I still remember the time when my sister and I joined college and went to hostel. Both our parents were emotional while leaving us at the hostel and it was surely not easy for them. But they tried to be strong for our sake as they knew that they were doing it for our own good. Fast forward to the present time and now my husband and I are in the same boat. The younger one is in high school and the elder one joined college last year. I feel I am already in the empty nest phase.
What is empty nest phase or feeling?
Empty nest syndrome is a term which is used to describe a feeling of sadness or loneliness which parents face when kids grow up and leave home for college or higher studies. Not all the parents face this syndrome and sometimes the degree of feeling varies too. One of my friends whose son left for college a year back had a hard time initially and she was diagnosed with clinical depression. So, if you are in this phase right now, there are ways to come out of it.
What am I feeling?
As a mom of two teens who are with me, I am already feeling emotional. When do they grow up so fast? Now their birthdays make me emotional and make me wonder, how did it happen so fast? I remember my mom telling me once that it goes really fast but I was not ready for this.
We all are often so much caught in the daily business of life that we don’t realize how fast time goes! Their birthdays remind me of the time when I used to plan their birthday parties, bake cake for them, buy new birthday dresses and chocolates for them. Now, the cute little birthday parties are replaced by friends get together or outing with friends. Also, they are big enough to plan everything on themselves and do not need my help any more.
I guess motherhood is a constant struggle between waiting for kids to grow up and not wanting them to grow up. It is a feeling of joy and sorrow at the same time. I am learning to let go but difficult to not feel the anticipation.
Ways to deal with empty nest phase or syndrome/feeling-
I discussed it with few of my friends whose kids are in hostel or moved to other countries for studies and these are the ways they all suggested –
- Stay in touch with your kids – These days it’s much easier to stay in touch with your kids because of technology. You can video call your kids at any time. Emails, texting and weekly calls can help you in this.
- Take up a new hobby or anything you are passionate about to keep yourself busy. Join hobby clubs, any new study course.
- Meet up with family and friends. Travel if you can and meet people, and explore new places, cuisines and specialties.
- Reach out to your loved ones if you are feeling lonely or not able to get through the feeling of empty nest.
When kids are small, your life revolves around them but things change when they grow up. Milestones and birthdays are a time which remind us of how fast kids are growing but it’s also a time to be happy and joyful. Let’s celebrate the happy moments and let’s be grateful for the time together. It is easier said than done but I am going to try it. What about you? Do share your thoughts in the comments below. I would love to hear what you have to say.
I am writing about mental health for Cause a chatter with blogchatter. This post is about a condition which can affect parents and their mental health.