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I Have a Laundry List of Things to Teach My College-Bound Daughter

I couldn’t sleep last night. All of a sudden, it hit me: My daughter will be leaving for college and I never taught her anything. Maybe she listened to me when she was little and will remember to look both ways before crossing the street. And the years flew by and I did do my best to teach her how to drive, too.

Is My Daughter Ready for College?

But I never got around to showing her how to do laundry. Or how to cook, or balance a check book. Or really anything she might need to know in college. The last couple of years flew by and I guess I just lost track of time. And, besides, she’s too busy with class work, college applications and after school activities to start learning this stuff now.

Yet, there’s a deadline looming. Will I have enough time next summer to cram it all in? Will she even be interested? Is there some kind of training boot camp she can go to?

OK, here’s all my confessions: I didn’t know how to do laundry when I went to college. My mother never taught me, either. I was the third kid and she was working full time back when moms didn’t have careers. I either relied on roommates, the kids in the laundry room at the time, brought it to relatives who lived near my college or brought laundry home during school vacations.

Guess who taught me how to do my own laundry – my husband! He couldn’t understand how I’d never learned. I remember him asking me, “Didn’t your mom teach you anything?”

He was also referring to the fact that I’d never learned how to cook. His mom taught him everything. And he showed me. To this day, I’m not a very good cook, and I’m not sure I’m even qualified to teach my daughter how to cook.

And, since my husband’s an accountant, maybe he could teacher how to balance a checkbook. Although with Pay Pal and online checking, balancing a checkbook seems so old-fashioned.

I’m Worried About My Daughter Leaving for College

There is so much stuff I’ll need to review with her about college life–but I’m pretty sure she won’t want to hear it from me: date rape, keeping safe on campus, how to survive various roommate issues–even how to wake up by herself in the morning! (Yes I wake her up every day.)

I’m starting to get a little apprehensive about all this. For some reason, I didn’t feel this way when my son left for college years ago. He taught himself how to cook and wasn’t so busy after school, so I showed him how to do laundry. And I didn’t have to worry as much about campus safety issues.

On the one hand, my daughter can learn on her own. On the other hand, I don’t want her to leave for college without any of the skills she’ll need. Someone in the know should write some kind of manual for parents.

If you find one, please let me know!

Valerie Newman lives in Connecticut with her husband and two kids. When Valerie started mixing up her kid’s college applications with her mother’s nursing home applications, she knew she was part of the sandwich generation.

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