Whatcha Looking For?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sending your kids off to college.....It's a THING!

Yep!  I'm back.  After several years away I think it may be time to revive this little blog of mine.  We'll see how long it keeps my interest but right now I've got things to say, ideas to share, recipes to create.

The biggest change in the past three years..... MY DAUGHTER LEFT ME!!!  Okay, so she left for college.  I know, I know, it's the natural order, it's what's supposed to happen, would I want her living in my basement for the rest of her life?  Of course it's the natural order and of course I want her to spread her wings and fly but THIS IS A THING PEOPLE!  And no matter how much you prepare, I think for most of us moms, and many dads, it stings a bit.  So here are my tips for surviving.

1.  Prepare, if it's your thing.  I'm a planner so leading up to the big event it made me feel in control to plan, to make packing lists, to make hotel reservations (for move in day, for parent's weekend, etc.), to think about getting extra copies of the insurance cards and HSA cards.  Planning was my coping mechanism.  So if you are a planner, plan.  If you're not, there's probably a Walmart in whatever town she is moving to and you can buy 99% of what you need there.  My dad used to say, "If Walmart doesn't have it, you don't need it"....but that's another post for another day.

2.  Allow yourself to grieve.  Yes, there is grief in this momentous and mostly joyous occasion.  Whether your kiddo is going to the state school 30 minutes down the road or 5 hours away to the next state or a plane ride across the country, this is going to drastically change your relationship, your household and yourself.  So take your time, cry your eyes out, feel sorry for yourself.  Then pull up your big girl panties and get on with life.

3.  Allow your kiddo time to adjust.  Your son or daughter is going through so many huge adjustments.  Moving out of the house.  Moving out of town/city/state.  Having a roommate - maybe for the first time ever.  Having to manage their time.  Having a lot of down time during the day.  Having too much to do at night.  Having to make all new friends.  Having to choose what to do for the rest of their lives.  Some kids are going to seamlessly move into this new phase.  Some are going to need time to adjust and will call in panic mode once a week (or more) until they figure it out.  I have faith that 99% of them will figure it out.  And if they don't, they can come home and try another plan.  They aren't marrying this school.  It isn't a life time commitment.  If they figure out after a semester that it isn't for them, they can change their mind.  That's the beautiful thing about being young - you have your whole life ahead of you!

4.  It's ok to help out.  So many people told me I need to let my daughter figure things out for herself and I agree with that, to a point.  I've raised some pretty independent young women but this is a huge adjustment period (see # 3 above) and if my daughter is in panic mode about 3 tests on the same day, a parking ticket, how to get all her pomping hours in and having no clothes to wear to the date party on Saturday, I will choose to help her out.  I can't study or pomp for her but I'm in a city with stores and she is in a small town with significantly fewer options.  I can ship her a couple of dresses from Forever 21 that she can wear to a date party.  It's a small thing but it let's her know we are still a team.  I can't do it all for her, nor would I want to, and this time next year she'll panic less, but right now, I'm going to send the damned dresses!

5.  Don't read about it.  If you son or daughter just left for college or is leaving in a week or two, don't watch movies about kids leaving home, don't watch tv shows about it, don't read articles about it.  I know come next August Facebook will be flooded with them.  JUST DON'T DO IT!  You'll be a blubbering mess....again.  Fall TV just started up and 2 of my shows are dealing with daughters who just left for college.  I'm so glad I'm 8 weeks past that or I'd be a blubbering mess each episode.  So until you are OK, just don't do it.

That's it.  My sage advice for how to send your kid off to college.  I'm sure in 4 years I'll have new/different advice based on my experiences with my second kid but the only thing I can count on is that it will most likely be completely different.