Parenting Tips: When Your Baby Leaves Home For Good

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When Your Baby Leaves Home for Good pin with a little boy in a plastic red car leaving the yard.

Is your baby leaving home soon? If not soon, one day this will happen to you.

It seems like yesterday I brought mine home from the hospital. I had no idea what to do with him, and, yet, I knew how to do everything when the time came.

My mother instincts kicked in the moment I held him in my arms to nurse. He attached to me like we had been together for years. We had, after all, been together for 9 months before he was born.

In those 9 months, I thought about my son almost every moment praying that each organ, muscle, fingers, and toes would be developed normally. I prayed he would be healthy.

Related: How to Pray for Your Children

Most of all, I prayed I would carry him the full nine months. It had been a troubled pregnancy at some points. All of those prayers were answered and more.

My beautiful son was perfect in every way. He was a miracle, as every child is when they take their first breath. It is hard to believe this same baby leaves home for good in a couple of days.

Related: Raising Boys: The Most Important Thing to Do as a Parent

Gifts and Talents

I am still amazed that the things my son liked when he was 3 are still the things he enjoys today. The outdoors (hunting and fishing), building, and talking with people are his gifts. And he will be using these same gifts to make a living.

The little guy who “welded” our wall is the same guy 20 years later who has landed a job in the building industry. I still remember him asking what was inside the walls when he was 2 years old. Who asks that?

And that little boy who made new friends with everyone at the park every time we went is still engaging with people today.  That fun personality would be the very thing he would need to make a living selling in the construction industry.

Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart book.

 Purchase your ebook or paperback on Amazon or at your favorite digital store. 

And fishing. He has now become a master fly fisherman who will live near those gold medal streams.  He knows the life cycle of every bug from Texas to California. I’m sure he will entertain a few clients with this gift.

I didn’t teach my son his natural gifts. He was already hard-wired to be a certain way. God gave him some very special talents. We nurtured and encouraged them, but that is all. My son did the rest.

It was fun watching him develop each one of these areas. We didn’t know how it would play out for him. My son has definitely kept us guessing right until the very end. Perhaps you are wondering about your child.

Will he make it through this thing called childhood? My advice is to keep working on character, most of all. The rest will come in due season. If your child has good character it will transfer into all areas of his life. And that will pay the biggest dividends when he walks out the door.

Related: The Most Powerful Parenting Tips (from Successful Teens)

Feeling Inadequate

That little person I delivered on Labor Day 23 years ago has now turned into an incredible man. I can only thank God for this because there were many days I felt inadequate. My husband and I spent many hours on our knees asking God what to do next.

I never had brothers, so I didn’t know the first thing about raising boys. The mystery started the first time I changed his diaper all the way to college and landing his dream job.

My husband and I both have learned so much through the whole parenting process. We learned we needed God. It was more than we could handle alone.

We found we didn’t have to have the answers to everything, just the next step. As my son has aged, he has had an integral part in choosing the next step.

And then one day he totally took the next step on his own with God’s help. When my baby leaves our home this week I will be sad but at peace.

We have been preparing him for this day his whole life. He is finally going to fly out of the nest on his own. He is his own man, and I couldn’t be more proud.

Related: How to Get to Your Child’s Heart

Andrew holding a large fish while in a boat.

When Your Baby Leaves Home

When your baby leaves home you will look back on all those mundane days at home and realize how important those hours really were. You are building character and nurturing those talents and gifts or wasting time by not being intentional.

Cherish the time you have with your children. Make your days count for something. Nurture those gifts. One day, when your baby leaves home, you will look back on your time with him/her and realize it’s all over.

You have only been given a certain amount of days, and then they are gone. Good or bad it will be done.

The only thing left will be your memories. Memories of welding the wall, days in the park, and fishing in every stream between here and the Colorado River.

You are charged with doing the best you can today, and then leaving the rest up to God. Trust that He will take your child’s talents and gifts and use them to fly solo someday. You will be so grateful you did.

Related: Focus on Your Teen; 9 Best Activities to Do With Your Family 

What talents and gifts have you noticed in your kids?

Got Big Family Problems? There is Help!

Are you experiencing family problems or even estranged? Are you feeling shame, anger, or rejection? Check out my book Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart on Amazon or at your favorite digital store. 

This book not only talks about my seven-year estrangement from my Christian family, but it also gives solid tips to help you with your family problems. Break free from your pain. Allow God to heal you no matter what has happened in your family of origin. There is hope when your family falls apart.

Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart book with a single tree on the book


Creating Family Memories Book

Get Creating Family Memories. This book will help you manage your family in a way that allows more time to be intentional with your kids.  It includes a schedule too. You can get it at your favorite bookstore.

A farm scene with a farmhouse upside down sitting on a grass field with a lake in the background.

Join Christian Family Living Facebook Group

Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the group Christian Family Living. This is a place for Christian women to share their experiences and get helpful tools to navigate the Christian life. We love to laugh, cry, and encourage each other to live out our faith one day at a time.


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Julie Plagens


  1. Daisy Johnson on July 29, 2018 at 12:56 am

    This is a perfect article for those with children leaving the nest. I don’t have any children of my own, but I can only imagine how difficult it is. I will keep it in my mind and apply this when I become a mom. Thanks for your informative article.

    • Julie Plagens on March 23, 2019 at 2:16 pm

      Daisy, it is also for people who are just starting. You start where you want to end up. You learn from those who go before you. Thanks for your comment.

  2. georgia boanoro on July 16, 2018 at 4:12 am

    What a lovely article, thank you for sharing these intimate thoughts! The photos are great!

    • Julie Plagens on July 17, 2018 at 9:18 pm

      Georgia, thanks for your sweet comment. He’s a good kid!

  3. Toughcookiemommy on July 12, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    My sons are both kind and caring towards others. It’s so important to appreciate every single moment you have with your kids at every age.

    • Julie Plagens on July 17, 2018 at 9:19 pm

      I am sure you had a lot to do with that. Good job! Thanks for reading.

  4. Anonymous on July 12, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    As a mom of 4 boys ages 18,15,12,9 and 1 girl who is 16 I can feel your emotions through your sons journey. I have prayed a lot and well yelled a lot too. I tell them there is no rush to move out! Such a good read and I’m not sure if I am ready for that next step in their lives. I guess when the time comes God will give me the strength I need to handle that. thanks for sharing your story.

    • Julie Plagens on July 17, 2018 at 9:20 pm

      Whew! You are my hero. I am so impressed. I can’t even imagine that many kids. You are awesome! Hope you enjoy your time.

  5. Lauren on July 12, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    This is beautiful! I am just starting out my parenting journey and a few months in it already seems to be flying by so quickly. My daughter is not even 6 months old yet but already her newborn days seem so long ago. I am praying we will remember to cherish each phase, even the difficult ones, instead of always looking ahead to the next thing. Before I am ready it will be my turn to let my baby bird fly. I’m looking forward to reading more!

    • Julie Plagens on July 17, 2018 at 9:22 pm

      Lauren, yes, the time flies. I am glad you are enjoying every stage. Each one has its great challenges and it great victories. I enjoyed each one differently. The teen years are the most fun and the most difficult! Thanks for reading.

  6. Kate | A Hundred Affections on July 10, 2018 at 7:11 am

    My boys are only 3, but I think about this a lot. Doing my best to make the most of every minute we have – both in memories made and in parenting them to be the boys-then-men they’ll be some day. Huge responsibility and huge gift! Thanks for sharing!

    • Julie Plagens on July 17, 2018 at 9:23 pm

      Kate, give them extra hugs and kisses. They don’t last forever. I miss that the most, I think. Thanks for your comment.

  7. Anosa on July 10, 2018 at 2:57 am

    What a beautiful post, cherish those memories i think my mum felt the same when me and my siblings left home.

    • Julie Plagens on July 10, 2018 at 7:49 pm

      Anosa, I am sure she did. It’s hard on a momma when kids leave. Thanks for reading.

  8. Marlena Rice on July 9, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    I love this post! I have a sweet little five year old son and I love that you say that every minute and hour we have is so special because they are and we cannot waste them!!!! Bless you for being such a loving mommy, I can feel how much you love your son through your post. Bless him in his endeavors as a grown up (but still your baby), and I pray for his safety and guidance from the Lord during his new journey, and the new journey for yourself and your husband! 🙂

    • Julie Plagens on July 10, 2018 at 7:58 pm

      Marlena, what a precious comment. I appreciate your sweet words and prayers. Thank you! Enjoy your 5 year old. The days are long right now, but it goes fast!

  9. Caitlin on July 9, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Such a sweet read. It has to be so hard watching your child grow up – you can only control so much, and as they get older, it’s even less!

    • Julie Plagens on July 10, 2018 at 7:59 pm

      Caitlin, it will s hard letting go, but we still have my daughter left. When she leaves… ugh. I’ll be even a bigger mess! Thanks for reading.

  10. Tara Adams on July 9, 2018 at 8:28 am

    This is so beautiful! My son is now 4 months and 2 weeks. I can sense your love for yours through your post. I grew up with 5 brothers and I’m still amazed at the little fella God blesses us with.

    • Julie Plagens on July 10, 2018 at 8:15 pm

      Tara, thanks for your sweet comment. How fun to have a little one. Enjoy your time with him. He’s lucky to have you!

  11. Ashley on July 8, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    I just bawled through this. I have 2 and as they get older I dread them leaving home. Purely because I dont want to let go lol but I am hopefully raising them to be productive good people who you know call mom nightly to tell her how their day was LOL

    • Julie Plagens on July 10, 2018 at 8:17 pm

      Ashley, aww. It sounds like you love your babies a whole lot. Enjoy your time! Thanks for reading this!!

  12. Nayna Kanabar on July 8, 2018 at 2:59 am

    Its hard to let go when your kids grow up however you can be assured that he has had the best upbringing and you have given him good values to set him up for life. I am sure you will get lots of visits even if it is for some mums home cooking or for help with laundry.

    • Julie Plagens on July 10, 2018 at 8:18 pm

      Kanabar, yes, he will come home some. He’s moving far away so the visits won’t be that frequent. He does love to call though! Thank goodness.
      Thanks for reading.

  13. Amber on July 7, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    It’s hard to imagine the sadness that comes with such a huge life change such as your child moving out! This was a beautiful post about your son.

    • Julie Plagens on July 10, 2018 at 8:21 pm

      Amber, thanks so much for the compliment. I find it easy to write when I am so emotionally involved. Good life change, just hard!

  14. Stephanie on July 7, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    If you think it’s hard to let go of one child, try doing it for five! We have just become empty nesters and after a year it is still an adjustment. But we have to let them live their own lives. Since it is our job as parents to help them live as adults in the real world. But we definitely can’t do it without God. Thanks for the fabulous post.

    • Julie Plagens on July 10, 2018 at 8:24 pm

      Oh, wow! 5!! I can’t imagine. You must be in shock over the quietness. Kudos to you for raising them all. One is hard. Whew.
      Thanks for reading.

  15. Cheks from thismamaandherkids on July 7, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    As mother to 2 young ones, this is a great reminder to make mindful choices about how I mold my babies because I have limited time and these days will pass quickly. I pray for more grace to focus on the important things and to trust God’s plan and purpose for them will come to pass.

  16. LavandaMichelle on July 7, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    What a honest post! My oldest is 16 and she has about 2 more years till she’s off. I’m trying my best to cherish every moment. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  17. Lala Kerry on July 7, 2018 at 4:13 am

    You remind me of my mom when we left for college. She cried and miss us a lot. She told us that she won’t get used to live without us around the house. This is such a loveable story. How we all grow and time pass incredibly fast. It feels like only yesterday.

    • Julie Plagens on July 10, 2018 at 8:25 pm

      Yes, the silence is hard. Especially if you have social kids. I think my husband is happy for the reprieve! Haha. Thanks for reading.

  18. Annie Cho on July 7, 2018 at 12:18 am

    Such a bittersweet post. I can tell you love your son so much. I’m sure he will do amazingly and grow into a man you are super proud of!

    • Julie Plagens on July 10, 2018 at 8:26 pm

      Annie, yes. I am so proud of him. I would have been more sad had he not landed the job. Thanks for reading.

  19. Marie Kait on July 6, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    My babies are three and one and I already feel like this day is going to come too fast. 🙁 It really is remarkable how fast the time flies. I know’s it’s just something that people say, but you really start to understand the gravity of the phrase once you become a mother.

    • Julie Plagens on July 10, 2018 at 8:28 pm

      Marie, yes. When my kids were little it was hard. The days were long. But now I am so glad I stayed in there and went the extra mile with them. The journey was fun.

  20. Tina Gleisner on July 6, 2018 at 8:11 pm

    Don’t worry because they leave, return, leave again & it’s simply a time where you get to build a new & different relationship with your son.

    • Julie Plagens on July 10, 2018 at 8:29 pm

      Tina, yes. I know he’ll keep coming back. It’s just different. One day he’ll bring a wife and then kids. Thanks for reading.

  21. valerie christie on July 6, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    Cherish the memories of him from birth to the time he heads out into the world on his own. The sweet part is that you will continue making great memories in his adult years.

    • Julie Plagens on July 10, 2018 at 8:30 pm

      Valerie, so true. The memories are still being made. Just in a different way. Thanks for reading.

  22. Jarkable on July 6, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    Very sweet post that really helps put things in perspective. Time really does fly and you have to enjoy everything minute of it.

    • Julie Plagens on July 10, 2018 at 8:38 pm

      Thanks for your kind words. I appreciate your comments.

  23. Hollie on July 6, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    What a beautiful post. I don’t have any children of my own but I can only imagine how difficult it is. Wonderful post.

    • Julie Plagens on July 10, 2018 at 8:38 pm

      Hollie, thanks for reading this. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  24. Serena Hale on July 6, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    Made me instantly think of my niece whose high school graduation I just went to and I almost freaked out. I was there from day one and to see her all grown up made me sad and think of all of those wonderful memories we had together.

    • Julie Plagens on July 10, 2018 at 8:40 pm

      Serena, it Is hard when you are so close to someone. It is fun to watch them grow. But painful to see them leave.

  25. Jessica Joachim on July 6, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    I was the last to move out, and my step mom actually paid for me to get out hahaha My kids are still really young, but I know one day this day will come and it will be so bitter sweet!

    • Julie Plagens on July 10, 2018 at 8:41 pm

      Jessica, oh that’s kinda funny! I love your blog. Great posts. Cute kids!! Enjoy them. Thanks for reading.

  26. Sarah Bailey on July 6, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    I have to admit I can’t imagine what it is like when your child leaves home. It must be such a different time for everyone.

    • Julie Plagens on July 10, 2018 at 8:42 pm

      Sarah, it’s a new phase. I know my son will be happy,so I am happy. Thanks for reading.

  27. Joanna on July 6, 2018 at 11:17 am

    This is such a beautiful post! I don’t have children but your post touched me as well. I guess you know that this moment will come one day, and it’s very emotional.

    • Julie Plagens on July 10, 2018 at 8:43 pm

      Joanna, I’m glad you were touched by the post. It is quite emotional for the mom!! Thanks for reading.

  28. Shelby on July 6, 2018 at 9:13 am

    I actually teared up a bit…while I don’t have children, yet, I can imagine this is exactly how my parents felt when I left for college.

    • Julie Plagens on July 10, 2018 at 8:44 pm

      Shelby, aww, that’s sweet. I’m sure your parents were sad but happy, too.

  29. ThoseGillgans on July 6, 2018 at 8:16 am

    Awwwww!! I teared up for you momma. This is a perfect article for those with children leaving the nest. I still have four young ones of my own, but oh how I am not sure I’d be ready! God has truly blessed yous and your sons! I look forward to reading more from yous.

    • Julie Plagens on July 10, 2018 at 8:45 pm

      That’s sweet, thanks. You definitely have a crew at your house. So fun! Enjoy it. Every sticky kiss. It doesn’t last forever.

  30. Cassie on July 6, 2018 at 6:51 am

    Children grow up so quick. All we can do as parents is guide them and teach them to hopefully be good adults

    • Julie Plagens on July 10, 2018 at 8:46 pm

      Cassie, yes, I feel he will be good out in the world. Thanks for reading!

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