My husband and I got married at the tender age of 22.
We went from our parents’ houses to our own apartment where neither one of us knew how to be an adult. While we muddled through adulthood together, I relied on the advice of my parents for a long time for fear of messing up. But even more than the shame of messing up, I was afraid of ever having to move back in.
Sometimes I look at my kids and feel achy inside. Knowing the day will come when they’ll no longer live in my house, leave the toilet seat up, or toss their dirty laundry beside the hamper instead of inside it. They won’t be leaving trails of crap everywhere they’ve been, and worst of all, they won’t be there to love up on every time I feel like giving a squeeze.
Knowing this bitter truth, I’ve put together this list of valuable lessons for my boys to learn prior to leaving the nest. Listen up kiddos!
1. Change a tire.
Because being stranded on the side of the interstate at 3 a.m. is the stuff horror movies are made of.
2. Read a user manual.
Regardless of what your dad believes, the user/instruction manuals that come with every appliance and piece of build-it-yourself furniture you ever buy actually has purpose. Trust me.
3. Laundry. The right way.
This I promise you: If you bring your laundry home, it’ll just sit there. I’ll show you how to do your own laundry long before you ever leave home, not because I love you but because I’m totally over it.
4. Know your credit score.
I remember credit card companies stalking me as a young adult on my college campus. While I can’t control your credit, I can warn you of impending credit doom.
5. The different between want and need.
It’s good to want. It sucks to need. Save yourself the 29.99% interest rate and learn the distinction early.
6. Put out a fire.
Basic. Life-saving. Necessary. Since I know you won’t be buying a fire extinguisher for yourself, I’ll do it for you…along with cleaning supplies.
7. Smart people ask questions.
I know you’re super proud of yourself for moving out and so are we. That said, if you get a weird letter in the mail, don’t just ignore it. Ask us what to do with it.
8. Our house is not a hotel.
I cried when you moved out because I’ll miss you. And when I said you’ll always have a place at home, I meant it… sort of. Moving back in isn’t a guarantee; it’s a discussion.
9. Have a budget.
Chances are you don’t earn much and living on your own is hella expensive. Make a budget (or allow me to help you make a budget) so you can live within your means.
You need to know how to cook enough to get by. Knowing how to cook one really impressive meal for your girl doesn’t hurt either.
11. Balance a checkbook.
You need to know how to do this because it’s important. It’s especially important for you because you’re broke-ass broke.
12. Food safety.
Foodborne illnesses are no joke. Knowing when to toss, how long to cook, and safe food-handling practices matter.
13. Ask for help.
You’re never too grown up to ask for help when you need it. Don’t let small problems become big ones due to pride; Mom and Dad are always here to help.
14. It’s OK to not live as well as you did at home.
We worked hard to provide you with a comfortable home life, but know that it didn’t start out that way. We were young and broke once too. Coming up is one of the greatest experiences of young adulthood. Be patient with yourself!
What else should kids learn before moving out?