TravelingMom.comI am a mooch.  I’m not proud of it, but there it is.  Every summer, I pack up my kids and move out to my parents’ house in tony Southampton NY, leaving my husband to sweat it out in the city, and schlepp it on out here on the LIRR every Friday night.

See that picture up there?  That’s the view of my back yard.  Seriously.  And see how I’ve gotten all proprietary?  MY backyard?  How easily I slip into ownership mode. Except of course when it comes to the tax bill, the gardening fees, the lawn upkeep, the pool costs.  When those things come up, suddenly I’m 12 again and Daddy is taking care of it all.

But lest you think it’s a free vacation and start planning a mooch vacation of your own – let me fill you in: Living with your parents, as a grown, adult person is no bargain.  Nuff said.

Though of course I’ll say more:

1. Living with your parents means having to clean up the kitchen IMMEDIATELY after breakfast, and not after you drop the kids at camp, go to the gym, and come home.

2. Living with your parents, when they are not as young as they used to be, means having to take care of a whole lot of stuff: like being the only one able to drag the garbage out in time for the early Friday morning pick-up, but not on Thursday night, because then the raccoons will get to it.

3. Mooching requires a big investment in patience.  You cannot be indignant, when, say, your mother eats the cookie that you had absolutely promised to your kid for desert as long as he ate his broccoli.  You cannot complain when they ask you – for the fourth time in as many days – to move the couch just a little bit this way…no that way…no….

4. The Cost to your self esteem can be big: Why am I still living with my parents?  Am I infantalizing myself?  Do people think it’s weird? Is it weird?

5. Your husband will pay too.  Think of it — he will have to spend his weekend with his in-laws.

In the end, though, it is a good vacation.  My kids get to spend time with their grandparents that doesn’t only center around a holiday or a meal.  I get to cook in a big kitchen. (though I was asked at the gourmet shop if I “cooked for a family out here.”  Yes, I said.  Mine.)  My kids will have memories of this place – just as I do.  Of walking through the “forest.” (really a few trees), of the club house they built (a sheet tacked to a tree), of the fish caught in the pond (stocked by Grandpa), canoe rides in the bay….

So while this “free” vacation does have it’s hidden costs, in the end, it really is priceless. Mooch away, I say.  Mooch away.