Adjusting To Life As a Mom With A University-Aged Child


By Angie Seth @kateygoalie



Photo: Courtesy Angie Seth

“Mom there are so many people … the classes are huge!” Those were the first words out of my eldest daughter’s mouth on her first day of University. Yes that’s right I have a daughter in University! How old do I feel?!? Well I wrote about leading up to this moment in my last Masalamommas article  Laptops to Crayons”.

Now here we are just over a month later. Yes I am coming to terms with the fact that I have a daughter in University. Has it been easy? Well let’s just say it has been an adventure and a smack in the face of déjà vu!


Let’s start off with the classes … the choices are endless. Did you know you can take a University course on how to write a book? That’s what the course is actually called, course code: eng45162, “How to Write a Book”. I had nothing like that when I went to University. Today the students are younger. I look at my daughter and think, my goodness is she too young for this? In my mind she is still 5 years old, running through the pile of leaves we would rake up every fall in our front yard, swinging on the swings at the park just down the street. But instead of leaves its classes she is running to, big text books she is studying and midterms she is taking.

Photo: Courtesy Angie Seth

Photo: Courtesy Angie Seth

My little girl is all grown up. So what has the University life been like for her? Well in a nutshell … wake up grumpy and rushed, ask for coffee money, eat, go to class, come home tired, eat, study, eat, study, sleep, and then do it all over again. Oh, and let’s not forget the social side of things. The other night she went to her first Saturday night “pub night”. Where you might ask? My old stomping grounds …

The Brunswick House on Bloor Street, or as we used to call it the “Brunie”. I picked up her up that night. It was so surreal seeing my kid, my little girl coming out of the pub looking all so grownup and me feeling so old and out of place. She is living the true University life.


Angie Seth, Contributor

Angie Seth, Contributor

So how am I feeling about all this? Well, there are two reactions. The first one pretty much centres around the theme in this article  … I am old! Ok, let me elaborate … I don’t feel old, like I am an old woman, but rather, its incredible how much time has gone by, so much has happened, yet my children, in this case my eldest daughter, is still my baby. She is doing things I used to do, but with a lot more freedom I have to add. She is living the life I hoped to have lived at that age. I am happy to allow her to explore, have fun, venture out, and meet new people. But I also feel things are moving so quickly and before I know it I will be planning her wedding.

Ok, I am getting a little ahead of myself. I think I am almost feeling a little panicked … second guessing myself as to whether I have given my daughter all the advice I can give her to be prepared for this new journey in life. Is she studying enough, is she focused enough, is she being responsible and safe when she is out there exploring the world? And as all these questions swirl around in my head, here comes my second reaction … pride and rationality.


So what is a like living with a University student? Well the attitude is “fun” on some days. I mean who wouldn’t want a cranky, fatigued 18 year old bringing joy into your world each and everyday??!!!? Yes, she can be a handful at times, but I see this all as an adjustment period. University is scary and intimidating. So who wouldn’t be going through an emotional roller coaster? But she is also being smart about things.








Here’s my list of must do’s with a University student living at home:

  • Make sure they clean up after themselves
  • Making the bed is mandatory
  • If they are driving your car, they can pay for gas
  • Despite how old they are, there is a curfew and a courtesy call or text is a must if they are going to be late
  • Yes you get to look at their report card
  • Family time at least once a week … ours is Sunday
  •  They can do their own laundry at times 102_2.jpg
  • Talk to them regularly
  • Listen to them all the time
  • Get to know their friends
  •  Pay it forward and buy them a cup of coffee some time … it goes a long way
  •  A kiss goodnight, and a “I love you” is mandatory …
  • And yes, they can be grounded
  • Finally, remember each and everyday what it is like to be 18!


Coming to terms with my daughter being all grown up has been hard, but I get through it day by day. Her adventure is my adventure too. Despite how fast they grow up, there is always something you get to hold on to. For example, did you know that for the last 12 years my daughter played hockey? She is a goalie through and through. I spent 12 years in the rink with her and endless hours on the road going from tournament to tournament. The end of high school meant the possible end of hockey… the end of an era. Knowing that she would be hanging up her skates and goalie pads for good, aside from weekend coaching, was a really hard thing to come to terms with for both of us. I still remember the first time she was in net. She was so little, just 6 years old, but so determined. That determination has never left her. She has worked so hard over the years.

Well 12 years later, the game is far from over. My daughter made the varsity team at her University. She now plays for the U of T Varsity Blues. We are back on the ice! We are back in the game. Seeing her come home with that Varsity Blues jacket on brought tears to my eyes. It still does. A few weeks ago, I watched her play first game with the team. She was awesome in net … it was like coming home. So I have a kid in University … Pub night!!

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