21 things you’ll understand if you’ve moved back in with your parents in your 20s

The background of your Zoom call is like a Scooby-Doo chase scene

So you’ve moved back in with your parents. Whether it’s for a month or for the foreseeable, there’s something uniquely stifling and comforting about it, all at the same time. I get tea made for me – but it’s with cow’s milk, not almond milk because milk substitutes are a “faff”. I get all the TV and subscriptions I want, but for some reason, I still have to watch Bargain Hunt? I get comfort and – wait one second, my mum’s trying to speak to me. No, Mum. No Mum I’m at work. I have headphones on. What? I’m writing an intro. Yes, an intro. Okay, I can sort your phone problem out later. Mum, please. YES okay, I’ll have a cup of tea. Thanks.

Sorry about that. Essentially, you are a child again but you have the knowledge of an adult. You’re through the looking glass, and sleeping in your childhood bedroom. This makes life a lot harder, because if I’ve learned anything from that weird prison in Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, it’s that the knowledge of the outside world is what kills you. So do away with your Pret, shagging and liberal drinking, because this is what life is like returning to your parent’s home:

1. Not being able to drink without seeming like an alcoholic

Starting to think that my tinny after work every day from Weds-Fri is less “hump day” and “Fri-yay” and more AA, now that my mum has told me this enough times. And don’t even think about missing smoking or drugs, because there’s no chance you’ll be doing them in your parents’ house! Jesus wept.

2. Having to follow your parents’ strange schedules

Dinner is at 5.30pm, don’t forget you’re setting the table. Yes we have to eat at the table, not in front of the TV, you slob. Oh and we have to watch the 6 o’clock news. And the 10 o’clock news, even if it’s the exact same content. And if your mum wants to wake up at 7am and go on a dog walk you WILL grin and bear it while she clomps around the house and unloads the dishwasher loudly. This is their roof, their rules, remember.

3. Having to deal with rural hometown Tinder

Or any hometown Tinder. Either is bad because you have to see people you went to school with, your mum’s friends’ children or all your best mates’ early exes. And, at worst, your own siblings or cousins. Yeugh.

Bonus points for when you see all the local Tinder totums: Picture in a car. Picture holding a dog. Picture of four boys stood in a row. Picture in a gilet. Picture next to a tractor.

4. No Deliveroo, or Pret, or Leon, or Itsu

Even if you live in a city, Deliveroo is not commonplace for a family household. I don’t know if you heard, but it’s actually a sin? Deliveroo is the devil winking at you. Or at least, that’s how my family see it.

And chances are you don’t live somewhere with good, if any, Deliveroo options either and you just wistfully think about Pret all the time while you stare out of the window into your mum’s garden. Oh fuck, the dog’s digging again, better go stop that.

No Deliveroo, just vibes x

5. An obsession with the word ‘woke’

My mate told me she bought oat milk the other day and a 30 minute conversation about wokeness ensued. Is it woke? Am I woke? Are you woke? It’s endless.

6. Having absolutely no qualms about wandering around in the back of Zoom calls

I would literally hold in a wee for 40 days and starve for 40 nights to avoid walking into someone else’s Zoom call in my house. And yet suddenly, when it is me on the Zoom call, everyone’s bladder is the size of a thimble, they’re all really hungry, want to have conversations 5x louder than normal, or take a phone call, or turn off the internet to “see if it’s working”. LET ME LIVE.

7. Constant temperature chat

Chaotic good mother figure saying “Ooh it’s chilly isn’t it? Shall I put the heating on?” is met with chaotic evil father figure claiming it is NEVER cold enough for the heating to be turned on. I am in a constant state of freezing and sweating. No one is ever happy. The cat’s crying.

8. Asking who you’re talking to when you’re on the phone

I will tell you when I am OFF THE PHONE!

10. Not understanding headphones

Your mum will have a five-minute convo with you while you cannot hear her and then expect you to answer coherently when you hear the tail end, final five seconds of what she says. Je nais comprends pas!!! Parles vous headphone??????????

11. You suddenly have neighbours you actually interact with

If you’ve ever lived away from home, it’s likely that you didn’t speak to your neighbours. At most, you interact through angry thumping on the walls every now and then when they’re being too loud and they return the favour by occasionally stealing your wheelie bins. This is young people neighbour communication. It is all we know.

But now you are home and expected to smile at people as you leave the house and go on walks. Every old person seems to know you and if you walk with the “headphones on/world off” attitude (very Year 8 Facebook status I know but I said it) of city living then you will be considered hideously rude. It will end in some conversation with a parent where you are told: “Richard says he saw you yesterday but you didn’t stop to chat”. Maybe I didn’t want to chat to Richard, did you think about that, Dad!?!?!

12. You eat the same five meals on repeat

And one of them is always spag bol.

And this was my THIRD bowl of spag!

13. Your parents demand to know where you are going if you leave the house

I literally leave the house and don’t come back for months at a time to live in a different city sometimes guys, and I survive that, so I think you will cope with me popping to the shops.

14. You have to make dog walk small talk

If, when you return home, you have the absolute pleasure of returning to a dog, the novelty immediately wears off when you take said dog on a walk. You will see the entire population of the town you live in, someone you went to school with, your mum’s dog walking mate who have some comments to make about your dog’s weight (and yours if you’re lucky!) and some angry old man who is resistant to any dog other than his own being on this walk. It is social. It is stressful. It is both at the same time if you are unlucky to see someone you know while collecting your dog’s faeces.

15. Just incessant pet talk around the house

If you had to make a word bubble for the most used words in any house with a pet, that pet’s name or their title (i.e “the cat”) will be the most used phrase. Where is the cat? Why’ve you upset the cat? Stop winding the cat up! Have you fed the cat? Has anyone let the cat out recently? Et al.

16. The Unloading of the Dishwasher

One of the worst jobs, second only to doing the actual dishes. Somehow worse when you’re at home rather than living away from home, because your parents tell you to do it all the time and often at inopportune moments, like when you have just sat down with a cup of tea and a biscuit or you were considering potentially having a wank.

17. Speaking of… sex scenes

Still uncomfortable, still awkward, no matter what the age. Woe betides anyone who enters into Bridgerton with their family. My personal favourite ‘awkwardly watching a sex scene with parents’ story comes from my ex-boyfriend, who was once watching a Love Actually sex scene (the one with the porn stars, aka Martin Freeman and Stacey from Gavin and Stacey) and as the two people were bonking on screen he took a picture to send to me to illustrate how awkward it was that he was watching this with his parents. Only he took it with flash. Hard one to explain your way out of.

18. Getting asked to do tech-related things all the time

My mum routinely calls me or sends garbled text messages because she keeps her phone in her bra. Which would be fine, if she locked her phone, but after owning an iPhone for over six years the other day she asked me where the lock button was, because she had never used it. She had never used the lock button. This really illustrates what we’re up against here.

N.B you will also be the ultimate voice on anything Zoom, Facebook, Asos, Amazon or Wifi related for the entirety of your stay. Enjoy.

This MacBook does not make me a genius bar employee Mum

19. You get package-shamed

“Oooooh, what have you got now?” your mum will say as she brings in a package from the front door. Or your dad will hit you with the “christ, this is the [wildly inaccurate number] time this week!” Look guys, I’m a slave to capitalism. We all are. Let me have my small comforts of collecting various pieces of knitwear while I hunker down in the coffin of my once-lively social life.

20. You’re not allowed to watch things by yourself on Netflix

It’s one episode of The Crown a night, every night, for the next four years, gang. And don’t you dare try and watch ahead or your mum will emancipate you.

21. You have the luxury of constant tea, free food, heating and comfort

Okay, so it’s not all bad, and it’s actually pretty dece for the bank balance. [Little Mix ‘Shout Out To My Ex’ tune] Shout out to the rents, you really are quite the best x

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