Living with parents at 30: I couldn’t, I just couldn’t

Thirty years old and still living at home with parents. I can’t. I just can’t. I couldn’t. No way. There would have been injuries.

That’s not the case for one 30-year-old New York man.

Michael Rotondo has been battling with his parents — they sued him, in fact — after they said their grown son needed to move out of their house. It’s not that extreme though. They’ve offered him money to leave. Yes, they’re willing to pay their unemployed kid to get out.

Dad and mom, Mark and Christina respectively, offered their freeloading kid $1,100 to “find a place to stay” but sonny-boy stayed put. This was after his parents served him an eviction notice in February giving him two weeks to find a place.

For his part, Michael fired back saying, “It’s really unfair to me” noting that he’d been taken off the family phone plan and “they stopped feeding me.” He said, “I don’t think trying to destroy somebody is tough love.”

But for the self-proclaimed “businessman” you’d think it would be easy for someone like Michael to work and, you know, make money. Michael said, “I have money. I have income,” though he wouldn’t elaborate where he’s getting it or how much it even is.

I should point out that he did live elsewhere and has a kid but that wasn’t enough to shake him into adulthood and not be so dependent on parents.

One interesting point that jumped out to me is that Michael previously worked at Best Buy and sued the company for $338,500 because he was fired. The case is still pending but it is telling when we figure out what type of person Michael is: an opportunist perhaps?

Knowing the lengths he’ll go to dig in his heels, I can imagine Michael as the type of person who would purposely trip and fall somewhere just to sue and collect money. That’s making a judgement about someone I’ve never met but if he is willing to battle it out with his parents in court, there’s no telling what desperate measures a person would take.

Admittedly, I was 25 when I moved out of my parents’ house. It surprised most people because the belief was that I would be a 40-year-old man still living in his parents’ basement. The reality is I was a college dropout but working as the managing editor at a publishing company. I was making good money. I had been secretly saving to buy a house for the better part of a year.

I had the typical battles I imagine Michael had with his parents. There was even a time when I had an argument with my mom and she said, “I think it’s time for you to find a new place to live.” But I stayed put though I certainly didn’t lawyer up.

For me, it was a fear of independence. I had grown so comfortable not having to do my own laundry, not cook my own meals, not pay household bills and not do any chores whatsoever. Was that a mistake on my parents’ part for not forcing me to grow up? It might’ve been. But I also grew up in a time where kids didn’t feel entitled.

When I wanted a 13-inch TV for my bedroom, I had to save up and buy it for myself. When I wanted my own phone line, I had to do the grownup thing and get it set up and pay for it when I was 15.

I had worked from the time I was teenager. I started out working at a convenience store out at the cottage. From there I was a dishwasher in the kitchen of a golf course for three summers. I basically had a full-time job at Red Lobster when I was in high school. By the age of 17 I already had three jobs – two were seasonal at the lake.

I wasn’t giving my parents indicators that I didn’t want to work and that I would lounge around the house all day doing nothing. I always had a work hustle and have worked steadily for over 20 years, launching into the world of entrepreneurialism and my own media company over a decade ago.

The rest is history now that I have lived in my own house for 10 years, travel all over and hang out with celebrities on red carpets. I’ve done pretty well for myself.

I appreciate what my parents did for me and how long they allowed me to live at home rent free. I can relate to how Michael believes he needs the safety and comfort of the incubator of his parents’ house to allow him to find his footing.

Like Michael, I considered myself a businessperson when I had no money coming in. And like Michael, I wouldn’t have been able to survive on my own if I didn’t have financial help from someone else.

Would I have been pissed off if my parents shoved me out? Absolutely. In fact, I remember saying to my mom, “If you’re kicking me out, you’ll never see me again.” I felt like I had the upper hand. She could have easily called my bluff and served me an eviction notice like Michael’s parents. Would that have made me more successful or just hunker down like Michael did when he started getting threats? I don’t know the answer to that.

Nevertheless, and I don’t think Michael needs me to say this, but once you enjoy the freedom of having your own place, you will never look back. Michael has lived on his own so it’s not like he’s afraid of the world. The question for me is, Can I ever see myself living with my parents again? No way. Actually, my brother even said that if his marriage fell apart and his wife got the house, leaving him homeless, he would never go back to living with our folks — and that’s with all due respect to our parents, of course.

Michael, you’ve had this (I think) embarrassing story of your home life dragged through the mud. Now is your chance to make everyone eat their words that you’re not some freeloading loser. I hope you have a good business plan in the works and that it doesn’t involve frivolous lawsuits just so you can be on easy street.

I’m not one of those ooey gooey bow-down-to-your-parents kind of people, but you do have to appreciate what they do for you. As much as you can say they aren’t supporting you, they are and it sounds like they only want the best for you.

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