We started looking for rental property again last week.
The house of our dreams doesn’t actually exist, of course, because we all have different priorities and expectations. The old man wants to be back at the beach and has an innate fear of the city, I want edginess, NC wants to be as close as possible to the library at Sydney Uni and Kurt wants somewhere with dark spaces, loud music and a liberal attitude to recreational drugs.
What we actually want is Versailles in Mosman with en suite bathrooms in every bedroom, the council to dig out a train line, a dog park on the water and a VERY separate parental retreat – as in, each parent’s retreat separate from the other’s.
The problem with our current house is that the floor plan doesn’t work anymore with only one square metre of floor that doesn’t vibrate with Kurt’s drumming.
The drums seemed like a good negotiating tool at the time – the sort of negotiation that all good parents are forced to do in moments of crisis – the ‘if you don’t get expelled, I’ll buy you a drum kit’ kind of negotiation. But with hindsight, I maybe didn’t think the whole acoustics issue through properly.
So, needless to say, the drums, along with the Princess, make finding a rental property more difficult, because most properties don’t offer soundproofed studios and I am certain that the landlord will recognise that the Princess isn’t in fact human, even though she might believe that she is.
The Sydney property market has gone crazy again, it seems. Of course it would – after all, we sold our property LAST year, in a severely depressed market, and for a crap price. Mind you, the old man hasn’t had to moan about sweeping leaves for twelve months, so there has been one benefit of losing half our retirement investment.
I’m so glad I listened to his obviously informed words about how ‘property will never go up again, Lou,’ as I watch the mini housing boom in Sydney explode in front of my eyes.
There’s also a shortage of good rental property.
Which means that when I put in our application for a mini-palace with soundproofed room, en suites in all the bedrooms (because the kids won’t share), permission for a dog and enough wardrobe space to cope with my overspending habits, and for the rent the old man THINKS WE SHOULD PAY, I’m probably being unrealistic.
Mentally the old man and I are ready to be empty-nesters, but physically our kids are still VERY OBVIOUSLY here – indefinitely, apparently. And the Princess certainly doesn’t look like vacating her position in our bed anytime soon.
And as I said, we all have very different ideas about what we need in our next home.
But I’m still not sure when exactly we began to prioritize our kids needs over ours. When did we start to accept their ridiculous demands of queen beds, walk-in wardrobes and en suites in each of their bedrooms?
Our lifestyle expectations have increased over the last few years, as have those of our children, obviously. Far be it for me to point the finger of blame at them directly or to accuse them of being spoilt (God Forbid!) but as our standards improve in Australia each decade, it’s inevitable that our kids take ‘their lot’ and ‘a lot’ for granted.
When I was growing up in the UK with my single mother, myself and my two sisters shared a bedroom, while my mother slept on the sofa in the living room; and we shared a bathroom with four other families.
That might sound very Monty Python-esque, although I assure you, it wasn’t quite a shoe box; nevertheless, it’s true. And I am aware that there are still a lot of families in Australia living on the poverty line, but generally our children want for very little other than the latest Apple gadget or free alcohol under-age.
But should we be guilted into basing our retirement decisions around the kids staying at home indefinitely? What’s wrong with giving them a gentle kick out of the nest once they finish their education? Have we become soft? My parents left home at eighteen and rented. And if our kids cannot support themselves, shouldn’t they be lucky to get what they’re given, which, God forbid, may mean ‘sharing’ the bathroom with their sibling?
I know that I am a ‘weak’ parent – it’s too late to change that now. And frankly, I wouldn’t want to share the bathroom with NC’s make-up and discarded knickers, just as I wouldn’t want my bedroom next to Kurt’s, which most days sounds like Nirvana night in a club in Kings Cross.
But I fear that we may be creating monsters, albeit independent, free-thinking, bright young adults who are not afraid to have an opinion and express it. Perhaps the media is right about Generation Y, about them being narcissistic and spoilt – dare I suggest ‘selfish’, even?’
What do you think? Are we spoiling our kids?