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I don’t often get a photo of them all together. This one was pretty random. They were all home at the same time!

I have two kids who have left home. It was an interesting process, mainly because it was unexpected. The morning I was laying in bed, wondering how much of a hassle it would be to add an upstairs to this place if we bought it and within a few days of each other my two eldest children informed me that they were moving out.

I didn’t replace their rooms with other things quickly or pack up all their stuff as I half expected them to come back at some point, but it was six months later I realised that they weren’t. Well, not permanently.

At first, contact was at a minimum. They were revelling in their independence. Hubby and I would call them when we were together, we’d have ‘Google Mum’ type text messages, but they were enjoying this new taste of life. They weren’t alone, living with friends. They weren’t on the other side of the world – just down the road and another a few hours down the highway. 6 months later I accepted that indeed, they were not going to return anytime soon. Some of our flock had flown the coop.

It was wonderful to see, I kept smiling as I learnt of their adventures.

Some parents don’t have it so easy. I will admit there were times when I was a little miffed by their dump and run tactics (coming home causing disruption and off they go) but I’d look at my husband and see the pattern he had created with his parents. We weren’t getting off too badly lol.

I’d hear stories from friends and family of their children leaving home and some mums were distraught. They didn’t like their children leaving. I think they were just unprepared.

Having spent so much time with families with children of all ages, I have seen a pattern. Those children whose parents put their heart, soul and budgets into the kids seemed to have come off the worst. Their kids are unhappy, they aren’t coping with living independently and aren’t taking off in leaps and bounds. It’s almost in some cases, that their parents are pulling them back and when the kids are home, things can get volatile.

The families where the kids have experienced a loving release, tend to come and go without the angst. They ask their parents about things, they share what is happening in their work or study and seek guidance in an informal storytelling manner. It’s nice to see.

When your kids leave home, they need to leave with your trust in their backpacks to thrive.

When you meet a challenge in life and you can’t see the answer yourself, you’ll often seek advice or just consider “what would  . . . so and so . . . do” a mentor, a parent, a teacher.

Those imagined conversations are like the monkeys on your child’s shoulder, if it’s not a positive voice – your child can waver and fall.

So let them leave with your trust that they will excel in life and almost always, they’ll rise to that belief.

Let them leave with your belief in them, that you know they can handle anything and when they need help, they know how to find it.

Let them leave with your love – unconditional. No expectation of when they will call or visit.

Mine drop in regularly, because they feel comfortable and have learnt that if they want a meal or bed here, book in with the hotel management! They are never rejected, it’s simply a courtesy and there have been times where they’ve arrived with friends and had to endure watching us eat a scrumptious pork roast.

Which means that you need to live a life without conditions too. Go where you want, eat what you want (food that meets your goals – flavour, nutrition etc), do what makes your heart sing, it’s the little things that will make you happy.
If your children walk in at dinner time to your mini pork roast, you don’t need to share and give up your food. It’s your company they have come for, not your food – that’s just a bonus.

Love your kids and above all else, love yourself and your relationship with yourself. It’s the most important one in your life.