Homesickness Help For The Kids Out On Their Own

As the parent of a university student, you may have done everything you could to ensure they are well equipped to live independently and to use that independence wisely. However, that doesn’t always mean they’re going to have an easy time doing it on their own. Most of us experience homesickness occasionally when we’re out on our own for the first time. For many, the experience can really be crippling. If your kid is having a tough time out on their own, here are a few ways you can help them cope better.

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Make sure they leave with realistic expectations about what university is going to be

As a parent, part of our responsibility is to make sure that our kids are prepared for a prosperous future and part of that means helping them get a more informed idea of what’s going to be waiting for them when they leave home. Social media, TV, and film may have given them ideas that university is a constant party but they’re soon going to be disabused of that notion. If they were particularly looking fun to that part of uni, that twist can actually be quite shocking and disappointing. As such, it’s important to help them understand that managing a household, studying, and going to class is what they’re going to be spending the majority of their time on, and that partying isn’t quite as frequent as they might believe.

Encourage them to throw themselves into their new experience

The trepidation that your kids might feel out on their own for the first time is real and worrying, but it is also something that they can get over best with experience. Simply, if they can find the strength to go out, try new things, join new clubs, and make new friends with the help of networks like Meetup. Simply put, until they find their rhythm in their new environment and find what they like about it, most of their time is going to be spent comparing it negatively to home. When it comes to getting over feelings of homesickness, we need to get out of our own way, occasionally.

Tell them to make their own home-life schedule

One of the best ways to keep homesickness off your mind is to be busy. They can do this, in part, by enjoying the uni life as best as possible, joining clubs, going to events, and making friends. But simply getting used to a new schedule can help them move on with their life as well. Helping them put a daily routine together, including their housework, self-care, shopping, studying, and so on can help them find their own rhythm away from home. It also makes sure they don’t have too much time to let boredom settle in, which is one of the biggest catalysts of homesickness.

Pic – Pixabay License

Help them stay in touch with the folks back home

Reaching out and sending messages via Skype, WhatsApp, Discord and the like is one thing. But it can really help warm their heart and centre your kids to hear a familiar voice once in a while. Some kids fresh out at uni may worry about the costs of calling home in their new budget, but deals like the Smarty student campaign can make it as affordable as possible for them. You have to give them some space to acclimate to their new environment, but calling once in a while and letting them know they can call you whenever they want can help them feel extra supported out there. Just try not to do it too much or you could end up getting in the way of them acclimating.

Put down social media

It’s not just home that your kid will be missing, it’s all of the friends and connections they have made over the year that they are now far removed from. That’s an emotionally tough thing for many to deal with, and people make it much worse for themselves with social media. By browsing social media all day, they’re likely to keep scrolling through photos and posts from friends they miss, twisting the knife all the deeper. Encourage your kid to set a rule for themselves that they only browse social media for 30-45 minutes a day during a set time of the day. If they can discipline the habit of thumbing through Facebook out of their life, then they’re going to torture themselves a lot less often. Apps like In Moment can offer some valuable help in doing that, too.

Send them some home comforts

Want to really warm their cockles and help them feel like they are cared for? Then put together a care package of things from home. This is especially valuable if they’re studying overseas, as their local stores aren’t likely to carry their favourite biscuits or even a decent pack of teabags. There are plenty of guides for putting together a university care package that can give you plenty of inspiration. Just make sure your intention in supporting them is clear, not that you’re trying to make them miss home even more.

Pic – Pixabay License

Encourage them to look for help

You can offer them advice and a kind word where possible, but if you feel like they’re having a really hard time, then it’s important to help your kid be aware that there may people there who can better help them. For instance, it’s very likely that their university will have counselling services on hand. A lot of young people struggle with bouts of depression, stress, and anxiety when they’re away from home. Let them know that they’re not the only person who has gone through this, without diminishing their experience, that they can get through it, and that there are people and services who can help them get through it.

With the tips above, you can help your grown kids fight homesickness. However, it’s important to listen to their complaints, as well. If they have actual problems it may be that homesickness isn’t really the concern.


Being an Adult Sometimes Sucks

Don't Make Me AdultIf there’s one thing I could teach my kids it’s that they need to manage their expectations when it comes to being an adult. Yeah, it’s all fun and games when you’re 18, in your first full time job so you’ve got pots of cash but no real responsibilities, but once you start having to actually be a PROPER ADULT, the sheen wears off pretty damn soon! If I’d known when I was a kid that there are some aspects of adulthood which, quite honestly, SUCK I might not have been so keen to rush towards it. Here’s just a few of them:

Christmas is No Longer About Me

When I was a kid, Christmas was something that just happened to me. I didn’t have to think about budgets and present buying and food and making it magical, it JUST HAPPENED. Now that I’m the adult, I have to be the one to think about these things (although I am EXTREMELY lucky in the fact that Husband does most of the Christmas shopping every year so that I don’t have to) and it really reduces the magic levels. The one thing I DO like is that Husband and I usually wait until the January sales and treat each other then, and this year I’m hoping for a new bag in the handbags sale!

I Have to Make Crappy Decisions

This ranges from the small and seemingly insignificant to the huge and life-changing, and decisions from every part of that spectrum can feel really rubbish at times. Sure, it’s fun to decide where we go on holiday or what cute outfits I’m going to dress BB in, but everything else can feel like a crushing weight when we don’t know what the outcome of our decisions will be.


When you’re a kid, or even a young adult, no one expects much of you. You don’t have to have an immaculate home, you don’t have kids so there’s no healthy meals, good schooling or extracurricular activities to think about, you aren’t even expected to be sober for much of the time. When you’re a proper grown-up, being a drunk, slovenly mother who’s kids don’t go to swimming lessons is FROWNED UPON. So, even when times get tough, you have to hold your shit together for the sake of the small people you grew in your body and just keep on keeping on.

Which parts of being an adult do you hate the most?


A whole new Supermum: The Academic Mother

hands-woman-legs-laptopIt is expected in today’s society, that a mother be able to juggle both family life and career. Yet, the realities of having children still pose difficulties when it comes to returning to work. Whether it’s to continue academic studies, or to start afresh on a whole new career: finding that balance to fulfil both roles can be daunting.

But, it is possible.

The archaic notion that a woman’s role is in the kitchen is gone. More women now are the main bread earners in their family, and are able – with some support – to balance their roles as both mother and worker. It may not be as perfect as the glossy, high quality Instagram photographs of “super-mums” show, but with the help of improving technology, it is now more feasible than ever. Not only get to a degree after childbirth, but to study for a better career that will earn a more comfortable living for the family.
So, how is it done?

Time management. Motherhood will already demand this, so creating a routine that incorporates study time and time with your children is a must.
Work out schedules that will be realistic and time conserving.
Enlist support, not only from family and friends, but also from your study advisor; and embrace any resources offered by your university or college.
Even simple things like getting up an hour earlier, doing your studying while your children do their homework, or doing extra studying while your child sleeps, can all make a big difference.

Also, embrace technology. It has never been easier to sign up for – as well as to acquire – an online university degree. By now, most large and well-known universities offer certain courses online, some even for free! But it might be a good idea to check universities that offer the possibility to study online full-time, like NC IUL for example. Besides the ease and convenience of applying and enrolling, you are offered many different and diverse areas of study to choose from.

Online courses provide greater flexibility: you can work at your own pace from the comfort of your own home, opening up a new range of choices for the new mum looking to keep informed and develop a career while away from work, or making a complete career change. This flexibility does not mean an easier pathway to a desired career. Most online courses will require the same amount of coursework as classroom courses; but you will be able to do so at your own schedule.

Make up a designated computer space for online study that will have the same effect as a campus classroom. This can be anything from your dining room to the campus library: the key is to have an area that is yours for studying alone with no distractions for that set time. Take advantage of supporting resources offered by the online course, and keep in touch with fellow students and lecturers with social media to help with your studies.

Above all else, know your limit. Make sure to schedule downtime, from both studying and your children. If you don’t, you risk a breakdown; and both your studying and your family will suffer.
It will be hard work, and there will be stressful times; but the rewards will be worth the efforts.

Education · Personal

My Education (Or – ‘Unfinished Business’)

A few nights ago, I had a dream where I was back in senior school (although I think I was an adult) and I was running around the corridors, trying to remember where my locker was as I needed to clear it out before the end of term. In the course of the dream, I bumped into the ‘new headmaster’ (my senior school was headed my a formidable lady when I was there, but is now run by a man), with whom I started to argue.

It was all very run of the mill, but I awoke with a real sense of anxiety that I couldn’t shake all day. I was thinking about my dream later in the day and I realised that I have a lot of dreams about my school days, all of which are fraught with anxiety. In the majority of them, I’ve gone back as an adult, but am studying at the school to try to finish my A-Levels. In several of the dreams, I’ll be doing day-to-day things and then suddenly realise that I forgot to go to school, or that I go to school and realise that I’ve not been there for about ten years and all of my teachers are really cross with me.

If you read my post the other day, you’ll have cottoned on to the fact that I was, rather unceremoniously, asked to leave sixth form after two terms of horrific attendance. I’d met a boy, (who was a complete douche-nozzle, just FYI, but who’s ever managed to convince a 16 year old girl that she’s not in love when she thinks she is?) and had been spending more time at his house than in school. So I left, jumped into finding a job and was gainfully employed within a couple of weeks, but I’ve always wanted to finish my formal education.

In October, I’m going back to the Open University degree that I started in 2010, albeit with a different major. With my Mum now in possession of a degree and Husband and I getting our five year plan in order, it’s given me a kick up the bum to get myself some qualifications, and I’m hoping that it will give me some sort of closure.

Husband and I are the kind of people who believe that we wouldn’t change our pasts if we had the opportunity. We agree that there are things that we regret, to an extent, but if we changed our pasts we don’t know that we’d have ended up where we are now, and we’re both very happy with what we have. However, I know that we both feel that we’re not fulfilling our respective potential and, for me, finally getting my degree might help me to draw a line under my educational misdemeanors.

I think, realistically, it’s taken me this long to realise what I really want to do; at 18, I had NO idea of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and I was secretly terrified of committing to a degree, racking up tons of debt and then realising that I didn’t actually like what I’d chosen after all. Leaving it until I’m 29 has given me a chance to find out who I am, which really helped with choosing. So, as of October, I’ll officially be on a path to gaining a BA/BSc in Social Policy and Criminology, two subjects that I feel that I can really get my teeth into and be truly stimulated by. My first module is ‘Welfare, Crime and Society’, which I cannot WAIT to start.

So, wish me luck…and let’s hope the weird anxiety dreams become a thing of the past!


Being Called The ‘C’ Word

On Sunday afternoon, after a lovely morning at the cinema watching Despicable Me 2, we drove to Waitrose to acquire some groceries for a late lunch. As we were pulling in, Husband and I were having a discussion about something or other, one of the usual things that we chunter on about in the car, you know, like how we feel about what’s going on in Israel, the price of baked beans and whether the dog needs his anal gland expressed. I can’t remember what it was in particular (probably because I’m in shock) but in the course of the conversation, my Husband called me The ‘C’ Word.

Yep. My Husband, the man for whom I carried a child, the man whose pants I wash and meals I cook, called me the worst word he could ever have uttered. I was genuinely shocked at first because I had no idea he felt that way about me. After seven and a half years of sharing your life with a person, you get to a point where you know each other well and you feel like you know exactly how they feel about you, how they view you as a person. But to drop the ‘C’ bomb on your wife? Well, I was beside myself.

Before I go on, I should probably clarify which ‘C’ word it is that I actually mean. Are you ready? Brace yourself…

He called me…*looks around to make sure no kids are listening*…a CONFORMIST!

A close approximation of the look on my face, after the dropping of the C Bomb

How dare he call me a conformist? I’m the girl who, when my friends went through their ‘Goth’ phase, would go out with them dressed head to toe in pink. I’m the girl who has argued vociferously against The Beatles, simply because I hate being told  that they’re the greatest band ever and that I should love them. I’m the girl who wore Dr. Martens to primary school when all of my friends were wearing Mary Janes. I’m the girl who answered back, the naughty kid in class, the one who got kicked out of sixth form for frequent bunking.

I have opinions, ones that I’ll voice whenever the hell I want and usually as forcefully as I can. I’ll talk about anything, religion, politics, current affairs. I’m passionate about feminism, human rights, the demonisation of youth. I’m not just a ‘shut up and do nothing’ type.

But, as I look down at my safe Mummy uniform (beige cardi, muted green vest, sensible John Rocha jeans and a pair of loafers), my Cath Kidston bag and my long, highlighted bob, I begin to wonder. 

Yes, I have opinions, opinions which aren’t shared by everyone. But am I hiding?

As we were walking out of Waitrose, I saw a girl with hair that was that most beautiful shades of pink and purple, a teenager with her Dad, and I thought “I used to have pink hair…I’m probably too old for pink hair now”. And that thought saddened me a bit. I’m not saying that I actually want pink hair, what I’m saying is that there is still a non-conformist inside of me, but I’ve hidden her under a bushel of ‘appropriate’ grown up clothes and outward conformity.

I don’t want to be the same as everyone else. So why do I feel, suddenly, like I am?

I’m not giving up my Cath Kidston bag though.