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Spring has barely sprung, but the time has come for college
students to begin planning their summer. And, if your kids are anything like
mine, the possibility of spending a couple of months at the rarely visited Casa de Parents—home of curfews, too few cars and in-your-face
younger siblings—will be enough to spur them into action.
During his post-freshman year summer break, my oldest
learned the hard way that his failure to plan resulted in being stuck at home.
It's not that he didn't try to find a job. He started pounding the pavement
during his spring break, but found that every part-time position available
within a 10-mile radius of our house had already been snapped up by area high
While I was elated to have him back under my roof, he felt like
a stranger in his own childhood home. One of his younger brothers had taken
over his room almost as soon as he had gotten his acceptance letter. So,
relegated to an air mattress in the family room for the duration, he claimed
the half-bath as his own and devoted his summer to running and commiserating
with any of his former high school chums suffering the same fate.
Overcome by guilt, I treated him like a guest; providing meals and maid service and wondering when our home had become a haven for wayward college students.
He'd do anything as long as it meant not living at home.
When he headed back to school that fall, he was already
formulating plans for the following summer: He'd do anything as long as it
meant not living at home. Nice, right?
I knew better than to take it personally. That drive to not
renew his reservation for the following summer motivated him to apply for and
get a residential advisor (RA) position at his university that he now does year
round. Another plus, through this experience, he's changed his career
trajectory from secondary education to student affairs. While I'd like to take
credit for his clarity of vision, all I did was remind him that our door would
always be open for him. Go me.
As is usually the case, his younger brother learned from his
older bro's mistake. Now a freshman himself, he has already signed up for summer
classes at our community college. For me, it's a win-win. He'll be here at
home, but will have something to show for his time here.
Whether they hope to get a job, study abroad, apply for an
internship, or sign up for summer classes, now is the time take action. Might I
suggest that you start by offering them a reservation at Casa de Parents?
Speaking from experience, it's a real deal.
So, do you know where your college student will be this summer?