Empty nest syndrome is a very real condition that we often try to justify by having conversations with ourselves about the ability of our children to cope on their own when in fact we are terrified that our World, which has revolved around our children for so many years, will collapse around us.
The fear is not so much how our children will cope but how we will cope without them. The fear of lonliness is particularly important with so many single parents in the world today and while we have sacrificed so much to ensure that our children get educated, have a balanced upbringing and are ready for the World, we desperately want them to remain after we have prepared them.
Accept that you will feel lonely for a time without your children, they have been in the house every day for 18 years or more. Be proud of your children’s independence, you have done a great job preparing them for responsibility and adulthood. You are likely to feel depressed because your life mission has become a reality and “NOW WHAT”. Psychologists have identified the real reason for those women who struggle with empty nest syndrome as those who have identified themselves as “mothers’ instead of “women who are mothers”. You are a women first and a mother second, you are a woman with your own identity, interests and accomplishments that should be celebrated throughout your life.
Men also suffer with empty nest syndrome but as their lives are generally spent working and providing for their families as the breadwinner, they have another life out there, their work life, colleagues and friends. Men or breadwinners often cope a lot better when their children leave home simply because the pressure associated with educating children is often quite overwhelming and once they are able to settle back and spend a little of their hard earned cash on themselves, the empty nest is often quite enjoyable.
The trick is to never lose your identity, keep your own pursuits and interests. If you stopped doing something you loved because your simply “did not have the time”, take it up again and explore your creativity, do the things you always wanted to do and have an arms length relationship with your children. They will constantly need your guidance and assistance as they progress through life and the reward will be when they come to you to ask for help or advice.
Enjoy your time without children, the World is a wonderful, exciting and interesting place full of new expreiences waiting for you to take advantage of now that you have the time.