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What To Do When Your Baby Won’t Leave The Nest

humorous take on what to do to get your last child to leave homeCatherine DeCenzo is a hilarious tale-teller who can be found writing over at Cat’s Out of the Bag.

I recently watched a very touching video of a woman standing in front of her book club reading excerpts from a book on letting go of children as they journey into adulthood. Tissues came out, tears welled up in the audience’s eyes, and memories of their own adult children as youngsters flooded their minds.

Well, all I know is that one of my adult children has not yet flown away and brought such tear-jerking memories to my life. Seems this little birdie has grown very comfy in the nest. Granted, she is teetering on the edge of her Louboutins, just about ready to launch. But then she looks back and sees the well-stocked refrigerator, her checking account growing in leaps and bounds, Poppa Bird changing the oil in her car and Momma Bird picking up the slack on her laundry. Who would want to leave the comfort of that nest?

Well, it’s time for Momma Bird to turn into a Big Cruella Deville Turkey Vulture. My mission? To make it so uncomfortable in the nest that even the stealthiest of insects won’t want to burrow down in this abode.

I’ve come up with a list of tactical measures for my mission. Should you find yourself in a similar predicament, and Adult Girl Child just won’t leave the roost, you may want to utilize similar extreme measures. If the embarrassing, “ick” factor of these attempts don’t have her running for the nearest door, I don’t know what will.

  1. Discreetly set a large box of Depends right next to her fruity, pastel-colored box of feminine hygiene products in the linen closet.
  1. Leave your Long Term Life Insurance form lying around with a big black “x” marked on the Decline box. (Who needs it when she’ll be here to change my diapers?)
  1. Place the wet towels she continues to leave on the floor into her bedroom hamper, deep underneath the rest of her clothes, until the gagging mold and mildew and odor of Phosphine poisonous gas envelops her room. (Be sure to cut up all your Yankee Candle room plug-in coupons first.)
  1. Place your 24-hour urine lab test in a see-thru giant gallon next to the carton of milk in the fridge.
  1. “Accidentally” lay your tube of hemorrhoid cream where her toothpaste usually sits.
  1. Call her on her cell phone often, and leave lengthy voicemails instead of texting.
  1. Replace all of the alcohol in the fridge with O’Doul’s non-alcoholic beer.
  1. Have your husband go out and rake leaves in shorts and black socks right before her friends come to pick her up.
  1. Take up smoking Marlboros in the house again.
  1. Invite your Ya-Ya sisterhood group over, chat about your pregnancies and have a contest for the most gruesome childbirth stories in earshot of her room, using the word placenta repeatedly.
  1. When she comes home from work, ask her about the favorite part of her day, every day.
  1. Wear your mom jeans with the high waist. (Camel toe optional.)
  1. Set the fire escape ladder outside her bedroom window and ask her what a six-letter word for “get married” is that begins with e-l-o on your crossword puzzle.
  1. Play your favorite Captain & Tennille song on loop and dance around the house.
  1. Surprise her at work by bringing her a bagged lunch with her name on it.
  1. Insist on accompanying her into the gynecologist’s examining room.
  1. Ask her how that diet of hers is going.
  1. Correct her grammar on her Facebook postings after she finally agrees to be your friend. Better yet, befriend her friends and correct their grammar.
  1. Tell her you’ve decided to go commando and put all of your big, cotton granny panties in a clear Goodwill bag and place it on the porch for all the neighbors to see.
  1. Tell her to call you with a “secret code” if she needs you to pick her up from a nightclub.
  1. Play “Blackbird, Fly” by the Beatles, loudly, in the car.

These should suffice for now. And if this doesn’t scare the bajeezus out of her, and she’s 40 and still living here, I’ll go to Plan B. I might have to bring out the big guns, which will entail leaving my teeth on the kitchen counter, next to my large, day-of-the-week pill box.

Catherine DeCenzo

Catherine DeCenzo is a professional freelance writer and editor who has a penchant for the humorous side of life on her personal blog, Cat’s Out of the Bag, at She has been published in Washington Family, Posh Seven, AAKP RENALIFE, and Zoom Autism magazines as well as in The Purple Fig and PBS' Next Avenue online lifestyle magazines. An archive of some of her articles can be found on at She can be reached at

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Maureen Downey

Friday 29th of April 2016

Oh how I wished we had these items tucked away in our brains when some of our kids left and came back and left and came back and finally before reaching Plan B left for good!! Great read as usual Catherine. I've been following you for years!

Laurie Oien

Friday 29th of April 2016

Hilarious! Hubby and I started doing a few of these even as the kids were in high school. Getting a jump start, so they get the picture early-on. I'm feeling confident that we won't need to go to Plan B. This was a fun read!

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