Calling All College Moms

When they placed that tiny boy in my arms on the day he was born, I knew my world was changing. One thing loomed ahead of me like a carrot ever dangling — 18 years. I had 18 years to be his mom and teach him all the things and give him all that he needed for life.

That is how I viewed it. The beginning was his birth, and the ending was his departure for college. Had I actually analyzed this buried sense of a clock ticking, I would have realized the nonsense and talked myself off the ledge. But it was more of a quiet urgency in my subconscious, sparking deep feelings of melancholy during his senior year.

I wrestled with the angst of pride and wonder all mixed up with grief, the power of which went unrecognized. It was a terrible burden to carry, and so I shoved it down. I kept telling myself things were as they should be. This was the very thing we had worked toward all these years — launching this boy from the nest.

While I was completely unsure of how to do that, I was confident I needed a plan of action for myself, something tangible and intentional to gain a foothold in this new season of being a college mom.

That is where the idea of box club was born. I knew I wasn’t the only mom trying to make sense of mothering a college kid. Years ago, I hosted a monthly craft club with a neighbor for the women in our area. They would show up for “art and soul,” where we had the supplies and instructions to complete a craft project that we took turns selecting after scouring the Internet. This was pre-Pinterest days. We were ahead of our time. This gathering was a huge success — until it wasn’t. Realizing it had run its course, we put it to rest.

But I’d come to miss it. I’ve found we moms aren’t very good at giving ourselves time off, even for good behavior. Our days are filled with repetitious and mundane tasks, and we seem to need a purposeful or productive reason to slip away and gather together. Where complete sentences can be uttered and not one time are we called to the bathroom to clean the backside of our offspring.

Box club was my idea to reboot that long-ago monthly gathering. Except now, these fellow moms and I were preparing for tearful goodbyes at college instead of kindergarten.

Box club is a monthly gathering of college moms here in northeast Tarrant County, posted through a private Facebook group. I select a theme for the month’s care package and do all the sourcing and purchasing to fill the large flat rate United States Postal Service boxes. The boxes cost $20 for all supplies, and moms can PayPal me to reserve their supply packs.

I’m finding that box club is far more than a social gathering to me. It’s a tangible way to mother in this new season. It’s building community with other moms and showing love to our college kids who are scattered all across the country. It’s the perfect combination of my love of event planning, bargain shopping, and creativity.

As we fill our boxes every month with snacks and useful dorm products and school supplies, I find that it fills my soul. It’s a way to mark a joyful truth in mothering a college kid.

This is no ending at all. It’s just the beginning of a whole new world of possibilities and purpose.

To learn more about existing box clubs, or for resources on starting your own, please check out the “For College Moms” tab of my blog. 

Heather has called the Fort Worth area home since 1995, after growing up as an Army brat and preacher's kid. She's married to her college sweetheart, Chris (Sic' Em Bears!). Their kids include Collin (1999) and his wife Elizabeth (1999), Cooper (2001), and Caris (2004). Heather is the co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit organization, The Adoptee Collective, which offers lifetime adoptee support and post adoption resources, as well as pre-adoption education. Heather is also a TBRI® Practitioner. Heather has authored and published multiple books and she finds joy in using her gifts, time, and energy toward her life goal to finish empty.


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