we want. So thank you for this thread!!

  95. Sled Dog Mama*

    I have never understood the the white American stigma around multi (adult) generational households. This is probably because we lived with my grandfather from the time I was 3 and it was awesome!

    1. Sled Dog Mama*

      Hit submit too soon:
      This is relevant because it means that my parents were living with a parent until they were 60. OP you’ve got a long way to go.

    2. Rach*

      It’s fascinating! I was lucky enough to make a friend in grad school from Turkey (in England) and she was so surprised that one of my brothers moved out for work without getting married first.

      It really helped me de-stigmatize my current situation.

  96. Borgney*

    Alison is right, it’s all in how you approach it. I moved back in with my parents at 40 when I moved to the same city they were living in but I had a 85% travel job. They didn’t see a reason for me to pay for someplace that I wasn’t actually living in and I got to have someplace to come home to with dogs.

    We stayed in the same house even after I left the travel job, married, and until my parents health declined and they went into assisted living. I got the house.

    I approached it very much like Alison’s advice. I was upbeat and let people know it worked for us, but it definitely wasn’t for everyone.

  97. Coco*

    The general consensus here seems to be owning it and be open about it. I just wanted to chime in that it’s also totally fine if you don’t want to! I’m in a similar situation in my mid 30s. When I started my new job I made a decision to keep that aspect of my personal life to myself. As far as everybody else is concerned, it’s just me and my dog. Rightly or wrongly, I knew that some people would have an unconscious bias. It was the best decision for me. Own it if you feel comfortable doing so, or don’t! There is no right answer here.

  98. Mmm.*

    “I rent part of my parents’ house” could work as well. It’s 100% true!

    Though I think phrasing it any way other than “I still live at home” works. There is something odd there strictly in terms of phrasing or meaning.

  99. 653-CXK*

    I turned 52 a couple of months ago, and I still live with my mother. Where she’s had two shoulder, two hip, and two knee surgeries, and that my father passed away back in 2005 from cancer, it was easier to stay where I was rather than move clear across the country. I do contribute quite a lot and still manage to have a good career and save up a ton of money.

    I think people get embarrassed over living at home with their parents because others think they can’t manage on their own. This article made me feel better about my situation – and I’ll definitely use the “my mother lives with me” when they ask!

  100. KatL*

    I am 35, single, no kids, and have a dog. I moved back in with my parents in my late 20’s in hopes of paying off debt and saving up a down-payment for a house. The house didn’t happen because I don’t and will never make enough money to afford a mortgage in this lifetime because of how ridiculously overpriced housing is. Even rent is stupid now. I got a new job in July and was thinking about moving closer to my job…NOPE. People are asking between $1700-$2000 dollars for a single bedroom of 800 sqft or less. I paid $900 in 2015 for the same thing. And this doesn’t include utilities. Who the hell can pay that???? I make $50k a year and I certainly can’t pay that on top of utilities, groceries, gas, the rest of my bills, etc.

    So I told my dad I was just going to live with him forever and he was fine with that. I honestly didn’t get anything living on my own that I don’t get living with my parents. And I have more expendable cash that I can use to go to concerts, or on road trips, or whatever I want to do without worrying about “oh, no, if I skip eating this week I can probably go to that show and make rent.”

    I think people have forgotten that we aren’t really meant to live alone. I may not be able to bring a guy back to my house because my parents are there (awkward) but that’s what hotels are for. Japan has literally made an entire industry on rent-by-the-hour rooms.

  101. We Loved It!*

    I lived with my parents for several years after my divorce because I couldn’t afford to live on my own with the debt from it. My daughter was with me and we all loved the arrangement. My parents loved having their youngest grandbaby around to spoil her and take care of her. I loved having the help and opportunity to get the debt paid off and a savings account built. My parents and I got along great and we had few issues. We were there to help get ready for holiday get-togethers and help them over the loneliness when everyone went home. They helped get my daughter to school because I had a long commute. It was great for everyone. Even my nieces and nephews were jealous of their cousin because she “got to live” with grandma and grandpa.
    We have since moved into our own house and it was very bittersweet. It’s good to be on our own but we still visit a few times a week.
    Bottom line is, don’t let anyone make you feel bad. I had some people try to make little jabs at me but I shrugged it off and said it works for all of us and we enjoy each other.
    If living with your parents works for you and them, go for it!! Sadly, they won’t live forever and you’ll be so glad you have these memories.

  102. Froggy*

    Im in my mid 30s and still live with my parents.
    Given the terrible rental crisis in Melbourne AUS and increasingly high cost of living, people have mostly commended me for it and have told me Ive made a smart choice.

  103. Elle*

    I have the same situation as OP and the same sense of shame. So this comment section has been encouraging to me. As for people not judging, I have found that people do think there is a mooching immature aspect to it and I struggle with those biases.

  104. aebhel*

    I’m in my late 30s and I have several coworkers my age and older who live with their parents for various reasons. I think this is becoming a lot more common in the U.S., to be completely honest, and I think it’s starting to lose a lot of its stigma because of that. Generally speaking, people will take their cues from you; if you treat it like it’s normal and unremarkable, the vast majority of people will be normal about it (and anyone who can’t be is displaying their own bad manners and immaturity).

  105. Jellyfish Chow*

    I’m usually a lurker here in the comments, but as another 30-something who lived with her parents until well into her 30’s, I feel you, OP. You and I sound like we have/had very similar situations with being higher-level managers, actively contributing as members of the household, etc. If it works for you and your family, embrace it.

    I sometimes felt embarrassed about living with my parents as long as I did (and I was pretty open with people about it), but ultimately, I’m grateful for the time we had together and the fact that they were willing to let me stay with them as long as I did (since it was definitely a net benefit for me financially). Even though I don’t live with them anymore, I still go see them and help with errands and chores on the weekends, and our relationship remains strong.

  106. MK*

    My much younger sister lived with us for years, and I loved it. Our house is plenty big, she saved money, there was an extra person to take care of the dog or pick up milk on the way home. She now lives with her fiance and I am happy for her but I also miss it!

  107. Broadway Duchess*

    One thing I’d encourage OP to do is remove the word “still” from the equation. Still implies you’re delayed in some way and you’re not. This is a situation that works for everyone involved. My family and I spend a lot of time with my parents and people get weird about it — the “I could nevers” spring to mind. We just really do like hanging out together.

  108. Jaybeetee*

    I’m Canadian and in my late 30s, and there used to be a similar stigma here about living with parents past a certain age. But since we started having a housing crisis up here before it was cool, plus the pandemic, it’s become pretty normal for singles or even couples to live with parents well into their 30s. In fact, I think it’s become more normalized in the 30s on the understanding that the roommate well may be starting to run dry at this age, and living alone is *expensive*. So people get it.

    I personally wouldn’t try to slide around it with “my parents live with me” – I agree with other commenters that it’s a bit misleading, but moreover it comes off a bit insecure to me, about something for which there’s no reason to feel insecure! You live with your parents, like lots of people our age. Honestly, if you think you can pull off “I live in my childhood bedroom” in a jokey and confident way, I say go for that.

    I personally do live on my own, but I’ve had colleagues of all ages over the years who lived with parents for a variety of reasons, not to mention people I know/am related to doing the same. I’ve never raised an eyebrow at that fact alone (socially, I’ve only done so when it sounds like a My Beloved Smother situation or there’s some other Peter Pan indicators going on – but not just over living with parents). I wouldn’t worry too much.

  109. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

    In some cultures and economic circles inter-generational living was always the norm. They are calling a large segment of society the sandwich generation because they are caring for elderly parents and kids (minor or adults who can’t afford a place) at the same time. As housing cost and inflation keeps going up I think we are going to see more and more families living like the Walton’s.

  110. Katie*

    I agree this has become much more normalized since COVID–I believe there was an article about it in WaPo this weekend, which officially makes it a trend. :)

    I’m in a similar situation—my parents bought a condo and I “rent” it from them by paying the property taxes, HOA fees, insurance, maintenance etc. There have also been times they’ve stayed with me for long stretches after surgeries so I could help provide care. So I’ve used variations of “I rent from my parents,” “my parents and I bought a condo together,” “I help provide caregiving” etc over the years. I used to overexplain, but since the pandemic especially no one really bats an eye!

  111. Beth*

    I have felt so much shame in the past for still living with my parents and I’m in my 40s. I usually tap danced around the subject. Now I’m very open about it – both of my parents have health issues and I do many of the tasks they can no longer do.

    I don’t broadcast that I never moved out (for many of the same reasons as LW) but am frank about the general chaos that results from being a caregiver. I feel like sometimes I’m given undue praise if anything and a great deal of understanding when life happens.

  112. 2 Cents*

    I live in a VHCOL area and no one would blink at this. I’d switch the language to “my parents live with me” or “I live with family” like Alison suggests, but no one needs to know the details (even if you’re under the same Star Wars comforter). You have savings, security, socialization you need and so much more. No shame there. Heck, I own a house, am married and have a child and there are days I wish I still lived with my parents because I need an adult around lol

  113. Nat*

    Solidarity OP; I have also been in this sitch for literal years, because I moved back from the UK to Australia in the middle of 2020 when there were no jobs, so of course I moved back in with my parents, & then my mum became gradually more disabled & I generally told people that I was her carer, but it was mutually beneficial because our division of labour was “whoever’s chronic illness is less bad today will take the lead.” She passed away from a stroke in July, so I’m now mostly living on my own in the same house (my dad works in another city during the week) & I deeply miss having someone else to coordinate my life with. I don’t think you should feel embarrassed about living with your parents if it’s working for you; there’s a weird cultural thing about how in your thirties you should only be cohabiting with a romantic partner, & I would hope that at some point we can move beyond that being the be all and end all of living arrangements, especially when it’s so crazy hard to buy property as a single person!

  114. Sparkles McFadden*

    This really is not at all weird. You are in a living situation that works for you with people you love. Everyone should be so fortunate. I fail to see how “I have a bunch of roommates I met via Craig’s List” would be superior to “I live with family members.”

    Anyone who makes a judgmental or snide comment about how other people are living their lives is doing so out of some odd insecurity of their own. It’s their issue, not yours LW. Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy 2024!

    1. Sled Dog Mama*

      Your point about stranger roommates v. family is so important! Family can make superior roommates because you already have the relationship and have generally lived together in the past.

      1. OP*

        Yes! This is it. I had some bad experiences with college roommates so I’m picky about who I live with (and can thankfully choose to be). I know I could live with my parents, older sibling (but not my younger sibling!), and my college roommate. My college roommate lives too far from my job, and my older sibling is married and doesn’t want a roommate besides their spouse. That leaves my parents or living alone, and due to mental health concerns that tend to be exacerbated when I have too much time to myself (like when my parents are on vacation) I don’t want to live alone. I love the point about it being no different than other roommates.

  115. learnedthehardway*

    In the OP’s shoes, I would – if it was necessary – discuss that the parents and the OP made an agreement for me to live with them. Benefits being financial (me) and support (them), enabling the parents to live in their home for the rest of their lives, etc., etc. A) it’s entirely true, B) it presents this as a well-reasoned decision. If anyone is nosy enough to ask what you would do if you had a serious relationship / got married, just point out that it would take a lot for you to change your living situation or that the decision can be revisited.

    I think it is the rational decision part that is important for managing other people’s impressions of the situation. And let’s be honest, as much as it is nobody else’s business, impressions of your maturity, independence, self-reliance, and judgement DO make a difference to your career – whether it is just how your coworkers see you, but also (perhaps more subtly) in how your managers perceive your future career potential. Since North American culture has been so focused on “grow up, move out, be independent” as a marker of adulthood, you want to present your situation as a rational departure from the cultural norm rather than as a “failure to launch”.

    Part of the reason we bought the home we have was initially for one of our parents to live with us. That hasn’t turned to be necessary, but we do have in mind that at least one of our kids will likely not want to move out, so we will give them the option to keep their bedroom or to renovate the basement into an apartment, if that’s what they want (and if they’re willing to contribute to it, when they are gainfully employed in a career).

  116. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

    The stereotype that gets panned is the 30/40-something able-bodied person who lives in their parents’ basement because they have never been able / bothered to keep a job, or have never even looked for one.

    Completely different to someone who pays their way as a responsible adult.

    With the costs of housing and utilities rising so much in comparison to wages, plus longer lives tending to come with a longer period of infirmity in later years, I expect multi-generational living to increase a lot and hence become more widely accepted culturally.

  117. Marzipan Shepherdess*

    LW1: You can always point out, if anyone asks why you’re living with your parents, that you’re able to help them out as needed. This is (A) true (even if they don’t need MUCH help, you’re still in a good position to give it to them if they DO need it) and (B) makes it clear that your parents are benefiting from your being there. And if people see you living your life, not being restricted by your parents’ overcontrolling behavior, they’re much more likely to see your situation as the normal one that it is.

  118. Baron*

    I lived with my dad for much of my thirties. This kind of thing is increasingly common due to the state of the economy, changing norms, etc. It’s not so abnormal.

  119. Squirrel*

    This honestly does sound like an awesome setup. Not a setup that works for everyone, but it’s clearly working for you, OP. I also agree with other commenters that it’s not so unusual, especially given the economic and psychological benefits of living with a trusted support network. I live alone and keep in touch with family via tech, but I do miss their physical presence sometimes.

  120. Anonymousse*

    My husband’s direct boss is a few years younger, I think my husband originally hired him in their huge company ages ago. Anyway, we’re married, have no house and kids- his boss makes more money than we do, probably- and he lives with his parents for similar reasons. I don’t find it that strange after the pandemic. I think a lot of people realized they need people with them, or don’t during that time. I think it gets hard maybe when you’re dating, but even then I don’t think it’s really that odd these days. Inflation is insane. Don’t feel too weird about it. I think it’s more common they’d you would I shine. Now, my 44 year old SIL who barely works and still lives with her parents…has always just been a mooch. That doesn’t sound like you.

  121. Dido*

    I agree with owning it, but I think saying something like “it’s awesome” is a bit overkill and sounds like a cope

    1. Abundant Shrimp*

      But what if it really is awesome? During the pandemic, I was locked down with one of my sons (25 at the time), his then-gf (26), and their two cats (4 and 4) and I still feel embarrassed for how much of a blast the lockdown was, for me at least, and for the cats. Everyone in the country, world even, was suffering, and there I was having the time of my life sharing my home with my family. (They all moved out in the late spring/early summer of 2020.) Hope it was just as good for the son and gf too! LW says their friends and family all live nearby, that alone sounds pretty awesome to me, as is living with close family who LW gets along great with – and I am someone who likes and prefers living alone.

  122. Hydrangea MacDuff*

    My colleague is in his 30s and in the same boat. I honestly never even thought about judging him for it—he is super competent and is living back with his folks so he can save money for a house in our crazy housing market, and it seems to be working really well for the whole crew.
    I think we’re going to see more and more multigenerational living as housing prices continue to go bananas—my husband and I are already planning for the “what if” our current college student kid needs housing support / partnership after graduation. If it works for you that’s awesome!

  123. glowyrm*

    You sound like a kind and thoughtful person who is good at your job. Your colleagues will either not pay any mind to your living situation or think that your parents are lucky to have their awesome adult person live with them!

  124. AnxiousAnt*

    I’m in my mid-thirties and live with my parents and siblings. My siblings are in their thirties as well. We are all single and employed and contribute to household finances and chores. Multi-generational households are very common in the culture I come from so it has never felt weird or embarrassing to me. Especially since my parents are retired and do not have significant retirement income, it makes it easier for my siblings and I to take care of them financially while having enough to spend on hobbies and savings. If we did not live together everyone would have a lower standard of living and worse mental health. Being in the same household during the pandemic definitely helped us all maintain our sanity.

    When I first moved back home after living on my own in another city for a number of years, I did get some judgmental comments from coworkers who would ask where I was living. A few people outright implied it was embarrassing while others asked curious but slightly intrusive questions like “Since you live with your family does that mean you don’t have to cook every night because you guys take turns cooking?” (which is really not much different than anyone living with a spouse tbh lol) or “Are you single because you live with your family and can’t bring anyone home?” (umm, not really an appropriate question to ask a coworker!).

    I used to avoid this topic like the plague because I didn’t want to address the weird questions people asked but it made me closed off to social interaction. I also worried that it would make people take me less seriously as a manager. Now I have started saying “I live with my family”. I don’t really like the phrasing of “I live with my parents” because it implies a dependent relationship in North America although I wouldn’t mind describing my living arrangement this way to someone who understands multi-generational living.

    I really appreciate all the thoughtful replies to this post from everyone. It is great to see it’s not an uncommon situation and I wish the old me had seen all these responses so I wouldn’t have spent years dreading people asking me this question. Thank you to this wonderful community, as always, for being so helpful!

  125. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

    I normally read all the comments, but I’m dropping in late, so forgive me if this has been stated before.

    I’m in my mid-40’s and never moved out from home. For a long time, I didn’t think I could afford it (hi, minimum wage!) and I didn’t drive (in a place that has abysmal public transport) so it never made sense to even try to move out. Now that my parents are elderly, I can drive, and make more than minimum wage, it still seems like a bad idea. I save tons of money, I am here for my parents as they age, and I don’t worry endlessly about them like I would if I weren’t living with them. (Covid proved this- I worried about my parents catching it and I even knew where they went and who they were spending time with.) I don’t have a SO or kids, so it’s just the three of us and I’m in a good place financially to hopefully afford good care of them later in life and even more down the road, for myself as I age.

    I’ve never shied away from telling coworkers about my living situation. I’ve always talked about my parents and what we do and say as my coworkers have talked about the loved ones they live with. I have felt embarrassed about it at times, but no one has ever made me feel badly about it. I think part of the reason is that I definitely am not the stereotypical slacker child- I keep a full time job; I pay my own expenses and part of the household expenses in general; I cook and clean, more and more as the years go by and my parents can’t do as much as they used to. So, no one really has a failure to launch perception of me- and if they do, they don’t share it with me.

    I like Allison’s advice to just own it. I wouldn’t use any lies to cover it up or downplay it. “I live with my parents,” or “My parents and I live together,” is fine. You can get creative, but I wouldn’t lie about the situation or avoid it. If you’re natural about it, others will be too. And so many people are in “alternative” living situations (adult children living with parents; grandparents moving in with children/grandchild; siblings living together; various family members taking in nieces and nephews, etc) you probably won’t be the only one who doesn’t live in a “traditional” way.

  126. Oregonbird*

    For this, channel Cher in Moonstruck! It’s your norm, it’s good for everyone, your boundaries are comfortably and sanely family-oriented.

    If you’d like to upgrade your living space, look at ways to do that, whether it’s an addition to the house, one of the new living pods in the backyard, or just redoing your room top to bottom. Taking over the garage is a classic move.

    It’s good to hear about a family living situation that works – your coworkers will be envious!

  127. Family Ftw*

    This comment thread is honestly a relief and a joy to read. My kids, early-mid 20s, moved home during Covid. The company my son was working for closed; my daughter’s company put her on 10 hours/week till they could get a paycheck protection loan. So we went through lockdown together — and it was really lovely. The only problem was that we had already downsized a bit, and we were crowded.

    When things started to open up, we discussed when they would move out — and they both said, “Why?” And seriously, we’re in such a HCOL area that financially, it made sense for us to stick together. So we moved to a new larger place — my son’s in an ADU, my daughter has a 3-room suite (half the upstairs), and it just works. My daughter tells everyone she loves the way we live. They don’t pay rent, but they pay all their own expenses (insurance, utilities, etc.).

    I am the only one who feels a bit embarrassed and odd about it. Even though I totally love having them around, I wonder what I’m stealing from them in terms of independence… So this thread is very encouraging. Thanks, all.

    1. Ainsley Hayes*

      So long as you’re treating them like adults with respect and privacy, and so long as they treat you the same way, you’re not stealing any independence from them. My mom and I are very happy roommates in big part because it’s a relationship of mutual respect. I’m so glad your family is happy with your situation!

  128. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

    I wanted to add about multi-generational families in other cultures. I work in the immigration field with new immigrants in a very over-priced housing market. It is typical for several people to share an apartment. One group a coworker told me about was a group of 20s and 30s men. They wanted a grandfather type in their home and took one of the older men with them when they left a shelter.

  129. Practical Reasons*

    It’s not uncommon to live at home. Probably some others in the office do, too. I’m not sure how it comes up so often. If someone asks where you live, just say “I’m renting a place in Columbus” which is true. If they ask more, say “I have two roomates.” Or “I’m sharing a house.” Also true.

    Other option is to say you’re living at home in order to save money to buy a house. That way, you appear very responsible.

  130. Former Retail Manager*

    Just wanted to agree with Alison and all the other commenters. Own it proudly! I am 42 and my husband and I live in my childhood home with my widowed mother (our daughter used to live here also, but moved out and got married). We are a very chatty bunch at my office, and I did get side eye from a few people early on, but no one was ever so bold as to say anything negative. Over time, some people asked questions and I’ve always been honest about how the situation came to be and why we decided that, long-term, it was best for everyone to remain as is. I also think it helped that I had 2 other coworkers in my workgroup who were in the same situation, and we’d all talk about our mothers and their antics.

    The stigma that it’s weird, loser-ish, or whatever else to live with your parents as an adult seems to be very much an American thing (I’m American & I assume you are also). So many other cultures successfully live in multigenerational households and in general, it seems to work well. Whenever possible, I try to get folks to see the positives in an effort to make them realize that it isn’t weird and is usually beneficial for all parties.

  131. Quantum Possum*

    First things first – most people won’t judge you negatively at all for this. In fact, many probably already know (or are) other adults who live with their parents.

    Some people will say, “I could never live with my parents.” This is not a reflection on your personal choice, but rather an expression of their relationship with their parents. Humans are self-centered by design, and we often automatically imagine ourselves in a situation and respond based on that rather than based on the information itself.

    But from your letter, I get the impression that you are struggling in some way internally. It sounds less like you are trying to justify your living situation to your coworkers, and more like you are trying to justify it to yourself.

    If that is the case, maybe ask yourself why. Do you have personal doubts and misgivings? Or are you responding to potential societal concerns?

    In some societies, families living together for generations is standard practice. The U.S. tends to favor “individualism,” but in recent decades, U.S. society has changed, and far more adults live with their parents now.

    Even if that weren’t the case, we suffer when we try to live solely by what society might think of us. If your decisions about your living situation have made you happy, then they are the correct decisions for you.

    However, if you are having personal doubts, unrelated to what others might think, then explore those deeper. Doubts alone do not mean that a decision was wrong. Also, changing your mind later down the road does not mean you made an incorrect decision at the time.

    You obviously are successful and have a good support system. Sometimes when our life seems “too good” and we don’t have a lot of negative stress, we hyperfocus on things that could be amiss. It’s like we crave anxiety.

    I do recommend sitting with and examining your thoughts and potential doubts about your situation. Do this without thinking of your coworkers or society. Try very hard not to judge yourself…just accept and explore your thoughts. Remember that your life is yours alone to live. Nourish your soul on your own terms.

    1. OP*

      Thanks for this. I think it’s society that’s making me have doubts. Most of my age group peers are living on their own, but also the ones I compare to are all married, so still splitting costs with family, just different family. Then at work my subordinates seem either similar in age to me (but a bit younger) and are living alone/with a partner or are fresh out of college living with parents.
      I think I do really need to think through how I’m feeling and why I have doubts. I think it does all stem from feeling like I should be judged or should have done something different. You’ve given me some real food for thought.

      1. Quantum Possum*

        You are very welcome; I’m glad I could help in some way. :)

        I think I do really need to think through how I’m feeling and why I have doubts. I think it does all stem from feeling like I should be judged or should have done something different.

        I sympathize deeply with this. I’ve discovered that most of my self-criticism about my life choices is like that – feeling like I should have done something else, even though I’m not really unhappy or unsatisfied.

        I like to say that “expectations are disappointments waiting to happen.” When we constantly examine our current situation (or past choices) against possible expectations (our own, society’s, family’s, etc.), it’s difficult to determine whether or not we’re living in a way consistent with our individual needs and values — and difficult to appreciate the innate contentedness that comes from doing so.

        Sometimes those nagging doubts do signify a problem, but sometimes the problem isn’t quite what you think it is. For example, feeling vague doubts about living with one’s parents could be a manifestation of something else entirely, that’s not being fulfilled.

        You sound like a very good human, and I have no doubt that people in your life are happy to know you. You’ll do great things, no matter what you choose. I wish you the best!

  132. Paralegal Part Deux*

    OP, I’m in the same boat. I’m 45 and have never left home. I pay rent by paying the utilities, maintenance, my mom’s cellphone bill, etc. Meanwhile, she buys groceries and that’s it. It works for us. People do seem to give me the side eye, but it’s their hang up not mine. Plus, I have a chance to help my mom who is 73 since she has health issues and also gives me the chance to have a closer relationship with her — and memories. We love to watch urbex videos on YouTube as opposed to regular tv. We laugh and talk all the time.

    Life is good for me (and my mom).

    I wish you all the best!

  133. Jaid*

    I’m 53 and moving back in with my father. Mostly it’s because I’m annoyed with my apartment neighbors and don’t feel like trying to find another apartment. It’s gonna be a huge adjustment for me, since I’ve lived on my own since the 90’s. But Dad’s 83 and recently widowed, so I want to keep an eye on him. Any money I save from living with him is just a bonus. And he is generally a chill dude who stays active with Zoom meetings and outings, so there’s that.

  134. thatoneoverthere*

    I think this is more common than people are led to believe! I am in my late 30s. I have several friends that lived at home til their 30s. Some just to save money, others bc they helped with the household expenses. Currently I have one friend in her mid 40s who lives at home. She never married, and her mother passed a few years ago. She helps with expenses, but her Dad’s home is paid off, so there is no rent for her to pay. She mostly runs the household for her Dad. Part of the year the Dad lives in his summer cabin. So she is mostly alone from May-Oct. She loves it.

  135. C*

    My husband and I are in our mid-30s and are about to make a move across the state to live with my parents. We lived there temporarily when my husband had a short term assignment in their city and it was so great- we had one small baby and the multigenerational thing was a delight. After the housing market blew up and it became clear we weren’t going to be able to afford a home in our HCOL area, my parents offered that we could build an addition to their home and come on back. All members of the family are excited- we get a great home in a great neighborhood and some extra adults around, and my parents get help with the house/yard as they age and some extra hours with grandkids.

  136. MistOrMister*

    I don’t understand societal pressure for children to move out of the family home. Sure, if the parents or child wants space there is no reason to not move, but there are a lot of benefits to staying together and people shouldn’t feel shame for that. I moved out late just because I liked being home. I liked having company that I knew and was familiar with. I’m in my own house at this point and living alone can be great but I honestly do not feel more grown up for having my own stupid mortgage and the hassles that come with home ownership. I just feel more poor and with fewer people in the house. Maybe one good thing to come out of the current cost of living crisis is people will get over judging those who choose to keep living with family. Rents and house prices are so high right now that many people just cannot afford to live on their own, even those with what used to be considered decent paying jobs so living at home is becoming more prevalent and hopefully we will see a societal shift where people see the value to multigenerational households.

  137. Kesnit*

    I am 47, married, and live with my mother-in-law.

    About 7 years ago, I got a job about 5 hours from where my in-laws lived at the time. My wife and I moved, and then a few years later, my in-laws (with whom I have a good relationship) decided to move to where my wife and I were because the cost of living was so much better. They bought a large piece of property with the idea that my wife and I (and eventually her brother and his wife) would build on the property.

    Then 2 years ago, my father-in-law passed away. There was never a discussion; my wife and I just decided to stay with her mother. I pay most of the bills. My FiL’s life insurance and Social Security cover the mortgage. My MiL (who still works) pays for groceries.

    When I tell people about my living arrangement, they are either in awe that we live on large piece of rural property with trees all around, or amazed that I willingly live with my mother-in-law. (Again, she and I have a great relationship.)

  138. Theon, Theon, it rhymes with neon*

    (I think “my parents live with me” rather than “I live with my parents” is an interesting linguistic swap.)

    Interesting. For me, those have two different meanings. One means my parents moved into my house, the other means I moved into, or never moved out of, my parents’ house. If I were to say “my parents live with me” when I lived in their house, I would feel I was being disingenuous.

    1. Irish Teacher.*

      I agree those connotations are there, but I think whether it is relevant or not depends on the context of the discussion. If somebody were applying for social welfare benefits and said “I live with my parents” when really, their parents live in their house, then yeah, I would see that as an attempt to give a false impression. Or if say somebody who was pushing MLM products said, “my mom, who lives with me, loves it,” then yeah, it’s relevant because the person is trying to avoid admitting that their MLM isn’t paying them enough to move out of their parents’ home or at least avoid giving that impression, regardless of the truth. Or even just generally, if the person were trying to get some kind of kudos have having their elderly parents live with them.

      But in the context of work, it’s more likely to be something like, “I’d love to get a cat but I can’t because my mom is allergic and she lives with me” and in the context of that discussion, who owns the house isn’t really relevant. The point is why you don’t have a cat, because somebody else in the home is allergic.

      Anybody who cares who owns the house in that kind of context is being weird and I don’t see anything wrong with the LW being a bit disingenuous when that just means allowing people who have some weird preoccupation with knowing whose house it is to get the wrong impression.

  139. Lurker*

    I also live with my parents and have felt exactly the way you do in the past. More recently I’ve come to realize that if I’m matter of fact and normal about it, other people will be too! I’ve also encountered other colleagues around my age who also live with their parents to save money, to take care of them, and a variety of other reasons. Good Luck OP!

  140. Ellis Bell*

    So many of us with supportive families forget how truly privileged we are. We grow up with the cultural message that everyone has a family, that all families love one another, that we all have a similar safety net, etc. It’s actually only true for the very fortunate. Lots of people out there are completely alone in the world, and they may not be living alone entirely out of choice. Other people may be financially reliant on their families, but the relationships aren’t good enough for this to be completely comfortable or healthy. OP you have the best of all worlds: you’re financially independent with a strong emotional support to come home to. While navigating what’s professionally appropriate to disclose, don’t forget to count your blessings! Everyone has their own problems and comparing your situation to that of others isn’t truly possible because you don’t know all the details. All you can do is to measure your own happiness and ask people to take you at your word if you’re content.

  141. Fives*

    I’m really late to this discussion, but OP, I’m in my 40s and share a house with my mom, who’s in her 70s. You could not have paid me to live with any family other than her. We’ve always been tight, and now we’re the only family each other has (we have pets though). I know it might not work for others, but it’s beneficial for both of us.

    If it comes up in conversation at work or something, I just say matter-of-factly that my mom and I live together. No one has batted an eye at it.

  142. kiki*

    I think even if LW were to say, “I live with my parents,” their age and status at work would mean a lot of folks would assume the living situation is one that’s mutually beneficial to all parties involved or LW living with their parents to provide support to them.

    I also think stigma for adults living at home has decreased in the US in recent years. With the housing market being what it is, the pandemic, and shifts in cultural norms, a lot more folks have lived with their parents as adults than in previous generations.

    I also think it’s important to not take reactions of “I could never do that!” personally. A lot of people who exclaim that genuinely aren’t judging LW. In fact, I’m sure some of them are envious that LW and their parents have a healthy enough relationship that living together is possible.

  143. Erika*

    I’m late to this his party but just wanted to add – as someone with a very complicated relationship with her parents, I would both find this weird *and* be envious of the relationship you must have with your parents for this to work well for you.

    Please own it. I’m so glad to know there are families out there for whom this works.

  144. Adalind*

    My two cents is that there is nothing wrong with it. I think the way things are now (everything being extremely expensive) has made it more common for people to still live with their parents. I’m early 40’s and know people who do for a variety of reasons – financial, caring for parents, etc. I almost had to move home in my 30’s due to being laid off and broke. Luckily (for me) I did not have to. I think it’s great if someone can live with their parents as an adult. Personally I clash too much with mine and some distance does wonders.

  145. Elizabeth West*

    This is absolutely not a big deal at all, OP, especially not in this day and age, with housing costs through the roof. And single people end up paying more for everything.

    Plus, there are a lot of people much older than you who either live with their parents or their parents live with them because they’re caretaking. It makes no difference whether you’re doing that or not — this arrangement works for you, it works for them, and it’s not unusual at all in cultures outside the US. So there’s nothing whatsoever to feel weird about!

  146. Isarine*

    Also a mid-30s adult living with parents. I definitely keep the tone light, and depending on the vibe of who I’m talking to, I’ll add maybe add a caveat. It’s always, “Oh, I live with my parents! I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but it works great for us.” If I feel like they’ll be judgy, I add “After all, I’m single by choice and *insert dramatic shudder here* don’t want to hunt for roommates, and we have land that is just too much work for two people.”

    I shouldn’t have to add the caveats, but it definitely has wipe the scowl off of faces when I add it. More and more, people only need the first bit.

  147. Marz*

    I would be very happy to live with my parents and have, and would choose it over a lot of living arrangements.

    I moved, with my partner, to be near my family and parents, and I will say there is a bit of a cultural script and I often play along with that, and don’t even think about it, and say things I don’t really mean but might give people the wrong impression – for instance, my partner, who moved in with my parents by himself, as he get a job there first, so I would tell people, like in a laughing voice “Oh, haha, he lived with my parents without me for 6 months.” like it was a in-law joke or a great hardship. My parents are great! He’s great! Everyone had a fun, respectful, mutually-agreeable time, why do I need to make it a joke, but it just fit so nicely into that in law joke script that was available.

    Which is just to say, sometimes you say something to make someone else comfortable, or say something that you think matches what they would expect, and it doesn’t sit right with you, it’s because you’re not representing it accurately for yourself. Owning it is definitely what will work, so the advice is sound, and it sounds like you get it. I just wanted to +1 that, like, you said it for some reason, and it wasn’t out of no where, and it didn’t hurt anyone, but it can still help to take a step back and be like, okay, I get why I did that, which is fine, but I’m gonna do it this way from now on because it makes more sense for me and what I want to communicate.

    1. Quantum Possum*

      sometimes you say something to make someone else comfortable, or say something that you think matches what they would expect, and it doesn’t sit right with you, it’s because you’re not representing it accurately for yourself. Owning it is definitely what will work

      This. Every bit this.

      Also, there are situations where it truly is easier and less stressful to just say something to match another’s expectations, such as a complete one-off interaction with a stranger. For instance, I’ve let more than one cashier think I have a baby when buying a bunch of diapers for a baby shower – when their eyes light up and they ask, “Oh, how old is your little one?,” I’ll say “four months” or something, because neither of us loses anything in this interaction.

      But coworkers, bosses, and employees are people with whom you share a large part of your time. It’s natural to feel conflicted or disingenuous when misrepresenting yourself to them.

  148. Momma Bear*

    I know several people who in their 30s and 40s decided to combine households with their parents for various reasons. Maybe they travel a lot and it’s nice to have someone watch the house. Maybe their parent had an illness or injury and needs support but not full on caregiving. Or maybe they just want to support each other financially. I think it’s becoming more common in the US even when it’s not “traditional” to do so. I even know people who converted space to a granny suite to allow privacy but also support.

    I would also phrase it as “we live together” or “we share a house” vs “I live with my parents” if you’re uncomfortable.

  149. Lorraine*

    I actually disagree with Alison’s advice here. If it has to come up, tone matters, but as someone in their 40s with roommates while also being a VP, I am now at the point of trying to never let it come up in conversation. It has definitely hurt my career in some ways, where older C-suite executives expect certain life markers of maturity by certain ages. It’s inaccurate, and old-fashioned, and wildly out of touch, but it has led some of them to pass me over for opportunities or undermine my authority. So I think you have to know your leadership and their expectations.

  150. Yikes Stripes*

    Late to the party, but I’m 43 and my mother and I live together because her financial situation is such that she couldn’t afford to live on her own outside of subsidized housing or having a roommate in her late 60s. She also has a really hard time with depression and isolation if she’s not living with someone, so this is by far the best solution. The way I frame our living situation without getting into all the personal details is “My mom needed to move in with family and I was happy to oblige. It’s working out great!”

    I too really enjoy living with my mom – we’ve been extremely close my entire life and when people have a negative reaction or say that they don’t think they could live with their parents I tend to say things like “Oh, I know it wouldn’t work for everyone, but we like it.”

    1. Yikes Stripes*

      Also, I’d like to note that in my closely knit circle of friends I’ve had for two decades, three of the seven of us live with at least one parent. Another friend just moved in with his uncle because he needs an increased level of familial care and this allows him to stay in his own home. People living with family has a long, long, long history and if you don’t act ashamed of it people will mostly respond in the same way.

  151. Raida*

    –You will probably get some “I could never do that” type comments–

    Absolutely you will – but you can say why you get along with your parents, ask about how their parents were when they were teens at home, ask “who’s been your *best* roommate? and who’s been the *worst* one?”
    You can enthusiastically say “I’m so glad it works for us, I’m so glad your living setup works for you – you couldn’t live with your parents and I couldn’t live in a share house.”

  152. Sam I Am*

    The whole “buy your first car, buy your first house” etc us just that- people trying to sell you something. You’re great. In fact you’re not falling for their marketing, and that’s fabulous.

  153. Nica*

    I lived with my parents up until I married at age 32. I owned it, 100%. Yes, I got shade from some folks, but just as many told me how smart I was to do it (I live in an HCOL area) and I was lucky I had parents I got along with and that we could all live together harmoniously. Bottom line, I’m now 50, I own a house worth $600K with just a $140K mortgage left to pay, have a seven figure retirement account and no other debt. I’m laughing all the way to the bank…

  154. Julia Jacob*

    I think this is really lovely. I *wish* I could stand to live with my parents, but it would drive me up a wall. That being said, I would love it if we had the kind of relationship that could manage it!

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