Surviving College Road Trips

It’s that time of year.  College acceptance letters are beginning to arrive and your child will soon be heading on a new journey.  All you can think about is how much you will miss them and if they are truly ready to be on their own. But first, they must choose a school, and choosing the right one will be a challenge for the entire family. It doesn’t help that the complete college preparation and selection process nowadays is beyond overwhelming for both parents and students. There are so many schools to choose from, so many scholarships and programs to consider, SAT/ACT scores, extra-curricular activities, on and on and on, and I will say, not every school is for every student, as with most situations in life.

Our daughter started college last fall and we are blessed that everything is going well so far.  She just headed back to school from winter break and was excited to return (a very good sign).


Our daughter at the University of Notre Dame during freshman move-in weekend.

We visited several schools throughout the selection process and learned many lessons along the way, here are a few of them:

PPPR College Road Trip Title

Plan accordingly.
So many schools, so little time.  Make sure your child has done research and has an idea of what they are looking for and then as a family, decide which ones are on the short list.  Sometimes there are so many schools to visit, we as parents may try to cram in as many in one visit as possible. Please do not make this mistake. There is usually a lot of driving involved between schools. Additionally, visits can sometimes seem overwhelming with information overload.  At times, our daughter preferred to skip the information session and just tour the grounds (after a while, most of these sessions all start to sound similar).  Also, if you visit too many schools on one trip, you may risk your child being exhausted by the end and not really showing interest in the final few (this happened to us as well).  And if you live in the south, make sure your child visits schools up north during the winter months, as the extreme temperature changes will be eye openers for some!

PPPR Campus Tour Title

Have fun.
Just because you will be visiting college campuses does not mean you cannot have fun (a day trip to Disneyland was a must on our UCLA and USC trip). Visits are comprised of more than just information sessions and campus tours.  Our daughter and a friend from high school were on the same trip and they met up with some students from the university that had previously attended their high school. This provided a great opportunity for them to visit dorm rooms and get a perspective from current students.  Get to know the town, this may be your child’s home for the next 4 years. Where are the nearest restaurants, shopping centers, movie theatres, etc. Do a bit of sightseeing if time permits. There will be something captivating about each school, even those that will eventually get eliminated as choices.


Talk.  A lot.
In the evenings, usually while we were having dinner or settling in for the night, we would ask our daughter how the day went and if the school met her expectations.  Many times, schools that she was excited about were quickly dropped off the list and vice-versa.  But let your child express their thoughts and feelings and only provide advice as needed.  After all, this is (mainly) their decision.

I hope you enjoy your college road trips when the time comes.  I would love to hear how they went…

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You’re Just A Mom?

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but I have to admit it’s not an easy topic for me to discuss.  I am a stay at home mom (SAHM) and my daughter just turned 14 (yes, 14).  While I can certainly go back to work at any time I choose, I think that decision should only be made by my husband and myself, not by anyone else.  I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “So are you EVER going back to work? What did you get an MBA for, to stay home, you can make a lot of money.  What do you DO all day?”.  If I had a nickel for every time I have heard that, I would probably never need to go back to work. Here’s a quote that I have seen many times all over the internet, and it pretty much sums it all up for me:

Just a Mom...

I would never criticize women who work outside of the home, some of my closest friends have careers they love and made the choice to be working moms.  And I fully support them.  I also understand that many of them have to work if they are single mothers or if they have to contribute to the financial needs of the family.  Then there are the women who do not see themselves as SAHMs and do not have the “patience” (as I’ve heard some say), and would much rather work outside the home and have a nanny raise their children, even when they don’t need to work.  And last but not least, the women who truly value and enjoy their careers, and do not want to give up what they love doing to be at home raising their kids.  My point here is not to single anyone out, we should all be able to do as we please with our lives.  However, I  also do not appreciate when people act as if being a SAHM is a bad choice, or a lazy choice…it’s a personal choice.

When our daughter was born, I had a fantastic job, probably the best one I ever had, and we seriously considered if I was going back to work after my 3 month maternity leave.  For many personal reasons, my husband and I made the decision that I would stay home and raise her, a decision that I have never regretted and fully enjoyed for 14 years.  And no, not because I am lazy, or didn’t want to go to work every day and leave her at daycare (although I surely did not miss those pantyhose every morning). Simply because I very much enjoy being a mother and I did not want to miss out on any of our daughter’s milestones, especially since time goes by so quickly and I would never get those moments back. Of course I was blessed that we could afford to have this option, but at that point in time, as good as my job was, I simply was not passionate enough about my career to miss out on enjoying my daughter every single day.  And I also realized, that no matter how good I was at my job (I was very good) or how much my boss loved me (she really loved me), whatever your job is, you are expendable. You are a number. You can be replaced, and you will be replaced, eventually.

Now that my daughter is a teen and is much more independent, I have been seriously thinking of entering the work force again, at least on a part-time basis.  But I even find this decision a tough one, because who will be home with her during all the school breaks, holidays, teacher appreciation days, early dismissal (sometimes they seem to be out of school more than they are in), take her to doctor/dentist appointments, etc.  Am I really ready to miss her swim meets, school plays, and any other important event that may come up?  I’m not sure yet.

So yes…I am JUST a mother. Not only do I shape and mold my beautiful, smart, loving daughter to grow up to be a kind, responsible, hard-working, functional and respectable adult with morals and manners (which seem to be disappearing in today’s youth), but I also manage and maintain everything in our household, so that it runs smoothly, while caring for our daughter who relies on me for just about everything.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way. My heart melts whenever my daughter tells me that she feels so blessed to have the best mother in the world and that she would be lost without me.
Yes…I LOVE being JUST a mom…at least for now!

Photo Courtesy of RoseHill Design Studio

Photo Courtesy of RoseHill Design Studio



Are you a SAHM (or dad)? Do you enjoy staying at home raising your kids or would you rather work outside your home?  I would love to hear.

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Back to School Blues


Carolina ready for school!

Well, I can’t believe summer vacation is over and my baby (8th grader!) returns to school today. Where did the summer go?  I am one of those parents that never likes it when school starts and summer ends (not too sure there are many of us around). Especially living in Florida, where school starts in mid-August. I grew up in NJ, and I always started school after Labor Day. This always made sense to me, as it was September already and the weather had started to cool off a bit. But living in Miami where it is still brutally hot in August, the last thing you want to think about is sending your child back to school, when they should be out swimming. By the way, I’ve never understood why different parts of the country start their school years at different times. And don’t even get me started on year-round schools.  I know many of you will disagree with me, but I’ve always thought that kids need a long summer break, to enjoy family visits with cousins and grandparents, summer camps, vacations, day trips to museums, etc. And for those kids that do enjoy school, after a few months, they’re ready to go back and start the routine all over again.

While I welcome some alone time, I miss my daughter terribly at the start of every school year. And it doesn’t help that we just got back from our family vacation last night (more posts on that trip in the coming weeks). I love the spontaneity of summer and having free time to enjoy with my daughter, whether it be to sleep in late, or spend the day at the beach, without all the schedules. I have never liked schedules. Now mind you, my daughter does not feel this way. While she thoroughly enjoys her summers, she has always loved school too (thankfully). So she’s ready to go back. The back to school blues only affect mom in my family! I reminisce on the great memories we made as a family over the summer…the laughs, the trips to the ice cream shop, the family visits and the late night movie marathons! And every year I realize…one more summer down, not many more to go.

Back to School Blues

So, I would like to remind my fellow parents out there, do not long for school to start because you’re tired and need alone time.  One day, in the blink of an eye, it will all be gone and your school aged kids will have become adults.

I hope you’ve all enjoyed the summer with your kids.  How does your family handle back to school time? I’d love to hear!

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