Letting your kid leave home for the first time isn’t easy — especially when it’s your firstborn. If you’re anything like me, it feels like just yesterday you were changing their diapers. Then you blinked and now all of a sudden your baby is walking out the door! But even though it seems scary, the important thing to remember is that every mom goes through it. I know I’ll never forget the moment when I let my fifteen-year-old daughter Moana sail into the ocean alone on a quest to find the demigod Maui and restore the heart of T’fiti so that the coconut trees of my island home would be fixed. I second guessed every decision, wondering if I did enough to prepare her. “Maybe I should have taught her how to sail,” I said to myself. “Maybe I should have given her a map or taught her how to navigate.” “Maybe I should have given her more than four large mangoes and a bushel of bananas.” But at the end of the day, we moms have to accept that we’ve done all we can and that this is just another step in every kid’s development.

Let’s face it — our babies grow up, and we have to let them. Sometimes that means letting them stay out past curfew. Sometimes that means letting them go out on a date without a chaperone. And sometimes that means helping them take a small sailboat into the middle of the Pacific Ocean equipped with a single oar, minimal provisions, one outfit and a chicken sidekick who will serve as comic relief.

That’s just what being a mom is.

And don’t even get me started on the inevitable fight with your husband. As we moms know, dads always get overprotective — especially with their daughters. “Are you a fucking lunatic?!” he’ll say, just like he always does. “How could you do this? Moana literally doesn’t know how to sail. And what, you’re just assuming that anthropomorphic islands and demigods are real now? Based on what evidence; the word of my senile mother? She will die out there! Do you understand that? Our daughter is going to die. You have killed our daughter. Oh my god. Who even are you? I’m calling a fucking lawyer.”

Classic dad talk, am I right?

But you just have to trust that you did the right thing. Let’s just say it: When it comes to certain things, moms just know a little bit more than dads. Sure, my husband’s whole backstory is that he once tried to do something similar and it immediately resulted in the drowning of his best friend. But you just have to believe in your own decisions as a mom.

But I know you’re not just here to listen to me ramble on … you’re here for some mommy advice! So here are three tips for what to do when letting your kid leave home for the first time.

1) Don’t drag it out — rip off the Band-Aid!

Don’t try to stall your kid by doing silly tasks like inspecting her sailboat for leaks, her sail for tears, or her rudder’s durability. Sure, that sailboat hasn’t been used in decades, but you and I both know that once you start giving your daughter’s vessel even a basic safety check, you’ll never be able to say goodbye.

2) Talk to a veteran mom who has been through this before!

There are dozens of other moms in your village who have gone through this exact same thing! Talk to them! They’re ready to give you little pearls of wisdom, like, “wait, you did what?”, or “I genuinely think you are a psychopath,” or “I am absolutely certain that qualifies as criminal neglect.”

3) Don’t forget — they’ll come back soon!

The most important thing to remember is that this isn’t permanent! You kid isn’t gone forever, and they’ll be back before you know it. Have no doubt, your untrained fifteen-year-old daughter will survive a typhoon on a 10-foot sailboat and win her various fights against pirates; a child-eating, David Bowie–themed crab; and an enormous lava monster god and be back for family dinner in no time.

Okay — that’s all for now! Keep in mind that these are just what I thought of — if you have suggestions, be sure to leave them in the comments below! Bye, guys!

Adam Chase | adam.chase@yale.edu