It’s ironic how we teach our children to be independent and actively encourage them to follow their dreams that when the time finally comes for them to leave the nest, we are greeted with mixed reactions and experience a profound sense of loss.
But these emotions and sentiments are normal; after all, as parents, we have always been there – we are always with them – from the moment they first opened their eyes, first step, first day at school, first heartbreak. And even as they go through the difficult stage of puberty and teens, we are always there for them. And that is why the moment we realize that we may not often physically see and hear this person with whom we interact, help, and take care of every day for the last 18 or so years is quite strange and terrifying.
If you are experiencing this right now, know that you are not alone, and there are ways to cope with the empty nest syndrome.
LET YOURSELF CRY AND FEEL IT
Some parents feel that it is inappropriate to show their emotions to their children as it may somehow affect them, and they fear criticism from others, but there is nothing wrong with shedding tears and being emotional. That just shows how big our love is towards our children, and it is not something to be embarrassed about. Allowing ourselves to feel all these emotions also makes us realize the root cause, whether it is the emptiness, fear, or worry, and helps us address what we need to do.
YOU ARE STILL NEEDED
No matter how young or old your children are, they will still need you. Just like how you still rely on your parents. It may not be how it used to be, but they will still go to you when they need assistance, guidance, and support. Think about it; when you are in a tight spot, you still often think of your parents and ask for wisdom, right?
We cannot emphasize this enough; there will be times that it will be too much for you to handle – separation anxiety, too much grief, constant worrying – and it’s alright to ask for professional help or simply talk to someone. Expose your feelings and let people help you deal with the new stage of your life healthier and positively.
FIND NEW ACTIVITY
What comes after the kids leave? This is one of the questions parents are having a hard time answering. Instead of thinking that you just lost your title and role as a mother (which you don’t), treat this chapter as redefining who you are and reigniting the passion phase of your life. Because unlike before, now you have all the time to focus on yourself, try new things, and explore. So, create new goals and do something fun.
DON’T FORGET YOUR PARTNER
Empty nest syndrome though more common in women is experienced by your husbands too! Trust us when we say they feel sadness, pain, confusion, and all, the same as you. Connect with them and find solace and strength in each other and get through this season together.
Hear more stories of women who’ve embraced change after 40 and more when you subscribe to the Gurl U R Not Alone podcast!