I Have a Choice Before Me

With the college boy home for his senior year, should I be hard-necked about all those rules he followed as a child (which he’s seemingly forgotten) or shall I make his last year (will this be his last year?) at home pleasant, with reduced stress for him, as he wades through a bit of depression and a heap of anxiety?

I had a discussion with my daughter regarding the overwhelming anxiety college students are experiencing regarding job prospects in today’s economic reality. I am reminded of this conversation when the college boy gets an all too often blank glaze in his eyes.

Will I be harming him for life if I simply choose to look past neglected chores? Will choosing to pick up his household slack in favor of a joyful greeting (painfully swallowing the curt response on the tip of my tongue) be wise or folly? Is the “love you mom’s” worth the lazy habits I’m ignoring? If I choose the stress-less scheme, will he leave the house in a year’s time with unrealistic expectations and with an entitlement complex or with appreciation?

I can hear my dear Empty Next friends advising me to negotiate a contract with him, detailing my set of expectations. The fatal problem with that idea is me: I don’t want to police a contract. Talk about stress!

I think I’ll be doing lots of tongue biting over the next months. Of course college-boy may surprise us all by not being a returned child at home, but by taking up the manly mantle. And wouldn’t that warm a mother’s heart?

5 thoughts on “I Have a Choice Before Me

  1. Good question, MG

    Thinking further thoughts has led me to know that I do NOT want to spend the next months playing “Battle of the Wills” with the boy. Nor do I want to him to feel “mothered” as in smothered. If he can’t be out on his own yet, he certainly, as a young man, doesn’t need to be reminded of the fact that his space is not his own by my “nagging.” With many of his friends finishing college last spring, getting married, making a home of their own, I’m aware that he may feel a step or two behind in fulfilling those dreams. Whatever I can do to help him feel independent – well, maybe less dependent, will be beneficial to him, I think.

    He is good about helping when asked and is appreciative of what is done for him on his behalf. So it’s not like I’ll be a servant at his beck and call. I simply want to create a pleasant environment for all of us. Yes, and me included. Lack of anger and anxiety would be good for me (even when the anger and anxiety belongs to him!)

    • I think this is a great example of how different things works in different families. And when our kids are older, it’s critical that we all figure out what works for US, not what the parenting gurus would like to tell us or what our friends advise.

  2. I told the boy last night that there were 3 things I needed from him:
    1. Put his size 10 shoes on the shoe mat by the door and rather than left near the door where they are in my path to the stairs. I qualified it: dad and I are getting old and we can’t see the floor any longer, thus I trip over invisible things on the floor.

    2. Dirty dishes are not to be stored in the bedroom so that we don’t run out and I have to eat off the counter. I might have to buy him his own colored bowl and plate. Just like when he was a toddler.

    3. Do not take the last clean towel when there are 10 perfectly good towels strewn on your bedroom floor.

    • Sounds like you could write a 32nd chapter for the book of Proverbs…. “These three things do I require of you, O my son…..”

Comments are closed.