When my kids were close to graduating high school I used to go stand in the doorways of their rooms and look inside. Because I was imagining what I would do with the space after they moved out. Does that make me an awful mother? I don't think so. I was their mother then and I still am today. Rather, I like to think that it was my role changing and that I got to enjoy my kids as adults...and have more space for me in the house at the same time.
Rather, I like to think that it was my role changing and that I got to enjoy my kids as adults...and have more space for me in the house at the same time.
I was proud of my kids and the adults they were becoming. But I also felt some twinges. The nest would be empty and they would be gone on their own. In a way, it felt like I was losing a piece of my identity.
When our kids become adults, our parental roles change. Our kids are no longer dependent on us in the same way they used to be when they were kids. We may not hear from them for days or weeks. Or longer. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried from time to time. But I also knew that I had to let them live their lives and allow them to make mistakes and decisions that were appropriate for their level of maturity at the time.
I was also faced with rediscovering myself and my new found free time. Reconnecting with passions I had given up because I simply did not have the time when my kids were younger.
For some, an empty nest can cause a loss of purpose and meaning in life, especially if your entire identity was centered around your role as a parent. When your kids do grow up and leave home, it can create feelings of sadness and abandonment which may lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms like excessive drinking. If this sounds like you or someone you know, please consider professional help. You do not have to live life this way.
It can also be helpful to meet other people who know the feeling—whether it’s a support group or friends going through the same process. There are also groups online to support Empty Nesters. Remember, you've done your job, and now it’s time to enjoy life in new role as a parent to your adult children. And I can assure you, its a great place to be.
Until Next Time,