Change is Hard: When Our Adult Kids (Finally) Move Out


Duffle bags and anxiety are precursors to change.  Some times it seems like they’re meant to go together. I survived moving my children to college, then back home, back to college and home numerous times. The suspension on my car survived the pot holes, weight of all their accumulated stuff and sudden turns. I was even publically applauded for spatially using every square inch of the car in the college parking lot. But now my daughter is REALLY moving out and into an apartment.

After moving home for a few years after college to pay down student loans and find a stable “real” job, she is financially ready and emotionally long overdue for the move.  How am I feeling about this final step to launching my adult child? I am feeling it all.

Related: Adult children living at home? How to manage without going crazy.

Change seems to come with a mixed bag of emotions: half full and half empty.  I am so excited that she will finally have the space she needs to continue to grow into who she is outside of the family. Looking back, I was a quite a bit younger than she is now and had already been off on many independent adventures.  It was a different world then, of course. It was easier to get jobs, find a place to live and the world appeared safer –or maybe I was just too naïve to know better. I had moved to Montana with my best friends to work, camp and hike one summer.  I’d gone to Missouri alone where I had gone to college and worked in a day care center putting miles on my car, exploring, trying spelunking (cave exploration) and going  river rafting.

My daughter missed out on the chance to do many of these things.  But now she has her own place. I have to say we were both ready for her to launch. I won’t be harassing her to throw out her tea bags when she leaves her cup by the sink.  (Not in the dishwasher, but by the sink.) I won’t have to listen to her computer 24/7 or negotiate over what Netflix instant movie to watch. I’ve seen enough Will Farrell, Family Guy, and American Dad to last a lifetime. I loved them all the first few times I saw them, but media repetition is not one of my strong suits. Besides, I really love drama.

Will I miss her? Absolutely! She has an generous spirit, an upbeat attitude no matter what happens, and is just a wonderful loving person to be around. But it’s now her time. I loved every minute of my independence, the travel and the experiences good and bad, and I want her to have all of that and more.

I’m looking forward to painting walls and cleaning out the basement and garage. It will be quieter, cleaner, and more peaceful. Having said that, I am really looking forward to having one-on-one time with my daughter.  I want to go out to dinner (she’s not far away) go shopping and maybe go to the movies. It will be a time when we can connect without distractions and really focus on each other instead of who is taking out the garbage.

It’s also my turn to change the channel.

How did you handle it when your adult child moved out? Were you relieved, sad, happy — or all three?


Holly Fields has worked with children with emotional and physical disabilities for more than 15 years in the home, at school, and in rehabilitation settings, as well as therapeutic riding programs. She was with Legacy Publishing Company as a 1-on-1 Coach for two years. Holly has a Masters Degree in Special Education. She has two adult children, two rescue dogs and one cat.

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