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  • Writer's pictureAnne Walker

WHEN YOUR 1ST CHILD IS ABOUT TO LEAVE HOME FOR THE 1ST TIME

I can only speak from a mum’s point of view, but I would like to think it would be the same for Dads, and others that have been the main career for their child.


Well, it started with the initial application, in my son’s case for an Apprenticeship, the first one was applied for, he was invited for the assessment day and then got offered a position.

At this point carried on applying for other positions which I would assume is a little like applying for multiple Universities and waiting for all their replies.


Then another application, another assessment day, and again my son was offered a position. My husband is in the same industry and helped my son to make his choice on which one to take. So, my son is moving from Lincoln to Oxfordshire, at this stage it’s is all very exciting to see my son go through the application process, things look very positive.


My emotions are in check, I am just thinking, I think this is because his actual leaving date was not yet confirmed and what I thought the date would be was still a little time away. I am pleased my son has a plan, he is moving forward in his life.


With the acceptance of the apprenticeship came lots for form filling, my son did most of it but needed some help with the initial replies to emails. (I am still feeling useful as a mum at this time).


We were then invited to a family day, to see where my son would be working and show us photos of his accommodation, the place he is staying for the first nine months and where the study would take place before moving to the company’s main site for the next three years.


It’s starting to hit home now, my son will be leaving home soon, I am ok, I don’t need to really think about it yet. I can still talk about him leaving home without crying. The family day is still about three weeks away. It all ok. (Well, I keep telling myself that).


The family day was good, we met the other five apprentices and their families, we asked lots of question, and we were given lots of information and shown around the main site.

Then towards the end of the day the apprentices were asked to go try on their uniform and the parents stayed where we were and given the chance to ask any questions we did not want to ask in front of our children.

This is where it hit me for the first time really, I had to really try hard to hold it together, as I did not want to cry in front of everyone in the room. I could feel my heart beating faster than normal thinking you’ve got this, you’re ok.


Then next day we were back home, and I had popped into Asda’s for a few bits and as I looked down their seasonal aisle, there was a small clothes airier, I could have cried at seeing this. (I know why you would want to cry when you see a clothes airer) I had dreamed the night before that we had turned up at my son’s new accommodation and he had nowhere to dry his clothes. It felt like the universe was on my side, telling me what I needed to purchase ready for him to take with him when he goes.


We had arranged for a day to catch up with his friends and for me to have a coffee with their mum’s (my friends) at the local water park. Off us mums went to the coffee shop next door and that’s when the conversation came around to my son leaving home, they had asked how the family day had gone and said is it only two weeks until he leaves.


With that my eyes watered up and one of my friends said you are allowed to cry it’s ok to cry, with that the flood gates opened right in the middle of the coffee shop. I felt silly other people were looking at me, but my friends said it’s ok let them look, it’s not them that is going through this. They were right of course, sometimes we just need to go with our emotions no matter where we are or who is around us. We do not have to take on another person’s judgment of us, that is for them to own not us. So, I had a cry and it felt better having let it out with support from my friends.


My son will be the first of his friendship group to leave home the others are either in sixth form or about to start their second year at college.

We all know that at some point our children will leave home, but we do not know when, some will go to University, other’s may take up an apprenticeship but stay local and live at home for more years than the parents though they would.

In my case my son is leaving earlier than he would if he had gone to `Uni, and I am really not ready for him to leave.


In my heart I know he will be fine, but my head is ruling me at this time, saying he is not ready he cannot cook or use the washing machine, as much I have tried to teach /help him, he can only bake cookies. He does bake a mean cookie though.

We have ten days now until my son will be in his new accommodation, I gave my son the choice if he wanted me to follow him down and meet him there (he will take is car with him) to get settled and he said it was up to me. However, I did not want him to think years later that nether me or his Dad where there to help settle him in on the day. At this time, I am looking for a hotel for the night and thinking I hope my son realises that on the day I will be a blubbering mess, (which is starting now as I type this).


Over the past two and half years I have had my Dad pass away, my dog pass away and now my oldest son leaving home, on top of that managing the menopause what more can a woman take.


How do I deal with all the emotions that these things in my life have thrown at me and I do mean thrown at me and still been able to work? I have to say Self-care, knowing when to take time away from work and for how long. Journaling, writing down all my thoughts, feelings and emotions without over thinking them.


To help me come to terms with my son leaving home I had two weeks off at the beginning of the school summer holiday, I had some family time then went back to work for three weeks, I am now off for another two weeks to spend some time with my son and help him get sorted with clothes, stationary etc. then I am at work for two days before I, along with my younger son drive down to settle him in.


During this time, I have spoken to both my sons about how they feel about not being together as they get on really well and always have. Both said it will be a bit strange to start with, but we will be ok. I feel lucky that both of my sons talk to me about how they feel about things and also when they feel I am annoying them. 😊


During the family day the line manager, who will also be looking after the apprentice’s welfare suggested that they did not come home for the first five weeks, he has found that the ones that stay this length of time do not get as home sick and do better in their studies. He even suggested this to his daughter when she went to Uni, five weeks minimum, how am I going to cope? he has only been away for one week at a time before.


I have friends and other people to support me, people I can talk to. But I also know that if I find they are not understanding how I am feeling or I feel they do not want to listen to me, there are some great counsellors out there that are trained to listen without judgment.


Form the 11th of September I will be returning to work at Lincoln Counselling Centre as one of those counsellors, I am always ready to listen and help you work out your emotions, or just sit and be there for you when you need to cry.



This will probably be my son on the day when it is time for me to leave and that’s ok we will make it light hearted in the best way we can knowing that we love each other and that I am always there for him no matter what.


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