The empty nest Syndrom?

User - posted on 01/25/2009 ( 12 moms have responded )

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I have one child. She will be leaving soon for a college that is 11 hours away. She will be living in a dorm and will not be back for 2 years except Holidays. How do I stay excited for her when my heart is breaking because she is leaving? What if she does not return but starts a life in another state? How do I begin this new page in my life when she has been my life?

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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

Penny - posted on 01/26/2009

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Have an adventure !  Start something new. 



That way when you guys get together you will be excited to see each other and both have lots to share. 



If you hold on tight you may shackle her with guilt or fear.  Help her enjoy this part of her life.

Teresa - posted on 01/26/2009

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its really hard to let go but you know in your heart you have to let her go and make her own mistakes and learn from them you will always be her mum and im sure she will turn to you if she needs help

Rachel - posted on 01/26/2009

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To keep you smiling......
Just think this is her first step to being an adult, maybe babies of her own, just think of the fun you can have as a granny.

Audrey - posted on 01/26/2009

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Sweetheart, my heart goes out to you.  You are in pain and trying not to let it show so as not to spoil your daughter's experience.  That shows how much you love her.  But you've also depended on her.  I know because I brought two sons up alone and when they both left very early (15 and 17) I was at a loss.  Nature is cruel isn't it?  It presents you with this demanding little individual that requires you to focus your life entirely around it for many years, then suddenly that individual leaves you with barely a glance behind! 



No, its not as bad as this, but nearly!  Nature requires a lot of us but fortunately also gives us the versatility to adapt to just about any situation, usually quicker than we thought. 



When I say you've depended on her I mean that it happens automatically.  You shut down a lot of your own life and self in order to be available to the needs of your children, therefore your only life is the one that is lived either through them (their social life, their friends, their interests, their needs ...) or around them, to fit in with their schedule.  You are also given messages by your children about what they expect of you and what they would prefer you not to do.  I remember being told: "My friends are coming round soon so don't sing will you?  And don't do that funny laugh, and don't dance around the kitchen ...!!)  You turn into a Mum  but you are much more than that - this is what you are about to discover.



When my last child left home I remember thinking, "What do people do to enjoy themselves?"



One of the first things I found myself doing was a university qualification in counselling.  It was brilliant!  Like being back at school, so many new people young and old, new experiences and viewpoints.  This was something I had always wanted to do but it wouldn't have brought in enough money to support us all so it had been left on the back-burner. 



I am disabled so I can't work full-time but I began doing a couple of shifts a week in a charity shop - again, brilliant!  A wonderful cross-section of colleagues to befriend and hilarious laughter over silly things (with no censoring!), trips out together and parties.  I now have the best social life I've ever had!  Be prepared to re-invent yourself!



Keeping contact with older children?  Mmm, I've found this a difficult one; but I had boys, maybe girls are different?  My friend had boys too and she said to me, "You never quite know how to pitch it do you?  Sometimes when I ring he wants to talk and talk and sometimes he just grunts and can't wait to get me off the phone."  I concur.  Tell you what though, they always ring when there's something wrong!  And it feels great to be gallantly coming to the rescue!  Ha, you need me after all! 



IM is best.  For them it doesn't feel like such a commitment or tie, for you its nice and immediate.  We don't really need to hear reams and reams, we just need to know they're okay and happy, don't we?  I found myself being so careful not to meddle in their lives that one day my youngest son asked me, "How come you never ask me about my love-life?  You can, you know, Mum!"  That's the trouble, you never know when you're getting it right; but let's fact it, isn't that the definition of motherhood?



I also understand your fears about her never coming back.  In a way, she never will - not in the roles you have both known.  But don't fret because boy, do you have a lot to look forward to!  I envy you that you have a girl.  Cos one day she is going to come home with a lovely young man and you are going to help her plan a wedding, and one day she is going to come round and announce some GOOD NEWS!  If you thought motherhood was wonderful, you haven't lived till you've experienced being a grandma!  Its absolutely fantastic!  And your daughter will bond with you in a whole new way once she is expecting a baby because she will really need your support and advice and as time goes on she will be on the phone every five minutes saying, "Mum, what did you do when I had colic, kept getting out of bed, refused to eat ...? Do you think these spots are measles? Should I ...?



No, your life is not over - it is only just beginning darling!  It is just a different life and it will take some getting used to but remember nature abhors a vacuum - it will soon fill up.  And when it does, please remember not to feel guilty won't you? 



For instance, you may come to a stage where your daughter may try to relate to you in the old way as the old person and realise you are not that person any more.  Part of her will feel relieved and as if she is let off the hook for making you happy, part of her will feel glad for you and proud of you and as if she doesn't have to worry about you any more (because she does).  Part of her may also feel resentful that she can't push your buttons in the same old way!  But she will come to love and appreciate this new person so much and your relationship will turn into one of friends and confidantes, becoming richer as time goes by.



You may have a grieving period and I think this is normal; don't be hard on yourself - nature is asking a lot of you remember?  Just know that it has a beginning and an end and that soon you will see the sunshine again and you will be excited to wake up each morning and think, "What shall I do today!" 



Try not to project too far into the future because anything could happen.  My footloose and fancy-free boy is a solid family man and my sensitive, dependant boy now has a one-way ticket  to Australia, alone!  Thank God for webcams!  I am going through much the same thing as you - what if he never comes back?  Will he be all right?  We wouldn't be normal if we didn't feel pain and anxiety would we?  But instead, lets be proud that we raised such secure and independent children and that, through all our hard work and self-sacrifice, we have given them the tools and skills they need to cope in that uncertain world out there.



Be at peace and know that all you feel is taken away will be repaid to you countless times and in many wonderful ways!  Also know you are not alone in this, the supreme act of love - to let go - and on behalf of all the mothers of the world, I salute you for you are graduating! xx

Audrey - posted on 01/26/2009

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Sweetheart, my heart goes out to you.  You are in pain and trying not to let it show so as not to spoil your daughter's experience.  That shows how much you love her.  But you've also depended on her.  I know because I brought two sons up alone and when they both left very early (15 and 17) I was at a loss.  Nature is cruel isn't it?  It presents you with this demanding little individual that requires you to focus your life entirely around it for many years, then suddenly that individual leaves you with barely a glance behind! 



No, its not as bad as this, but nearly!  Nature requires a lot of us but fortunately also gives us the versatility to adapt to just about any situation, usually quicker than we thought. 



When I say you've depended on her I mean that it happens automatically.  You shut down a lot of your own life and self in order to be available to the needs of your children, therefore your only life is the one that is lived either through them (their social life, their friends, their interests, their needs ...) or around them, to fit in with their schedule.  You are also given messages by your children about what they expect of you and what they would prefer you not to do.  I remember being told: "My friends are coming round soon so don't sing will you?  And don't do that funny laugh, and don't dance around the kitchen ...!!)  You turn into a Mum  but you are much more than that - this is what you are about to discover.



When my last child left home I remember thinking, "What do people do to enjoy themselves?"



One of the first things I found myself doing was a university qualification in counselling.  It was brilliant!  Like being back at school, so many new people young and old, new experiences and viewpoints.  This was something I had always wanted to do but it wouldn't have brought in enough money to support us all so it had been left on the back-burner. 



I am disabled so I can't work full-time but I began doing a couple of shifts a week in a charity shop - again, brilliant!  A wonderful cross-section of colleagues to befriend and hilarious laughter over silly things (with no censoring!), trips out together and parties.  I now have the best social life I've ever had!  Be prepared to re-invent yourself!



Keeping contact with older children?  Mmm, I've found this a difficult one; but I had boys, maybe girls are different?  My friend had boys too and she said to me, "You never quite know how to pitch it do you?  Sometimes when I ring he wants to talk and talk and sometimes he just grunts and can't wait to get me off the phone."  I concur.  Tell you what though, they always ring when there's something wrong!  And it feels great to be gallantly coming to the rescue!  Ha, you need me after all! 



IM is best.  For them it doesn't feel like such a commitment or tie, for you its nice and immediate.  We don't really need to hear reams and reams, we just need to know they're okay and happy, don't we?  I found myself being so careful not to meddle in their lives that one day my youngest son asked me, "How come you never ask me about my love-life?  You can, you know, Mum!"  That's the trouble, you never know when you're getting it right; but let's fact it, isn't that the definition of motherhood?



I also understand your fears about her never coming back.  In a way, she never will - not in the roles you have both known.  But don't fret because boy, do you have a lot to look forward to!  I envy you that you have a girl.  Cos one day she is going to come home with a lovely young man and you are going to help her plan a wedding, and one day she is going to come round and announce some GOOD NEWS!  If you thought motherhood was wonderful, you haven't lived till you've experienced being a grandma!  Its absolutely fantastic!  And your daughter will bond with you in a whole new way once she is expecting a baby because she will really need your support and advice and as time goes on she will be on the phone every five minutes saying, "Mum, what did you do when I had colic, kept getting out of bed, refused to eat ...? Do you think these spots are measles? Should I ...?



No, your life is not over - it is only just beginning darling!  It is just a different life and it will take some getting used to but remember nature abhors a vacuum - it will soon fill up.  And when it does, please remember not to feel guilty won't you? 



For instance, you may come to a stage where your daughter may try to relate to you in the old way as the old person and realise you are not that person any more.  Part of her will feel relieved and as if she is let off the hook for making you happy, part of her will feel glad for you and proud of you and as if she doesn't have to worry about you any more (because she does).  Part of her may also feel resentful that she can't push your buttons in the same old way!  But she will come to love and appreciate this new person so much and your relationship will turn into one of friends and confidantes, becoming richer as time goes by.



You may have a grieving period and I think this is normal; don't be hard on yourself - nature is asking a lot of you remember?  Just know that it has a beginning and an end and that soon you will see the sunshine again and you will be excited to wake up each morning and think, "What shall I do today!" 



Try not to project too far into the future because anything could happen.  My footloose and fancy-free boy is a solid family man and my sensitive, dependant boy now has a one-way ticket  to Australia, alone!  Thank God for webcams!  I am going through much the same thing as you - what if he never comes back?  Will he be all right?  We wouldn't be normal if we didn't feel pain and anxiety would we?  But instead, lets be proud that we raised such secure and independent children and that, through all our hard work and self-sacrifice, we have given them the tools and skills they need to cope in that uncertain world out there.



Be at peace and know that all you feel is taken away will be repaid to you countless times and in many wonderful ways!  Also know you are not alone in this, the supreme act of love - to let go - and on behalf of all the mothers of the world, I salute you for you are graduating! xx

Karla - posted on 01/26/2009

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My youngest left for college this past fall, she is only 3 hours away and does come home about once a month, it was really hard at first and still is but better My husband and I are enjoying the time together we both work and we work together, be excited that she is finding her way in life, you raised her and she won't forget it. We have free Mobile to Mobile and talk often.

Dot - posted on 01/25/2009

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I have three children and when my oldest, and only daughter, left for college I did miss her a lot, but I had her teach me to do the IM thing before she left and that way we could have short little conversations (usually in the later evening worked well) but she didn't feel like I was bugging her. Now with my second child in college I continue to remind myself that just because he doesn't call me, doesn't mean he forgot us. IM has worked great with him because he is not usually big on conversation, anyway. I have been finding new interests and activities for myself. I find that I have a confidence and freedom now that I never had when I was younger. This means that I can now work a couple days a week at something I enjoy (I was/am a firm believer in the stay-at-home mom thing) and I am finding new hobbies and interests. I have recently been working my way into some community theater things and doing more volunteering at my church. Big Brothers/Sisters and other organizations would be another good way to find someone else who could benefit from your parenting experience. There are ever so many places that would love to have you. Just because you are not near by, doesn't mean that your daughter stops needing you. Be there for those times, but remember that she has to find her wings. When you do have conversations by phone (I would leave the calling up to her), keep them upbeat and ask her lots of questions in an I'm curious, but I know that you are a young woman and I respect that. Your relationship will change...... but change can be good as it will inevitably evolve into something beautiful if you allow her this freedom. Mostly, just go "find" a life of your own so that you will remain interesting to her, too.

Janette - posted on 01/25/2009

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The only thing I can say is- Be happy for her!  You did a wonderful job, and now you can sit back and see just what a wonderful little lady you raised:)   Be happy for the fact that she not only graduated from high school but she is going to college:) There are many children who do not take that path, nor have a mother who would support that path.....Be proud Momma:)
And stay strong.

Janette - posted on 01/25/2009

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The only thing I can say is- Be happy for her!  You did a wonderful job, and now you can sit back and see just what a wonderful little lady you raised:)   Be happy for the fact that she not only graduated from high school but she is going to college:) There are many children who do not take that path, nor have a mother who would support that path.....Be proud Momma:)
And stay strong.

[deleted account]

Your child was never meant to be your life forever. She was given to you a for time to teach and to help her grow. If you have done a good job, ( and I suspect you have) she will never truly leave you. She will call, and come home for unexpected visits. And in a few years she will thank you for everything you have done for her. ( If has already thanked you, she will thank you again) In the meantime, relax and enjoy a job well done. Try out some new hobbies or renew some old ones. Hang out with your friends. Write( or email or post to her facebook/myspace) to her often and let her know how you are doing, (If you write she will write back.) Keep your calls to a minimum like once a week ( or a day if she wants) And as far as going never returning goes..... worry about that if ever becomes a real possibility. I like to imagine that we are only give a certain amount of time to worry and we shouldn't waste it. I hope this helps.

Becky - posted on 01/25/2009

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If you find a good answer, please post. My sons are in 7th and 9th grade and I'm not looking forward to being an empty nester at all!

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