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It’s been a few months since my oldest child left for college. I won’t lie . . . it’s been a tough adjustment (for me, not her). Lately I’ve been reading a lot of articles about children leaving the nest and to be honest, the general tone seems to be quite serious and somewhat depressing–including my own writing. Come to think of it, the most popular piece I’ve ever written in my life was a tearjerker about the day my daughter left for school.

But now that the tears have finally stopped (again, mine, not hers), I thought it would be helpful to focus on the positive aspects of my daughter leaving. I mean, every cloud has a silver lining, right? So here you are, sad mamas, I give you some areas of life in which you are better off with one less bird in the nest.

Who doesn’t want less laundry?? I mean, laundry is the worst. Imagine how much extra time I’ll have with 20 percent less clothing in the house! But wait. I almost forgot that my oldest was the only one in the house that faithfully did her own laundry every week. In fact, many times she’d take my loads out of the dryer and fold them for me. Which means I am actually worse off laundry-wise. Honestly, the biggest impact on my time would be if my husband and his large clothing went off to college. But what are the odds of that happening? Darn.

Spending more time with your kids is always a positive thing, right? I have three children and so most of their lives they had, at best, 33 percent of my time. Now, the two kids still at home can each have 50 percent of my time. Well, perhaps that’s not exactly true. I kind of just realized that much of the time I spent with my oldest is now spent writing about her. In fact, I just now shooed away the other two from my computer so that I could write this. So perhaps it’s a wash . . . oh, well.

One less person to grocery shop and cook for! No more making multiple meals trying to please everyone. Shoot. I just remembered that my youngest is my pickiest eater. My oldest adopted a pretty strict healthy vegetarian diet a few years back and actually did most of her own cooking in the months leading up to her departure. In fact, she’d often make me delicious egg white omelettes in the morning. I really miss those.

I know, I know . . . so far this list isn’t going so well. But there has to be some upside to a child leaving, doesn’t there? I know . . . money!

Fewer people asking me for money to go to the movies, or out with friends, etc. Less gas being used in the car . . . gas can get expensive, right? Wait. My oldest worked two jobs her senior year in high school so she really never asked me for much. And she got our family a discount at the diner where she worked when we wanted to go out to eat.

She also drove her brother and sister around on a near-daily basis, saving me tons of time. She’d pick up milk at the store and drop packages off at the post office. She was my built-in, free, babysitter for years. My Trader Joe’s shopping buddy. My only partner in watching rom-coms.

This is not good. There appears to be ZERO upside to her being away. I found the cloud with no silver lining! Come back, my sweet girl, come back!

I’m sorry, fellow mamas, I really wasn’t trying to write yet another sappy, sentimental piece about a kid going off to college. But this clearly took a turn somewhere along the line and it ended up quite different than how it started.

Sounds a little bit like life with kids, don’t you think?

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Janene Dutt

Janene Dutt is the creator of I Might Be Funny. Her kids once asked her 159 questions in six hours and she nearly lost her mind. She suffers from Pediculophobia, the fear of lice. When she’s not writing, you can find her combing through her family’s hair. Check out her adventures at https://www.facebook.com/imightbefunny/.

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