A Positive Solution for Empty Nest Syndrome - Develop Yourself to be Admired

Sally - posted on 08/25/2010 ( 30 moms have responded )

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It's been two days since we took my daughter to San Francisco for college (from Chicago). I can only describe my internal feelings as the lowest of low on that trip. I came home feeling as though I wanted to sleep the rest of my life away because I was so depressed. I searched my soul to determine how to get myself back to normality. I make every effort to be a very positive person. It is quite the challenge.

I've decided the next step is to continue to grow as a person so that my daughter will admire me. After reading so many other "empty-nest" posts, I realize many women (myself included) are easily pulled into a "victimization" mentality as in "nobody loves me." This is a scenario that plays out often throughout our lives. My solution is to rise above it. Be a leader so your children will admire you. This is another lesson that you can teach them. Go to a class, re-invent yourself, volunteer, get a new job and smile each day. When they hear about your accomplishments, they will say "Wow!"

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Sally - posted on 08/30/2010

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That is so true - even if we are able to be near our children - their lives don't include us. That's a harsh reality. I also think it is rather funny that the teenagers provide us with so much emotional abuse and yet we are drawn to them. Do women like being emotionally abused or do we always remember them as little children (something a college student would hate!) My daughter was quite verbally brutal to me the last four months that she was home. She always smiled at her friends but came in the house sullen. That really hurt! And yet, when she left I felt my insides had been ripped out. (How different/similar is this to women in any time of abusive relationship?) I can't wait for the time she may be happy to see me but it seems that may be a little ways off. I guess we have to wait for maturity. It feels like such a loss when the enthusiasm for home wanes.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 07/24/2014

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Personally? No syndrome here. Love that my kids are grown and I have space to do my own thing again!

Paula - posted on 08/22/2011

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I just sent my daughter off to school and though she is close, I feel as a part of my body is missing. Your post reaffirms what I have been saying to myself. Before I sent my child to college I had been walking 5K's for charity and I lost the interest in doing this, but I have to keep this up for myself because this is helpful to so many: 1. me for the exercise 2. the money for registration goes to a good cause 3. I have been increasing my circle of friends who will do this with me.

[deleted account]

Oh absolutely! I should have included that in my list! I'm definitely planning on going back to school & ramping up my career again. I'm very much looking forward to that. I do like staying in my house a lot though -- but, that's just my personality -- I've always been that way, even before having kids! So, I guess for me -- the quiet is a nice thing to think about. Meanwhile...reaching for goals -- & focusing on positives, so important, I agree. It's like a practice, or a meditation...every time the mind goes to the loss or the melancholy -- we can switch it over and think about something that's exciting, something new that we're working on...and in time, I'm trusting that the loss will subside. I just have to remember to keep my fingers from dialing and texting the young autonomous & independant teenager! LOL Thanks for your reply -- so helpful!

Sally - posted on 08/31/2010

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Lisa - I agree with you with every point you made. However, I really think we're going to have to make a bigger push than being happy with our clean house and time with our husband. It's too easy to slip backwards. I know that's true for me. I need to get out of this clean house in order to get away from the loss. I am going to go after a teaching certificate even though I'm sure I'd only want to tutor. Reaching for goals keep the mind busy. I so relate to everything you said!

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Glenda - posted on 07/20/2014

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https://www.eventbrite.com/e/empty-nest-moms-3-keys-thriving-in-the-midst-of-change-tickets-11961789033 you are invited to be heard and supported at a Teleclass I too am an empty next mom. I want to welcome you to the possibility of a wonderful life despite what's going in with your life. It was meant for you to write this. Blessings to you. Click on link for details. All empty nest moms are invited

Lori - posted on 04/23/2012

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True! I created a line of greeting cards specifically to adress their new college "realities". They are funny and have been a big hit. College moms like them because they can stay in touch..remind their kids about things...and share a laugh! If you would like to see how they turned out...I put them on a website! All the best, Lori

http://myseedsoffaith.com/

Deb - posted on 10/04/2011

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How is your empty-nesting going? My youngest left a month ago, and I am very happy she is doing well. I am busy with work, and other social activities, but still feeling lonely. I saw this post and wondered what you have been doing.

Marilynn - posted on 09/12/2010

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If you have music experience you might consider looking at your elementary schools to see if they need a music specialist- perhaps volunteer to do an after school choir program. Being around children and music is good for the soul.

[deleted account]

Absolutely! You are still liberated! :) Plus, all the better -- it was their idea! Is it still okay though, if sometimes it's our idea? Probably okay! :) It's an ebb and flow -- like the ocean, right? Have a wonderful time at lunch with your sons. How wonderful -- I'm so happy for you!

Sally - posted on 08/31/2010

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Uh-oh. Am I still liberated if I've been making lunch plans with my sons for tomorrow - just ate with them last week. This time it was their idea. (Distraction helped with the no call policy for boyfriends too.)

[deleted account]

I don't ever feel depressed when I'm alone -- That's just me though! I think the trick is for each person to find what works for them...people have all kinds of advice and are well intentioned because they love and care about us -- and, I think it's important to listen to inner guidance and do what gives a sense of joy in life. If it's getting out, then that's where to look -- and if not, that's okay too. Maybe a happy balance, whatever works! I love the no call policy for boyfriends! LOL That's so great. Fantastic that you went a whole day w/ no text or phone call! Liberating! xoxo

Sally - posted on 08/31/2010

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Lisa - I enjoy being alone in the house too. I used to say, "I just like to listen to the quiet. However, I've been warned that it can lead to depression and isolation. The kids kept me from that extreme. Now I'm a little scared about going to far with the alone factor. And, I actually went a whole day without making a text or a call. Afterall, it's hard for someone to miss you and reach out when you're in their face all the time. Reminds me of the no call policy for boyfriends when dating.

[deleted account]

I think for me, it is/was definitely that I always remember my "child" as a little child. I felt the coldness and the kind of verbal abusiveness too in his last months at home -- and all my friends (who had been through this phase before) assured me that this was part of separation, etc. and that he would "be back." It's not that I want him back in this argumentative teen phase -- It's that I miss the adorable, loving-his-mom phase! :) Sometimes in the last months, I almost couldn't wait for him to leave because it could actually be very bad -- & yet I know, deep down, he has a heart of gold -- & from time to time, it would show itself with me! Must be mother nature's way of getting us to kick them out of the nest -- 'cause if they were still cute and sweet to us, we'd never be able to let go? Sally, I think you got it right when you wrote about waiting for maturity! I guess patience is the only thing to try and get a hold of! (what a challenge for me! LOL) -- Meanwhile, it is a loss -- no question -- when they no longer have any enthusiasm for home. So....I guess I'm telling myself that with every loss, there will be a gain -- & I'm looking for every evidence of that when I can remember to do this. Here's some for possibilities for me: Quiet and clean house to create a new chapter in? Time with my husband? We can do what we like? (eat what we like? & when we like?) Oh...also, I'm not worrying about him at night -- out -- with my car!! This was always a very big worry to me. Now, he's just got a bike -- no driving. Okay, things are feeling a little better for the moment! I'm sure this will take time though...

Jenny - posted on 08/30/2010

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No doubt I have two sons out of the house and one just recenlty got married after graduating as a Marine it is so hard i still have my ups and downs I miss my babies

Gail - posted on 08/30/2010

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It is interesting to read how everybody goes through a lot of the same emotional steps. I had three girls leave in two years to the other side of the country and I was thrilled when we were posted back east (cdn military) and I could see the girls more often. The problem? They had lives which didn't include me and I had to adapt to that reality. Of course, the youngest, a son, had to move to the far eastern edge of Canada, a two day trip from here. He has been gone for two years and I haven't seen him in 9 months and I still miss having him around the house. Even though all he did was ignore me! lol

It is not easy but there are benefits to the "empty nest". We are more spontaneous in our activities and travel more than we ever did before. Even though I love and miss my children, I don't want to go back in time to their teenage years. I'm waiting for the grandparent stage now! lol

Sally - posted on 08/30/2010

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Thanks Anne for your comment. Do you work? I feel a desperate need to get out of the house. I taught piano lessons from our home for years but I feel disconnected from civilization now. Everyone in our neighborhood has babies or small children and we live in a suburb on the edge of the country.

Anne - posted on 08/30/2010

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Hi Ladies, 4 years ago both of our daughters moved to opposite sides of the country for college. OUr youngest to San Diego CA to go to a small Nazarene University, our oldest to Charlotte NC to attend Johnson and Wales University to become a Chef. Our youngest graduated in May and is staying in CA. Our oldest has been in the Cape Code area. WE live in MI. I can tell you that it is possible to survive the "Empty Nest" Season in your life.

My husband, who is also the girls father, and I are enjoying our lives together. We have enjoyed taking vacations just the two of us and for the first time since we have become parents we did not have any hurt feelings because we did something that the children did not want to do.

You will be surprised how much you will look forward to the first semester break during the Christmas Holiday's. BUT You Will Be JustAS Surprised How Much You Will Like Having Your House BACK TO YOURSELF.

Sally I can relate with your dog comment. WE have a dog and a new cat. The dog is about 9 years old. The cat is about a year and a half. and like having a toddler in the house.

Sally - posted on 08/29/2010

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OK, I admit it. I called my daughter twice this week. It's hard to let a day go by without connecting. Today I simply texted "U OK." The response, "Yep." And thank goodness, my "I love you" was returned. We mothers are such big babies! How did this happen? I went through the same things with my sons and I have to say that things do get easier. I realized that I am experiencing all this with my daughter now yet I am totally confident with my sons being gone! Three years ago I was a neurotic mess when my first son left. So yes, it does get better. I think it's great that your son called you after you called him alot this week. It's such a wonderful stress reliever. Why are we moms so afraid of not being loved anymore? It really is a strange experience. Thank goodness, I know for a fact, that it does get better. (We took our four dogs swimming today - it seemed like such a crazy substitution.)

[deleted account]

Well, all I can say is that I have to admit, I broke down and called my son *a lot* last week -- always feeling on the verge of tears -- and trying not to cry! I think maybe this whole thing is a process and takes time. A friend of mine recommended a book to me called : Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years. I read it over the summer, before I took my son to college -- and it really helped me! My son definitely gets that "cold"/distant, no emotion thing in his voice when I'm the one calling! (understatement! :) My mom :) told me to "let him come to me" -- so I think that's why today's call was more successful! It's great you're getting your substitute teaching certificate! That's so Fantastic! My girlfriend (who had her kids 10 years before me) tells me that by 2nd year of college, they come back around. She's *very* close with her kids again...and has been through the whole gamut of "independance days" with them! :) It's fun and comforting to have found this site. Thanks so much for the response!

Sally - posted on 08/29/2010

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I'm so happy for you! That must provide so much relief. So far, my daughter has not called. (Yes. I broke down and called her this week.) It's really tough with girls. My daughter wants to show how very independent she is by going all the way to San Francisco. When I talked to her she was distant with no emotion in her voice. I am guessing that she is attempting to hide any anxieties. (When she did talk to my husband she mentioned how very expensive things were and how hard her courses are going to be.) It seems she does not want to open up to me at all. All I can do is move forward. I'm getting a substitute teaching certificate. I am hoping to distract myself from worry and the hurt from the "lack of emotion" voice on the phone.

[deleted account]

Thanks Sally! It's very comforting to find this website -- and to know that we're not alone in these feelings. On paper, I know that this is "mother nature" and "time for them to fly," etc. etc. -- but, when "the flying" actually happens: that's another thing altogether, isn't it? My son just called me today from school -- and it totally made my day! :) Now...I really feel energized to look in to applying to school myself...I just have to figure out how to pay for it! :) thanks again for writing!

Sally - posted on 08/29/2010

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Lisa - I understand completely. Sounds like all us moms are in this together. Sally

[deleted account]

I just took my son to college last week. I am remarried and he is my only child. It was very hard for me to say goodbye -- I think I will go back to school and learn new things! xox

Sally - posted on 08/29/2010

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I had to let go of two sons in three years (they're now a junior and senior.) This year I let my daughter go. I wish it got easier. I am going to try to get a teaching certificate in her absence and make new friends.

Tina - posted on 08/28/2010

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I totally agree. we dropped our son off in Little Rock AR (aurora co) and it was very hard to leave him. I've decided to return to school to keep busy. Even my primary doctor asked what the plan was, she felt the same when taking her oldest to school. and wanted to make sure her empty nest parents have an outlet. keep going it's one day at a time. But I do miss my son.

Sally - posted on 08/27/2010

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You're right about that Camille. I just imagined that the admiration would come from watching a mom moving forward.

Susie - posted on 08/27/2010

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Good for you! A positive attitude and cultivating new interests were key for me.

Camille - posted on 08/27/2010

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You MUST do whatever you want for YOU! NOT because someone (including your child) will admire you for it! You are free to do whatever your heart desires. Less cooking, less cleaning = more time for you!

Glenda - posted on 08/26/2010

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I do believe that you need to keep yourself busy with other family members or just new things you have not tryed yet. I agree with keeping yourself motivated and positive. Something that i do have to work at very hard.

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