Monday, August 19, 2013

Domestic Enemies of the Mom Taking Kids to College

I got this email last night and I just had to run it. Sniffle. Thanks so much for sharing this with us!


Two years ago I wrote about the Domestic Enemies of the Mom with Teenagers. As time would have it my kids grew up and my youngest is headed to college this month.  I’ve discovered that this time of life has a lot in common with the preschool years.

The first day of school: Leaving your child at the first day of preschool college is heartbreaking. You take them to the new room find out where they should hang their coat and where they will take their naps. Then suddenly it is time to leave. How can you leave them? You must hug and maybe cry and turn and walk away. You realize that for that moment until you see them again you will not know what they are doing or if they are happy, sad, miserable or on top of the world.

No one will understand them: As you leave your child at prescho  college you want to explain to the teacher roommate who they are, they are quirky, hilarious, spunky, moody, beautiful,  confident, scared, brilliant. How can you sum them up in a few quick words to make others understand them when you are gone? You just spent 18 years getting to know their every mood, facial expression, and need. You can look across the room and know that they are raging inside and need to be rescued but now it is time for you to leave them with people who don’t know them and there is no way to explain, no time to express how lucky they are to meet your child.

Will they have remembered their manners: Be nice to others.  Share. 
Eat breakfast. If you don’t want it repeated, then don’t say it. You are too young for a boyfriend, Enjoy getting to make the best girlfriends of you life.  Clean up after yourself. Have fun but remember classwork comes first. Respect your teachers.  Make sure your shirts cover your boobs and your skirts are closer to your knees than not.  Eat healthy. Exercise. Make friends. 

Encourage them that it will be fun. You tell them about all the new things they will learn at school.   Try out the finger painting station, create in the craft area, read the books, play outside, tryout for teams, join clubs, go to concerts, drink coffee late at night, watch Dr. Who, stay up all night before finals, discuss ideas, think big.

Be safe: Do amazing things, explore, drive to LLBean at 1am just to see if it is really open, eat a grand slam breakfast at Denny’s, yell until your voice gives out but don’t walk home alone, get lost or be reckless.

Remember I always come back:  When you need me I am here.  Always, anytime, and forever. And more importantly, and what I forgot when I went to college, remember that mom is home wanting to know what you are doing.  How is your day going? Who have you met? What are your classes like? What are you eating? Do you love it or hate it or both. Check in with me because although you didn’t borrow my clothes when you left for college you did take my heart.

Read more from Barbara on her personal blog right here!
(c)Herding Turtles 2009 - 2013


  1. Awww, makes me sniffle. I just dropped my son off at his first day of preschool and it makes me sad & worried and proud all at once...and terrified of when he really leaves one day to start his life on his own in college. Thx for this!

  2. Awe - "Although you didn't borrow my clothes when you left for college, you did take my ❤" that got me!!! It's 6 freaking am. & I can't see through my streaming tears!

  3. I just dropped my kid at preschool and now I am crying about him growing up and going to school. The first scene of Toy Story 3 did the same thing to me. Mascara dripping.

  4. My oldest will be off to college in two years and I am excited yet dreading it for exactly this reason...

  5. It's funny to me that this post is resonating so much with moms of preschoolers... I just dropped mine off for her first day of preschool also and this post is right on as I'm sure it will be when I take her to college. Trying to explain your child in a few words on a standard form--YES! So hard.

  6. Stupid blog post making me cry. My kids are 2, 5, (almost) 7 and (almost) 9 - and it already kills me to think of pushing them out of my nest in a few years.

  7. Dangit. I just took my firstborn to college on Saturday. I knew there was a reason it was so hard.

  8. I remember that day, 16 years ago, when I took my oldest to college. In another state. And left her. All by herself. Without me. Or her dad. Seems like only yesterday. Next year her youngest brother will be graduating high school and he wants to go into the military. What will I do then? Bawl like a baby, again. I think it will be worse, though, because it'll be MY BABY in the military. I'm blubbering right now, just thinking about it.

  9. Bringing that first kid to freshman year of college can be tough, however, by the time the second one went in, my husband and I nearly skipped out of his dorm once we got him settled in, looked at each other and said "so what do you want to do with his room?".

  10. OMG - you must have gone to college in Maine, too! Totally did the L.L. Bean in the middle of the night thing. I highly recommend it to you preschooler Oops! new college little one

  11. I just dropped off my twin sons at different colleges in the past 1.5 weeks. Nothing has been more heartbreaking and yet more exciting at the same time. I am thrilled they both have the opportunity to go where they want to go but i want to grab them both, stuff them back in the car and race back home to lock them in their rooms forever. I don't know where the last 18 years went, but when I look at them I see truly wonderful young men.

  12. Last week I took my oldest back to college for her final semester, all of this rings true... add to that she has sever depression and bi-polar disorder, and you have one mom that has contemplated going to college just to be her roommate. I'm so very proud and scared shitless everyday she doesn't call home. Preschool was a freaking piece of cake, wish I had known that then.




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