6 things no one tells you when your kids leave home

If your kids are getting ready to head off to college, you'll want to read 6 Things No One Tells You When Your Kids Leave Home.

6 things no one tells you when your kids leave home

2 of my kids have {pretty much} moved out to go to college out of state.  They were home at various times last year with all of the pandemic changes, so it has really hit me this year that they are gone and I am home with one very independent 14 year old.  

It has rocked my world this year more than I thought it would.  I have been a stay at home mom since my son was born almost 21 years ago.  My days have always consisted of attending to the needs of my kids.  Oh sure, I have always had lots of hobbies, friends and interests outside of my kids.  I figured I'd be fine when they left, but I was unprepared for the things that people really don't talk about.  Maybe talking about them will help you if you are in the same season of life.

6 things no one tells you when your kids leave home - family picture of 3 teens.

What No One Tells You When You're Kids Leave Home

I am sharing 6 lessons that I have learned and my advice for how to make it better.

You will have to find a new normal.  I loved having routines for school days, making fun lunches, talking with my kids in the car on the way home from school, chauffeuring them to/from places, chaperoning their activities, doing fun family activities, planning our days off, going on vacations etc.  Now that 2/3 of my kids are no longer home (and live 1400+ miles away) our home life has changed drastically.  At first I was resistant to the change and wanted everything to stay the same.  But change is the one constant in life.  

Finding a new normal and routine will serve you much better than hanging on to the old.  

You'll be lonely.  I was so involved in everything my kids did that it served as a way to keep myself busy.  There was constantly people around me that needed me, which I thought was kind of annoying at the time.  I didn't realize how much of my identity was wrapped up in my kids and how much I would miss it when I wasn't needed as much any more.   

It's important to find new ways to see myself and how to spend my time.

Female college student at BYU.

You take on a supportive role instead of active.  I was used to making a lot of the decisions in my kids life.   And if they wanted to do something they I didn't like, I could just say no.  I always had an opinion on what they should be doing.  I guess I never really thought that my kids wouldn't continue to want my opinion. Silly me!  Imagine my surprise when they just wanted my support.  I only figured this out when I upset one of my kids.  

Your relationship with your young adults will improve as you move into a supportive role.

You don't have a say in their day to day life.  Just like I said above, I was so used to making decisions for my kids.  I told them where we were going, when it was time to get in the car, what we were having for dinner - really a good chunk of how they spent their time.  Well, that doesn't really work with young adults who are trying to figure things out for themselves.  Now I can tell them my advice but it's up to them to decide for themselves what they want to do and I just need to hold my tongue.  

Once again, your relationship will improve when you learn to be selective of advice you share.  

You won't know what they're doing all or most of the time.  Again, I was used to making a lot of decisions for my kids, which included knowing where they were and who they were with most of the time.  But as they have moved away, it's actually healthy for them to go out and experience new things without their mommy knowing all of the minutia, even though it kinda broke my heart at first.  So now, I send them a quick text and let them share with me what they want. Side note: since I still pay for their cell phones, I watch them occasionally on Life 360.  

You won't hear from your young adults as much as you are used to.  Remember that no news is good news.  

Your family traditions will have to change a bit.  I have always celebrated the holidays in big ways.  I like to decorate my house, plan fun activities, just generally make things a big deal.  At first I had a hard time because I feel bad celebrating and leaving my big kids out.   Sending them birthday parties in a box and care packages has helped.  

It's ok to let some things go and find new ways to celebrate.

Male college student flying to BYU Idaho.

Things that have helped me since my kids have left home

Since the dynamics of my daily life have changed with 2 of my 3 kids leaving home, I have had to pretty much rethink most things about my life.  I am coming up with new routines, new hobbies, new ways to spend my days and new ways to think about myself.  

Walking the dog on a leash at sunset.

I have been adding things to my life that have taken the place of the things I felt like I lost. 

  • My dog Lizzie.  Lizzie came into my life just when I needed her.  She requires daily walks and lots of attention.  Spending time with her puts me in such a good mood!
  • Blogging.  I am recommitting to getting back into blogging.  During the summer, I didn't blog as much since those older kids were home and we were constantly on the go.  But this is a fun thing to get back into now that they are gone again.
  • My Church Job.  I have been in a pretty busy season of duties as a member of our Stake YW Presidency.  This summer we had YW camp, Ward Conferences, meetings, multi day Youth Conference, a dance and a leadership training dinner.  
  • Markets and Etsy selling.  I took some time off of this during the summer, but I am excited to get back into it.  My next market is on September 11 and I will be restocking my etsy shop as well.
  • Concentrating on myself.  I have been doing a lot of time thinking, reading, journaling, pondering, praying, thrifting, listening to podcasts, getting coaching and generally trying to improve myself.  I have learned a ton about myself and what makes me happy.  I may not have learned these things if I hadn't been forced to.  

Family photo in front of flag mural in Murfreesboro TN.

I have also learned that when my big kids do come home, it is special and so much fun.  We spend time together talking, playing games and going on adventures around Nashville.  

Hopefully this post 6 Things No One Tells You When Your Kids Leave Home helps you if you are in the same stage of life.  Yes, it's hard when your kids leave.  But it is also so rewarding watching those young adults that you have raised go out and do good in the world.