I’m 25, and I live with my mom.

I know, it sounds pretty pathetic.

The situation was supposed to have been temporary. I moved back in with my parents after I graduated from college in 2014, because living in Boston while I did grad school would have been wicked expensive. (Grad school was wicked expensive as it is. But I do have a master’s degree in library and information science, if anyone is hiring!)

And then my plan was to move to Texas to be with the love of my life, but she dumped me over the phone three days before I was supposed to leave. And then my dad got sick. At first, doctors diagnosed him with fibromyalgia. It turned out to be cancer. And then it turned out to be terminal.

(That’s why I live with my mom, and not my parents.)

WHY MOVE OUT?

At some point along the line, I decided I wanted to live in Maine permanently. And since I already had a house to stay in, why the heck would I move out? Do you know how expensive rent is? And in some places you aren’t even allowed to have a cat!

I’m not a total entitled mooch, though. I buy my own food, pay my expenses, have a full-time job.

More importantly, though, I’m a young set of knees and shoulders around the house. I can do chores that would land my mom in the hospital. When my dad was sick, I could sprint up and down the stairs faster than anyone else if he wanted something.

I serve as an extra set of car keys to drive my teenage sister around. I’m a bit convinced I may have backfired on that part, however – she noticed no one ever tells me when to go to bed, and then she started thinking that the same should apply to her. Of all the ways I thought I could be a bad influence on my younger sister, “being an adult, with attendant rights and responsibilities” wasn’t one of them.

Sure, it’s hard to cram 25 years of life into a room that hasn’t changed in size since the day I moved into it (at roughly age 2). And sure, everyone’s love life took a hit, although I am fortunate that my partners are functional adults with their own apartments.

Why do we look down on young adults who live with their parents? For most of human history, households were multi-generational, out of necessity as much as love. (Same as my situation, honestly.) Why is “being an adult” synonymous with “living with anyone except your parents”?

There’s lots of evidence that the idea of moving out when you turn 18 is an American idea that developed in the post-World War II economic boom and may not be sustainable in the future for large segments of the population (like us millennials). Every month I’m not paying a large rent check, I’m saving, because, despite myself, I still believe enough in the American Dream that I plan to buy a house someday (and fill it with cats).

So, darn it, I’m done with feeling ashamed! I live with my family, and that’s OK!

SO, STAND WITH ME

I’m glad I didn’t move to Texas. (Although I would have liked to have been dumped before I bought the nonrefundable $400 plane ticket!)

I live with my family and I am proud of it! (Although this week, I’m not too proud to stay anywhere else with electricity.)

I’m glad I was able to spend the last months of my dad’s life under the same roof as him, and I’m proud that I helped take care of him when he was sick, in the same house where he’d taken care of me.

So, stand with me, multigenerational households! Stand strong and proudly declare: “Yeah, uh, this is our arrangement, it’s a thing, and it’s just fine, thanks.”

Say, “I’m 25 and I live with my mom!” But I still wish I lived with my parents.

Victoria Hugo-Vidal is a Maine millennial. She can be contacted at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @mainemillennial