With 2011 came a lot of changes for me and my family. One of those changes was moving from a home to an apartment. The hardest part of the change for me was moving into a place that isn’t exactly big enough for me and all of my children. It’s an adequate size for me and the three youngest children, but it doesn’t accommodate my adult child – my college student.
That was actually a difficult decision for me to make. As a mother, I make choices based on what’s best for me and my children. What I’m learning – and getting used to – is that the choices I make now may or may not include my adult child. My concern is how those types of decision will affect her.
One thing Amber and I have working for us is our close relationship. Over the past six months or so I’ve inquired of her how she would feel without a room where all of her things will be. I also made it clear to her that I wanted her to feel welcome and comfortable and that wherever we are it’s always home for her. The solution for us on the home front is her sisters’ room will have a bunk bed with a full-sized bed on bottom, which will allow for her to have a comfortable place to rest.
Currently, she sleeps on the couch when she comes home or in one of her siblings’ beds. She doesn’t mind too much because she likes to watch television until all hours, but what we’ve discovered is that when her brother and sisters are home they are up quite early on weekend mornings and they haven’t mastered the art of consideration! The television and kitchen in and near the area where Amber is sleeping causes quite a few “leave me alones” and “be quiets” from my tired and over-worked, biology major student.
Here are a few things you’ll need to consider and discuss if your family has to move while you still have a dependant in college:
Ask your college student what they think. Sounds simple, right? I’m learning it’s not. Amber has quite a few friends whose parents have decided to move without telling them. I can’t fathom any circumstances – besides alcohol or drug addiction – that would fuel me to “abandon” my child regardless of their age. Once I talked to Amber I discovered that she was planning on getting an apartment before the fall semester, which means she probably won’t be home as much. I, however, have decided to always have room for her. The other thing is Amber was aware of my reasons for needing to move and she supported those 100 percent. Although I don’t need her approval it did make the process and transition easier and stress free.
Open up a little. Parents have a mantra they often live by: Children should be children and not concerned with adult business. That’s right to a certain degree. Once you have adult children there is a new and different dynamic in the air. For these adult children there is a measure of concern and care for their parents that reach a higher level especially if you’re a single parent. By disclosing, to a certain degree, issues you’re having you let your child know you trust them, value them and it alleviates some of their worry.
Keep in touch. When our environments change, our routines change so we have to be sure to make time for important relationships. One of my most important relationships is with Amber. I was a little incommunicado when I first moved so Amber initiated most contact. Now that I’m finally settling in I’m sure to still email, text, post to Facebook, instant message and call her. We take advantage of all means of communication to not only stay in touch, but to maintain our changing relationship.
Be flexible. I have a friend whose mother is quite inflexible. The mother is an extremely nice, caring and loving woman, but she only allows guests – including her children – at certain times. For instance, her children have gotten “approval” for visits, started arrangements and been looking forward to visits only to find out that “it’s not a good time.” I’m not completely sure of the lady’s reasons for cancelling or changing plans at the last minute, but if she were a little more flexible she wouldn’t be complaining about not seeing her grandchildren. My reason for telling you this? You don’t want your adult children to resent you. Honestly, there have been times I’ve wanted a quiet weekend alone or been considering other plans and then have found out Amber is coming home. There is not one of those times that I’ve regretted her returns. I’m totally flexible and open to sharing, laughing, shopping, eating, watching movies and lounging – all of the things we like to do together.
In fact, I have to run now so I can IM or text Amber to tell her goodnight. If you have ideas on how to help families and their adult, college children adjust to major life changes; please leave me a comment below. I would love to know your thoughts.
Be sure to come back again soon because I think I’m going to put Amber on the spot. For my next post, we’re going to see what Amber has to say about her family moving.
First-time college mom