25 Reasons I’m Glad My Kids Are Grown Up


As I watched my youngest packing boxes to head back to college for his senior year, I felt a mixture of Momma pride – he’s all grown up (almost!) and also a tinge of the empty nest blues. I guess that never really ends, but it does get easier. I’ve grown to love the empty nest, and so will you. Much as I miss many parts of being a parent of school-aged children, there are many reasons I’m glad my kids are grown up…

1. Filling out the same forms with the same information every.single.year. Maybe it’s different now, but back in the day (um, that would be 2010), in my school district, we still had to fill them out by hand. Most in duplicate, a few in triplicate.

2. Writing checks for: Lunch tickets, books, fees, donations, classroom supplies, bus passes, ID cards, PTA memberships.

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3. Writing more checks for: Booster clubs, activity fees, uniforms, costumes, yearbooks, overdue fines, cookie dough, gift wrap.

4. Making lunches and then having the lunches come home in the backpacks, uneaten (I just wanted chips, mom).

5. Carpools. Carpools. Carpools. Did I mention carpools?

6. Waking my son up for school every morning for 13 years. Every morning. He gets himself up now that he’s in college. We’re so proud.

7. Shopping for school supplies that no one ever used, like those pink erasers and endless packages of 3-whole punch lined paper. Plus the supplies for the classroom, like Kleenex and sanitizing gel. Where did all that lottery money go, anyway?

8. Small talk in the parking lot waiting to pick up your kid with the mom whose kid is better than yours at everything.

9. Buying two dozen mechanical pencils for my son who promptly lost them all or gave them away within 48 hours of starting school. Every year. You’d think I would have learned.

10. Buying clothes for my daughter that she wore once and never again. A few weeks into the school year, she would default to a school sweatshirt and jeans, hair in a messy bun, more often than not.

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11. PTA meetings. Painful. But the guilt of not going was even more painful. And now I look back and think “why?”

12. Back-to-school night. Did anyone really want to be there? Well, maybe the new teachers. And the parents of the kids who do everything better than yours do.

13. Parent-teacher conferences. The icky feeling that you’re being judged because your kid isn’t perfect. Although, that feeling passed after about 2nd grade.

14. Annual check-ups. Shots. More forms to fill out.

15. Driving by the school to see if my kid was one of the kids walking along the fence, alone, while the other kids played with each other. (Happily that never was the case, though I checked periodically.)

16. Head lice.

17. Smelly sports uniforms that had to be washed every day. The football uniform was particularly delightful.

18. Middle-school angst and drama. Oh the heartache.

19. Colds, coughs, flus.


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21. Auditions, try-outs, contests, elections, prom kings and queens. The never-ending popularity contest and competitions.

22. Waiting to be asked to prom/winter formal. Asking a girl to prom/winter formal. (Not me, of course. My kids.)

23. First day jitters and senioritis. Senioritis should be an actual illness in the DSM-III.

24. College applications, essays, application fees. The common app, submit buttons, extra-curriculars, teacher recommendations, PSATS, SATS, ACTS, SAT IIs, Merit Scholars, valedictorians, legacies,financial aid, deadlines, safety schools, reach schools, match schools.

25. College admission anxiety, a parental illness that should also be in the DSM-III and is a perfectly legitimate reason to get a Xanax prescription.

About the writer


After 20 years as a stay-at-home mom, Sharon Greenthal launched her blog, Empty House Full Mind, in 2011. Sharon focuses on life as a midlife empty nester, but reserves the right to touch on anything she thinks her readers will find interesting. Sharon is also a co-founder and editor-in-chief of Midlife Boulevard, the online magazine for midlife women. Sharon has two children - a daughter who is 24 and a son who is 22. Sharon lives in Los Alamitos, CA with her husband Peter and their perfect dog, Lambeau. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.

From Around the Web


Anna Labno 12 months ago

Holiday and birthday parties.

Deb 12 months ago

Don’t forget:
having to have items for Bake Sales;
being a class Sponsor;
Enforcing punishments “your grounded” then listening to the whining every day
Expensive Letter jackets that they outgrew that year

I cried every day for a week when my last child left the house; now I enjoy my freedom! It will be OK!

Great article.

Sue Ashcroft 1 year ago

For my family it’s#6

Ginny Poleman 1 year ago

Yes!! And what about these?
26) Never having to rush home for a pick-up ever again.
27) Never getting that call/text during the day “I forgot my lunch/gym clothes/project. Can you bring it to me now?”

I just dropped my youngest for her freshman year of college. The next day she texted me asking where her umbrella is. Her room area is only 7×10 feet. She texted me four times… “I still can’t find it.” It never ends.

Melanie Ceniceros Lambert 1 year ago

Looking forward to #6. Thankfully the youngest wakes up. But the other 2 …….hopefully in college the classes they need are in the afternoon.

Amy Stone 1 year ago

#20. All. Damn. Day.

Stephanie Tarkowski Wyatt 1 year ago

Amen sister, but after doing this stuff for 13 years I still have 14 more to go!

Cayci Trent Rhoads 1 year ago

This list did nothing but piss me off.

    Gary Billings 1 year ago

    Amen, Cayci Trent Rhoads. I miss it all.

Nancy McKay 1 year ago

LOOOVE this – Perfect!

mary 1 year ago

Funny stuff, and fyi they are on the DSM 5 now.

Deidre Wipke-Tevis 1 year ago

#23, #24, and #25….for the next 9 months–woo hoo. I can hardly wait!

Michael Ward 1 year ago

Never read anything starting with a qualifying phrase. People who talk backwards think backwards.

Holly Rosen Fink 1 year ago

I sure as hell won’t miss getting head lice … Them and me. Twice!

Kelly Feltzer 1 year ago

Dear Scary mom, I simply love your blog. It is a breath of fresh air! Now don’t get me wrong, I love my kids as much as the next mom…. But really if some of these moms would just be real and admit it…. Raising kids is not all rainbows and unicorns and skittles…. Just be real moms, dare to admit it some of this crap sucks….. Doesn’t make you a bad mom, or unloving, or uninterested in your kids. It makes YOU REAL… like scary mom….. Kudos to you.

Monica McKenna 1 year ago

8 and 15!!

samantha 1 year ago

I like how it wasn’t about your kids but the endless drama that you have to deal with from schools and other parents…Well aside from homework…

Jennifer Miller Drayton 1 year ago

The only thing I absolutely hate is homework !

Becky Blades 1 year ago

You’re giving me hope. And a smile.

Michelle Fischer 1 year ago

My ‘baby’ is 19 now. They’re young and dependant on you for such a short time. Don’t wish it away :)

Alison Bailey 1 year ago

1, 6, 12, and 13.

Thank the gods this is her senior year of High School!

Kristie Herrington Zahn 1 year ago

It never occurred to me to drive by the school to see if my kids have friends. Interesting.

    Sharon Greenthal 1 year ago

    Having moved every 3 years as a child and changed schools each time, that happens to me one of my weak spots…utterly ridiculous, I know, but it’s what I did. BTW they’re ok now, in spite of me :)

Kerri Corbo 1 year ago

You sound neurotic. I never thought to do half these things. Driving by to see if your kids playing w everyone? Feeling bad cause you aren’t a member of the pta? Ummmm, no.

Travis 1 year ago

Our oldest daughter is almost four, but I’m least looking forward to homework and writing more checks, lol. Nice post.

Veronica Bourque 1 year ago

I don’t think I’ll ever get use to an empty nest…when Angelle left i almost died (okayyyy not really), and when Triston leaves, lawd HELP ME!!!
But, some things on that list I def do NOT miss & I’m sure they don’t either!! LOL

Terri Case-Bateson 1 year ago


Brianne De Leon 1 year ago

My oldest is only 10 so I havent hit the teenage years yet but I truly believe I will miss it all. My youngest is 18 months and I already miss getting up to nurse him! Never realized I was in the minority!

Nancy Welker Fortais 1 year ago

Yes. Yes. Yes and YES! Did I mention that I love this page?

Nicole Slaughter 1 year ago

omg, #9. at least your kid LOST his. my daughter’s teacher took hers away and said “they belong in the CLASS box, so everyone can use them”. SMH

Brooke Lloyd 1 year ago

After all the forwards and posts about how we need to relish each amazing moment, how fast the years go, babies don’t keep, etc how this is a fabulous breath of fresh air, love it! The parents whose child is better than yours in everything lol awesome. Lindsay Walker

Jill Weyer Ross 1 year ago

So wait–re: #2 and #3–we get to STOP writing checks???? I can’t even imagine. I can imagine some of the other stuff, but part of me thinks the check-writing is never going to stop. I’ve resigned myself to being broke for life.

Brittney Cyra 1 year ago

Honestly I got only five years :/ I’ll miss it but I’ll enjoy my new life too

Michele Dydak 1 year ago

16 I’m on the preventative measures.

Maria Tripp 1 year ago

Waiting in the car line. Seriously it is the worst part of my day. I almost want to home school just to get out of sitting there a hour a day plus the commute.

Janice Carlson 1 year ago

People feel guilty about not doing the PTA thing? Went to one meeting – they asked for new suggestions regarding fund raising. I made a suggestion and was told “That’s not how we do things” Never went back but constantly heard people complain that they couldn’t get anyone to help out. Hmmmmmm…wonder why?

    Marnie Chan Demeterio 1 year ago

    I mused to a coworker one dAy that maybe I should join the PTA and she looked at me, horrified “they’ll eat you alive!!” She said. I have never been to a meeting.

    Janice Carlson 1 year ago

    I wonder if any of the PTA inner circle see themselves when they read comments like these. Glad it’s not just my corner of the world.

Daphne Irvine 1 year ago

How can #16 be so far down the list?!?

Michelle Frittitta Adams 1 year ago

Great stuff! Glad we’ve dodged lice, so far.

Caroline Furman 1 year ago

Love this!

Diane Burke Ptacin 1 year ago

OH LORD THE FORRRRRRRRMS!!!! And the checks!

Lish Dish 1 year ago

Yeah!!! And so another school year begins

Shari Benas 1 year ago

Amen!! I won’t miss ANY of this. I still have one in school but atleast the paperwork has gone from three to one so it’s getting better.

Janette Vincent 1 year ago

Stinky football uniform? Check!! Ugh I have to roll the windows down when I pick my boys up from football practice!

    Debbie 6 months ago

    And his four friends who had no other ride.

Judy Lee Dunn 1 year ago

Sharon, So good to see you over here! Been there with my one and only child. Just thinking how much more tiring it would be to experience it 2,3,4 more times with multiple children. It’s exhausting just reading your list.

I have to say that I had the additional baggage of being a teacher myself so each phone call/parent-teacher conference was ripe with, “Should I even mention this? Will she think I am judging her teaching skills?”

I think #21 was the worst for me. With each play my budding actress tried out for, I would worry, “What will it do to her if she doesn’t get the part?” Anyway, this great list it took me on that trip down memory lane. :)

    Sharon Greenthal 1 year ago

    Thanks Judy! Yes, those auditions were always nail biters, weren’t they.

Sarah Penn-Guertin 1 year ago

Need to update a bit. The DSM-III has been long gone. We’re on DSM-V now. I’ll have to check is Senioristis is in it yet. Lol

    Holly Koslosky Strecker 1 year ago

    Thank you. I was wondering how long ago this was written. And technically it’s DSM 5. :)

    Sarah Penn-Guertin 1 year ago

    Lol. I’m so use to the Roman numerals and haven’t gone out and bought the new one yet (too expensive).

    Holly Koslosky Strecker 1 year ago

    Yeah it is expensive. Nice app for iPhone though w criteria.

Miss Menopause 1 year ago

Loved how spot-on this was! And laughing at the “one-up-you” parents who DO like back to school nights– so true!!

Kristy Engel 1 year ago

#1 and #7! Ugh!

Nicole Van Hoose 1 year ago

How old is this article? The DSM-III hasn’t been used since 1994! Lol
I don’t buy tissues and hand sanitizer either. I asked my kid how many tissues does he use that his teachers ask each student to bring 4 boxes? He said that he had used, maybe, two tissues in the two years that he has been in middle school. So, I stopped buying tissues and told him to use toilet paper if he needs to blow his nose. Why do I need to supply Sneezy with tissues all year? Or give Lazy an excuse to get out of his seat 12 times during class to “blow his nose” because he doesn’t want to pay attention?

    Sharon Greenthal 1 year ago

    Major fail on my part on the DSM. Oops!

Michelle Versteeg 1 year ago

Mine is #24… Man, it’s just. A. Lot.

AJ AndBrian Mangen 1 year ago

nope! #16.

Tonia Silver Lain 1 year ago

Damn….This is just a painful reminder of how much work these kids are going to be! Should have never read this. haha

Emily B. Chapelle 1 year ago

LOL this list makes me want to homeschool.

    Denise L 1 year ago

    OMGee No. Then I’d be stuck with them all day.

Tracy Evans Wilson 1 year ago

#1! Field trips…….the same form, the same info, the same kid, each and every field trip..GAH!

Barbara Mastroddi-Lackey 1 year ago

Never had to deal with carpools (we live right near the school), so that was never an issue. A lot of these are making me LOL, however (especially uneaten lunches, clothes worn once or twice, and the endless rounds of checks to be written for various school/extracurricular things).

Samantha Dyvig-Rothschell 1 year ago

Uh, number 11? People actually feel guilt for not joining those? I figured you were either gung-ho about it all, or didn’t give a flip. I’m the latter. Especially because the first event for the one at my daughter’s school was at Logan’s. I’m allergic to peanuts. No, I’m not joining your group that wants to kill me, and no, I feel no guilt over that.

Rebecca Bartley King 1 year ago

So glad that I’m not the only sad one who drives past the school to make sure that her child is not alone.

Shanna R Stout 1 year ago

I refuse to join the PTA because I have enough “drama” from kids I don’t need it from grown people…

    Michelle Frittitta Adams 1 year ago

    Depends on who’s in charge. Our new PTO board is really nice.

Rochelle Nelson Hernandez 1 year ago

Home work, staying up all night with a sick child. Rushing out the door frazzled dropping kids off at different schools and then getting your self to work on time, teenage yrs hoping and praying they don’t use drugs or drive drunk or get pregnant, waiting up until they get home and worrying if they pass curfew it goes on and on. Looking forward to my Golden years and being a grandma!

Tricia Rathgeber 1 year ago

I HATE our schools PTA, so I’m never guilted about anything involving them. Too much drama and still confused how it’s still the same board/executive members after 5 years, when I KNOW other parents names have been on the ballots, including my husbands…

Christina Ridley Kasprzyk 1 year ago

Oh the paperwork, and that is just for ONE kid! Not only do we have to fill out the same thing year to year, but in any given year, we have to put the same info on multiple forms that go to the same SCHOOL. How does one explain that?!

    Debbie 6 months ago

    And all FIVE children went to the same school since KINDERGARTEN. Why can’t I just fill out one and write ditto on the other four? This is a small rural community. People here know my business before I do. And that includes the school. One year they actually called me to ask if I needed help buying my very spirited middle son a coat. I told them that we had to buy winter coats for the other 4 (one of which is his twin sister) and he lost the lottery pool. I did tell them that if they could send home the 15 or so sweatshirts lurking in his locker with last year’s winter coat, I would see what I could do. I didn’t mention the brand new ski jacket he was carrying around in his CLEAR backpack.

Shanna R Stout 1 year ago

There are a lot of the parents that think their kids are better than everyone else’s. I think it’s funny because I am just over here thinking “I’m just glad a didn’t get a call today”
HOMEWORK should definitely be #1

Monica Augustine 1 year ago

Not just five, but so many others as well!! Cannot wait!!

Julie Hickman-Rincon 1 year ago

Lol, I think homework needs to be moved to No. 1!

rozplus4 1 year ago

wow … that hit the nail on the head! I could not agree with you more … we’re on our last one … grade 11, boy … thank God he’s a step child so I can kind of pawn him off to his father (pfftt, like he’d EVER attend a parent/teacher meeting).


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