Tag Archives: Transition

Which way did you fall today?

Fall backYesterday, Lois over at the fabulous blog Midlife at the Oasis wrote about all the possible ways she might use the bonus hour that comes with Daylight Saving Time. Like me, Lois pondered productive ways to use her hour, including using it for sleep.

Last night, after spending the full afternoon clearing out my closet, purging clothing that should have been buried  released long ago, and installing a new organization system, I crawled into bed convinced I might use my extra hour for sleep, however, I struggled with the idea of wasting my freebie on sleep.

Here’s where I’m weird: Like Lois, I love the “fall back” hour that comes each fall. I love that my body will still awake at its usual time, but it’s an hour earlier. I love that I will hold onto that extra hour of quiet time for at least a month, maybe 6 weeks, giving me 60 minutes of solitude that is mine and mine alone. (My husband and daughter savor that extra hour for sleep; always have, always will.)

Some days, I will use my “extra hour” for exercise, some days for meditation and journaling or writing, and some days for getting household projects done. Despite the fatigue in my body last night, I split the difference today. I slept in for 30 minutes but was still up by 4:30 and went straight to work on another household project.

As a family of 4 passionate readers and homeschooling family, books fill the nooks and crannies of our home, so a few years ago I re-purposed our 4th bedroom into our family library. Shelves line the walls and books fill every inch of space. However, over the years, stacks became piles and what had once been an organized space became a dumping ground for every book and movie that needed a home. Earlier this week, I began the process of reorganizing, but the demands of homeschooling, teaching (at a private school once a week), and tutoring, not to mention the daily household chores got in the way of completion. Feeling empowered with my extra  hour 30 minutes, I went straight to work in the library this morning. 6 hours later, I emerged after having touched every single book and DVD in that library. My husband guesstimates there are about 1,000 books. I think that estimate is high, really high, because if it was accurate, I’d feel bad about adding another book, and I don’t ever feel bad about bringing another book into the house. Completely dusted and vacuumed, I have revisited our little library several times today. I’ve sat on the reading bench, tucking up my feet and sinking into the pillows while watching the weather move in, changing the colors of the farm behind us. Finally, our little library is a room I like to be in once again, and I’m feeling pretty darn good moving another project forward today.

Tomorrow will be a new day, and I’m looking forward to another bonus hour of productivity. I might even use it for writing, so I’m not trying to crank out my daily  NaBloPoMo post with half-closed eyes. (Please forgive any typos.) Or, I may just use it for sleep because there may, in fact, be 1000 books in that library.

How did you spend your bonus hour today?


First Year Lessons Through the Rearview Mirror (Part 2)

Finger pointing
You can’t tell me what to do! (Or can you?)

After you’ve given your last hug good-bye and your child begins to stretch his/her wings, there can be confusion over the rules and roles of both parent and child.  Can you or should you ask about last weekend’s party?  What about that tattoo or piercing? Should you ask to see a grade report or if they are studying? What about friends or that new relationship?  When you do, your child will likely balk at your inquiries and tempers can escalate quickly making the miles apart feel even longer.

Parents and children are often left hurt or angry when parents try to maintain the same level of control over their (almost) adult child, yet children are still, in many ways, dependent on their parent’s support. Yesterday, I shared 3 of the lessons I learned during my daughter’s first two years in college. Today, I talk about balancing parenting with your child’s increasing freedom.

You have the right to ask about grades, so do it.

◾If you are, in any way, helping your child financially with their schooling, you are investing in them. By “in any way”, that includes flights home, care packages, etc. in addition to tuition, books, and housing fees. Even if they aren’t going away to school but are living under your roof while they attend college, you are making an investment in their education and future. You don’t hand money over to a financial advisor and never look at the return on your investments; grades are a way of checking up on your ROI.
◾Don’t nag; not every call should be or include inquiries about grades. And, don’t fret if your perfect 4.o student gets their fist B or C or, heaven forbid, even below. College is a big transition for many, if not all, students. They will likely go through some tough times as they figure out the necessary study skills and self-discipline.
◾That said, let them know what you expect while they are in school. We have communicated to our daughter that her #1 job while in school is to study and do her best. Yes, we want her to have the balance of a good social life, but she also knows that if she gets below a C, we will not pay for the class or books (not to mention the fact that she puts her academic scholarships at risk.)
◾Asking your child about their grades helps keep them on track. If no one is watching, it’s easy to 1) let grades slip 2) feel no one cares 3) get blindsided when it’s too late to impact the final grade. Additionally, we, as parents, can offer guidance (not fixes) in advance of disaster if our child is struggling with a class. But, parents, please don’t call your student’s professors and try to fix a grade. EVER!!

Don’t kiss every boo-boo or fix their mistakes.
◾They need to figure things out. By themselves. This is the time in life they will learn to negotiate battles with roommates and make decisions about frat parties versus studying. Sometimes, things will work with ease and other times, they’ll stumble. Just as we did, they’ll grow their wings on the way down and then discover how far they can soar when they’ve solved their own problems.
◾You set the stage for insecurities and grow a dependent child if you fix every problem. By reaching out and in to solve every conflict, challenge, or missed deadline, parents re-enforce the idea they don’t believe in their child’s abilities to problem solve. And, it sets a dangerous precedent. By indulging every whimper about a professor that’s “a jerk” or a boss that doesn’t understand their finals schedule, children learn to blame others before examining their own behavior.
◾It fosters resentment. In the long run, you’ll alienate your child and they’ll be making their biggest decisions without ANY counsel from you if you’ve interfered on every misstep. It’s tough to allow our children to stumble and fall, but if they believe we trust in their abilities to make good decisions, they’ll trust our ability to counsel wisely.
◾It’s OK if they have bad days; they’ll be OK. They’ll feel homesick, be mad at professors and roommates, fail tests, and hate the food. That’s normal, however, be sure to keep your eyes and ears open for signs of depression. That’s the time to step in and help. (More on this in Part 3.)

Allow them to try on different skins, regardless of how certain you are they don’t fit.
◾This is a critical time for self-discovery. Your son or daughter will interact with entirely new personalities and belief systems, and they will have their belief systems challenged. College gives young people an opportunity to thoughtfully (hopefully) consider differing views as well as their own.
◾During their time away, they will likely modify the person you waved goodbye to one hot August afternoon; the little girl or boy we once rocked may be displaced by someone who sounds an awful lot like a roommate or new best friend. We’ve all picked up good and bad traits from siblings, friends, and spouses. Again, it’s how we grow.
◾If they know you object to: the new hair color, clothing choices, study habits, etc., they will withdraw. Choose your battles wisely, comment sparingly, and avoid stalking their social media accounts as they explore, unless you want tenuous communication and lots of omission.
◾ Don’t fret. These changes are usually temporary. Your child, the one with the big heart and never ending curiosity is still in there. Mine reappeared around by the end of her first week home for the summer. Trust they will measure the new skin against the old and will only keep what really fits. Let them explore and discover who they are outside the shadow of their family –so long as they are not in harm’s way or violating your family values/morals/boundaries while under your roof and/or financial support. And, if/when they buck against your inquiries and rules (as they will), reassure yourself this as part of the growth experience.

Please join me tomorrow for Part 3 of 3 in my series of “First Year Lessons in the Rearview Mirror.” And, please share the lessons you have learned from looking in the review mirror.