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

Posted October 17, 2012 by

Photo of hollyfieldsblog

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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  1. Audg Report

    I am so happy and so relieved! My daughter lived with me for one year after college. She didn’t contribute AT ALL, she took me for granted and took advantage of me. I am so happy I am doing cartwheels! I am glad that she is in the area though and we communicate by email and text everyday. I TOLD HER SHE CANT COME BACK!

  2. Report

    Don’t know whether this is still live or not.    My 27 year old son moved out 6 months ago on very touch terms.   Not that we had a fight but he was asked to move in with 2 guys his father and I had never met.    I found out he was thinking about moving out via an email — he used a family credit card as financial reference and my credit monitoring agency notified me of the activity by email.    What a way to find out this was happening only 3 weeks before he decided to move out.    That was a bad start.    Since then his level of communication just isn’t what I would have hoped it would be.    Really very little communication initiated by him.    This past week he has not tried to contact us at all, only responded to a text that I started.    Then only one response although I honestly didn’t want more than that.    He says he is busy — working on his master’s yet when we do manage to be able to talk to him times of going out to play a trivia game at a pizza place will come out, going to a movie, going out to dinner, etc.    It just really hurts to feel like we never cross his mind.    I just almost feel like 27 years of my life have been wasted.    Is this a sign of this generation?    Do they really not care about their family?    Sometimes I feel like something is wrong with me b/c I have problems sleeping, cry nearly every day.   I just would like to hear from him and to feel like I matter to him even though he is out on his own.    Not even every day, maybe every other day.   At least more than once a week.   Is this unreasonable?



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