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My Child is off to University – What do I do now?

As  level results arrive and children get their university places the role of the mother can change radically. UCAS statistics point to more than 400,000 children heading off to university for the first time this year. You cannot underestimate the huge change that this event has on family life. Mothers, in particular, can find the change in family dynamics quite a shock. Some will feel bereft, others will embrace the additional time and freedom they now have. 

If your child rearing days are coming to an end and you are alarmed at how you are going to fill your new spare time, here are 5 tips on how to create a new life post children at home.

1. Make a plan

Set yourself a plan. A plan will focus your mind and help you decide what is important in your life and it will help you prioritise and give you a sense of purpose. So start by writing a list of all the things you have always wanted to do.  Set your goals out into different timescales – things to do in the next week, month, 3 months, one year, five years.

2. Clubs and Events

Once you have your plan you can set about researching how to reach your goals. Start by scouring the local newspaper, notice boards in libraries, shop windows, doctor’s surgeries for what’s going on in your area.  Look out for clubs that might interest you, special events being held, friendship groups that you can go along to.

You might find it daunting to walk in to a new class on your own, but people are nearly always friendly and eager to help.   And try a club for a reasonable length of time. Your chosen activity might not appeal so much at the start, but as you gradually get to know people it is likely to become more enjoyable. 

3. Go Online

Go online to find new friends.  Friendship websites such as www.togetherfriends.com can help you find like-minded friends from the local area, matching you on age, location and interests. Everyone joins for one reason: to make new friends, so you will find members open to new friendships and not so stuck in their existing social circles.

4. Volunteer

There are so many volunteering opportunities out there. The library, Citizens Advice Bureau, local voluntary organisations will tell you what’s on offer. You should have plenty to choose from, whether it’s helping at the local school, visiting the elderly, doing admin work for a local charity or helping at the animal rescue centre. As well as doing something worthwhile, you will meet lots of other volunteers just like you and there may be social events attached to the charity of your choice.

5. Take a risk and try something new

Be open to new experiences and see what comes your way, It’s a time of life when you can reinvent yourself. If you try 3-4 new clubs, activities or hobbies a couple will work out. Set yourself some challenges to help get close to your goals e.g go to a new club, say hello to someone you don’t know each day, ask someone at work if they fancy a coffee after work.

So when your children are all grown up and leaving home, give yourself a pat on the back for bringing them up so well and start planning your new life of freedom!