Empty Nesters - What Does "Mom" Mean Now That They've Grown

As your child grows up and finally says goodbye, it can be hard to accept this new reality. But now that they've grown, your relationship will now have a different dynamic as you cope with your empty nest syndrome.

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Image Source: Shutterstock, Christin Lola

After spending years of blood, tears and sweat preparing your children to face the world, waving goodbye as they set off to become independent adults can bring about a lot of mixed emotions. You're happy to see them succeed, to know that you have successfully completed your roles as nurturers and guides. But as their footsteps fade in the distance, a gust of cold wind fills your empty home and you're left wondering - what is going to fill that void they left behind?

The peace you were once wishing for is now filled with the grief and loneliness that’s associated with becoming an “empty nester” (a parent whose children have moved out). Who would have thought that you’d miss all the hustle and bustle of parenting that you once complained endlessly about?

 

Empty nest syndrome

Empty nest syndrome isn’t a medical condition but it’s what many parents go through after the departure of their grown-up children. It’s a transition that shows that your children occupied a huge portion of your life. From kids running around the house, to all the banter and arguments you had with your children. It can be hard to appreciate all the noise and precious moments they made in the midst of all the busy schedules and parenting stress. Missing a household that was once full of life can cause empty nesters to experience depression, grief and even feeling a loss of purpose. 

Empty nesters can also spend hours overthinking and living in fear that something may happen to their child or that they may not be able to handle living alone. It may take some time before you're done with this transitional phase. But finding something to fill that emptiness can make things a lot easier.

 

A lost sense of purpose

Whether you like it or not, your life may have revolved around your children just like countless other mothers. Whether you’re a full-time mother or not, it’s only natural for a mother to have her kids on her mind. In efforts of raising your children to the best of their abilities, it is normal for mothers to leave their past life and passions behind, spending their parenting years focused solely on providing the best care for their children. 

Inadvertently, mothers slowly start living vicariously through their children. Their successes and accolades become your greatest joys, and their faults and downfalls your deepest shame. But when your whole sense of purpose is taken from you as your children grow out of needing you, coping with all this emptiness can be difficult. 

You suddenly get an urge to scramble and discover yourself but you might find literally no hobbies or interests since you never had the time to think about such things. But there's just so many things you can do that you're bound to find something to fill your time with!

 

Your new role as a parent

Rediscovering your role as a parent is a crucial part of this transitional phase. Your role won't be the same so avoid things like checking in too much and worrying excessively about your son or daughter so make sure you give them some space. However, you should definitely connect regularly. No matter how much they grow, they'll still need you as a mother! They'll still look to you for advice or even emotional support. You'll still be their safe haven whenever life hits them hard!

Connect regularly using video calls, regular calls or social media and maintain a close but not too intrusive relationship. If possible, you can even invite them for dinner every once in a while. A visit can really brighten up your day!

You'll still hold your "parent" title but it's important to realize that you're now dealing with an adult. However, this shouldn't stop you from showering your son or daughter with love and telling them about how much you miss them! 

Make sure you talk to a mental health professional if you feel like your empty nest syndrome is getting out of hand.

 

References:

https://www.readbrightly.com/mom-mean-now-theyre-grown/

https://grownandflown.com/children-grown-what-is-my-purpose/

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