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Meaningful Mondays: Don’t grieve the empty nest

August 28, 2017

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.

Coping with the empty nest

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

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

  1.  Realise that the Empty Nest Syndrome is very real for some women
  2.  Remember your children have not gone forever and recognise they are now adults
  3.  Make a regular time to catch up with your children but don’t make it feel like an obligation
  4.  Start to explore what you want from life – start that hobby you always wanted to or travel and explore the world.
  5.  Chat to others in the same situation
  6.  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.

Are you an empty nester?  How did you cope when your children learned to fly?

Coping with the empty nest

Women Living Well After 50

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  • Reply Donna August 28, 2017 at 04:33

    Before our youngest son left home for University (several countries away), I feared the day he was set to leave…and the time that was to follow. But you are right, Sue. When you have a strong, positive relationship with your child/children, that relationship continues. I quickly discovered no greater joy than watching my children flourish as young adults!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 29, 2017 at 14:45

      That is it Donna! They will make mistakes like we did but they will also flourish in their own right.

  • Reply Toni Pike August 28, 2017 at 07:37

    A fantastic article, Sue – excellent advice for coping with that time of life.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 29, 2017 at 14:44

      Thank you Toni it can be such an exciting time and we just have to let the children go even though sometimes that is not easy. Have a lovely day and thanks for stopping by xx

  • Reply Leanne | crestingthehill August 28, 2017 at 22:40

    I find it strange when mothers are so distraught when their children leave to go to tertiary education or to work. Surely there should have been some expectation that this would happen, and if you know it’s coming, then you need to have a plan and be prepared. We knew our kids would leave to go to uni, I’d hoped to maintain more of a connection than we have, but I also have to appreciate that they are living and thriving and busy – exactly what we want for them – now we are just a small part of their world, and it’s up to us to fill our own lives with new and interesting things – not sit around mourning their loss.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 29, 2017 at 14:50

      I know Leanne I just can’t understand it really. I mean we grew up and left home so why not the next generation. It is now our time to live and enjoy what we want to do without any restrictions. Have a great week!

  • Reply athelenerose August 29, 2017 at 13:40

    Your article is great. I am with you, I was excited for our children (we have a blended 4 ) to become adults, go out into the world and build families of their own. This is what we prepared them for. My husband and I have made a new connection. We hike together and have date night on Sunday. Time for ourselves. Actually, we’ve always done this. We took the kids on vacations, but we also vacationed without them over the years, making time to keep our relationship healthy. I think this helped with the transition. We are not two strangers looking across the room at each other wondering what we are gonna do now

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 29, 2017 at 14:39

      Keeping your relationship with your partner healthy is so important isn’t it? You were so wise to spend time away from the children to nurture your own relationship. I think it is exciting seeing what our children can achieve in their own lives. I’m sure we didn’t want to be held back. Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely week.

  • Reply Debbie Harris August 30, 2017 at 12:48

    I love this post Sue and agree with you. I am glad my children are happy doing what they’re doing and although they have left home doesn’t mean they’ve left me!! Well written and very relevant.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 31, 2017 at 13:57

      I just think it is sad that some women put everything into being a mother and forget that they actually were young adults once wanting to create a life of their own. I’m very proud of my children and what they have achieved 🙂

  • Reply Melody Smith August 31, 2017 at 21:38

    Our mantra as parents has always been, “Our job as parents is to make ourselves unnecessary.” We rejoice every day that they are all happy, productive members of society. We’re thrilled when they come for visits, but equally as happy when it’s just the two of us. As my friends become empty nesters, they always ask how I did it (as if there’s some great secret to being happy after the children leave home.) Some are single parents and think I handle it better because I’m happily married. I try to explain it’s nice having such a loving partner, but what really made the difference for me was knowing who I was and what I wanted for myself. If we get that figured out, we realize our lives still matter and there are lots of reasons to rejoice in this season of life!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric September 1, 2017 at 09:25

      What a fabulous attitude you have Melody and I totally agree. Our lives do still matter even if we have a family, we need to remember we are still individuals with our own needs. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and have a lovely weekend xx

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