Having a child leave home for university can invoke a lot of mixed feelings. Although you’ll undoubtedly be excited for them, having an empty nest (potentially for the first time in eighteen years), can often leave a bit of a gap for parents who are used to having their kids around the house.
However, having the house to yourself doesn’t have to be a negative thing. As much as your kids are gaining their independence at university, you’ll be gaining yours too. And there are actually a lot of benefits to having the house to yourself - at least until they decide to return home with a full bag of washing or to raid the fridge.
Here are just 10 of the things that parents can look forward to about their child going to university…
1. Regaining control of the remote
Even if your child isn’t a total telly addict, there will likely have been numerous occasions where you’ve gone into the living room, ready to watch your evening soaps, only to find your teenager lounging on the sofa binging Netflix - leaving you utterly unable to catch your series.
Well, no longer. Now that they’ve moved out you have total control over what you watch, and when – and no-one will be asking you questions all the way through it either. You might even be glad of a bit of background noise, as the house might seem a bit quiet now that they’ve moved out.
2. You’ll only have to do your own washing
Laundry is no-one’s favourite task, but it becomes even more onerous when you add an extra person’s dirty washing to the pile. Although you might have to deal with the odd bag of laundry when your child comes home to visit, for the most part you’ll see your laundry pile – and your energy costs – reduce as a result of them moving away from home.
You could even send them off with a bag of small change so that they have no excuse not to use the laundry room provided by their halls of accommodation!
3. Spare room antics
There’s one thing you’ll suddenly have a lot of when your child goes to university, and that’s space. In fact, you’ll be surprised by quite how much room they used to take up once they’ve moved out – how could one person have so much stuff?
But now that they’ve left for uni, it leaves you free to transform their bedroom into whatever you choose (with their permission) – whether it’s a games room, art studio or you just decide to redecorate slightly in their absence, you might even be glad of a bit of a project to take your mind off things.
4. Being able to travel during term-time
If there’s one downside to having kids in school, it’s the fact that you can’t travel during term time – meaning that holidays tend to be more costly, and the beaches teeming with families as everyone departs for their travels at the exact same time.
Now that you’re not tied to school holidays, you’re free to travel wherever and whenever you want – so why not take advantage and book that round-the-world trip you’ve been planning?
5. A clean and tidy house
Although this doesn’t apply to all teenagers, it’s not really a secret that, for some, tidiness isn’t exactly a top priority - after all, stereotypes exist for a reason. Now that you’re not having to constantly pick up dirty laundry from the floor or used mugs from the bedside table, you might find that you can just get away with a quick once over with a duster and polish on a weekly basis - leaving you more time to concentrate on yourself and make the most of your free time.
6. Being able to use the bathroom WHENEVER YOU WANT
No more queues for the shower or smeared makeup left in the sink – now that your child has left for university, you’ll no longer have to wait for their hour-long bathroom regime to come to an end, meaning you can do your bathroom business in a peaceful and timely manner.
7. A cupboard full of clean plates
While the absence of piles of dirty cups and plates might feel slightly strange at first, you’ll soon get used to being able to go to the cupboard and be guaranteed to find a clean mug when you need one.
On top of that, you’ll no longer have to go to the effort of naming all of the fluffy plate-like entities that appear round the house, ultimately saving you time and lot of emotional distress when you inevitably have to throw your new ‘pet’ in the bin.
8. No need to feed the five thousand
Not only is feeding teenagers a formidable task, but it can get pretty expensive when you have to make enough food to feed the five thousand. Now that you have the place to yourself, you can cook what you want at a time that suits you, and in sensible quantities.
Equally, if you’ve bought yourself any snacks, you can rest assured that they’re not going to have magically disappeared from the cupboard by the time you get round to eating them!
9. No more late night pick-ups
Not that the term ‘parent’ is synonymous with the term ‘taxi-driver’ or anything, but a lot of parents find that they do tend to get called out at all hours of the day and night to pick up their non-driving children from their latest venture.
Now that they have their independence at university, you can settle in to watch the telly without any concerns that you could be called away at any moment – as well as saving yourself some money on petrol at the same time!
10. Graduation day
Aside from all the other things you might be looking forward to about your child going to university, the main thing parents get excited about is the pride they’ll feel when their child walks on that stage to collect their degree certificate at the end of their course.
So invest in a nice hat, and don’t forget to take plenty of pins so you can help them secure their cap and gown on the day.