7 Best Practices – Coping When Your Child Leaves Home

A friend of mine commented on my recent post Don’t Quit Your Day Job.  She is a fantastic Mom and has been for 17 and a half years. In 9 months, her daughter will going to university. My friend said to me,”You should do a post called What to Do When You Day Job Quits You“!  Well, challenge accepted. Am I qualified?  Yes.  You see, I too have a 17 and a half year old daughter looking to downsize my position in 9 months as well.

Coaching empty nest, child going to college
Let’s face it, in most jobs, the better you are, the more they depend on you and the more they want to keep you around.  On the other hand, you work at the Motherhood Job as hard as you can, knowing full well that you are only a success if they “fire” you at the end.

As we take the next 9 months to figure out how to move her from my world, I can’t help reminiscing about the 9 months it took to bring her into this world.  While others were busy at work preparing budgets, doing statistical analyses, and presenting their marketing results, I was doing the same –  but also building a brain, piecing together a spleen, and adding hazel sparkles to an eyeball or two.  Really, I am THAT AMAZING!

Now that brain, spleen, and sparkly hazel eyeballs are getting ready to go out on her own.

I have many friends who have walked down this path before me, and know many coaches who have generously given their advice, and all I can do is learn from them.  From talking and watching and reading, these are my top seven lessons to integrate into my life in the next year.

1) Re-think the “Mom role”.  Having been a Mom to Hazel-Eyes for so long, I have a lot of energy expended in that role.  Now that energy can be transferred to other roles that may have been neglected.  Do I hear “spouse”?  How about “student” or “manager” or “long-distance swimmer” or “hot salsa dancing babe”?  A block of my limited energy is going to be freed up soon – now is the time to decide how to use it.  And yes, a little coaching or counseling can get we Moms over the hump.  Many of us have forgotten who we used to be and what WE used to love.  Now’s the time to find that and reclaim it.

2) Run away yourself.  Go RV’ing, take a trip that doesn’t involve roller coasters or employees dressed up as Disney characters, or go to Italy without worrying about where to buy Kraft Macaroni and Cheese because “this pasta doesn’t taste like what we have at home”.  Or maybe stay home, but find something you look forward to spending more energy on.  Expect to feel sad, but prepare so that you won’t feel empty.

3) Don’t empty out their room and make it into a yoga studio just yet, or worse, don’t turn it into an untouchable shrine.  Seriously, when Hazel-Eyes leaves that half-eaten candy bar and those wet towels on the floor, she doesn’t really intend to have you leave them there forever. Psychologically, it’s good for Hazel-Eyes to know she has her room with us.  Besides, you know they’ll be back.  There’s summer, vacations, and God-forbid, tough job markets.

4) Don’t gloat.  They’ll be calling you to say things like, “Did you KNOW that you have to pay for the internet”?  or “Do you KNOW what happens when you use regular sudsy dishwashing liquid in the dishwasher”? (OK – full disclosure – I said that to my Mom when I was 19. Seriously – do you know what happens?  It’s like that I Love Lucy episode where they were working the speeding chocolate assembly line, except with bubbles)!  There are so many things that I sheltered Hazel-Eyes from, and so now she will have to learn them.  It’s not her fault, and a little compassion goes a long way.

5) Don’t hover.  While it will be tempting to phone the Dean to sort out the freaky-tattooed emo roommate situation, or call the cafeteria to see if they can pack a little somethin’-somethin’  for when Hazel-Eyes has a tight schedule, resist.  This is life.  There is so much truth to the saying, “that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.  When left to her own devices, I’m sure Hazel-Eyes can find her own solutions and gain the confidence she needs to continue making them.

6) Go digital.  If you don’t know how to text, learn now.  Get iChat or Skype so you can check out the new haircut.  OK, so you can pretend to check out the new haircut while looking for bags under her eyes, new piercings, or hickeys.

7) And last but not least, my more experienced friends say, “Seriously – you actually think you’re done being a Mom??!?!!?”  Children leave in phases.  First it’s school, but coming home for long weekends and holidays, then it’s getting their own place.  Then you might become an ‘in-law’ to someone else’s kid, and then maybe grand-kids (I am so looking forward to feeding the little tykes sugar cubes and watching PG-13 movies with them – learned that one from my own Mom).  Households may change, jobs, schools, roles, but once a Mom, always a Mom. A wise man once said, “You never hear soldiers crying out for their Dads on the battlefield”.  Sorry Dads.  We know you are important.  Where do you think she got her beautiful hazel eyes?


Kirsten Cameron is a life coach who can help you to remember what used to make you ‘light up’ before it was Toy Story nightlights and glow-in-the-dark ceiling stars.  And don’t you deserve that?  She’d also like to thank her dear friends and fellow coaches who helped to provide inspiration for this post! To work with Kirsten, please check out her Life Coaching Packages.

Free Newsletter

200-310   350-050   70-532   200-310   70-411   100-105  ,""" 1Z0-803   SY0-401   000-080   70-480   200-101   70-461   ITILFND   000-017   EX300   200-125  ,""" 1z0-808   CAP   210-060   OG0-093   101   400-201   220-802   PR000041   300-206   200-101   74-678   220-801   MB6-703   9L0-012   CRISC   300-209   70-488   2V0-621   200-120   642-999   CISM   70-410   350-029   1Z0-060   2V0-620   210-065   70-463   70-483   9L0-066   ICGB   70-413   352-001   VCP550   MB2-704   700-501   70-346   CCA-500   352-001   PR000041   000-104   70-488   JN0-360   JN0-102   350-001   CISSP   JN0-102   1Z0-804   CAS-002   70-533   642-732   400-201   102-400   300-209   LX0-103   MB2-704   210-060   640-911   300-101   70-411   9L0-012   70-532   c2010-652   1Y0-201   70-461   200-125  ,""" ICBB   AWS-SYSOPS   70-461   ICBB   000-089   70-410   350-029   1Z0-060   70-463   70-483   9L0-012   70-488   JN0-102   640-916   70-270   100-101   MB5-705   JK0-022   350-060   000-105   70-486   70-177   N10-006   VCP550   70-532   CRISC   MB6-703   1z0-808   640-911   640-911   70-480   000-089   1Z0-803   000-080   100-105  , """ 300-070   EX300   640-916   400-051   2V0-621   200-120   M70-101   LX0-103   300-320   100-101   810-403   MB2-707   300-320   N10-006   MB2-707   352-001   300-135   NS0-157   300-101   210-260   300-208   400-101   300-320   210-060   200-120   400-101   CISSP   300-320   1Z0-803   400-101   810-403   CISSP   N10-006   CISSP   300-320   350-018   300-101   300-070   ADM-201   400-101   ADM-201   350-018   200-310   SY0-401   200-120   300-208   400-051   810-420   810-403   210-260   MB2-707   200-001   200-120   SY0-401   200-120   70-533   N10-006   350-060   200-310   300-320   400-101