You're Gonna Miss This
You're gonna miss this
Well my peepers, we are rolling out the last few days of February (not sad) and coming into March like a troop of lions. I’ve had my fill of snow, sand, hockey rinks, wrestling matches, colds and flu and cloudy days. I am a lover of change as I think it’s a necessary part of life and change keeps us on our toes.
I have a particular little change that I’m on the precipice of and peering over the edge…waiting. Spring break is literally days away. Yes. Spring break. That glorious and joyous time when our oldest gooses come fluttering and waddling their way back to the comfort and convenience that only family can give. Wreaking havoc on our routines with their demands, sharing their knowledge about all that they know and learned and all that we don’t know, leaving in their wake piles of dirty laundry, empty gallons of milk in the fridge, gasping wallets and a complete disregard for established house rules. Woo. Hoo.
So I thought as I know that many of you are rowing the same boat, why not come up with a guide on surviving spring break with our goslings. Might work, might not work but maybe it will help us all realize that as different as our children are, they really are not so different after all. And those annoyances, many that they may be, are really just another part of the journey. And that makes them a little less annoying.
8 Tips for Parents
Let them sleep. Sleep, glorious sleep.
Let them snooze. The rigors of college, both academically and socially, take a lot out of their brains and their bodies. Let them get some much needed rest. It recharges their batteries and gets them prepared to hit it hard when they return.
Cook for them.
This is a big one in my house. I don’t care how good the food is on campus it is nothing compared to home. To reaching into the pantry and seeing what you want. Favorite breakfast cereal, a gallon of milk that they can drink straight from the carton (gross but happens in my house), their favorite kind of peanut butter, a warm pumpkin chocolate chip muffin. Whatever it is - cook for your babies and nurture them in that way.
Keep the lectures at a minimum.
It is our natural parental instinct to want to share our knowledge about life. Mine call it nagging. Label it whatever you want but at this age, if they don’t ask for your thoughts, don’t offer if you can help it. Hard? Yes. But they are lectured enough at school and need a break in being told what to do, how to think, etc.
Clean their room.
Take a couple hours and clean their room, put fresh sheets on the bed, spruce up their space before they come home. There is something that is so comforting to coming home to your space that is all ready for you to inhabit. Realize that in all likelihood it will look as if a bomb went off in said space within an hour of them walking in the door. And that’s okay. No lecturing, remember?
You're gonna want this back
Make time for one on one.
Whether you schedule a lunch, a dinner, an hour, a walk around the block with the dogs, make a point of setting aside some time to spend with your adult child. Or make yourself available to spend time with them if they ask. Lighten up your own load for the week or two they are home and be prepared to spend time, readjust plans to BE with them. I promise you that you will never look back and regret the time you spent.
House rules rule.
We all have certain established house rules. And those rules exist for a reason. Make it clear that house rules - whether it’s curfews, alcohol, what have you - rule when they are home. What they do when they are not under your roof you can’t control. But I am a firm believer that when in my house - my rules. I try to make them reasonable and overlook what I can but there are certain things that I will not waver on. And that is made clear from the get go. Which leads me to my next tip.
Have a conversation.
Talk to your gosling before they get home. What do you have planned? Are there things you need to get done? Appointments you need to make? What do you need from me? Take a stab at having a conversation with your college student before they get home and make a list on your end of things they mention that they have to get done, want to get done, etc. And if they have appointments already scheduled, shoot them a text with dates and times so they are forewarned. They will forget and say you never told them, blah, blah, blah so give yourself evidence that yes, they were told.
Check your feelings.
You will do countless things for them before they come home. Endless things for them while they are home. You will be overlooked, overworked, under appreciated several times over the course of the break. And try your best to check your feelings and understand that it’s not about you, it’s about them. They are coming from an environment where they live an independent life and coming home to their core identity. Where they are and always will be your child no matter how old they are. And that safety net for them is priceless, necessary, a gift. As annoying as it can be to not be seen for all that you do, try not to get your feelings hurt.
So now that us parents are all set to go, ready to welcome our pseudo adult children with open arms, what can our children do to make it an easier transition for us? Oh, I have tips upon tips for all you little goslings out there but will keep it to what I feel are most important. Take notes.
8 Tips for College Students
Practice situational awareness.
Be aware of your surroundings, of the people in them. Come home and remember you are not the only person in the universe. Have some awareness of the other people that you are now cohabitating with and be cognizant of them and their routine. The piles of laundry that you leave on their bathroom floor, wet towels in a heap in your bedroom, dirty dishes in the family room? It’s not ‘endearing’. Trust me when I tell you that a little bit of awareness will go a long way with mom and dad.
Respect the house rules.
Yes. We all know that you are adults. And that you do countless things at school that you can’t do at home. And that you not only survived staying out til 3:00 am but you thrived as well. Don’t care. Respect the house rules and abide by them regardless of whether or not you are in agreement with them.
Two words - Thank You.
Say them. Often. And a smile and a hug to reinforce those words is even better.
Put down the screens.
Even if it’s only for a half an hour during Jeopardy, put down your phones. Your laptops. Give your parents, your family, yourself some screen free time to just enjoy being a family. Trust me when I tell you that you are missed while you are gone and putting down your phone and engaging with your family, no matter how annoying it may be, that’s important. Do it. 30 minutes a day. Ghostbuster the phone.
Give yourself a break.
A real break. Don’t think about school, sleep late, eat your favorite meal, read a good book that isn’t required, play X-box for a couple hours. Give yourself a break from the rigors of school, of life and just decompress. It’s not only necessary but it is restoring to the mind and the body. Chill.
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
Make a plan before you go back.
The day before you’re due to head back, take some alone time and make a plan for the remainder of the year. What do you have coming up? What classes are you struggling in? Where do you need to make up some ground? A little bit of planning now puts you in the driver’s seat when you head back to class. Set yourself up for success so that you can head back to school and crush the remainder of the semester.
Fill out applications.
This is huge. Over break is an ideal time to be thinking about summer jobs. Have a good interview outfit and go out and start laying the groundwork for summer. Don’t put yourself behind the 8 ball and start looking in May. Start now. It shows potential employers that you are willing to hustle, that you take initiative, that you are hungry for opportunity. This is also an ideal time to be thinking about summer internships. All play and no work = goslings that are broke. Get it done now.
It is a lot when you come home. A lot. We have our own routines, a much smaller grocery bill, fewer people to care for. Pitch in now and again while you’re home. Unload the dishwasher. Fold a load of laundry. Vacuum. And don’t do it expecting praise and $20. Do it because we DO for you. It may go unmentioned but it does not go unappreciated. Offer to help out or just take the initiative and get it done.
Ahhh…Spring Break My World
I have an extended spring break with my gooses. Daughter gosling rolls in on Friday and is here for ten days while oldest goose son comes in like a hurricane next Saturday. So I will have an afternoon and a night where all five Schumakers will be under one roof - Saturday March 10. Lexi will be anxiously prepping to return to school, CJ will have taken the SAT that morning and Jax will have found out if he was accepted into boarding school. I have zero expectations of the day and the night other than simply appreciating the five of us together.
My oldest, she was quick to let me know all of her plans for break. Which included vast amounts of driving across the state of MA, presumably by herself. With not a lot of driving experience. Throw in there an interview, a Bruins game, shopping, etc. and I am trying to figure out when in the heck I am going to get any work done. We will be discussing some house rules for sure, a little quick trip down memory lane of what will and what will not fly with momma. But I am going to embrace the tornado and roll with it as best I can. And enjoy that beautiful young woman of mine.
These are some good times
CJ is home for the next two and half weeks after that and with him comes endless amounts of laundry, training to attend, tryouts, captains practices, twice daily trips back to school. And a food bill that makes me weep. We will be having an in depth discussion of situational awareness as I swear clothes fall off that kid and make piles in every room in the house. And I will do my best to let him decompress from the rigors of junior year and prepare for lacrosse season and spring testing.
So take a good look around
Spring break is not a break for us. It’s a break for our children. And always I am reminded of how finite our time is with them. How much my sister wishes her college student, her son, would come careening through the door with laundry for her to wash and meals for her to make. I am so very mindful of that fact. And so heartbroken for her loss of those things, those annoyances, those disruptions of 'normal' that she would give anything for.
You may not know it now
So do the laundry. Make the meals. Say thank you and put down your phone to make time for each other. Make a plan, decompress, talk and laugh and love. Be aware of one another, show respect and have gratitude for the time you spend together. All of it - it’s time you don’t get back so treat it like the gift that it is. I know I will.
But you're gonna miss this