Parents are returning home from dropping their child off at college. It’s a bittersweet experience. Parents are filled with pride, and excitement, as well as sadness. Some parents feel like they have lost their job and are wondering, what now?
As a parent you have a new chapter unfolding in your life. Recognize and accept the feelings of grief. This is another step in letting go of your child. This can feel like a loss. Be open in communicating your feelings with your spouse.
This is a season where both parents and children are finding new roles. Much planning accompanies a child starting college. Parents need to make a plan, too, for this life transition.
Make a Plan
Plan a weekend away after your child heads to college. This gives you something to look forward to after saying goodbye.
Be social. Take time to reconnect with long lost friends, volunteer, take community ed classes.
Find a purpose – Find a goal that gives you focus and purpose. Something that is for you. Train for a marathon, write a book, take up a new hobby. The opportunities are endless.
Create a new weekend routine. Hours spent on the sideline of soccer games or at dance recitals can be filled with new adventures. Try new coffee houses or restaurants. Take long walks and hikes or bike rides. Connect with friends.
Reclaim your space. Turn the empty bedroom into a guest room, a studio or an office. Your child may boomerang and return to the nest. They will be less comfortable if their bed has been replaced by a desk or an easel.
Readjust your Budget. Children are wonderful. But they are expensive. No more sports fees. No more restocking the fridge every other day. Maybe they are no longer piggy backing on insurance and phone plans.
Even the smallest of these expenses adds up quickly month after month. It’s time for a new budget. You could increase your savings, buy new furniture, add an extra trip or two. Be sure to direct those ‘new dollars’ in your budget or they will disappear.
The child may have left home but the parenting continues. It happens over the phone. Asking questions, “How do I….” Building their confidence telling them, ‘They Got This.’
You ‘Got This’, too. Soon, you will be celebrating and enjoying this new ‘empty nest’ chapter in your life.
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