All the work of getting your teen off to college is done. After all the talking, visiting, applications, financial forms, shopping, and the DROP OFF, it is done. It’s been a few weeks and you are both settling into your new normal. Everything seems so strange and different. How do you make it your normal after its been the other way for at least 18 years? It’s hard - for both parents and teens. They aren't the only ones dealing with big changes!
For years you’d get up early to get kids up and ready for school. You’d drop off your kids, then go about your day, head to work, have coffee with your friends, or hit the gym. Maybe you ran errands or went for a walk or a million different things that made up your routines. Don’t give it up! While it’s fine to make some changes, there is a lot to be said for comfortable routine. You’re already used to getting up at a certain time, stick with it! If you don’t have to do the school thing, how about going for a walk, instead. Stick with the coffee klatch, but maybe you want to meet at a coffee shop this time? Lean on your friends, they’ll be there for you!
Now is a good time to set some goals. Like many parents, you’ve a big part of your life has been your child. Now that they are away working on learning how to be an adult, it’s time for you to work on YOU! You get a “semester” to work on whatever you want! Want to learn a new language? How about starting a blog? Want to get in shape, redecorate the house, learn how to knit? Now is the time to stretch YOUR wings, too! The kids aren’t the only ones who can learn new stuff. It would be neat to share how you are changing and growing, when they come home for a visit.
Having your last teen leave for college is a huge change, and it can lead to a lot of stress. One of the best things you can do is take a deep breath, embrace the change, and go with it. Of course, you’re going to miss your teen, and life as you knew it has changed. Change is one of the top contributors to stress and can be a recipe for disaster. Be ready for that stress, and rather than let it take you over, prepare for it. Keep up or even start eating a healthy diet, with natural supplements.Stay away from those comfort foods that you think help you feel better, but make you feel worse in the long run. (Unless you’re baking cookies to send in a care package, then only in moderation.) Stay hydrated. Its amazing how easy it is to forget to drink! Embrace exercise, even if it’s just walking. In many parts of the country, Autumn is just starting and it’s beautiful. Get lots of rest. Its still resting if you’re sitting on the porch or deck with a mug of tea, wrapped in a blanket, relaxing. When you’re really missing your teen, stay positive! Think about what a great job that you’ve done as they are moving on to their next phase of their life, just as you are!
Now is the time for you to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life. You’ve spent the last 18 year being a parent, and that won’t change, but you now get to be another person- YOU. It can be scary, but it’s also exciting! Who and what do you want to do? Your teen isn’t the only one growing, you both are deciding where life will take you next!