A Woman’s View: Making it on your own

It may be one of the hardest things to do; making it on your own can be scary and freighting. Taking that first big step of moving out of your parents’ house and living on your own is becoming more difficult and delayed with the economy in the current grim state.

As little girls, many of us use to dream of the metaphorical white knight in shining armor that would come rescue us and scoop us off to a nice house in a nice neighborhood with a fence and two bathrooms. Now that we are all grown up, we are discovering that that fairytale just isn’t happening and we are either expected to move out on our own or are currently stuck living at home and dreaming of our own space.

Women face many hardships when they move out on their own, such as danger, financial struggle and isolation. Some parents feel it is right to kick their children out of the house at 18. What are these parents thinking? Think about how little you know at eighteen, and then think of the college or better education that these kids might miss out on because parents feel their job is done after 18 years.

Other parents don’t mind if their children stay until their 30s, or even later. This is a far better attitude, in my opinion, to have but it can also create a problem for the children as they become adults.

“I am 25 and still live at home.Believe me it is not because I want to, it is because I am stuck and still saving up,” Latisha from Fox Chase said. “I don’t want to live in a bad area. I want to feel safe, but I swear my parents treat me like I am 15 not 25. I can’t wait to get out.”

Money is very hard to hold onto, kind of like catching rain in your hands – you will only get a little and it won’t stay for too long. Making the move to being on your own is also scary because you then have to face all of life’s little trials that are sure to crop up. Having a person to move out with can make things a whole lot easier.

When moving in with a boyfriend, you have two incomes that can support the household. When moving in with a husband you not only have two incomes but you also have people giving you gifts for your big venture. It is a shame there is no Singles Day where you get to celebrate being single, independent and moving out on your own. People are more likely to bring you a bottle of wine or a bad knickknack that isn’t really much use for a house.

“When my brother got married and moved out he got over $10,000 dollars for the [wedding] shower and the wedding. When I moved out on my own, all people brought me was dinner that I had to cook for them and a cheap bottle of wine,” said Maria of Frankford. “I think being single and moving out is worth more of a gift than a wedding gift because you are on your own and it is harder for you. Married people usually have two incomes. They don’t need as much help.”

Today more women are living on their own, pursuing careers and delaying marriage — if they choose to marry at all. And despite the hard economy, more women want to move out on their own and have an independent life. Some women even stay in bad relationships because of financial difficulties that making moving out on their own almost impossible. This feeling of being trapped can cause stress and depression, which will only affect your health and hold you back.

Trying to save up enough money to successfully make a move to being on your own is difficult and definitely a very slow process. Parents can help by adding some leniency to their adult children when they are still living at home. Roommates, although not always desired, can help split the cost of rent/mortgage and utilities easing some of the burden, provided they are reliable. Once you move out and are suddenly on your own there are a whole lot of expenses that you never realized would be there, making doing the little pleasures that you use to love more difficult if at all still possible. Be ready for some cut backs and changes.

“I hate the idea of still living at home with my parents,” Leslie from Blue Bell said. “I am 26 and wish I could just get out. It drives me crazy and I feel like I am stuck. I have been dating this guy for almost two years and he is just taking forever – so not the white knight coming to save me. I bet I will end up supporting his ass for the rest of my life, and I would rather be alone. She continued: “That way I don’t become his servant having to clean, cook, wash and whatever else he comes up with cause he is too lazy to do. I just can’t do it on my own yet because of money and the economy being too bad.”

Ladies, send us in your story or your secrets of how you were able to finally make it on your own.

A Woman’s View is a column about women’s issues written by Donna Ward. The column appears every other Thursday on NEastPhilly.com. See others here. Read other NEastPhilly columns here.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.