Living with your parents and liking it
They're called the boomerang kids - the ones who move back in with their parents after college.
Nearly half the recent college grads are back in their old rooms, replacing their stuffed animals with iPads. What was considered just about unthinkable in the 70's, living at home after college, has become the new normal.
For many the 20's are the new teens. Katherine Newman, author of "The Accordion Family," reports that "Boomers did almost anything they could to avoid living with their parents." Not so with college grads in 2012.
In many places in the country it's possible for college grads to live on their own once they've found a job. But not in New York.
Even with a job, moving back home is often the only option. Saving money for a security deposit and some furniture for a rental can take at least six months, a year or more.
Moving back in can be tricky, but setting some mutually agreed upon ground rules can make it work for both parents and kids.
Eric Santiago graduated from Columbia University in May and moved back in with his parents in the Fordham area of the Bronx.
He thinks of his move as a "transition."
He's living in a space smaller than his dorm room and he admits that he misses the independence he had in college.
"I had to convince my parents that I can cross the street by myself."
Santiago says that the most important rule is to "keep communication open with parents, have as many conversations as it takes.
"He sat down with his mom and dad when he first moved in to begin the conversation.
"I don't tell them exactly when I'll be home but I text them when I'm on my way and call them when I get off the train. I do my own laundry, clean up after myself, cook with my mom on weekends and contribute to the finances of the household. I keep my social life and my family life separate. My parents and I are in a good place right now."
Living all the way up town in Inwood with her parents has put a crimp in Heidi L.'s social life since her friends live downtown or in Brooklyn, but "I know how lucky I am when I see what the rents are like. I'm saving my salary so that I can move out in a few months. I try to help out at home by walking our dog and although I'm an adult with my own job, I know that I still have to abide by my parents' rules."
For Aaron Gottleib who graduated from SUNY Binghamton, the move in with his parents on the Upper West Side has been "fine, honestly," he says.
His parents are easy-going and they've done this before.
"My older brother moved in for a year after he graduated college so they're used to it. I keep them updated on where I am and as long as I keep texting, they're fine with it. Living at home and saving money gives me the chance to explore other parts of the city I might want to live - maybe the Lower East Side or Brooklyn."
Based on interviews with New Yorkers who are back at home after college, here's how to make the arrangement work.
Keep talking. Sit down with your parents as soon as you move in to discuss expectations - yours and theirs. Redefine your relationship from vertical to horizontal.
Stay in touch. Technology makes it easy - texting is a great way to let your parents know where you are with just a word or two.
Contribute to the household. Even if you can't make a financial contribution, help with the cooking, dog walking, cleaning. Act as though you're a really thoughtful guest.
Don't put your life on hold. Keep up with friends even if it means a long commute.
Set a time frame. Don't let material wants trump your autonomy. An iPad can wait; save for the big move.