When my oldest daughter went off to college, I asked my own mother what it was like for her when I left for school. Specifically, I wanted to know what the toughest bumps would be.

My mom didn’t need time to sort through old memories; she replied instantly. She reminded me of my first finals week when I called in a tearful panic, certain that I was going to fail my economics class and flunk out of school. She said it was horrible hearing me so upset when there was nothing she could do. She worried all week and resisted the urge to phone as long as she could. When she finally called, I reportedly answered with a cheerful voice, confident I was making A’s in all my classes and wondering what she was so concerned about.

(Sorry, Mom.)

I resolved to stop the cycle. Here are the directions I e-mailed my daughter when she arrived on on her college campus:

#144: A mother is only as happy as her saddest child. So tell your mom when the crisis is over. Text your mom when the test you told her you were dreading turns out fine. Call her when the boss who was picking on you commends your work.

And when the guy who broke up with you this morning calls to make up tonight, don’t wait until NEXT WEEK to tell your mom the tragedy is over. Leave out the make-up details, but tell your mom you’re happy again.

She worries.

My daughters have done a pretty good job. It may be merely a text, but I usually get follow-up notification when catastrophes have been averted. And, because they know what really makes me happy, I also get a message when their laundry is done.

do your laundry or you'll die alone book photographed on grass background

To start this conversation and others with my daughters, I wrote the little book DO YOUR LAUNDRY OR YOU’LL DIE ALONE. Take a look HERE.

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do your laundry or die alone author becky blades

Becky Blades, Author of Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone, and contributor to Huffington Post, Oprah.com, Scary Mommy, and Grown & Flown.