What Being There for Our College Kids Looks Like

When we think of the demanding days of motherhood, we tend to think of the early days. The days of no sleep, overwhelmed by the constant feeding-diapering-soothing-sleeping (hopefully!) cycle. And the hands-on days with toddlers or little ones needing us nearly round the clock. Physically exhausting.

These days are demanding. And while this gets easier as our children grow, new demands enter the picture. Just because our kids become teens, and go away to college, doesn’t mean they stop needing us. They just need us in different ways, and sometimes we have to figure out the best ways to be there for our kids. Here are my top 10:

1) Share in their joy and excitement, cheer them on, lift them up

2) Remind them how extremely proud we are of them, of WHO they are

3) Text/talk – when they are feeling lonely, stressed or need help working through a problem, or just when they feel like chatting. This sometimes means setting other “to-do’s” or fun (or even sleep) aside to focus on them

4) Say “it’s okay” – to drop the class, that you did poorly on that test, that you decided not to go to that party, didn’t have time to go workout, don’t have time to join that club

5) Sometimes just listen, let them vent and know we will stand beside them as they go through whatever it is they are struggling with

6)) Know when to step forth and offer help

7) Reassure them when they call because they’re sick, advising them on what to take from the fully stocked “first aid” kit you sent with them to school

8) Send a care package of treats they like, with a note or two reminding them how awesome they are

9) Take some “to-dos” off their plate – pick up the dry cleaning, run a load of laundry when they’re home for a weekend, send a meal via Postmates (or Door Dash or Grub Hub) when they are feeling too overwhelmed by schoolwork to go get something to eat

10) Still (always) cherish time together because we not only love eachother, we like eachother

There’s a lot of emotional support in being there for our college kids. They are forging this new part of their journey, figuring out how to balance classes and homework and fun and relaxation. Figuring out who they are and what their passions are. We can – and should – be there for them with love, support and guidance. Figuring out the right amount of guidance…well that’s a challenge we get to embrace. 

Motherhood is truly an always-evolving, never-ending journey. And from my experience, it’s the most exquisite journey ever.


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