I Love My Kids, But One Day I'm Kicking Them Out

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mom and kids

It’s hard to believe two of my girls will one day be out on their own, forging the mountains and valleys of life.

My third child gets a free pass because he’s disabled. But the other two — no siree will they be 30 years old, sitting on my couch eating Lucky Charms while I’m out working to pay for their Red Bull and pedicure dependence.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids more than life itself. But there comes a time when they must be forced down certain pathways in life. And those pathways will include the ones out the door of our house, into their cars, and up the stairs to their very own apartments.

I’m not sure how this even happened, but I didn’t actually learn college was optional until I was a sophomore in high school. I remember coming home from a friend’s house, feeling cheated, just like the day I found out Santa wasn’t real.

“Dad, why did you and mom tell me I legally had to go to college?” I asked. “Sara just told me tonight that’s not true.”

“It’s not a choice, and you do have to go,” he told me. “And as for the law, it’s the law of mine and your mother’s. That law is more powerful than any state regulation or statute.”

My father was a cop, so I knew his “laws” meant business.

My parents weren’t trying to be high and mighty. The opposite, actually. Neither of them had graduated from college and this was their way to make sure I had opportunities they didn’t. They were trying to set me up with a future full of success.

But the kicker was: Not only were they forcing me to go to college — I had to pay for it too.

This detail felt like a big blow at the time. But, it turned out my parents were right. Working to put myself through college was an invaluable learning experience about work ethic and attaining goals. This is why I started talking to my girls about getting a job. When they were three.

“What do you mean you want that toy? You don’t have a job. Without a job you can’t pay for it. So no, you can’t have it and don’t bring it up again.”  

Unless my girls have money saved, they don’t ask for anything at the store anymore, the idea of working for something has been so branded onto their brains.

“Mom, how many years until I can get a job?” Madilyn, my oldest asked a few weeks ago. It was a proud mommy moment. Of course she only asked because she wanted a gimmick found at the end of an aisle, but why she asked doesn’t matter. The kid wants a job!

When teaching my kids about the positive attributes of hard work, I have a handy four-letter acronym: W.O.R.K.  


Kids sure do want a lot of stuff and their desire to have more will only become greater. Why? Keeping up with the Jones’ for one but also because something ground-breaking and absolutely awesome comes out on the market every five seconds. I remind my kids there will be a lot of things they want even when they become adults. But before they can get those wants, they will first have to purchase the things they need.

I’m waiting for one of my daughters to tell me not to worry, that she’ll marry for money with her good looks. I will then laugh heartily in her face before saying this, “Go to college. Find a career. Worry about the guy later.”  


Do you want to go on vacation every year? What about driving a new car off the lot? Would you like to look at other parts of the menu besides the appetizers? Well girls, I hate to tell you but unless you take your education by the uh … erasers, you aren’t going to have as many options.

R=Respect, Retirement and Rewards

Respect isn’t given, it’s earned. And although education isn’t necessary to earn someone's respect, it doesn't hurt. I haven’t talked to my girls about retirement yet, but before they hit 15, I’ll be introducing 401K’s and tax shelter annuities. As for the rewards, I’ll be letting them know that getting a degree, leaving the nest, getting a job, and starting a life is likely one of the most rewarding feelings they will ever have.

I teach my girls that if they work hard, stay focused on their end goals and resist the many distracting and harmful temptations that come their way, karma should be good to them. If not, at least they still have a degree, a job and are out of my house.

Hopefully, karma will come my way too. I’ll be able to reclaim some time alone, be proud I raised productive citizens and in general, reap the benefits of being a good mom. Those rewards can’t be bought with any job or degree, but come simply out of love.  

This article was originally published at Blunt Moms. Reprinted with permission from the author.