Mom upset at teen leaving for college

Why is my mom upset at me leaving for college?

Tara Cunningham College Life, Teen Issues

Making plans for leaving for college is an exciting time. It is the beginning of the next chapter in your life. But it’s also the ending of a chapter in your moms.

Your mom is upset because she knows this is the end of your childhood. You are going to college and she will see less and less of you. It’s an emotional time for her.

Our daughter left for college two years ago. It’s hard to believe the time has passed so quickly. I wasn’t prepared for how much I would miss her. Before she left I was upset at the thoughts of her going away to college. Here’s some thoughts on that time and how to prepare you for leaving.

Reasons why your mom is upset

Mom’s job is to take care of her children. To nurture, to clothe, to feed them. To pick them up when they fall down and to comfort them when they are low or unwell. That is all about to change when a son or daughter is leaving for college.

Your excitement is just and you absolutely should be proud and looking forward to your future adventure. But your mom won’t be part of that adventure in the way she has been a part of everything else that has gone before. Being torn between being excited for you and also realizing that this is the start of you leaving home.

Your mom knows that she won’t be there to answer any questions you might have. I know that yes, of course, you could text or call her, and you will in the beginning but then that will become less and less.

I know before our daughter left for college, I could call upstairs, ‘I’m going to town,’ and I would instantly get, ‘I’m coming too!’. I miss that. It’s not that she needed anything in town and maybe it was to just get out of the house, but it was nice to be able to spend that time with her.

The main reason I was upset was that I knew once she left for college she would find her own ways of doing things and wouldn’t need or rely on me as much.
And although I knew this was a good thing, that’s the ultimate goal, right? To make them independent adults. I still felt emotional at the thoughts of my baby girl leaving home.

Packing for college

Packing for college is where things get real. Your mom may have been fine up until this point. It becomes the focus of summer. What to bring. What not to bring. Your mom will want to wash and iron all of your clothes.

She’ll want to make sure you have everything you need. Enough towels, bed linen, toiletries. Although you think she’s fussing, and you are more than capable of organizing it yourself, you need to allow her to be involved and help.

She needs to feel wanted and required this last time. I know what you’re thinking, ‘I’m just going to college, I’ll be home at thanksgiving.’

And that may well be the case, but the next time you’re home you are going to be visiting. She’ll be able to fuss over you, and make your favorite meals, but it won’t be the same as you living there. Take the time to discuss what’s going in your bags and boxes. Your mom is definitely excited to pack with you but she will also be feeling very sad at the thoughts of it.


Making time before you go

This is an important part of the procedure. As I say your mom has been involved in everything up until now. School projects, sideline support at games, shoulder to cry on. And now she’s kind of being made redundant.

So over the summer before college try and make a few days where you do some stuff together. It doesn’t have to be anything major, or even anything that’s going to cost a lot of money. But just some activities that you can both look back on and cherish.

This could be anything from going on a picnic, to going to the mall, to going to get a Pedi, to going for a hike in the mountains.

It’s not really relevant what the activity is, it’s more about the quality time spent together. This is hugely beneficial to your mom in helping with the transition to college but it will also benefit you.

You may be super excited to leave your home town and go off to college but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be homesick or feeling anxious at some point in the future.

And it’s great to have these moments to draw down on or to be able to scroll through pics on your phone of days out with your mom. They may in truth make you initially feel worse but ultimately they will comfort you when you’re feeling a bit low.

This could be anything from going on a picnic, to going to the mall, to going to get a Pedi, to going for a hike in the mountains.
It’s not really relevant what the activity is, it’s more about the quality time spent together. This is hugely beneficial to your mom in helping with the transition to college but it will also benefit you.

Don’t Ignore her advice

Your mom has been around a while longer than you. Chances are she went to college and so knows how you are feeling about the move. She has a lot of knowledge and advice to give. Don’t just humor her by nodding and dismissing it. Actually take the time to listen.

I agree as a mom, a lot of what we say is probably not as urgent or even as important as we make out. But I know when our daughter was heading to college I was very anxious about her leaving.

I know that she is sensible and has been given enough freedom through high school to not go completely bonkers on arrival at college. But that didn’t mean I still didn’t give her some advice.

She had never lived in the city before. Not that I didn’t want her having fun, of course I did but I wanted her to be safe. I gave her the advice of never walk alone after dark, even on campus. If you take a cab, send me a pic of his badge number. Don’t ever put a drink down at a party. Practice safe sex. It’s not just about getting pregnant, STI’s are on the up again and a one night stand just is not worth it.

Your mom might not be as blunt as I am, but my daughter knows me and knows that anything I say is for her benefit.

These are all serious points of advice. I also, you’ll be glad to hear, gave her some basic advice. Make sure you change your bed linen at least once a week. Try and eat some green food. Don’t forget to hand in assignments. Don’t be too judgmental of people with different ideas to you. Make as many friends as you can.

The list was long and I’m not sure she took everything in. But I hope she considered some of them. Or if she found herself in a situation that she could hear me in the back of her mind talking to her.

I wasn’t nagging or lecturing her. I was just trying to give a bit of guidance as she went out into the world.

Make sure you text and call

Your mom’s biggest worry as you leave home is your safety. All along, up until this stage, she has known pretty much where you are, who you are with and what you are doing all the time (well mostly!) But when you go to college her only lifeline to you is your calls and texts.

It seems silly to most teens as they never see themselves in danger or at risk. But when your mom texts you and you don’t text back, all these different scenarios start to run through her head. I had a real problem with this when our daughter left.

I knew she was ok but as time ticked on and I got no reply, I was nearly having breakdowns. Generally, it was nothing, she was in class, or study group. She hadn’t been kidnapped!

She would get cross with me, but it’s only because I love her so much that I was getting so anxious.

All it takes is a reply to a text, and a quick 10 minute Skype or Facetime once a week. This I promise is enough to reassure a mom. We’re not the fun police. We want you to go to college and have the most amazing experience. But don’t just forget about us.

Even if you don’t have the best relationship with your mom. I know some of my daughter’s friend couldn’t wait to get away. But that doesn’t mean that works both ways.

No matter what kind of relationship you have with your mom, as I said at the start, this is the end of a particular chapter in her life and it’s very hard to take that on board. It might take awhile for her to adjust.

Just be patient.

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Mum, Graphic designer, Website owner, Writer at Tweentotwenty | Website

Tara Cunningham is a Mum and Graphic Designer. My children's education has always been very important to me. I feel that if you are willing to put in the time they will appreciate the effort.
I hope that you find our thoughts and ideas useful and interesting.