What's a mom of a college son to do?

August 29, 2013|Lisa Prejean

The past two weeks I have been feeling like a not-so-good mom. While I have been at work, my son has been packing for college, shopping for dorm room items, ordering books online, taking himself to doctor and haircut appointments, paying college bills and just generally working nonstop.

He’s acting like a responsible adult.

Even though this is the goal I have been working for all these years, I’m still feeling like I’m not where I’m supposed to be and not doing what I’m supposed to do.
I’m a mother, after all. I’ve been at it for 18 years, and I don’t want to stop.

Aren’t I supposed to be by his side helping him with these things? He assures me that if he needs help, he will ask.

Still, I wonder if I shouldn’t be doing something.

Now that he is a college freshman, will he still need me for anything? He does his own laundry. He can cook. He can drive. He’s had two part-time jobs and is applying for another.

In engineering school, he certainly won’t be calling me for academic help. What do I know of mechanics, calculus and chemistry?

If his car needs a tuneup, he’ll call his father or his grandfather.

If he needs relationship advice, he’ll text his 14-year-old sister. She seems to relate well to boys his age. (That’s a whole other column waiting to happen. I’m just going to put that one on hold for a while. I’ll write it when she’s 30.)

If my son wants financial advice, he’ll talk to his uncle.

Gardening tips? His grandmother.

But me? Hmmm ... what will he need from me?

I can proof his college papers, but that isn’t really a mothering thing.

I could worry that he is not getting enough to eat or enough sleep or that he’s unsafe walking around campus at night, but that’s not very productive.

Guess I’ll just simply have to accept the fact that this is a new chapter in our lives and that I need to embrace each moment as it comes.

I’ll patiently listen when he calls.

I’ll respond to his texts with upbeat messages.

I’ll accept his new-found friends without judgment.

Whenever, however, he needs me, I’ll be available.

After all, that’s what mothers do.

I’ll bend and change with the course of life’s pathways, and patiently accept each twist and turn.

The journey continues.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail’s Family page. Send email to her at

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