We asked our mums if they hate having us back at home after university

A new study has found live-at-home adults are a £1.2 billion drain on their parents

University is the first taste of real independence for many. And so having to move back home when you graduate is understandably frustrating.

There are many complex reasons for why we end up doing so, and many of them are irresolvable in the short term, because we’re trapped in economic conditions of others’ making: there are few jobs, a lack of affordable housing, and a great deal of uncertainty. All of this means many of us are likely to end up back at home for a while.

On the other hand, in all our righteous fury, it is easy to forget that having us back home can be a burden (literally and emotionally) on our parents too. Indeed, according to the results of a study this week, we are a “£1.2bn drain” on our mums and dads. Our parents thought they were shot of us – that they were sending their newly-formed, newly-qualified adults into the real world. Instead, we’re back in our childhood bedrooms bleating about when dinner will be ready.

So we got some live-at-home adults to ask the real experts – their mums – what they think about having us back.

Sophie Stables, 22

Sophie has been living back at home with her mum, Jules, for 14 months

How is it having me back at home?

There are peaks and troughs – you get used to having peace and the house to ourselves. It’s nice having the energy of a young person, but frustrating when it comes to getting any sort of information out of you – such as mealtimes, if you’ll be coming home… and with who.

What’s my most annoying habit?

Leaving multiple pairs of shoes in the porch until they become a tripping hazard.

How long is too long for me to live back at home?

I get excited when you apply for jobs which aren’t a commutable distance – let’s leave it at that.

Do you think I’m a “drain”?

At times, yes. And a pain.

Do you want me to move out?

Not until you’re ready. After all, I value the day-to-day critique of my appearance and your personal style tips.

Tom Jenkin, 24

Tom lived back at home with his mum, Linda, for six months


Did you expect me moving back to be different?

No, because we still had bad memories of when you were a teenager.

Do you think me moving back made our relationship better or worse?

Hmmm… it’s character building. OK, if I’m honest, probably worse.

How long would be too long for me to live back at home?

About six hours.

Did you want me to pay rent?

No, just to pay someone else rent and move out.

Do you think I was a “drain”?

Some people are drains, some are radiators. With the smells that come out of your room probably more a drain.

Did you want me to move out?

Yes. Now we can meet for lunch once a month and try to salvage our mother/child relationship.

Lizzie Thomson, 21

Lizzie has been living back at home with her mum, Roz, for 10 months

How is it having me back at home?

It’s lovely to have an adult back when I sent a teenager away. I can’t believe the difference university makes. It’s like having a best mate as well as my daughter back.

Did you expect me moving back to be different?

I was apprehensive, but I was looking forward to it. I didn’t like you being so far away. I was worried that if you needed me I wouldn’t be instantly there – I can now be there in a flash.

How long is too long for me to live back at home?

I would imagine you would have outgrown home and want to try pastures new by 30, but your home is always there for you. It’s lovely to have a buzzy home.

Do you want me to pay rent?

When you are settled, yes – gradually helping out in a year or so.

Do you think I’m a “drain”?

A sewer yes, but never a drain! Children are always a drain on finances but never on mental well-being. I love being a mum to both my girls.

Do you want me to move out?

Of course not, but I realise it is a rite of passage. I know we will always be close and I will always be a huge part of your life so I’m not worried about you becoming independent.

Phoebe Luckhurst, 23

Phoebe lived back at home with her mum, Dot, for five months – her brother, Toby, moved back for two whole years

How was it having us back at home?

Great and hideous. I loved having you safely home with me, but I hated that you were grumpy because you didn’t want to be at home with me.

Did you expect us to be different when you moved back?

Not exactly. But I did hope your table manners would have been as good as they were when you left home for university. I fear standards were not so exacting at uni.

How long would be too long for one of us to live back at home?

When the child doesn’t get motivated to get out and find work, there is a problem. It’s not good for parent or child.

Did you want us to pay rent?

With what? Neither of you had any money!

Do you think we were a “drain”?

Financially, it is expensive when another adult is added to the family budget. Did I resent it? No. But I still don’t like your vegetarianism.

Were you relieved when we moved out?

Heartbroken, but I’ll live.

Me, 22

I’ve been living back at home with my mum, Ann, for 10 months


Did you expect me moving back to be different?

I thought you might be more grown up now you’re in the big wide world – I was wrong there, you still treat the house like a hotel and me like a maid!

What’s my most annoying habit?

Definitely leaving clothes all over the bedroom floor.

How long is too long for me to live back at home?

I think two years is enough time to get settled enough and make enough contacts to move out – though I have a sneaking suspicion with London prices that you may still be here in 10.

Do you want me to pay rent?

Yes, in the same way as I want to win the lottery: there’s a one in five million chance of it happening

Do you think I’m a “drain”?

A drain on my patience sometimes, but I’m prepared to put up with the drain on resources for a limited time if it helps you on your way.

Do you want me to move out?

I wish you could have “terms” like at uni – a lovely four weeks of you, then when it gets a bit too much I’d be able to pack you off again for 10 weeks!