It’s the fall, a time when many families face the prospect of empty nests as their young adults depart for college jobs. Ah, the empty nest…a syndrome that simultaneously fills us with dread and delight. The prospect of our children leaving home potentially evokes a multitude of anxieties. (Often this anticipatory anxiety is for naught when our children ricochet back to their rooms when life out of the nest, with it’s pesky responsibilities, thwarts their efforts at independence). And it seems that is happening a lot lately given the current economic conditions.
An article in the New York Times The US Census Bureau reported a 1.2 million increase in adult children moving back into the nest. Shared households now account for almost 20% of all American households. The Baby Boomer generation (of which I am a part) is truly the “tweener” generation. We are sandwiched between parenting our children and tending to aging parents. (Thirty-one percent of Boomers are helping support older and younger family members).
I almost fell off my chair laughing when I read a piece from The Crowded Nest Syndrome: Surviving the Return of Adult Children, which takes a critical view of the trend. Kathleen Shaputis is comically critical of what she has labeled, “CNS”, otherwise known as Crowded Nest Syndrome. Shaputis says, “Forget Atkins and Weight Watchers”, the Crowded Nest Syndrome Diet will enable one to lose their appetite in no time. The author opines, “You know you’re living in a crowded nest when…
-Your other car is a U-Haul
–You’re on a first name basis with employees at CostCo
–You go to your car on Monday morning and the gas tank is empty.
–Every time you return from a fast food restaurant, you bring back a job application.
Tough economic times make demands on our time and pocket books. Humor in the face of these transitions can serve as an an excellent coping strategy.