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(60 Posts)
happyfeet210 Mon 08-Apr-13 18:02:32

I am new at this and a little scared to say what's on my mind but here goes!
Are there other middle aged mums who struggle when their children leave? I am a retired 51 year old. (I have always worked until last year) My 20 year old daughter (only child) just headed back to Uni. She is in the 3rd term of her 2nd year. I am really proud of the way she has flown our nest and is getting on just fine but every time she leaves I just feel she takes another little piece of me. I still feel redundant and sad. I know looking back is wrong, I just need to take a can of "man-up" and get busy, and this is what I do, but it doesn't get any easier! Got any tips?

springyhappychick Tue 09-Apr-13 10:50:32

completely agree with coffee - you have to go with it. You wouldn't call grieving wallowing, and this is no different. It will pass (I assume...)

Actually, I'm a lot further along but it creeps up on you slowly ie your new life creeps up on you slowly. Like recovering from a bereavement?

firesidechat Tue 09-Apr-13 10:54:59

I love my empty nest, but unfortunately it won't stay empty! They keep coming back, the inconsiderate whatsits!

Seriously, I do enjoy the peace and quiet most of the time and much less work to do around the house. One has been married recently, lives some distance away, but does visit a fair bit for some pampering and nice food. The other is at uni, but hates her house and comes back for every holiday, usually bringing boyfriend with her.

Sorry, I probably haven't been much help. It won't matter where they are geographically, they will still need you. Like you OP, I get the weekly rant phonecall and the weekly cooking related question. It's a good feeling when you know that you're never totally redundant as a parent.

springyhappychick Tue 09-Apr-13 11:00:31

erm, it looks like you are one of the lucky ones fireside.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 09-Apr-13 11:24:03

It is made harder not having oodles of extended family either but on the bright side we aren't prevented from doing as we please because of responsibilities for aged relatives.

Shall try and stay upbeat and rather than centring our lives on DCs, seize the chance to savour some freedom. Holidays during term time! Impulse weekends away! Noisy sex!! Anything sporty or cultural we didn't do because of yawning teens or boisterous schoolkids.

Maybe grandparenting will be another stage to look foward to but I didn't have pfb til I was past my 20's so if the DCs follow me that's some way to go. I don't want to sit waiting for that in some kind of suspended state.

noddyholder Tue 09-Apr-13 11:52:51

I agree with fireside I have been watching my closest friends go through this and it is fine! They all see their kids loads and they spend all holidays at home. I think it helps that some of my ds mates went last year and I see them all the time as they all miss Brighton so much and say nowhere compares. They are a huge group who have been holidaying/camping/festivals etc together for years and they all come home for birthdays etc.I know I will miss him but it is the start not teh end smile

Thanks Agatha, I am really hoping so! My eldest dd says it doesn't matter where we live, nothing will keep us apart. She is a lovely, grown up responsible young woman with a very decent boyfriend and she really knows how to live life to the full. She has started to talk about our place in Devon as home, which makes me very happy.

One day, I simply got in the car and drove to Wales to see her for lunch! We had arranged it a couple of days earlier, i didn't just turn up. But it was brilliant, and she cooked a proper roast for me, although spent more hours in the car than I did with her. I'll just have to get used to going on trips to make sure I see them enough.

Sorry to happyfeet, I seem to be talking about my own situation a lot on your thread! But I am glad you started it, thank you, and it is helpful to me because I need to get this stuff out of me sometimes and it is good to read posts from people going through similar.

noddyholder Tue 09-Apr-13 13:36:32

Scarlet your daughter sounds great I think it sounds like she will be in your life for a long time to come.

happyfeet210 Tue 09-Apr-13 14:07:05

Dog; gratitude list - good ideas, the main theme coming though here is that this is a real transitional period for parents, tables turned we are going through turbulent emotional changes - are we teenagers again haha! Good to know others are feeling the same way. Our children know we love them, that's why they return to the nest now and then. Guess we need to take time to love ourselves again. Thanks all x

happyfeet210 Tue 09-Apr-13 14:26:55

....and Scarlet - us visiting them for a roast dinner now that's the way forward, I may take my washing too (joke), you are a positive woman!

AgathaF Tue 09-Apr-13 15:51:04

Taking the washing to them is a super idea grin.


whenIwasRosie Tue 09-Apr-13 18:12:40

I can empathise with you OP, I have 3 DS aged 26, 23 and 19 and the youngest went off to uni last September. However the oldest one has come back now and is at home looking for work so I guess I am not in quite the same position. I was v sad when my youngest went off but I do still work part time and try to keep busy with choir, yoga, friends etc. We also have a dog as coffeeinbed suggests and I love taking her out for long walkies! I find with uni though, that I just get used to them being away and then it's the holidays and they all come back again...

CuttedUpPear Tue 09-Apr-13 18:18:56

I got a dog for me a DS to replace DD when she went to Uni. The dog is a great help and diversion for us both. And DD loves her replacement!

lydiajones Tue 09-Apr-13 18:30:29

Am reading this and thinking that I will be like this. Makes me want to have another baby to prolong the parenting thing.

Sorry that was not a helpful comment!

carmenelectra Tue 09-Apr-13 20:35:28

This thread maybe sad. Especially scarletts post- it made me cry!

I'm not at this stage yet as my eldest is only 13, but as I see them grow it makes me think. I will suffer from this, I know.

Its strange how we wish their lives away when they are little and its hard ie sleeping through night, and making our lives easier, yet crave it when its gone.

I think I want another child(I'm 42) and sometimes I wonder if for for the wrong reasons. Maybe to cling to my mothering yrs. I feel a wrench as I see them grow, yet also crave some 'me' time as its soo hard!

I know I sound desperate but I'm not! I work, have a great relationship, see friends etc so its not like all I've got.

I feel sad/jealous too at young mothers just starting out as my days of childbearing are numbered sad

redandyellowbits Tue 09-Apr-13 20:47:34

Ah crap, I'm crying at this thread too, and my DDs are only 5, 3 and 7mo!

I can't imagine my day-to-day life without them, I am already so scared of them leaving and living their own lives.

cjel Tue 09-Apr-13 20:52:09

I have dd 30 and ds 28 (who just left homefinally 2 weeks ago.)He has been at uni twice,gap year in NZ and Marines, so I'm used to him going but I have cried this week but just to reassure you I now have 5 Wonderful grandchildren (13yrs to one and a half yrs) and I can do all the lovely things again!!!

Cherylkerl Tue 09-Apr-13 21:14:06

Bless you, you sound like a sweet and lovely mum. I have no advice but just wanted to say as the daughter of a mother who was so petrified of an empty nest she buggered off with another man to make a new nest, it is lovely to hear of proper mums who go the distance and cherish their kids. Your daughter will always have that security of roots, belonging etc. it's real gift. you have done that for her. It's priceless.

Incidentally, I've tried leaving my nest but haven't gone far. I see my dad most days and my sister up the road with her newborn. It's a great phase. My dad says having kids just gets better every day - we are 32 and 30! The arrival of my nephew has been the icing on the cake.

Hope you find some fulfilment

springyhappychick Tue 09-Apr-13 23:32:53

I don't think it's about fulillment so much, but about loss. Loss is loss. Nobody's fault, just something that happens.

Winterlight Wed 10-Apr-13 09:13:47

'I don't think it's about fulillment so much, but about loss.'

That is it exactly. I made efforts to make a fulfilling life for myself and have a wonderful relationship with my adult girls, but I still feel a great sense of loss and I'm not sure that anything will ever fully heal that.

noddyholder Wed 10-Apr-13 09:23:44

Yes that time when they are dependant on you and fully immersed in your world and vice versa is gone but the relationship changes and I think today more than ever the parent child thing is prolonged and deeper. I know I never had the sort of relationship with mine that I see around me now with friends etc. I know people who all holiday together with kids well into their 20s and with their partners etc. My advice for anyone with any sort of worry though is always the same Live in the day as you have no control over the past or future and in some ways it doesn't even exist

happyfeet210 Wed 10-Apr-13 17:45:56

Well can understand you wanting another baby! I also remember those times as a working mum when you are exhausted and crave some me time so know where you are coming from Carmen & Lydia. A dog would do it but I am allergic - my dd laughs and says she has sibling rivalry to my veg plants which I started to nurture when she first moved away. Yes winterlight & Noddy- It's the sense of loss for that time when they were depenant and we can never get that back. I am struggling to motivate myself to move on - I went out for a long cycle ride with dh today (good) but came home and made cupcakes (notsogood). I am looking forward to what the future brings. Thanks for kind thoughts cherylkerl, a sad and unfair story, its your mum's loss. I am glad you are enjoying your family unit with your Dad, Sister and new nephew - Cupcake anyone?grin

cjel Wed 10-Apr-13 17:49:42

Yes Please!!

99problems Wed 10-Apr-13 18:04:02

Oh god I'm crying too and ds is only 4! I have thought about this a lot, from various angles... I'm 23 but still live at home with my mum grin, I dread moving out because I don't want to leave her! So kind of a weird twist on the empty nest thing, I can't bear the thought of leaving my childhood home and mum, went to the local uni to avoid it. Also know I will suffer greatly when ds goes. I had him when I was 18, don't plan on having any more for another 5/10 years so when my last dc leaves I will have spent most of my life raising dc!

I know it may be a few years off yet but when your dc have their own children, you will have a whole new experience, being a grandmother! My mum adores her role as grandmother, and she tells me there are many other grandparents at the school gates with her (I work so mum takes ds to and from school). It seems increasingly common that grandparents look after their grandchildren a lot now, esp due to the sky high prices of childcare.

In the meantime, have you thought about counselling or CBT to gain a new perspective? I fully expect to be utterly distraught at this stage in my life and will probably need some kind of help!

cjel Wed 10-Apr-13 18:26:13

My dd had her daughter at 18 and my ds was only 14 so we had them with us, I have had 30 years with little ones around, My ds left 2 wks ago and I miss his kids like mad the 3 yr old and 18month old used to pop in every morning to share my bfast after taking their db to school. Now ds has moved out I only see them every few days and miss them like mad, although did have my daughters two for the day on monday. they are 12 and 6 so that was lovely.x Thanks for the cake Happy.

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