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When Adult Children Come Home – Be Aware


When adult children come home for a holiday or vacation there is a decidedly different energy in the house and some things are just timelessly the same.

I thought I would share a list of the 10 major ideas that made me take note:

  1. Every glass in the cupboard was used every day and I needed to wander the house to gather them all and get them in the dishwasher for the next day’s use.
  2. The washer and the dryer were in nearly constant usage (well they did go cross country skiing) and they do not have to pay at our house!
  3. Every juice or milk carton was replaced in the refrigerator with only about 1 oz. of liquid remaining and often the next round was still frozen in the freezer or warm in the pantry.
  4. Roommates often accompany adult children to your home, are welcomed and squeezed into the activities, even without prior notification.
  5. The concept of 20 minute showers – max or Japanese showers is completely lost on adult children who are not paying a separate power/utilities bill yet! Frustrating indeed and you know you taught them to turn off the lights when they leave a room – but they have just experienced a new freedom and they forget.
  6. When their friends come over to visit you are included in the conversation which is much more interesting and invigorating. There is not a big hurry to escape your presence! ?
  7. All the parents comparing notes have discovered new APPS on their cell phones, especially ones for movie theaters in the area. I got a new grocery list app on my phone and it works very well and is simply wonderful. Dad got a new bike riding trail organizing APP and is finding this fun.
  8. Surprise! The gas tank on the car is empty and my car needed to get all the de-icer and grime off it after so many mountain runs.
  9. The clock on the TV/DVD player is set to the correct time, as it has been not set since the last power outage!
  10. My computer is now running quickly and has a new working OS on it but all of the widgets and desktop icons are missing and I have no idea where they are… (and I had to jump for joy over this gift until I accidentally erased about 400 emails that had mounted up while I took 2 weeks off of my computer!)

Hope this was a fun venture into the world of adult children’s homecoming – I surely did have a marvelous time and I also saved my whole month’s grocery allowance for just this holiday adventure. There is a whole lot of eating going on, help with the dishes and even some compliments for your efforts.

Can you add to this list? What are some of the changes you have noticed when adult children come home? When do children become fully adult in your definitions?

A special thank you to all the parents who shared and Tait, Beth, Jeff, Quinn, Whitney, Lael and Brad who assisted me in the preparation of the this list – and performed those magic tasks!

Looking forward to your fabulous responses and comments…

Related Reading:

Breakfast with Buddha
Lightening Up the Mother Load
Someone’s in the Kitchen with Patricia

25 Responses to “When Adult Children Come Home – Be Aware”

  1. Talon Says:

    I smiled at your list, Patricia – especially at the glassware!

    We hadn’t seen our oldest son in a year (he’s in the military), so it was pure joy to see him (his wife had been able to visit a few months before the holidays)…

    The best thing of all was seeing all my children around the dinner table…and how childhood stories and shared memories bubbled to the surface of conversation and you could see glimpses of the little boys and little girl who used to be…
    .-= Talon´s last blog ..Eccentric =-.

    Patricia Reply:

    We now have very long stretches of not seeing the kids and it is just so wonderful when everyone is gather round the table.

    The picture above is the glass my youngest poured of juice as she arrived home. It remained as is for 3 full days until she left for the airport and we just had to take a picture of it! It is what inspired this theme :)

    Isn’t the story telling just marvelous

  2. Mike Says:

    When adult children come home, you get to see your grandchildren and/or your children’s dog(s).

    Children become fully adult when they are no longer dependent on you for anything other than love and taking care, on occasion, of the grandkids AND they pay you back when you advance or loan them money. (I’m not including here any emergency help and grandparents being there for routine daycare, if that’s the arrangement.)
    .-= Mike´s last blog ..“Are you Larry”–more about our accident–and the blogging link =-.

    patricia Reply:

    Hi Mike and Happy New Year
    I think Grandchildren would be wonderful, but not so much in my near future….we got a grandie puppy instead.

    I think too it is when the children begin designing their own rituals and no longer expecting Mom and Dad to provide all the magic and effort. I can see it coming here…

    I surely do like the adult children in my life…even if none of them have dogs!!!!

  3. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    My kids are still young, but I remember behaving this way when I would visit my parents during my twenties! (Blush).
    .-= vered | blogger for hire´s last blog ..40 is Good- In Fact Very Good- So Why Are Women Led To Believe It’s Bad =-.

    Patricia Reply:

    I behaved the same way I behaved when I was living at home, when I dropped in at my parents. I went from relaxed to rigid rules and I never used the laundry unless I asked first. My parents never changed me for utilities or laundry and food, but we need a rule that is one is here longer than 2 weeks, there are charges incurred.

    I don’t like this but one only gets the guest towels for so long. I am very happy they all offer to assist with the dishes and one with the cooking – YES

  4. Sara Says:


    It sounds like your house was very ACTIVE during the holidays.

    I had only my youngest to visit this year and it was delightful. Because of her dog (who doesn’t like my cat), she stayed with friends…which made thing less hectic at my house. But we did do shopping together and other activities — she taught me about Ultimate Frisbee and how she’s doing in school. I loved it.

    I hope you had a nice holiday and I wish you an abundant and peaceful new year:~)
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..Patch of Blue =-.

    Patricia Reply:

    Extremely active during the holidays – just the way I like it, especially the conversations and game playing times. With skiing there were not some folks sleeping and others up and ready to go – that is sometimes problematic with the open plan of the house.

    They all loved puppy – that was a boon in deed. Though none live any place a puppy can come for a visit.

    Oh those good shopping moments Thank you for your well wishes and I extend them right back to you

  5. Eliza Says:

    This is an awesome list! Two of my adult children live locally, so they only make day trips and simply fit into our household routines when they come over. The middle child visits, but stays at the eldest child’s place, so again just slides into our routines when here.

    It didn’t used to be like that. They used to come and stay and then I would find odd things, like ONE sock in the middle of the dining room. Not a pair of socks. Just ONE sock. Why ONE sock I ask you?

    patricia Reply:

    We just were trying to figure out who’s long undies shirt is still here and the puppy brought one sock from some place that belongs to apparently no one!! Yes! Why ONE sock I ask you?

  6. Kelly Says:

    My 20-year son is attending school 3,000 miles away and has been home for semester break since Dec. 19th. He is still messy, uses all of the dishes and leaves them all over the house… no surprise there. The biggest change I noticed is in his emotional maturity. We have had some wonderful conversations and for the very first time, I have been able to turn off my “mom” mode and truly enjoy his company. No angst. – Of course, he still expects his mom to pay for everything! 😉

    Patricia Reply:

    Aren’t those discussions and conversations amazing and now with one 31 year old there is even some respect for my ideas – although it is balanced by another who still thinks I am attempting to ruin or run her life…

    Having no income for a year truly assisted on the paying the bills part, but there are big moments, such as the kids purchasing new skis for my husband and several meals out paid for by others.

    I have liked them at every age, but wow as adults they seem the best yet!

  7. Galen Pearl Says:

    I’m still trying to get them all OUT of the house! Only one is still at home, but I do fantasize about having the house all to myself.

    When my college daughter comes home for the weekend she complains about her roommates leaving the lights and heat on (I pay her rent but she has to pay her share of utilities) while she is leaving the lights and heat on here at home. She was going on and on about how she goes around behind them turning off lights and turning down the heat at night. When she exclaimed, “I have to tell them over and over. That is so annoying!” I started laughing my head off. I told her that when she had followed them around like that for 18 years, then I would listen to her complain.

    Patricia Reply:

    Galen Pearl,
    It is so funny when they do not see their own behavior at home…but it is also reassuring to see them making progress –

    I have one child who took care of others all the time, and is now wanting to be on her own – it makes me excited to see her figuring out what she wants.

    Each age seems so – delightful in it’s own way.

  8. suzen Says:

    Hi Patricia! Oh what a delightful list! You certainly hit it all – I smiled and laughed all the way thru the post and it sure brought memories to mind. I experienced everything you mentioned!

    Both my kids live less than hour away now – and they do have an issue about me referring to them as kids. I’m trying to monitor the mouth on that. To me they ARE my kids – period. I have grand-dogs, not grandchildren and babysit when the kids go on vacation. Hubs and I refer to our own two dogs as the NEW kids in the house. Altho I’m not done training the puppy yet, dogs are less messy than kids – plus no “attitudes”. Still it’s nice when they come over and actually help clear the table without being asked. Wow.


    Patricia Reply:

    We refer to our pup as our grand kid – and it has put my husbands wishes on hold and taken the pressure off the kiddos. My kids do not mind being called the kids and yes it is lovely when the dishes get whisked away and taken care of each meal.

    Still doing lots of training on puppy here too! We just went on our walk in the rain – the Halti collar is still too big, I think training will go better when that fits well. I have to say, I wished I had had a training collar a few times when the attitude was bad at my house!!!

  9. Arts Web Show Says:

    Lol, sounds like you enjoyed yourself as hectic as i’m sure it was.
    My parents don’t have this with me.
    I live close enough to do one day visits.
    Though far away enough to maintain my freedom. lol

  10. Patricia Says:

    We have one child who is about 2 hours away so we can do day trips – she does not cook and she lives in a fun place to go out to eat good food.

    She did come home for 5 days this holiday and when she left the bedroom was full of glassware!

    It is kind of a joyous hectic and fun to see them growing up

  11. Friday Pix: Recommended Reading For The Weekend « RealDelia Says:

    […] 6. Finally – something for those of us with younger kids to look forward to one day: Patricia’s Wisdom on what it’s like when adult children come home. […]

  12. Alison Elliot Says:

    Wow, sounds both exhilierating and exhausting. I had just the opposite holiday season. A totally empty nest. My son lives miles away from me and works constantly. Usually I visit him and we do restaurants and hotel lobby cafes. I somethimes envy that big family full house feel (along with all the perks and bennies of computer savvy youngsters) but then I remember, I chose the other path.

    Patricia Reply:

    Welcome and thank your for your comment – a bit exhausting but mostly just fun and I think just the right size for me.

    One year my oldest thought we were too small a family so we included an Aunt and Uncle their children, Grandmother, and Great Auntie – we had to include all the gifts too! We put the tree in the window facing the mountain, and that left plenty of chairs around the living room past the baby grand piano to the dining room – whew! The gifts started under the tree and stretched all the way to the dining room – every child in the place thought it was visually the most exciting celebration they had ever experienced – the Grand parents thought it was overwhelming and said so.

    That said! now we do not have to do that “haul” again. I cooked for the crew – that was amazing – now I do not need to do that again.

    I like the skiing and reading days better! Having so much family is better at the beach in the summer!

    I think the day will come when they will be off and doing their own thing, but this adventure was very satisfying – especially the computer repairs!!

  13. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. I think that’s life .. at least they want to come home!! It’s great that you all had a good time ..

    Happy New Year – and look after yourselves .. trying generally to recoup!! Cheers Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Confiscated Booze- Rock Dust and Turkeys what do they have in common =-.

    Patricia Reply:

    I do just love it that they want to come home! and we have such fun when they are here.

    Library Girl’s partner just left for Brazil and she is coming home this weekend for laundry, being fed and enjoying our company! Now that is a nice treat, that I think is happening because we have a new puppy!!!

    I do seem to need more time to regroup after these big visits, but then I have lots to reflect upon too.

    Hope you are doing well. Nice to find you here

    Hilary Reply:

    Hi Patricia .. it does sort of make the heart glow & have a wonderful weekend .. Cheers Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Confiscated Booze- Rock Dust and Turkeys what do they have in common =-.

    Patricia Reply:

    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..FREEDOM a novel Jonathan Franzen =-.