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To feel so, so sad to have a nearly empty nest

(55 Posts)
nortonhouse Fri 06-Nov-15 17:27:49

My son went off to uni at the start of last year, and I still haven't gotten over it. I cry (but hide it!) when he comes home and then again every time he leaves. Our daughter will likewise leave for uni year after next. I am dreading it. My husband and I have a solid (30+ year) marriage, I am involved in plenty of activities and charities (although not currently working for pay), I have loads of friends and plenty to keep me busy. Yet I can't get over this sadness and the feeling that our time with the children at home flies by far too quickly. Any advice from those of you who have gone through this or who are in the same place?

MildVirago Fri 06-Nov-15 17:37:34

No advice on the situation, but I can go on in detail about how gruesome many elements of having a three year old are, if you'd find it cheering? grin

I'd understand if your son had just left last month, but a year and a bit seems quite a long time to still be so very grief-stricken by him going to university - is there anything else amiss?

Whathaveilost Fri 06-Nov-15 17:39:45

My 19 year old is stopping more and more at his girlfriend's house. She is a great lass and I love her to bits but I miss him being around as much.

I'll feel sad when mine eventuall go but know it's all part of the process!

Kangenchunga Fri 06-Nov-15 17:40:39

I can totally imagine feeling the same norton when my time comes, I have young teenagers at the moment but the time does go by soooo quickly.

I think when you only have a 3 year old to contend with you cannot imagine how it would feel.

I'm sure there is a special topic devoted to this subject on here somewhere but not sure what it is called - I'm sure that someone will come along and point you in the right direction soon smile.

JeanSeberg Fri 06-Nov-15 17:41:38

I've got 2 at uni but they're still at home more than they're away, say 30 weeks absolute max term time.

I'm assuming you're in another country as you say he went at the start of the year?

I was a bit ahead of your position this year - ds1 graduated and got a job hundreds of miles from where we live, ds2 is half way through his degree (we are in Scotland - degrees are 4 years), and ds3 (my precious last-born) left school and went off to university.

I will be honest - I was dreading it - dh works away a lot (his job changed and he moved to a different arm of his company, and instead of having an office half an hour from us, in Glasgow, his office is now on the Edgeware Road in London), and I didn't think I would cope with being alone.

But I was wrong. Yes, I was upset when ds1 left home - it was a wrench knowing that he really doesn't live here any more - but that is outweighed by the pride in knowing he is doing well in his job, and is really enjoying it. And whilst the house is very quiet, with no teenage boys in it, that is actually quite nice - the bathroom stays clean, the fridge isn't getting raided several times daily, we are only running the washing machine once or twice a week, and the ironing pile is almost non-existent, compared to the Everest that used to build up each week!

And they do come home - to raid the fridge, do their laundry, and see their friends. Ds3 has just texted me to say he is on the train home - less than 10 minutes before his train departed - there's nothing like giving your mum a bit of notice, is there??!

Luckily I have made casserole and mash for tea, and there will be enough for three, but we have been decorating the spare room and all the stuff from there has been dumped in his room because it's the nearest - he will have to sleep in his brother's room.

You will cope - it is a new phase of life - I know that, four years from now, ds3 will graduate and leave home, and then all three will be visiting U.S., not coming 'home' - but I am trying to look forward to it as an opportunity to do something new - new hobbies, more of my existing ones, maybe an OU degree, and spending more time with dh, who will be retiring about then.

I know how you feel, though - hugs!

Lostcat2 Fri 06-Nov-15 17:47:01

Oh op don't worry.

The buggers come back after uni as the nest is too nice. grin

Seriously absolutely understand how you feel and I think it's perfectly normal. It's the end of an era.

However take heart. I felt just like you and now we are having our first grandchild soon. So it's all go again second generation.

We are ready!

SilverOldie2 Fri 06-Nov-15 17:48:53

May I comment from another perspective? You have been very fortunate to have children and have had years of wonderful memories with your children stored up which will never diminish and will continue to be added to when they have children of their own, so the memories will grow. flowers

Lostcat2 Fri 06-Nov-15 17:49:05

The hardest thing is to realise you need less food. Still buying for 6 of us when there's now just 3. grin

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Fri 06-Nov-15 17:52:07

My eldest is part way through buying her first house with her boyfriend. DS won't be far behind in leaving as he is looking for a house share with friends closer to work. I have been looking forward to this moment yet dreading it in equal measure.

I know how you feel.

nortonhouse Fri 06-Nov-15 17:57:52

You are all so lovely; thank you! I know I will be fine, but I just needed reassurance, wisdom, and companionship - and your funny comments! Knew I would find all that here (and more). flowers

Scoobydoo8 Fri 06-Nov-15 17:57:52

I don't get this. My DCs were a bit impatient with their D(aft)oldM and busy with their own lives by late teens. Didn't contribute to maintenance of the home and it was a good thing when they went off to find out what cooking /cleaning (looking after themselves) was like and went to uni. I happily waved them off. And they happily went.

They are now, several years on, busy with their own lives and appreciate coming home occasionally and being pampered.

DGCs are around now and the DCs now appreciate what child rearing involves. I can be there to help and support and that suits me. I want my DCs to be independent and live a full life. That is reward for me.

nearlyemptynester Fri 06-Nov-15 17:58:22

As you can see from my name, I am in a similar position as you, yes, they bring back laundry, problems and anything else, but it is not the same and takes a LOT of getting used to, my hours of work have changed as well so I have "more " time on my hands- I could go on but I don't want to make you feel worse!!!!!!!

I definitely know how you feel xx

bigbluebus Fri 06-Nov-15 18:00:23

lostcat how true. DS went off to Uni in September. DH & I are still eating for 3. i can't get used to the fact that when my weekly shopping day comes around there is still food left in the fridge and cupboards and yet I still go and come home with a trolley load.

StillStayingClassySanDiego Fri 06-Nov-15 18:01:42

My ds's are 20, 18 and 16.

The older two are away at University and I have to say whilst I do miss them sometimes, I don't actually think about them all the time, it's a new stage in their lives and ours as Parents.

I'm probably going to be distraught when ds3 leaves home but that's not for another two years.

nortonhouse Fri 06-Nov-15 18:05:11

nearlyemptynester thank you and xx to you too. My children are extremely happy, independent, and well-adjusted people, so I feel very content that I have done my best by them; however, we have always been close, and so I simply miss them very much when they are away. I think you understand.

TheDowagerCuntess Fri 06-Nov-15 18:05:57

I'm not at that stage (mine are only 6 and 5), but maybe it helps to focus on how lucky you actually are to have had all these amazing years with them, memories created, and crucially, the next stage to look forward to.

There is so much still to come, they are happy and healthy. It's an extraordinarily fortunate position to be in. flowers

Horsemad Fri 06-Nov-15 18:08:58

My DS1 started Uni in Sept and whilst it feels a bit weird to be 3 instead of 4, I don't miss him as much as I thought I would shock

He came home for the weekend recently and I was amazed at how his bedroom became untidy the minute he stepped into it!!!

StillStayingClassySanDiego Fri 06-Nov-15 18:10:49

I must also say that after the summer holiday I couldn't wait for ds1 to go back. grin

Hollierthathou Fri 06-Nov-15 18:11:32

I love my Dcs to bits but didn't miss mine at all after the first few weeks of them being away.
TBH the pre uni days were a bit fraught what with their 2am homecomings after nights out, laundry being done at all hours, taxi service for them as we live somewhere remote. typical arguments over stuff. I was relieved to have the house to myself and DH for the first time in 20 years. I don't get the empty nester bit because if you have a job, friends, mobile phones, Skype, FB and so on you can keep in touch so much. When I left for uni then moved away for work, all my mum and dad got was weekly phone call when I queued up to use the phone in uni or in a shared house and a weekly LETTER - yes, a letter! The good old days.

nortonhouse Fri 06-Nov-15 18:13:41

dowager and silver you are so right, of course! The son of one of my very closest friends was killed in an accident two years ago, and I have lived through her family's experience every step of the way, so I think of them whenever I am feeling sorry for myself. I know I'm being ridiculous on some level, so thank you for the reality check.

cardibach Fri 06-Nov-15 18:19:32

I'm the single parent of one DD who started at University last year. It was hard when she went as we are close and my house is empty apart from me and some CatBastards. You just have to learn to be happy that they are enjoying themselves and proud that they are able to enjoy independence because of what you have taught them over the years.
Any of them set off on lone independent travel yet? That's a tricky one...

FindoGask Fri 06-Nov-15 18:20:42

Sympathies. My mum really struggled when I left home (much to my surprise, as we didn't get on brilliantly well sometimes and I thought she'd be rather pleased to see the back of me). But we found a new sort of equilibrium and we're really close now in a different way from how we were before; I see her more as the person she is herself rather than in relation to me (if you see what i mean). And of course there's my children now who she gets to revisit some of those earlier years with.

I hope you adjust in time. Life changes are hard.

Asteria36 Fri 06-Nov-15 18:29:47

DS is only 13 and I am already panic stricken about him flying the nest! I don't know how you cope with such an iminent departure Norton! I have recently persuaded DH that we need to start plotting a big distraction now so that the transition is easier, but if all else fails I'm locking DS in his bedroom until he is 45...

nearlyemptynester Fri 06-Nov-15 18:30:31

I am also content that I have done a " good " job with my children, nortonhouse that is our job!!! I do remember if there would ever be an end to all the work/drama/etc when they were younger , but some days I just want it all back. (sad)

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