What happens when Slops become Plops?

Singles living off parents are apparently haunting the X-generation, spoiling retirement plans and wrecking all pipe dreams of a peaceful life after kids.

Apparently the prospects of the New Y-generation being too poor to ever leave home, and so hanging around their ageing parents like bad smells for years and years are often encouraged by single mothers who welcome the company and impoverish themselves in order to stave off the empty nest syndrome, refusing to cut the cord.

The Slops (Singles Living Off Parents) benefit by getting free rent, free board and often the free use of a motor car and petrol. Why would they ever leave? Well, I ask myself, what parent would be dumb enough to accept that?

But these days it is not so easy for kids. They are encouraged into tertiary education as meaningful entry-level jobs are hard to come by but this road can end in debt with limited income. Minimum wages coupled with high petrol prices probably means travelling too far for work would eat up a huge hole in your pay packet and rent is certainly not getting any cheaper.

Teenagers can make their lives tougher too by falling into traps like teen pregnancy. Generation after generation, some of our girls and boys fail to avoid this one.

And so when my daughter (18) and her boyfriend (17) announced that they were expecting to be parents I said you might as well stop with me. And so I ended up with not Slops but the pair of them - Plops (Pair Living Off Parent). And baby made three.

Certain sacrifices had to be made in the name of space and privacy in a small three-bedroom farm house. So I did the decent thing and moved out to a caravan. They promptly named that the Granny Flat and I was not amused. I am obviously far too young to be a grandmother.

I told the Plops they had to earn their board by working for me on the farm. Unfortunately my daughter had shown no interest in this for the past 10 years. When there was plenty of opportunity to learn to milk she had declined. Luckily the changed circumstances allowed her to see the light and so last Spring I had either Danni or Simon helping me milk and do the chores, while the other one looked after the baby. While it was nice to have an extra pair of hands on board their lack of experience made them sometimes worse than having a man short. However, in the interests of family harmony I tried not to get too grumpy and after a long while the Plops turned out to be quite good milkers.

So Mummy (me) was delighted and could see a life of Riley coming up after the stress of calving, followed immediately by the strain of mating and then the joys of having a bit of help and time off to enjoy the summer. Fat chance! The Plops got so good at milking they were offered a job back in Taranaki and in order to prove their independence and escape me, because despite what I said before I did get a bit grumpy on occasion, they were off. Taking the little bundle of joy with them.

And so I am back to a one- woman band and early starts seven days a week. The empty nest syndrome is alive and well and not much fun. I got a phone call the other day and they are all excited and buzzing over their new home and job and furniture and not being Plops any more.

Taranaki Daily News