We remember what August is like when your kids are going off to college. You’ve got your own emotions to manage, and, per usual, you are the recipient of the ever-changing emotional state of your college-bound teenager who doesn’t-want-to-leave-can’t-wait-to-live-my-own-life.
We checked in with the women in our V-Force who have recently sent their kids off to school for some GYNOMITE advice for this milestone moment.
BEFORE THE MOVE
Lean into the frustration. When your kid is spinning out, allow yourself the comfort of looking forward to a little peace and quiet. It doesn’t make you a bad mom, it makes you human. Carrie
Make time for a one-on-one outing in the weeks before take-off. The last few days will be spent with boyfriends/girlfriends/high school friends and various good-bye gatherings for each. Patty
Don’t tear up the room too early. As tempting as it is to get a start on the packing, the torn-up room is inconvenient and anxiety producing for everyone. Dedicate the third to last day at home to packing. Linda
Enormous, heavy boxes will be yours to handle on the backend. They are harder to fit into rental cars, haul up dorm stairs, and wiggle down apartment hallways. More manageable-sized boxes is preferable. Mark one to easily identify and add a box cutter, flat head and Phillips screw driver, hammer, adhesive strips and large heavy-duty trash bags. Amy
Whatever airline that goes most efficiently into your college town, sign you and your student up for the frequent flyer program and start with the very first flight. In four years, those miles add up. Your student should keep the number in his or her phone so they aren’t constantly calling you on the fly when booking flights. You should never be the travel agent; for your sanity, they should always book their own flights. Patty
Invest in a good mattress topper for the twin xl dorm bed (such as Casper). In that tiny room, the bed is a haven. Deva
Don’t forget health incidentals: band-aids, Pepto bismol tablets, Tylenol, nail clippers, zinc lozenges, lip balm, electrolyte packets and condoms. Kim
Add a folded up state flag for when they are homesick. Kimberly
Your student should save a photo of their health insurance card (front and back) and vaccination records on their phone so they have it when they need it. They always have their phones with them. Jackie
Eat your Wheaties. It will be hot. You will have to go to Target/BB&B even though you planned ahead. Wear comfortable shoes, bring some water and patience. Carrie
Be prepared to disappear when it looks like your student has opportunity to start hanging out with other students. The focus should be on what’s ahead, not your last few minutes together. Patty
Have a plan to leave: put the room together, say goodbye and go somewhere fun. Deva
AFTER THE MOVE
If your school has a store-it-for-the-summer program, find it and book your spot for the end of the year. Lauren
Shake it up at home. The same-old minus one is empty, but new routines are energizing. Catherine
A WORD ON PARENT’S WEEKEND
The freshman year parent’s weekend is great for meeting other parents and getting a better sense of the school. After that, we’ve found the best visits with our kids were not on Parent Weekends. On other weekends, parents get to swoop in, take all your kid’s friends to dinner, and design your own weekend of activities. If it’s in the budget, Parent’s Weekend can be a good time to fly your student home for a visit with the whole family.
A WORD ON CARE PACKAGES
Most colleges have care package programs. It’s usually a bunch of junk. Instead, we like to pop our own choices in the mail every once in a while.
Spoonful of Comfort delivers soup, bread and cookies for dinner
See’s Candy feels like home to many California kids
Make fabric out of a photo of your pet on Spoonflower then make that into a small bed pillow.
Harry and David fruit box. Somehow, fruit becomes a precious treat in college.
Attention: USC, Michigan, Northwestern and Duke!
TutorTies swipe-style app puts students in need in direct contact with peer tutors who have aced the class!