Things you’ll only get if your parents move house while you’re at uni

I’ll just sleep down here on the floor then

You know how it goes. Two weeks before you went to uni you started to see all the classic signs. Your mum had a paint chart hanging out of her handbag; your dad’s asking you where all the stains in the carpet came from.

You wouldn’t say they’re excited for you to be gone but the opportunity has presented itself, and they’ve flung themselves at it with all the vigour you’d naturally expect from two people who accidentally had their lives ruined for 18 years by you being born.

They’re taking their empty nest and running with it.

You come back three weeks later for a quick visit after your first-but-certainly-not-last university emotional collapse and there it is, in the corner of your room. It – the treadmill, the pile of boxes, in my case the little cage containing a budgie, an actual budgie – sits there, unwelcome, in your bedroom. This bedroom, the one where you grew up and cried and fell in love and googled elaborate wanking techniques before trying that prostate thing, is now back under your parent’s ownership.

They start to redecorate – slowly at first, just a framed thing about living and loving and also laughing – but then a desk, and a big lamp, and your dad’s exotic film library.

You are now just a guest- this is no longer your home.

Considering all of this happens to quite literally everyone who goes to university it’s surprising how emotionally devastating it is when your parents finally give in to the crushing weight of their mortgage payments and decide your childhood memories are less important than their ability to afford a cruise to continue the renaissance of their seedy post-you sex life.


You now live in a village so remote Google Maps struggles to locate it

You remember how it was, living near a pub. You just nipped in, didn’t you? Just slipped round for a quick one, watched the game, shambled home.

Now your parents have moved to Absolutely Fucking Nowhere, Surrey, the only thing ‘slip’ or ‘shamble’ about going to the pub are the snide looks the taxi driver gives you at 2am for  having the nerve to pay him to drive you home.

Every time you leave the house is a military operation now, with all your backup routes and portable chargers in case you need your Dad to pick you up from the middle of the woods, but having the pub taken away from you stings more than anything else. You were only just allowed to go there, and now it’s gone.

Precious childhood items callously binned

What do you mean you’ve thrown away my roughly half-complete 2004-05 football card collection? You know how much thinking about Allardyce’s golden era at Bolton calms me down when I’m having an episode and if we’re being real here, I think you’ve done this on purpose.

Public transport will ruin your life

You also now you have to leave things earlier because taxis in the countryside are a myth, so you waddle off to catch the late bus and you feel like an alcoholic because you’re still on a bit of a buzz and also because you’re on a bus and there’s an old man staring at you with that milky-eyed look that’s both like: ‘I remember when I was you, back in the old glory days”, but also like “If you make eye contact with me I’ll put you through the fucking window”.


Remember having your friends round? The salad days are over

All your friends live miles away anyway

Luckily, after a few months, scrambling around to maintain your social life wont be a problem because you’ll just stop wanting to go to things. Like, yeah, you could scrimp together the £15 you need for public transport to and from a party, but then you have to ask to stay at theirs which leads to one of three scenarios:

  1. They say yes without hesitation and their parents will hate you for it
  2. They’ll ask their parents who will say no and you’ll have to go, cap-in-hand, to another friend, who’ll know that you are damaged goods.
  3. They’ll say no without even asking which makes you feel not only like a child for having to ask adult permission to see a friend, but also a fool for thinking you and Oli were even mates in the first place.

Instead, you’ll just stop putting the effort in and start planning your evenings around your siblings. Big Bang Theory marathon on E4? Quick game of Monopoly before The Arguments begin? Accidental reference to your brother’s burgeoning mandy habit in front of dad? Don’t mind if I do.

Being given a smaller room than your younger sibling

I used to be a prince, and now I am but a pauper. Once I was your God, and now I am your servant. Please give me back my playstation Tom.


You used to rule the world

No bedroom

Thought we’d downsize, did we? Just share a room with my brother when I visit? Not even brought in a futon?

Dad, is this because of the texts Joel sent you off my phone? Please stop ignoring me.

Everything’s out of place and it’s embarrassing

You get up in the night and you need a wee. Just a quick comfort wee and it’s back to dreamland. It’s a tale as old as time itself, and you could do it with your eyes closed. Turn the lights on and get dressed? Don’t think I’ll be bothering with that.

And that’s how they find you, naked and afraid – cold, and also lonely – desperately clawing at the walls for a light switch or doorway.

“Where’s the toilet, mum?” you whisper. “Where’s it gone?”


Don’t ask me where anything is

You ask where they keep the tea now and it hits home that you’re not really a part of the family anymore – like, you visit as often as you can and your mum set up that group whatsapp to keep you in the loop but it’s just used for pictures of the budgie and they’ve named him after you which they find really funny especially when someone’s  like “Ben’s done a poo on the carpet!” and your mum’s like “Classic Ben!” and you throw the laughing tears emoji in because it’s the done thing and you’re a nice lad but it’s a bit sad, really, that they’ve replaced you with a bird, and they don’t keep the tea in the place you’d have put it

Why don’t you buy the coffee I like anymore?

Hitting and missing on the local takeaways

I don’t care how nice the prawn toast is mum, I’m not getting a chinese from a restaurant that also does carveries and that is final.