I Throw Like a Girl

Got kids leaving for college for the first time?

Posted by Carol on August 23, 2009

My son left for college in the fall of 2007 for his first semester. He went to a college far, far away from home. The best way I can describe how I felt is “mourning”. I was mourning the end of the time he would live with us full time. Now that he’s been at college for a few years, and we’ve moved a whole lot closer to where he attends, and since we’ve replaced him with a Shih-tzu, I am doing much better.

A few weeks ago, Adrienne Carlson contacted me about writing a guest post for I Throw Like a Girl. So, I asked her to write an article on how mothers feel when their kids go off to college for the first time. I think she did an excellent job and I hope her advice will help those of you who are experiencing an empty nest or almost empty nest for the first time. Please thank Adrienne for me by leaving her some comments and by visiting her website!

Here’s Adrienne:

Mothers’ Emotions over Children’s First College Experience

You carry them in your body for nine months or so, nourishing and nurturing them as they get ready to be born into this world. You then spend the next 17 years taking care of their every need, cosseting them when they need to be pampered, taking them to task when they need to be disciplined, offering them a shoulder to cry on and words of wisdom when they’re emotionally distressed, and tucking them in to bed every night with a kiss even though you’ve just yelled at them for not keeping their room clean.

Parenting is a tough job, but one that offers a great deal of joy in return. As a mother, you love your kids more than anything else in the world. Maybe it is because they are a part of you, maybe it is just the way motherhood is – the moment you know they are going to leave home for college, you are torn between two conflicting emotions. On the one hand, you are filled with joy because your child is now an adult, all grown up and off to college. But on the other, your heart feels heavy because your young one is now ready to leave the nest and you’re going to have an empty room instead of a messy one.

It’s hard to take when your child is moving away from home, even if it’s for a short span of time. You know that things will never be the same again and that your son or daughter is starting their journey of life, on a path that is now going to take a different route from the one you take. You know that your paths will cross every now and then, but from now on, your baby is on his or her own.

Once your child has settled in college, you’re going to have to prepare yourself for many changes – from calling home often in the first few months, he or she is going to almost forget you when they’re busy with their friends, lessons and other social activities at school and not call for many days together, unless it is to ask for money. It may be difficult to cut the apron strings loose, but that’s just what you have to do if you want your child to be independent and responsible.

The visits home are going to become rare because your child is going to want to go away with friends during vacations or better still, secure positions as interns in order to get a head start on their careers. As a mom, you must also brace yourself for major or minor disasters when your child comes home distraught because of an affair that has gone wrong or any other emotional problem. You may have warned them beforehand, but even so, when it happens, offer comfort and constructive advice instead of saying “I told you so”.

Throughout all this, it is your responsibility as a mother to pray for them and with them, talk to them about their concerns and activities, avoid interfering in their lives unless you’re asked to, and reassure them that you love them and are there for them, no matter what.

By-line:

This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of online christian colleges . Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: adrienne.carlson83@yahoo.com 

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One Response to “Got kids leaving for college for the first time?”

  1. Margie said

    The first one going to college wasn’t too bad – but the last one’s imminent departure has me absolutely FRANTIC. For me, anyway, I think having both kids off spreading their wings crosses a life threshold that I don’t really want to cross. Whether it’s the fact that I’m going to miss day-to-day parenting or aging – who knows? All I know is that I don’t like it.

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