Empty Nest Syndrome is the name given to the feeling of sadness that can affect parents when their children have left home. It is certainly natural to feel a bit low when your children first leave home. Often there is a big build up to them leaving with so much to be done. Once they have gone, it can suddenly hit you and the house can feel very empty and quiet. One Mum in her late fifties describes how she felt when her last son left home.
“The thing I found most strange was the tidiness of the house. Nothing moved during the day, and although this was nice it was also quite a lonely feeling. I do remember moving things around just to make the space feel lived in.”
If you are feeling a bit sad when your children have left, it’s really good to talk to other people about how you feel. You will soon come to realise that you are not alone with your feelings and it is reassuring to know that other parents are also feeling a bit miserable and slightly redundant. For women this time can often coincide with the menopause when emotions are already running amok and this combined with other commitments such as work, home and perhaps dealing with elderly parents can leave women feeling very down. It can be a time of conflicting emotions and sometimes a fear that life is never going to be the same.
In this day and age it is easier to keep in touch with children once they have left and phoning, texting and emails can help regular contact which may feel more reassuring. However it is important to allow space between yourself and your child once they have left home, and not be concerned if they don’t reply straight away. Just remember, it’s quite natural to worry about them. You may miss their companionship and being a part of their daily lives but you can allow yourself to feel proud that your children have the confidence to leave home and “are on their way” wherever that may lead to in the future.
When your children have gone it’s important to think positively of this new phase in your life. You can spend more time doing things you enjoy and maybe take up a new interest and catch up with friends who you haven’t seen for a long time. Things won’t be quite the same but just because things are different it doesn’t have to mean not as good. The Mum quoted earlier in this piece says that once she had adjusted to her children no longer being at home she felt differently.
“There are certainly now upsides and we do now enjoy having the house to ourselves but I definitely need to have plans in the diary to see the boys at regular intervals.”
Everyone will be different in how they cope with or react to their “Empty Nest.” You do need to give yourself time to adapt but if you feel overwhelmed by your emotions and you are feeling down and tearful, then it maybe that you do need a little support to guide you through this transitional time. If this is the case then a visit to your GP may help to talk things through and your GP may suggest some counselling.
Many thanks to Louise Convisser, freelance writer, for this article.
If you know anyone who is struggling emotionally with issues such as these or with other difficulties, counselling can provide a confidential space to talk things through. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone Sharon Convisser on 07936 556314 for an appointment or initial discussion.