Do’s and Don’ts for Planning the Perfect Nestermoon

Everyone knows what a honeymoon is, of course. And most people have heard of the babymoon, a getaway for soon-to-be parents, offering that last chance to relax (and have loud sex) for the upcoming 18 years.

Then, after two decades have gone by in a heartbeat, it’s time for the nestermoon, a romantic trip your spouse after dropping off your youngest at college….a diversion designed for when you can still walk and before all your money is gone.

Here are some tips for a stress-free Nestermoon planning process –

– If you’re anywhere near Los Angeles, DO see the play Empty Nesters, with performances through February 17. It portrays the nestermoon from hell…a post-drop-off road trip to the highly metaphorical Grand Canyon Skywalk. There, the talented two-person cast (enhanced by some impressive digital sets) deals with the existential dilemma of who they are without kids, what they will do for the rest of their lives, and whether they should they even stay together. Not the most upbeat subject matter, but the stars inject humor and poignancy into this spot-on glimpse of highly relatable communication struggles. Save 25% on tickets with code SAVE25!

– DON’T plan anything too ambitious. My husband and I did not live by these words and we headed to India after our youngest’s convocation….with carry on only. So, while researching mattress toppers and shower caddies for our minimalist son, we also had to think about vaccines, mileage anytime awards and avoiding monsoons.

– DO plan something active (but DON’T plan a golf vacay unless both of you play). If you’re stuck in a room together, you’ll just dwell on the fact that might not have anything in common anymore.

– DON’T check for texts from your Flown One every five minutes. If you do, you won’t hear a word (which is a good thing, trust me). But don’t turn off your phone altogether. You might be getting a call from jail, as happened to friends hours after checking into the Four Seasons in Chicago for their mini-nestermoon. They had just settled into their Jacuzzi-with-a-view when they had to redirect their energies to finding an Open Container attorney in Gambier, Ohio.

– DO bring along floorplans of your home (as well as the phone number of a contractor and a trauma therapist) in case you get the urge to begin arrangements for Kondo-ing your offsprings’ rooms and building a gym.

– DON’T eat kid food. That means no pizza (unless in Naples).

– DO listen to podcasts, because you might not have much to talk about, but avoid the ones about con artists or early-onset dementia.

– DON’T forget your ukulele, your adult coloring book and your pottery wheel. Now is the ideal time for taking up a meaningful, life-changing hobby…something as challenging textured and all-consuming as raising children. In real life the stars of Empty Nesters are married, so they channeled their nestermoon angst into a productive one-act. And you can too, even if it’s not as formidable as a play. Maybe create a quilt of your child’s old tee shirts together. Or launch a start up related to Empty Nesters’ faves: puppies or retirement dreams. The world is your (empty) oyster…and who says the shell isn’t beautiful without the pearl.

RARE ARCHIVAL POST: A 36 for the Neurotic Parent – Shoutout to Sediment



The Neurotic Parent archivists have uncovered found this post buried in ‘DRAFTS.’ It’s about how a writer/soccer mom who hadn’t taken a science course in almost four decades scored a 36 on the science section of the ACT (Well, it was a practice test, but still a noteworthy accomplishment.) The post was originally written in 2012, when younger son GC (Good Conversationalist) was prepping for the ACT. It was posted briefly at the time but taken down because it seemed to be poor judgment to write about the ACT when GC’s whole future depended upon his score. What if the ACT peeps saw the post and decided to actually include some science on the exam, rather than user-friendly charts?

Here’s the post in its entirety:

How to get a perfect score on the dreaded ACT Science Section…even if you haven’t taken a science course in 38 years – A TRUE STORY

1. Get caught in traffic on the way back from a distant soccer tournament. Spend 3+ hours listening to stressed-out teenagers discuss how they’ve heard the ACT science section is ‘impossible,’ even though they’ve taken AP Physics and Honors Organic Chemistry.

2. Later that night find an online ACT practice test on the ACT site. Skip the very appealing 75-question English section and go straight to Science. Feel relieved when you see a bunch of simple charts, rather than complex questions about quantum theory. Forge ahead answering questions about the chart below, like ‘What is the surface elevation at the site that is closest to Grand Forks?” (I kid you not).

3. Gain confidence as you realize that although you don’t have a clue about what glacial till is, reading charts about it is no biggie. Other charts had to do with sleep deprivation studies – interesting, but no lingering to read because there’s less than a minute to come up with each answer… (And then there was the chart posted above – Hmmm… a rock concert louder than rustling leaves?)

4.Finish the rest of the test. Occasionally, you’ll have to read a whole paragraph that has no visual image. But when that happens, be sure to read the questions first so you can skim the boring stuff for the answer. In fact, skimming is the skill you want to hone for this section – not memorizing the periodic table.

5. When in doubt, guess C…duh.No penalty for incorrect guesses.

6. Score your exam. Stare in disbelief when you see that all 40 questions are correct. Contemplate entering a PhD program at MIT, then decide to instead to become the brand ambassador for the misunderstood ACT Science Section. Call those soccer players and tell them it’s all about the charts and graphs, baby. If you can find your flight on a departure board at LAX, you’re good to go.

Top Ten Idiotic Questions Overheard at Parent Orientation

Here’s an eye-opening report from the field. HYM, one of my online pals, has spent two days smacking her head in disbelief as parents asked the most insane helicopter-ish questions ever at orientation for her son’s university.

Here are some of the queries, transcribed verbatim.

– “What is the curfew?”

– “Who cleans the rooms?”

– “Where do opposite sex overnight guests sleep?”

– “If i want to just show up and spot check my child without warning them can i get to their dorm room?”

– “What do you mean there is an attendance requirement?”

– Is there really an attendance requirement?

– “No but do you reeaaally mean there is an attendance requirement?”

– What is the difference between a Greyhound and a City Bus?

– “But. Are you sure you really mean there is an attendance requirement?”

– My favorite questions from the same parent..who actually asked them multiple times..”Now the meal plan is unlimited meals..what does unlimited meals mean?” “But how much is unlimited?” “How much can they eat on unlimited meal plan?” “How many card swipes on unlimited meal plan?” Poor students answering the questions were very patient in answering the same question, from the same parent, over and over! I know those poor kids wanted to yell “WHAT PART OF UNLIMITED DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?!” One kid finally said “you can swipe it once every hour” just to shut the guy up.

Yes, it’s an epidemic. Parents are so used to controlling in high school, that when it comes to college and dorm life, they can’t let go. Can’t wait for the report from Parents’ Weekend.