Can it really be three years since you loaded up the car and dropped them off at university? Yes, looks like it is.
And now they are back. With more stuff. And they have now had three years of doing pretty much what they wanted, or as much as their housemates would tolerate. Which is quite a lot.
There are millions of young people under the age of 35 living at home again mainly due to rising rents and the cost of buying a house. For many it's a temporary stop-over while they save for a rental deposit but some are there for the long haul of a few years.
For parents, it can be very difficult because although you love your children to bits, you aren't so sure about sharing your home with them now they have had three years of independence. Meanwhile you've enjoyed a tidy kitchen, no key in the door at 2am, no loud animated phone calls in the small hours, and a reprieve from taxiing.
So what is the answer to some harmonious living? It's incredibly easy to fall back into the 'I'm your Mum so you'll do what I say, it's my house...' behaviour and adult children can revert into stroppy teens faster than you can say 'Where is that pizza I've just bought for dinner tonight?'
Ground rules. That's what's needed. It may seem a bit odd treating your child - I mean 'adult child' - like a paying lodger (Paying? Hmmm...that sounds good) - but for the sake of keeping the peace, you need rules. So get them round the kitchen table for The Chat.
Money - you might not need it, but maybe they need to accept that something to show their gratitude is a good idea. You may not want to charge the going rate, but maybe something to cover food. If you don't like the idea, how about jobs in lieu? A bit of housework never did anyone any harm, and the same goes for grass cutting or putting the rubbish out. You could (shhhh..it's a secret) save their money for a deposit and hand it back as a nice surprise.
Meals - if it suits you to be open all hours, fine. If you are tired of cooking meals that can be kept warm, then some agreement over when you will eat is best. Or, they can cook for themselves. You need to decide which is the lesser of the two evils. And if they do cook for themselves, who buys the food? Do you even know what they eat now?
Laundry - believe it or not, young people can be very possessive over their laundry. Touch it at your peril. So agree if it's going in the family wash or if they will manage it themselves. And decide if you are happy for the tumble dryer to whirr away all night long.
Friends- by that I mean romantic friends. This is tricky. You've got used to some privacy. So have they. Do you want to be faced with another adult child at breakfast? Or remember that you can't hover naked on the landing any more. What if it's someone different every week? How do you feel about grown-up sleepovers? Long term partners are okay? Or not. It's your call. But discuss. Don't wait for an introduction at breakfast, unless you're happy with that.
Yes, it's a hard landscape to navigate. Fancy some help over it all? I've been there and got the T-shirt. You can read about it here in the Telegraph or talk to me if you need help.
I'm Glynis, a coach for clients somewhere in midlife, helping them get the life they want. I work with them on careers, time-management, relationships and lots more. These are my musings on what life throws at people like us. You can read more about me here. Do get in touch if I can help you.