Now my son Louis is of age, working and still living at home I’m asking him to pay rent. After all he’s been sponging off me for the last eighteen years. Did I say that out loud? What I meant was that I have taken my child rearing responsibilities seriously and there has been a not insubstantial cost . As a single parent it hasn’t been easy. I empathise with others in a similar situation who feel the squeeze.

I’m going to be honest and say that I felt a little awkward asking Louis for a contribution towards the household budget. However it seemed sensible. It goes some way towards teaching something about his responsibilities as an adult and about managing his money. Of course, there are advantages for me too. The belt seems a little less tight. I bought couple of new dresses for my winter wardrobe and treated us to a meal out without the usual niggling worries about balancing the books at the end of the month. What Louis doesn’t know is that I’m putting a some of what he gives me aside. When he eventually flies the nest there’ll be a little pot to help him start up on his own.

I’m asking for rent that amounts to about a quarter of wages and tips. He has plenty left for buying bits and bobs and gallivanting around the country. Yet. the dynamic seems odd. When I analysed the situation I realised that I was feeling guilty about asking for money. So I broached it with Louis to see whether this was justified. ‘Are you okay with what you’re paying?’ His response surprised me. Maybe it shouldn’t have in the context of him seeing just how much his friends are going to be forking out for university accommodation. ‘It’s the best bargain ever!’ he exclaimed. I needn’t have worried that I was exploiting him then!

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