Dear mom of a college freshman, I know it’s difficult to be you right now. No matter what your situation, you question your choices and whether you raised your child well. In most cases, you did. In the areas you faltered, your child learns. In the areas you excelled, so does your child. Whether you’re ready to launch them out the door yesterday, or you’re sad because they’re leaving, you and millions of other moms around the world are taking a huge step in your and your child’s life, and I applaud you.
Mom of a college freshman times three
Last year I was the mom of a college freshman for the third time. As I did with my other children, I got to the point that I knew it was time for my child to leave my house, for my sanity and for his healthy path to adulthood. I understand your fear because I lived it twice before. I remember wondering how to leave my oldest child on one of the largest campuses in the US, but we got through it. That young man graduated, got married and is now a wonderful husband to his amazing wife and dedicated father to his first child. Bonus: He graduated with a great job, incredible friends and wonderful memories. Because of him, I know so much of what we worry about rarely happens.
The second time mom
Leaving our second son at college was different. I was more prepared for the process, but his living situation was not ideal. Between a non-English speaking roommate, someone planting drugs in his dorm room (yes, it was a plant and he was the one who called the police) and a cycling accident that sent him to the hospital all in the first month of classes, I wasn’t sure either of us was going to make it. I found out, though, our son was much more mature than I thought he was. He handled his challenges better than I hoped and certainly better than I would have at his age. That son graduated in 2019 and with a degree, his girlfriend and clear plan for his life, moved 3,000 miles away to live the life of his dreams. Those freshman bumps are nothing more than blip in his history.
Third time mom of a college freshman
As the mom of a college freshman for the third time, I should have been a pro at this, but that one was my baby. He’s my son with medical issues; who struggled with school and even getting out of bed for school for many years. I advocated for this child much longer than the other two because he needed me to, and I still manage some of his health care. I worry about him more than the other two combined. He also taught me more about faith and parenting than the other two combined. I thank him for inspiring me to be stronger than I ever knew I could and to parent with more awareness than I knew was possible. It scared me to leave him to live without my daily guidance. In some ways, he surprised me like his brothers did, but there were some health difficulties neither of us anticipated, so he decided to move back home for this next year to save money. That suits this mom just fine because I know when his time comes to fly again, he will be even more prepared to soar.
Every college freshman mom has fears
Because I’ve been there, the next few months, I’ll be thinking of every mom of a college freshman as they drop their babies off at school. To those moms who worked full time and wonder if you spent enough time with your child,take solace that your child learned the value of a mom who worked hard to provide for her family. For the mom who stayed home, your child learned how special it is to have a mom who was there for them. To the mom who worked part time, your child will appreciate the balance of work and family you taught them. For the mom who did it by yourself, your child will appreciate the independence you fostered. Even though no life is perfect, your children learn how good it was.
Your unique mother child relationship
I learned long ago each mom teaches each child something special. Children then take the best their parents gave them and make it better. They improve areas where their parents lacked and make a better world. So many people fear where we’re headed and complain about this millennial generation and beyond. I look at this generation, and I am filled with hope. My children are all starting their adult lives better than I did. They are smarter, more mature and more accomplished than I was at their age. Happily, they see the world differently because the world has always been smaller to them. They respect people who look different and think differently than they do. They embrace diversity, because they understand the value of all human beings. Each one is brave and strong, and the world will be a better place because of them. I hope when you look at your children, you feel the same way.
What to expect at drop off
So, dear mom of a college freshman, your child may hug you tighter than they have in a long time when you drop them off because they understand how difficult it is for you. They may seem awkward and hesitant because they don’t really know how to say goodbye when they’re more scared than they want you to know. They may dismiss you entirely, so they show no emotion in front of new friends or a new roommate. Or they may be so delighted with their new adventure they forget about how you feel at all. I’ve see it all and experienced some of it. I’ve cried as they walk into their temporary home, and we drive away. It’s a long drive home, but the results, so far, have been worth every tear, and I’d willingly do it all again. I hope your experience is the same.
To learn more
To learn more about why you and your college freshman behave the way they do, read How to find your dominant Personality Type. Also, visit the Moving Toward Better DISC Assessment Services Page to choose an assessment, sign up to join the Moving Toward Better community below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out which assessment is best for you. As always, thanks for being you and have a great day.