My son returned home the other night with a car filled with laundry. I received a “Hi, mom, finals went ok….what do you have to eat?” Ran through the house to his room – emailed and texted his home friends and he was out the door in one hour. Great seeing him for all of 10 minutes. Laundry is taking 10 days!
The usual topic of conversation among friends who have college kids these days revolves around our kids’ adjustment to coming home after living on their own. But what about our adjustment – especially if you are an empty nester like me. Having a house full of kids again after four months of quiet will take some getting used to. I am not just talking about getting used to new sleep patterns, extra laundry, cooking dinner, or waiting up for them to come in at night. I am referring to changing my routine back to being a full time parent for a full household.
Each August when my kids leave for college I feel an emptiness at first. I am a full time stay at home mom so when they first went off to college I had to figure out what to do with all my free time. Very quickly I established a routine of my own. Part of my new routine is not having a routine that revolves around my kids. I don’t have to be home by 3pm to drive anyone to an activity, I don’t have to prepare dinner every night for the family, I don’t have to do laundry every day of the week, etc. I can go to the gym at 4 in the afternoon instead of 9 in the morning, I can eat a bowl of Cheerios for dinner, I can spend the day wandering around a museum, I can go to a movie in the afternoon if I want. My life is full and I get to decide what activities and events I will enjoy and attend. In addition, everything in the house stays in the place where I leave it and I have learned that I actually enjoy the quiet.
Final Exams are coming up quickly – send those survival packages!
As a reformed helicopter parent I find it very difficult at the end of each semester when I know that my kid is stressed out. When they were in high school I might have helped them organize their time, provided snacks, and supported them in other little ways.