Are your college kids coming home for the summer? My law school son will be with us for about a month before he starts a clerkship in Austin, and our college daughter will be here the whole summer taking summer school and working. While we are excited to have them home, after months of empty nesting, there will be an adjustment period. For everyone. (I’m pretty much thinking that eliminates standing naked in front of the open freezer door whenever I am having a hot flash, just sayin’.) How will you handle having your kids back home for the summer?
If you are a new empty nester and this is the first summer you’ll have your college student home, get ready! Your precious one has been on their own for the entire school year and making their own decisions about where to go, what to do, and with whom to do it. There has been no curfew, and no explanation needed. They have grown and changed, and in some ways, they won’t be entirely recognizable to you. I will tell you from experience that you will like some of the changes you see, but there will probably be some that do not thrill you. The transition back into the nest for the summer is often bumpy, and I want to encourage you to be ready. Bob and I are not the perfect parents by any means, but, as always, I am happy to share what we did.
First of all, I knew from talking with other moms that the transition could be tricky, so I prayed a lot about it! At the beginning of summer, we sat the kids down and pretty much laid it all out on the table (ya’ know, all proactive-like). We told them that this was new territory for us as parents just like it was for them as our kids. We had never done this before, and neither had they, so we needed to be patient with one another, communicate, and most of all show respect for each other (and really, everyone in the household) with things like coming in at a decent hour, how late guests could be over, etc. We told them we knew they had been on their own for a year and we were proud of the good choices they had made, but we could not just turn off our parenting switch like it was a light switch. For our part, we would try our best to be patient and to honor and love them as always, but they would need to help us and be understanding. For their part, we asked them to be courteous and considerate of us as their parents, and know that while they were home, we would appreciate it if they would let us know a basic outline of their schedule and plans. We also talked about specifics like how we would handle laundry (their responsibility), how they would let me know if they needed something from the grocery store, etc. (text it to me), and how they needed to let me know if they would not be joining us for dinner, etc. Mostly I practiced smiling and nodding a lot, and saying phrases such as “that’s so interesting,” “huh!”, and of course, the old standby, “well okay then, there you go!” I found the best way to handle things was to be very positive and encouraging with them and, if something questionable occurred, I would say something like “tell me about that” or “help me understand that.”
For me, the biggest challenge when they were home was keeping my mouth shut and not going into default parenting mode. Even after nine months of being out of this mode, you will be shocked and somewhat appalled at how quickly this comes back to you. (After all, you spent 18 years in that mode with this child!) It will take practice and lots of self-control. Bob and I helped each other with this.
Becca and I had so much fun doing this photo shoot together. It may sound silly, but it was so sweet to snuggle with her again! She is wearing a darling floral top that unfortunately is sold out. I’ve linked to a similar one here. Her jeans are from American Eagle, one of her favorite stores. My floral trumpet sleeve blouse is so flowy and relaxed, and I feel so feminine wearing it. My jeans are my favorite brand, NYDJ (stands for “not your daughter’s jeans,” lol!). They have a high-rise waistline and special fabric to hold everything in place. 🙂
Do you have any tips on handling this often tricky transition? If so, would you share them in the comments below? I would be so grateful, and your wisdom might be a help to someone else.
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