Launching adult children is hard. It can feel like a part of you is walking right out of the house and into the world. As moms, our minds race with all the things that we didn’t teach them, all the crafts we didn’t make, all the times we weren’t patient, all the moments we didn’t listen as well as we should have, and more. Can you relate?

When it’s time to let our kids fly, we are often overwhelmed with all the “should haves” that rise to the surface. Whether this is your first time launching a child or you’ve done it multiple times, I’m sure there are many things you wish you had known beforehand.

I recently reached out to moms in this season of life on my social media and in my Empty Nest, Full Life Facebook group to share their wisdom and answer this question: What do you wish you would have known or understood before launching your adult children? Here’s what they had to share:

“The best advice I received was to consider myself as a consultant now. Our kids will need our wisdom and experience. When they ask for advice, we can consult but we are no longer in that parenting role. We cannot get personally wrapped up in their decisions or the outcomes.” – Julie R.

“I wish I had made a more conscious effort to involve my children in all home repairs—This is the water shut off, this is why I caulked windows, this is how to unclog a toilet, etc. They’ve often felt unsure about those things.” – Melissa A.

“Pray for them often. I often text my adult children on Sunday evening to ask, ‘Is there anything I can pray for you this week?’ It’s my way of connecting with them and interceding on their behalf!” – Traci D.

“The thing I didn’t know was how quiet the house was going to be.” – Jeanne H.

“A wise older friend told me how important it was not to rescue my kids once they went to college. Supporting them from a distance showed that I had confidence they could handle it themselves.” – Amy C.

“Have your high schoolers start making their own doctor appointments, calling for refills on prescriptions, and picking them up as well. It’s also valuable to walk them through doing their taxes the first time and explain what documents they should save.” – Jill M.

“Love them through failure without enabling. Be a safe, nonjudgmental place where they find unconditional love as they navigate the mess (including consequences if they exist).” – Shan L.

“Complete empty nester here. I miss my family SO much it hurts sometimes. So my advice: treasure every single moment, because once they have their wings, THEY FLY! And that’s ok, because that’s how we raised them. Our job with each of them is done, now it is their turn and we must trust they are in God’s hands!” – Marlena N.

“Preparing to let them go and grow on their own is a growth period for BOTH child and the parents themselves! We can’t ‘fix’ their problems but we can be a supportive voice, a listening ear, and a compassionate hug. The last thing a parent would ever want to be is in the way of God’s intentions.” – Tina W.

“When I get a call of distress (i.e. my car needs repair, having a health problem, etc.), my response is to send the contact information for the mechanic/doctor/etc… That way they can call and make an appointment around their work/school schedule.” – Brenda S.

“The grieving timeline is unique to each mother. Be extra gentle with yourself. Give in to the pampering and intuition of what your soul needs.” – Meagan M.

“I wish I would have listened more when told to do things for myself. It’s important to find your own hobbies, interests, groups, etc., even while the kids are still at home.” – Tonya M.

“Sometimes a child may not “launch” as expected due to challenges, so you may still hold a more detailed role in their life for longer. As you plan your ‘what’s next’ focus, leave flexibility for this possibility.” – Arris C.

“Let them know you are no longer going to provide unsolicited advice. When a scenario would come up that seemed like it might benefit from my advice, I’d ask: ‘Would you like my advice on this?’ If they say yes, share it. If they say no, then we it’s important to keep it to yourself. While this has not always been easy, it has served us all VERY well.” – Shirley M.

“How reliant we’ve been on ‘family/kid’ oriented activities for our own socializing. Once kids are gone, there is no automatically seeing other ladies while attending sports or youth group activities. I thought I was involved but realized I have to put more effort into making friends now.” – Sabina M.

“Stay connected with your husband throughout all the parenting stages because one day it’ll just be the two of you again. Once we became empty nesters, we made a list of restaurants we’d never been to within 20-30 minutes of our home. We now try to go to 1 or 2 of them each month.” – Allison C.

“The more you teach them while they are home, the better they will succeed in their own. Unfortunately, this also means you have to be ok with them ‘not needing you’ sometimes. It’s tough to do when they are teens – letting them get a real job, pay their own cell phone bill, buy their own gas, and let them feel the repercussions when they fail. The goal is for them to barely need you when they leave the nest. I think we, as parents, struggle to let go of our role and accept that.” – Mindy R.

“I wish I had known that I was going to be in my 50s and not have the same mindset I had in my 30s. There were many times my husband and I said, ‘When the kids are grown, we should do (fill in the blank).’ Once they were actually gone, we realized all those things we thought we would do are of no interest to us now or that at this age we would likely end up in the E.R. if we tried them! I wish we had put more thought into what the future might look like for us when our boys were teens instead of getting there and going through such a ‘lost’ season.” – Lisa C.

As moms, we are all about nest-building, but then our children grow up and fly the nest. It can be difficult to adjust and figure out what the second half of your life should look like. However, this isn’t just the end; it’s the beginning of a whole new season of life that can be filled with excitement!

If you want to spend time with other moms who understand this new stage of life, join us at the Empty Nest, Full Life Mom Retreat this Fall! At the retreat, you’ll learn what to hold on to and what to let go of as your kids enter the adult years, be inspired by how others are using this empty nest season, discover how to recharge your soul and hear God’s voice, and so much more!


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