I recently read a discussion in a facebook thread about how difficult it is coping with the empty nest. I was actually surprised at the depth of loss that some of the women were feeling. Their loss was palpable and I started to doubt my mothering skills as I didn’t feel that loss. Then I reminded myself of the wonderful relationship I have with my children and realised that I didn’t do such a bad job after all.
I must admit although I love my children and would do anything for them, I never felt the wrench of an empty nest. We weren’t your typical family so maybe that has something to do with it. I worked full time and we became a blended family when I remarried. However, I always wanted my children to fly so I couldn’t really cry unfair when they did.
My philosophy has always been that your children will grow and leave you, hopefully as well adjusted and happy people who are individuals and confident in who they are. You have nurtured them and part of that nurturing is letting go and letting them find their way in life.
I find it sad that many women find the empty nest a very difficult time – in fact some I believe actually go through a grieving process. It can certainly be a shock to the system not having them around all the time and you are left with a void which used to be filled with mothering.
You will always be a mother and you will find your children will no doubt still need you from time to time.
Your children are living their lives now – so why not you?
Now is your time!
As a mother we will always be there for our children but we are more than just a mother, partner, daughter or sister. We are individuals with our own needs and dreams.
Of course there will be a period of adjustment – a little like when you first retire from working for many years. However, given time you will adjust and realise that there is a sense of freedom and excitement as you open your mind and heart to opportunities for you.
Coping with the Empty Nest
So you are an empty nester and suddenly you aren’t really sure you like the idea. You may also be trying to cope with physical changes in midlife such as menopause. You may have given so much to your role as a mother that perhaps your relationship with your partner has been on the back burner.
Often I’ve heard of couples who find it difficult to relate to each other later in life because they have put all their energies into the children.
The good news is:
This can be a positive experience if you take a moment to step back and evaluate where you are and what you would like to do.
Here are some ideas which may help you to cope with the Empty Nest
- Realise that the Empty Nest Syndrome is very real for some women
- Remember your children have not gone forever and recognise they are now adults
- Make a regular time to catch up with your children but don’t make it feel like an obligation
- Start to explore what you want from life – start that hobby you always wanted to or travel and explore the world.
- Chat to others in the same situation
- Learn to put yourself first – not easy after years of putting others before our own needs.
If you really do feel overwhelmed of depressed take the step to discuss your thoughts and feelings with a professional.