Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast with Coach Christine, episode number 15: Being Brave When Your Child Picks a Non-local School, or Going Far Away to College; How to be The Emotional Adult in The Room. … Today, we are going to chat about what to do when your child goes to college far away. I’m going to make the assumption, for this episode, that the decision has already been made, or it’s being made and finances do not impact the decision. This would also be relevant to your child moving away permanently.
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast with Coach Christine, episode number 15: Being Brave When Your Child Picks a Non-local School, or Going Far Away to College; How to be The Emotional Adult in The Room. This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that has been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it is freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
Hello, my empty nest friend! Before I dive in, this episode has a lot of references to my Empty Nest Prep Series episodes, so if you feel confused at any point, or need a refresher, you may want to go back and listen to those. They begin at episode number 3. Today, we are going to chat about what to do when your child goes to college far away. I’m going to make the assumption, for this episode, that the decision has already been made, or it’s being made and finances do not impact the decision. This would also be relevant to your child moving away permanently.
Guess what this situation means to your life, my empty nest friend? Do you know? Think about your answer? Got it? It means whatever you want it to mean. That answer that you had just a second ago, you decided to have that answer. You chose it. You can choose another answer. How do you feel with the thought that you were just having, about your child being far away? Were you feeling good? If not, you can change your thought. If your thought brings you to a feeling that you don’t want to have, let’s change it.
Grab a piece of paper, or just picture this in your head, if your driving. The circumstance that your child is moving away has absolutely no drama. It is a fact and it is neutral. At the top of the page, I want you to write, or picture, my child is moving away. You can even be specific, my child is moving 15 hours away. My child is moving 2,000 miles away, to Antartica. I’m not saying that’s together, but even if it was, Antarctica, that would be interesting? Wouldn’t it? Anyway, when this circumstance shows up on your doorstep, the doorbell rings in your mind that triggers a thought for you. What thought box, or thought, do you automatically run to? Take five minutes to write down all of the thoughts you are having about your child moving away. All of them. You know the drill by now, no drama, no editing. Write them all down. Look at them. Pick one of the thoughts. Focus on only that thought. How does it make you feel? If you don’t love it, do you want to keep that thought? How can you change your thought to create a feeling that you like?
Let’s say your thought is,”I’m going to miss them so much.” Do you want to have this thought? I had this thought originally. What I found is that thought, for me, created only sadness. When I made a slight variation to the thought, I felt better about the emotion created. I’m going to miss them so much, that thought comes off as 24/7 I will do absolutely nothing, nothing at all, other than miss them. Is that true? Not really, because I sleep, so there’s six hours. I don’t sleep much. I work and need to concentrate on things that distract me. I can turn my original thought into, “I will have moments where I miss them.” This a thought I can believe. I can use it for a bit, and then, I can work on moving forward with more pleasant thoughts such as, “While they’re learning to be independent, I will have moments where I miss them.” I will tell you, I’m almost a bit over one and a half years in with my daughter being out of state. There are tremendous benefits. Your child will learn, they have to, how to be more self-sufficient and independent. From things like food and toiletry items, prescriptions, and that awful first time being sick with no way for mom and dad to visit and help.
Here’s an example: my daughter went from hating to talk on the phone, to being able to handle a fraud charge on her credit card, with no interactions from us. Pretty much just a couple of texts, it happened, and then on follow-up, they’re sending me a new card. This independence and self-sufficiency forces them to mature faster. I can vouch for that. Their friendships that are formed are closer. As friends really need to rely on each other quite a bit when they can’t run home in 15 minutes. With no option to go home on weekends, they learn how to work through boredom, heartbreaks, medical issues, awful food choices and so much more. Your child has the experience of geographical diversity that comes with living in a new area. We all know someone, maybe it’s even you, who has never lived further than a hour from where they grew up. Some personalities thrive like that. But for others, as the years move forward, they only feel less confident to venture out of what they know and where they’re comfortable. This next one’s real. Coming home is special, for them and for you.
Speaking of you, with your child moving away, you have more time to do those hobbies you’ve been putting off. More time to get projects done, and spend time with your partner. More time to get to know you, to plan future you and to crush it. There are negatives, of course, but there are also negatives with staying local. You missed all of the things I just mentioned. The grass is always greener on the other side, if you choose thoughts that can make you feel that way. The goal for you is to allow your child to make the decision that is right for them, free of your feelings and thoughts about how much it will impact your life. No matter what they do, you are responsible for your feelings. They are not. Be the grown up, and be there to help them find the best answer for them, not the best answer for mom. While they are planning their future, you can get to work planning yours. Future you is waiting for you and I created a resource to help you find her. More on that in episode number 13. You’ll find that in my show notes.
The questions I have for you in this episode are:
1) Are you having to deal with this situation?
2) Have you dealt with this situation and do you have advice for others who are about to go through it?
Fly on over to our Empty Nest Flock at
youremptynestcoach.com/community [new link] to share your answers with the entire flock. Why should you join our flock? The adjustment to not having your kiddos at home full-time isn’t always easy, but it sure can be a ton more fun with a flock of friends. We look forward to seeing you there. As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend. My hope is that I am able to provide you with the thoughts that impact your life in a positive way. My next episode’s title is: How I Lost Almost 50 Pounds, And I’m Still Losing! I am! So exciting!
I have some answered questions from a prior episode. This question comes from episode number 8: if you could give your past 19-year-old self advice, what would it be? One member shares, don’t let other people talk you out of something you really want to do. Great advice! So true. Michelle shares you will always be able to handle every situation in your life, so instead of stressing over it, embrace the challenge. You will be stronger in the end. Love that! Don’t forget to sign up for my free Thursday Thoughts About email. Sign up and every Thursday, you will receive a thought from me, and I also share Your Empty Nest Coach updates. If you have a question you would like me to answer on the podcast, you may submit it in my Empty Nest Flock or email me at podcast AT youremptynestcoach.com. Thank you so much for listening, my friend! Remember, you are amazing!