When you were growing up, did you ever lie in bed imagining what your adult life would look like?
If you did, it’s probably a safe bet that somewhere in that mental picture was your own flat/house/ mansion/penthouse in New York (hey, dream big). For most of us, staying under our parents’ roofs well into adulthood just wasn’t part of the plan.
Yet faced with bleed-you-dry rents and impossible property prices, many modern British women are finding that moving back home – or never leaving at all – is their best option. According to recent ONS statistics, more than 25% of UK women aged 18 to 34 are currently still living with their parents.
Some women might shudder at the prospect of sharing a bathroom with the people who potty-trained them. But for others, moving back home can be a surprisingly positive, supportive and mutually beneficial experience. In her new photo series Boomerang Women, photographer Emily Macinnes set out to capture these stories. Call it the bright side of the housing crisis, if you will.
Macinnes visited different “boomerang women” at home with their families over the course of a few weeks to create the photo series, produced in collaboration with first direct. She says she was particularly interested in the way that mother-daughter relationships shift once the latter is no longer a little girl.
“Having moved back home myself when I left university, I experienced first-hand how the dynamics between parent and child develops into a much deeper relationship based on respect and friendship,” says the 27-year-old documentary photographer, who’s based in Glasgow.
“Spending time with so many different boomerang families over the past few weeks has confirmed how positive and enriching it can be to move back home, despite the often-negative social connotations.”
Below, four of the women featured in Macinnes’ photographs share their stories of living at home.
Emma, 26: “We have dinner together most evenings”
“I rented in London for a few years, but a lot of my friends and family were still in the North. Moving back means I’m now spending a lot less time and money travelling to see everyone.
My younger brothers George and Oliver are also back at home, which means our house is full of friends, family energy and life, which I love. I think my Mum likes the fact we’re all under one roof again too!
We all have busy lives but despite that, we manage to have dinner together most evenings after a lot of texting to figure out who’s in and who’s cooking.”
Sheree, 23: “It’s the emotional side of home that I appreciate”
“Since I boomeranged home to West London, it’s safe to say my Mum and I have become firm friends. We spend a couple of evenings together each week, either at home cooking, watching TV in our pyjamas, or meeting up for a drink.
Moving home was the obvious choice for me when landed a new job in London. As well as being an easy commute, being at home means I can start to save to buy my own place too.
But it’s the emotional side of being at home that I appreciate the most. I live with someone I truly love and know that when my mum asks how her day has been, it’s because she genuinely wants to know.”
Louise, 23: “I’ve been settling into my career and saving for a house”
“After graduating I was faced with the choice of renting with friends or moving back home to Manchester. I decided that moving home was by far the most feasible, and appealing, option.
I landed a dream post-graduate job and have been using the time at home to settle into my career and also save enough money to buy my own house with my boyfriend, who is also living with his parents.
As well as being able to save, I get to benefit from the home comforts and support of my mum and Andy, who are always on hand to offer advice and rescue me in car-related emergencies! In return, I offer advice and hints from the latest YouTube beauty vlogs, which my mum loves.”
Jordanne, 26: “It gives me headspace and freedom”
“I first moved back after graduating, and this is now my third time at home. Living with my parents in Yorkshire has given me the freedom and headspace to think about the future and work out what I really want to do, without having to make any long-term commitments straight-away.
I’ve been able to try out different things. I have lived with a friend for a year and also saved up for a trip to Australia.
Obviously we all have our own interests and social circles, but we sit together every night for dinner, and all appreciate the close network of support and friendship. So much so that my little sister Olivia, who is studying in London, often turns up unannounced too.”