Jewish Journal

Boomerang Kids

by Annie Korzen

August 24, 2011 | 3:01 pm

In most cultures in the world, grown children are expected to feed, clothe, and house their elders and in many cases it’s the mother-in-law who runs the family.  What an excellent idea! In our society, however, parenting seems to have become a lifetime job.

After you’ve raised the kid and survived the childhood injuries, the teenage psychoses, and the near-bankruptcy of tuition costs, you get all teary at a college graduation ceremony and congratulate yourself on a job well done.  The offspring is launched, your life is your own again, and you think about turning the kid’s room into a ceramics studio.  Think again. 

Young adults face a brutal reality shock when they leave the warm cocoon of home and school.  Finding a job and a place to live are tough challenges, especially in our difficult economy. Nowadays, a lot of college grads are boomeranging right back to mama’s house.

If – God forbid – I had a twenty or thirty-something living with me, I would at least expect some help with the chores.  My friend Nancy is a college professor whose son and daughter-in-law live with her.  The daughter-in-law loves to cook, bake, and garden: that sounds like a pretty fair exchange to me.  On the other hand, I know a woman who prepares her slacker son’s lunch before she leaves for work, and does his laundry on weekends.  This mother is a psychologist.  I think she could use some therapy.


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Annie Korzen is a comedy writer and performer. Her humorous essays have been printed in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and more. She has...

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