Several years ago, my now teenagers went off to sleep-away camp for the first time. On top of learning about getting organized for camp (the fun part), I also had to prepare everyone (OK, me) emotionally for being without my little darlings (the hard part).

My newly minted eight-year-old will be going to sleep-away camp for the first time, for two weeks at the end of August. He will be my sixth child to attend sleep-away camp, and I find the same old worries creeping in. I knew I had to prepare myself for kids going to sleep-away camp. So, I’m reminding myself of three things:

He might evolve

This kid is my picky eater. I’m pretty sure he will starve for the entire two weeks. While one side of me is convinced of this, the other side knows that he might just start eating what everyone else is eating and come home a different kid at the dinner table.

This is not about me

He’s only eight. I’m honestly not ready for him to go. But here’s the thing – many years ago when I told the camp director that I was not ready for my oldest child to go to camp, she looked at me and said, “I’m sorry Julie, this is not about you being ready. This is about your child being ready. Don’t make this about you.” OH SNAP! I got schooled!

Even if I’m not ready, I better fake it ‘til I make it.

The last thing my kid needs is an emotional mother holding on to him for my own crazy mama reasons and preventing him from gaining valuable life experiences. So, I will tell him I’m ready for him to go and that although I’ll miss him, I’ll be just fine. Kids don’t need to be at camp worrying about how their mothers are coping without them!

Sending my last little one to camp is a big step for this mama. This is my baby and I’m feeling it. Hard.

What worries do you have being away from your kids, whether it’s camp or even a sleep-over at Grandmas? Has your child had some nights away from you yet?

Looking for more tips to get your little ones ready for camp? Check out The Camp Hub here.


Julie Cole is a recovered lawyer, mom of six and co-founder of Mabel’s Labels. She has helped her company bring their product to a worldwide market, gain media recognition and win countless awards. Julie is no stranger to the media, having appeared on NBC’s The Today Show, HLN’s Raising America, Breakfast Television, The Marilyn Denis Show, CP24, among many others. As a blogger and writer, her articles have appeared in The Huffington Post, Today’s Parent, The Globe and Mail, Profit Magazine, Working Mother Magazine, Chicken Soup For the Soul - Power Moms and numerous websites. When she’s not juggling her busy family and professional life, Julie is an active volunteer and engaged community leader, who is passionate about women’s issues, mentoring young entrepreneurs, poverty alleviation and social justice.

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