Juan of Words

Leaving The Nest: It’s Not Always at 18 For Latinos

FROM JUAN: I’ve been telling Sybil for years now how much I admire her voice and her pictures as a Mexican mother, woman and individual.  Today, I am deeply pleased to introduce to you dear friends my good friend and creative writer Sybil Monciváis Sánchez.  Sybil and I first met over a decade ago and recently we have reconnected again as married couple friends.  I know you’ll enjoy Sybil’s unique voice, perspective and very soon her photography as well.  Gracias por su amistad y lealtad siempre.

latino-family-picnic-laura-brightwood juanofwords

I’ve seen it on TV and heard about it from others… “Once you’re 18, you’re out the door!”  That’s right! It’s time to start your new life, be independent and be your own person.  So when people here in this country learn that this isn’t necessarily the norm in Hispanic families you almost always get a shocked look and a “what?!”

Growing up, my parents never told me, “mija, once you graduate from high school you’re going to have to make it on your own, start your new life and do so under your own roof.”  On the contrary.  From my parents I heard this all the time: “you are not leaving the house until you get married!”  There was no need to, they would say.

Why go off and get your own place when you are fine here at home with your familia? 

Why pay rent? 

Why pay utilities? 

Why all these needless, extra costs?!

Ohhhh! So you feel you need more responsibilities?  Fine!

You can pay bills here.

Wash your own clothes and make your own food.

But until you get married, you don’t need to call another place home.

You heard right!  Why go somewhere else?  They would explain that if you stayed at home and saved money, you’d be able to afford your own house when you got married.  I thought that’s how it was for everyone!  Why would anybody want to leave their home and their parents?

Fortunately, I had a great relationship with my parents and I loved (and still love) spending time with them.  However, I began to understand the need for independence once I started dating.

Yup, living under their roof means you have to live by their rules.  So as long as you don’t mind that, living at home has it’s perks.

How about you?  Did your parents expect you to leave the house as soon as you were 18, or were you more like me and not expected to leave the nest until you had a ring on it?

Sybil Monciváis Sánchez has worked for a local Spanish television station since 2003, in the Community Affairs Department. She is a wife and proud mother of three. You can follow her on Twitter at @sybil_sanchez.

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