5 things nobody tells you when your baby goes off to university
You’ve settled them in, helped them put on a bed sheet and are now in the car with something in your eye. Here are 5 helpful tips to keep you occupied whilst they are away living it up.
- You will want to call them a lot, but don’t. Your offspring are busy forging themselves into the adults they will one day be. They are playing at being independent, free grown-ups with their own opinions, own space and own style. The last thing they want is their parents calling them and checking up constantly. This may sound harsh as, understandably, you want to know how it’s going and whether their flat mates are being nice to them but, trust me on this one, just steer clear. Hold tight, they will come to you; expect a mid term hung-over phone call when it all gets a little bit too much and they just need a cuddle. In the mean time, distract yourself with finding the answers to questions such as the name of the younger child still living in your house and whether the cat has always been that colour.
- Check their room at home for food/cups of tea and leave the door open. Genuine practical tip alert! I can guarantee that in the hurricane that is actually getting your child and all their things packed in the car and ready to go, half eaten toast and a forgotten cup of tea will be the very last thing on anyone’s minds. That is until you check their room before their return at Christmas and find mouldy bread and a mug with a lovely ring of fur growing inside. Gross! Bonus tip- close the door to their room at night, from the mouth of my own mother ‘there is nothing sadder than seeing a dark, empty room opposite yours when you go to bed’.
- Congratulations! You now have an office/dressing room/gym/room for all your crap! If you are not a disorganised, plate-forgetting parent then you can utilise their room for your own gains! Welcome to your new gym, a fancy new office, the dressing room you’ve always wanted or simply just extra space to put all of your rubbish. They might not take too kindly to the changes when they unexpectedly return home one weekend, but hopefully the joy of seeing their beloved parents will quickly dispel any annoyance…. hopefully…
- You will get territorial and competitive when moving them into halls. You’ve spent a small fortune on things like tea towels, spatulas, olive oil and pasta and loaded them lovingly into a striplit shared kitchen. You will then start suspiciously eyeing the floppy haired youths that your darling will be sharing the highs and lows of the next year with. You don’t want them using your tea towels or the mug that was deemed too hideous to have a place in your own kitchen. Its YOUR hideous mug not theirs. Simultaneously, Dads will begin checking the quality of the furnishings and asserting leadership over the other dads when deciding that the slight crack in the fridge handle ‘should really be reported now rather than later’. Your child is the most prepared and you will not be beaten on this by other parents. Hell, you even bought a lamp with spare bulbs.
- Prepare for the explosion when they come home. This is important. Christmas comes round oh so fast and just as you were getting used to the peace and quiet, dominance over the television and having nice wine in the fridge, the tornado that is your baby will return with a festering bin liner of washing, a slightly posher accent than the one they left with and a new piercing. You may need to take a deep breath at this point as you listen to their hilarious stories about the hilarious games they play in the corridor, how they wrapped all their neighbours possessions in tinfoil and how ‘mike’ (who is mike??) pushed them home in a stolen asda trolly. What fun! Not to worry, a few weeks, an empty fridge and a further food shop later you will be waving good bye and saying hello to peace and quiet… until Easter that is!