I knew it would… but wasn’t quite sure how. I have a 16 year old daughter at home so I thought I wouldn’t feel so much change all at once but maybe it’s her age, but she barely needs me anymore. She does not have her full drivers license yet so the good news is, I’m needed for something for a few more months.
Now you have to understand, I am a glass FULL kind of person and I was finding myself a little down, (I won’t use the word depressed) My family noticed… and after my daughter and I had a chance to talk through it, we figured out that my role after the past 18 years was changing and I was feeling less important, less needed, less significant in their lives.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a great relationship with my kids so they’ll always need me in some way, but my “mom” role was clearly diminishing.
I feel pretty blessed though because my husband and I have a great marriage and we like hanging out together…but even a few weekends of going out to dinner with each other alone has found us feeling a little lost with all the focus on the kids for so long! I know this is the new normal… and we are getting to just be together as a couple again, which is great! I do feel quite a bit of stress thinking about marriages that are not as strong and having to endure this “loss” of kids in the house. Either a marriage will be ignited in a different way after the kids move away, or the marriage will be so comfortable that no change will occur or… it could be the end of some marriages.. .so NOTE TO PARENTS… nurture that marriage because THIS is coming!
So.. cheers to all those parents who successfully got their kids off to college and beyond… I know a whole new world awaits for us as parents experiencing first jobs… kids not living with us (hopefully) and we hope, eventual marriages, grandkids and more… but we won’t rush that. For now… we will enjoy this transition the best we can.
We visited my son at college this past week and we fed a bunch of kids breakfast before we headed home…. It’s funny how just simply taking care of our kids in some way gave us such joy! For them, they probably just appreciated the free meal and a little break from campus, but for us it made us feel so much joy to give them some nurturing… because we won’t get to do that much longer!
Would love to hear from other “empty-nesters” or “half empty-nesters”!