Why I Want My Daughter to Move Out When She’s Older
My toddler is at this age now where she no longer looks like a baby nor does she EVER want to be referred to as one either. According to her she is a “Big Girl” and can do everything “All by myself”. Truthfully I am enjoying this assertion of her independence, allowing me a few extra minutes here and there.
Of course when I start to get a little sad that my little girl doesn’t need me anymore, she relapses (tantrum) replacing my sadness with frustration, annoyed at myself for jinxing that beautifully poignant moment.
I know I am quite a ways from it but secretly I find myself daydreaming of the time when my daughter is off at University and my husband and I have the freedom to travel to all the places we wished we had before we got tied down with the responsibilities of parenthood. These fantasies usually come about after a particularly rough day of screaming, arguing and sulking in the corner; and when I’m done with that I go deal with her.
Yes I find the roles are reversed these days. I lose my cool and look like a disheveled asylum escapee while my 3-year-old chooses to ignore me, continuing to do the thing that made me lose it in the first place. So at night when all through the house not a creature is stirring not even a mouse, I sit back, close my eyes and dream of palm trees, white sandy beaches and – “Mom!” my reverie is broken by the sound of my adult daughter’s demanding voice. Huh? My twisted mind’s way of ruining my dream is to force upon it an alternate reality:
What if my daughter decided to live with us forever?
Well until she got married anyway (ok fine that’s alright I did the same with my parents).
But what if she didn’t want to marry till she was in her 30’s?
Oh God, phir tu kabhi nahee shaadi ho gi (she’ll never get married then)
Buddhi say koun shaadi karey ga? (Who is going to marry an old maid?).
Why am I talking like a typical desi aunty?
That’s when I realized that living inside me were two little old ladies bickering with each other. One of the desi aunty variety and the other was a Golden Girl, most likely Betty White. They represent my internal culture clash having been brought up in both the East and the West. The East dictates that your daughter will live with her parents until she marries and moves in with her new family.
True to Bollywood style, the birth of a baby girl is bittersweet “Yeh haseena tu kisi aur ki amanat hai”. (This beauty is just ours for safekeeping till we have to give her away). If you have a son he too is to stay with his parents until he marries and then his wife will also come and live with you. The West dictates that as soon as your children become the age of majority they lose their rent free privilege and either rent out the basement or get out. This is regardless of gender.
What did I really feel about this? The two extremities aside I would not have a problem with any of my children wanting to live with us well into their adulthood. Except I have a feeling if they did it would probably be because of a financial necessity. If that is the case then moot point. But I would never want them to stay on because of some irrational fear they couldn’t ‘hack’ it on their own in the ‘big bad world’.
I think it is absolutely necessary for my future adult children to live on their own so they can figure out who they really are. From personal experience I didn’t know what kind of person I was till I was put to the test without any parent to fall back on. I didn’t know if I liked my room messy or clean till I figured out how many days it took before I finally put that pile of laundry away. I didn’t know if I was naturally an early riser or preferred to sleep in without otherwise having my dad sounding the alarm at the same time every morning. I didn’t know if I would be mindful of paying my bills on time without having reminders from my parents. These may seem basic but you need to discover it for yourself. It is an integral part of growing up. Some don’t take too well to it but for others it is truly liberating.
Of course in a society that looks down on ‘single girls’ living on their own (scandal!) I think that image is slowly changing as the number of financially independent women rises. If you are living in the west, it is completely normal. If you live back in say Pakistan, it still is tricky. You won’t often find single women living on their own in a city where their own parents live. That just isn’t the culture. Which I would agree to more out of security reasons if nothing else.
Who knows what the next generation’s expectations will be by the time my 3-year-old is an adult. Regardless of if she chooses to live with her ageing parents or not I would never want her or any other future children to be forced into a situation out of some kind of cultural assumption. As parents we wouldn’t want to be a burden on them either by having to live with them for health or financial reasons. But if that is the case I hope we would have raised them with enough cultural balance and selflessness that they would do it genuinely with open arms, not out of obligation.
What are your views on having your grown up children live with you?
Would your view change depending if it was your daughter or your son? Share your thoughts with us!
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