September 4th, 2008 Jamie
Once you move out of the house, your relationship with Mom & Dad takes on a whole new light. Suddenly they’re not there 24/7, either to help or hover. Here’s what you need to know about how (and why!) your parents are behaving differently now that you’re in charge of doing your own laundry:
Your Mom Reads Your Blog.
It’s true, your mom might read your blog. She may have seen your MySpace page, too, and if you’ve chatted, she’s probably clicked any link in your AIM profile. Don’t believe me? Take a peak at this forum thread, where parents discuss how they google their teens. I can also tell you from personal experience that my mom read my blog, and my best friends’ mom read hers, too.
Keep that in mind when you’re posting pics & details about your life (and also remember that your boss could be googling you, too!)
Why: I know it seems nosey, but your mom or dad is used to having you around a lot more. It used to be that your parents could ask about your day after school, at dinner, or really whenever they felt like it. Now that you’re out of the house, they’re probably missing that day-to-day interaction. Try shooting off a couple more emails, and calling home once in a while. And yes, you can ask them not to read your blog if it makes you uncomfortable.
Your Room is Rearranged (or Never Touched).
There are two unsettling extremes you could experience when you go home:
- Your room is left untouched, like some kind of shrine to your high school days.
- Your room is rearranged, your younger sibling has taken it over, and/or your room has become the guest room/dad’s study/the family gym.
Either of these scenarios can be a little uncomfortable. After all, you lived here for years of your life, you probably don’t expect Mom & Dad to start repainting the day you start school, or to leave the door shut all the time like your room is a shrine.
Why: In a sense, your parents are mourning your childhood-you’re off at college learning to be an adult, and that means their lives are going to change big time. Just like with any big change, everybody deals with it differently. If your parents are in denial, your room is probably more like a “you-museum” than a bedroom. If they are trying to move on and let you grow up, you might come home to find a Bowflex Home Gym where your desk used to be. Again, you can always talk it out-parents like that, and it will help you feel more comfortable with the new situation.
Your Parents Have Taken Up Random (for them) New Hobbies.
Maybe your Dad starts taking yoga when he’s more of a hunting-with-the-boys kind of guy. Maybe Mom starts fencing when she was more into crocheting and scrapbooking before. Whatever changes you see in your parents, they’re probably a little unexpected.
Why: Whether or not you remember it, your life took up a lot of your parent’s time. Mom and Dad spent a good portion of their day chauffeuring, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, going to your soccer games, working to put food on the table, and generally being your personal cheerleading squad.
These new hobbies are their reaction to having a whole lot of unexpected free time. They’re probably both missing the time with you, and trying to adjust to-and enjoy-the freedom to try new things again.
So, What’s Going On?
Okay, so your house is different, Mom’s gotten a Facebook account, and your Dad has taken up horseback riding to fill in the time you used to spend golfing together-what’s really going on?
I mean, aren’t you the one who’s going through a huge life change right now?
Well, kind of. What’s going on is that your parents are starting to come to terms with being “empty nesters.” You have basically been the focus of their lives for the past 18-or-so years, so this sudden disconnect can be really hard on them. Even if you have other siblings still at home, watching one of their babies step into adulthood can really shake a parent up!
I hope this unraveled a little bit of the mystery of parental behavior in college. (Hey, you can always get a new blog account if you have to!)