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Planning to move out of your parents’ house? Be ready. I knew leaving my parents would be hard. But I never knew it would be THAT hard. It took me roughly 60 days before I was able to get my grip on my new life.
Moving out of your parents’ house can be one of the most challenging transitions you will ever experience in your life. You may undergo financial, emotional, mental, and physical discomfort during this phase. Yet, not everyone has the same experience. Some desire freedom so much that they don’t find moving out hard.
What makes leaving home hard? In this post, I will share with you what I went through during and after I left home. My intention is to help you be better prepared in case you have fully decided to take the step.
Disclaimer: the content of this post is based on the author’s opinions and experiences. It does not intend to give professional advice.
Why is leaving home hard?
I left home a month before I turned 34. I was married for 3 years, have one kid, and the second one is coming very soon – and she was one of the primary reasons we are moving out. We will no longer fit our room in our parents’ house once our daughter is born. And we did not even realize it until halfway through our pregnancy. We only had about three months to prepare. Here is what made it hard for us to leave home:
Like you, the first question that comes to mind is, “can I afford it?” The financial implications of moving out of our parents’ house are the most obvious concern for the vast majority. In fact, many choose not to leave home simply because it is not “practical.” Living with parents means we do not need to pay rent, utilities, and food. Worst case, we can just chip in the amount we are comfortable sharing.
I couldn’t sleep at night for several weeks because of this. If you have read my previous articles, you’d know I was still battling ginormous debts during those times. Relinquishing the financial benefits I enjoy living with my parents makes no sense. But this is already the path my wife and I have chosen. Ultimately, we moved out with roughly $4,000 (Php 200,000) in savings and a combined income of approximately $1,000 (Php 50,000) per month.
Mental And Emotional
We are a family who is not good at expressing our emotions. When we cry, we do it in the bathroom when nobody can see. It’s what I did a week before the day we moved out. I act as if everything is okay, that moving out wasn’t a big deal. If they only knew I was sitting in the toilet every three hours to weep.
But holding my tears on the actual day of leaving home was too much for me to handle. The flood gates of my tear ducts broke loose. Snot ran down my lips as I hugged them tight and said my goodbyes. I also whispered my prayers and thanked the house before I drove the car to our new address.
Merryl Gee, a psychotherapist in M1 Psychology, says it is not always easy to leave home mentally and emotionally. It is common for everyone to experience homesickness, loneliness, distress, and anxiety during the transition. Even the happiest and most confident people will struggle. She says most of these struggles are due to the adjustments to the new environment and lifestyle:
- Meeting new people.
- Getting to work (or school) on time.
- Missing family and friends back home.
- Dealing with messy housemates or neighbors.
- Being responsible for your own health and well-being.
What Does Homesickness Feel Like?
In case you do not know what homesickness feels like, it is an intense longing for a person or neighborhood. I experienced this when I was about twelve or thirteen. One summer, I traveled to the province with my cousins to visit our uncles and aunts. After a month, I could not stay there any longer. I want to go home. I want to see my parents. But the problem is, based on the schedule, we are not yet going home for the next thirty days.
Internet and video chat do not exist yet at that time. For two weeks, all I did was do long-distance calls to my parents (which is expensive) and cry in my room. I felt trapped. Hearing mom and dad’s voices gave me relief, but the feeling returned quickly as soon as we hung up the phone. Eventually, my aunt recognized the severity of my homesickness and made a special arrangement with her friend to take me home.
The physical aspect of leaving home is the most manageable, but it is not without struggle. The first part is the moving-out itself. Packing all your belongings, transporting them, and unpacking them to your new home may sound easy, but nothing could be more laborious – especially when you have tons of stuff. You will need some management skills to smoothen the process. Depending on your location, you may also need to process certain documents, such as trucking permits and gate passes.
Next is visiting your parents and in-laws. You no longer live under one roof, and chances are, you have agreed on a regular schedule to see each other. We now reside an hour away from them, so the agreement is that we will spend the weekend with them at least once a month. We travel there Friday and go back home by Monday. This should not be much of a concern when you are single. But parents understand how tedious this arrangement can be when you have kids.
Lastly, the chores. My wife didn’t need to cook food when we were still living with my parents. Mom does that. Plus, my parents hired house helpers who do our laundry, wash the dishes, and take care of the kids when we go out. But now we have them all on our own. I am designated to vacuum the floors, wipe the tables, wash the dishes, and throw out the garbage. My wife does the other stuff. This means less time at work, fewer dates, and rarer me-time for us.
What is the most stressful part of moving?
Above all else, the most stressful part of moving out for me is breaking the news to my parents. I am the eldest son in our family. In our culture, I should be the one to take care of them in their old age. They must have felt betrayed when I told them about it. Leaving my parents was among the hardest decisions I made in my life. But this move is essential to the maturity of my own family. I am at peace because I know I am doing this for the right reasons.
If I am to give an honorable mention, it would be guilt. For sure, this move also rocked my parents mentally and emotionally. Like us, they will undergo serious adjustments. Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind, says: “Feelings of loss, sadness, anxiety, grief, and fear are common among parents experiencing empty nest syndrome, and the condition affects both men and women.”
The signs and symptoms of empty-nester syndrome may include:
- A loss of purpose
- Frustration over lack of control
- Emotional distress
- Marital stress
- Anxiety about their children
They may not tell us directly, but our parents surely get sad when we move out. My dad calls me every morning after we have left home. We would talk for an hour, and I could hear the sadness in his voice. My younger sister has to take them to the mall every afternoon to cheer them up. If my observation is correct, it took them about 3 months before they adapted to the new normal.
Is moving hard for everyone?
Moving is hard. But not for everyone. When I asked my wife if she found it difficult to move out of her house after we married, she said it with a resounding “NO”! She said she’s been wanting to leave her home since college. She said she wanted to explore, grow, and challenge herself. Guess some people have no problem moving out of their parents’ house. The thirst for freedom far outweighs the financial, mental, emotional, and physical implications of leaving home.
More From The Learning Dad Blog
- Is It Important To Move Out Of Your Parents’ House?
- The Struggle To Leave And Cleave
- When Should You Move Out Of Your Parents’ House?
- Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and John Townsend
- Boundaries In Marriage by Dr. Henry Cloud and John Townsend
- Boundaries with Kids by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
- Boundaries with Teens by John Townsend