College Math

College Math

Leaving home for college = freedom.

I’m a little nervous that unbridled freedom will unravel all of the lesson I’ve taught her. I’m a little nervous that the group mentality will pull her in. Frankly, I’m more than a little nervous that leaving home will change her – and that won’t be good.

But, for a while now – probably a year or so, there’s been something else running running through my mind.

I’ve been secretly – and not so secretly – looking forward to my daughter leaving home.

Her leaving for college = MY freedom.

…and THAT’S gonna be a whole lotta fun! Without further ado:

The Top 10 Best Things About Kids Leaving Home

1. You can &%$#in’ curse!
That’s right! In my own %$#& home, I can just say #$%! when something goes wrong. Ahhh… that one’s gonna feel good.

2…and holy &%$#, sex!
Girls can actually stay over? Whether you know their name or not!

Alright, kidding about the knowing her name thing, but I am a bit old-fashioned when it comes to sex and relationships. I’m a proponent of keeping sex out of plain site. There’s a value in the respect and sanctity of a relationship – marriage or simply agreed. Rather than having awkward conversations about how I feel about so and so and that’s why it’s OK for them to sleep over, I simply didn’t have girls over when my daughter was home – unless I thought they were sticking around forever.

But, when they’re gone, no excuses or weird conversations or sneaking around when our kids aren’t home. Relationships can simply be whatever they are, or can be. And for those of you that are married, the kitchen counter is now “on” limits. Enjoy!

3. No planning around someone:
My situation is probably a bit different, but my daughter is the last person in my life I need to plan around. I can now do anything!!!

At some point, we have to know that our kids are going to move out. We know there will come a point where getting to their game or having dinner together is simply not feasible. So, we’ve spent countless days squeezing in “everything” we can with our kids.

Now, though, we can squeeze everything in for ourselves… or, you know, just chill out for a couple days / months / years. Go ahead, you deserve it.

4. R-rated movies.
There’s something uncomfortable about watching Ted with your kid. Or the five minute sex scene in Gone in 60 seconds. No more, though!

You can safely throw on any movie you want, without them coming home and wanting to watch it with you. Big Hero 6 is next in my DVD.

5. Day-drinking
Or really any drinking! Here’s another one I was pretty strict about. I never once said “Honey, kin you git me a beer?” Pretty proud of that.

Coming home after a long work day and just popping open a beer: Sounds like heaven!

Not that our kids leaving is a good excuse to become an alcoholic, but much like number 1 and 2, the idea of having to be a role model for someone is thrown out. We really just have to be role models for ourselves, now. So, a drink or two after work? Bring it on.

…And don’t worry about leaving the shower-beer bottle right where it belongs.

6. Traveling
Wanna take off for a couple days – this weekend? Go for it!

Yeah, technically, this is not planning around someone, but this in particular has seemed like a nightmare. Trying to take a road-trip or cruise or anything at all with her was like quantum physics with a calendar. She had work and school and friends (whatever they are). Her calendar was fuller than mine. I’m glad I got a bunch of traveling in with her so she could see bits of the world – and a huge chunk of the country – before work sweeps her away.

But, it’s sure going to feel good getting in the car and going wherever, whenever.

7. College planning / finding / paying for is done.
This is a HUGE monkey off our back. Getting our kids in to college, with a manageable expected dept when they get out, is the parenting “finish line.”

In fact, planning for anything for your kids is over. Sure, there’s contemporary dowry if you wanna pay for their wedding or down-payment on their first home, but these things are really icing. The BIG one is over.

8. Guilt-free life
Continuing to build here, I tried to be home when she got home all the time. So, no sleep-overs, last trains home, how did it get that lates, or let’s just stay a couple more days. As a teenager, my daughter is always out way later than I am – and most of the time I get home to be there for her and I sit for hours, then go to sleep anyway – long before she gets home. Oh, I can’t count the times I’ve cut short the things I wanted to do.

Couple this with spending. Whenever I thought about buying something frivolous, a little voice inside my head said “Wouldn’t that be better spent on your daughter?” And, of course, it’s always true that our money is best spend on our kids. But, you know, if they’re miles and miles away…

Now, whatever our whims are, we can simply follow them, without feeling like we should have done something “better” for our kids.

9. Leverage what you had for them.
Always wanted that “Naked Room”? Now’s the time! Heck, make it naked Thursdays.

So, here’s my advice: don’t let your home be a storage facility for your kid’s stuff. Sure, keeping your memories of them is great, but I’ve always been a little uncomfortable with people who keep their moved-out kids’ rooms exactly the same. Also, if you’ve been keeping a car for them and they can’t have one of campus for the first year or two, sell it. Get it off your insurance. Take a trip! See number 6?

My daughter’s room is getting rented out. This is actually helping a friend who just needs a place for a couple months. A few more bucks in my pocket along with some good karma. We can all use both of them.

10. Kids: none
You pay good money for the college to take your kids off your hands; let the college take some responsibility. I say, our kids now belong to the college.

Go ahead and change your online matchmaking profile to zero kids. Now, you’ll show up in more search results. Good job! Grab yourself a drink.

Bonus: No more of her mom’s #$%&!
This one’s also for my single parent friends. That’s right. Aside from maybe seeing your ex at your kids’ wedding, you’re done with them!

A Final Thought

The whole paradigm of life shifts. We go from making sure our kids are taken care of, to making sure we are taken care of. As adults, with jobs and budgeting in place, taking care of ourselves is more than just making sure we’re clothed and fed. Now, we can focus all of our attention on our dreams. Remember them? Those things we happily put aside to make our kids’ lives better are now game!

Head in the clouds,

Stu11

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** “Naked Room” is a reference to the movie Failure To Launch. I couldn’t come up with that one on my own.

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