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Empty nest syndrome after 20 years

(57 Posts)
lmm6 Sun 18-Aug-19 19:55:23

Daft I know but I still miss the times when my now AC were small. Keep looking back and wondering where the time went. Still miss them in the house even after 20 years. One AC is constantly in touch and the other lives near so nothing to complain about. But I still miss them. Anyone else feel this way?

Doodledog Sun 18-Aug-19 20:12:09

Yes, I know what you mean. I think there are a number of factors at play.

It takes ages to bring up our children to be self reliant (and if we are lucky they are also lovely young people), then as soon as we do it they go and get lives of their own smile.

At the same time, we might be leaving work, or cutting back on hours, so there is more time for us to fill, and fewer people in the house, so there is a big gap.

Also, having grown up children marks another life stage for us, which can be difficult in itself. They are now the 'current' generation, and we have moved into the older one.

Mine haven't been gone as long as yours (more like 10 years including being away at university), but I do miss them both.

Bordersgirl57 Sun 18-Aug-19 20:27:34

Imm6 mine have been up and away for a long time and I have 5 grandchildren but sometimes if one of the GC says or does or looks a bit like their dad - in my head I go "aw".

I was also packing up some old family photos yesterday and they also get me going reminiscing about the "olden days".

If anyone has any suggestions on how I can sort those blessed photos I'd appreciate it. It's a massive box of loose photos as when he was about 10, my eldest son asked if he could look at the photos and promptly emptied them all out of their envelopes. I keep putting off the task. Sorry - didn't mean to hi-jack the OP.

Day6 Sun 18-Aug-19 20:32:55

It;s taken me a little while to appreciate not having to think about the adult children under my roof. The youngest moved out in 2013.

At first I felt quite bereft, and without purpose in a way, given they no longer needed me. I think it is true to say that they don't hurt the way their parents hurt when they go out into the world and become independent. For parents it's like their reason for being has vanished.

I missed them so much at first. I was quite tearful. However, I soon I began to feel the advantages. No more trail of mess left in their wake, no hurting for them when things went wrong in their lives. No more cooking and cleaning up or thinking about meals. (I was a single parent so no partner to consider either.) No more nagging or feeling they might be taking advantage, no more floor-drobes and the washing machine being used every day - and the bathrooms stayed clean, as did the rooms they vacated.

Oh I missed their presence, and the quiet without them in the house took some getting used to.

They don't need me any longer, but I still worry about them and think about them every single day. I do however pat myself on the back that they took off and coped with independent life and have a work ethic and are doing well.

I have adjusted and much as I love them, would find it difficult to have them under my roof 24/7 now.

You are right Doodledog - the children moving on is a rite of passage we must go through as we grow older.

My take on it however Imm6 is that we have earned this quiet time, this time to be free of the responsibility for others. I hope you have a loving relationship with your AC and they contact you and visit you still. I do look back, and yes, those years flew by when they were small and our whole lives revolved around family. We cannot go back though, or turn back the clocks. I hope you find some satisfaction in the fact you gave them a good home life, and prepared them well for adult life without you.

Try not to feel you have lost something and enjoy the freedom you now have to do your own thing, if you can. flowers

SueDonim Sun 18-Aug-19 21:27:08

Those years when the children are small are indeed special and I look back at those times with pleasure. I've got four children and the youngest one is still back and forth at home because she is a student.

However, I've had three of my grandchildren to stay since Thursday and my goodness, it's non-stop! I've given up tidying away the toys until they leave on Tuesday. grin

Anniebach Sun 18-Aug-19 21:36:00

When my second daughter married I hated the empty house where I had brought the two up, kept going into their bedrooms. So moved house.

sodapop Sun 18-Aug-19 22:02:14

Day6 is right, enjoy the peace and time to pursue your own interests,
Another stage of life to take pleasure in as we did with our children.

Tangerine Sun 18-Aug-19 22:20:12

I miss them but don't miss the mess!

I've moved home three times since they left home so I never see "their bedrooms".

paddyann Mon 19-Aug-19 00:44:39

i've never had an empty nest ,my son's daughter has been with us since she was a baby,Only half of each week but she feels just like one of my own .her dad only moved out 18 months ago and we decided she should stay until she wants to move in with him and his new partner.So she's here for 2 nights a week and at her dads 2 nights before going home to her mum .I have the other 3 GC on weekends to give their mum a break as her husband works away and she has to cope with them as well as her chronic health issues .So this is a busy house still full of nonsense and laughter and fighting girls and paints and playdough and I love every minute of it

sodapop Mon 19-Aug-19 08:57:20

Sounds like yours is a very full life paddyann Your family must be very grateful for all your support.

harrigran Mon 19-Aug-19 09:06:03

Never suffered from empty nest, they left home to go to university and never returned. I was only 44 when last one left home so was able to do anything I liked and I did grin

Kim19 Mon 19-Aug-19 10:36:24

I'm absolutely with Day6 on this. Feel free as air and love it but the regular contact with my children both physical and verbal is adrenaline indeed.

grandtanteJE65 Mon 19-Aug-19 10:37:26

We all look back and wonder where time went to.

Of course it takes time to adjust to the fact that the children we cared for and loved are now grown up and can manage on their own.

Try to do some of the things now that weren't possible with children living at home.

dogsmother Mon 19-Aug-19 10:41:56

This is so pertinent to me!
I am about to lose my last living at home after parenting albeit adult children this week after 37 years...
My youngest almost 24 finally has her own home.
We [email protected] never been alone, I guess we still have the dogs..
I am mixed, a little excited at the clearance and space. But oh so sad too, two are nearby and one in another country but it’s still going to be a strange new world for us.

GardenerGran Mon 19-Aug-19 10:43:13

I haven’t suffered the empty nest syndrome too much as have spent a lot of time helping them with their homes and gardens, I do wonder though how I managed to do so much back in the day - I seemed to pack in a lot more of everything, cooking, cleaning, DIY, and still have spare time for more pleasurable activities. I suppose I’ve just slowed down which is a bit depressing. Available time and energy is much reduced!

Mistymorningstar Mon 19-Aug-19 10:46:26

Certainly do, and have had floods of tears many times. I brought up my little family on my own - whilst at school i worked, whilst they slept i worked - 2 jobs (4 days & 6 nights) and managed to take them out to concerts, cinema, meals out and trips to different places. I think if you give so much of yourself (chose not to enter into relationships as no time for anyone else) you feel bereaved when they have now left. One is a solicitor and one a journalist so well done me - but i am lost and feel so incredibly empty. Unable to do my work which earned well as seriously arthritic -(the body is not geared to work an 18 - 20 hour day) but drive and do shopping etc., - prob is i didn't have time for friends so now don't have any. Everything was in tip top order, house garden and all the necessaries - i was like a robot. OK i do have my own home now which i have paid off - but i fill my day with housework chores and shopping - and little else and feel incredibly empty. Sorry - just saying it as it is.

Witchypoo Mon 19-Aug-19 10:50:54

Very little contact with ds and gs. Heartbreaking. Have a friend who has become like a daughter to me so the lack of family contact melts into the background. Moved as well so dont have room reminders

Coconut Mon 19-Aug-19 10:51:11

100% empathise here, even tho I am close to, and see loads of my 3 AC, their partners and all 5GC. I lead a very full life with lots of holidays and lots of friends, and my glass is always nearly full .... all the GC are also quite independent now, even the youngest 3 need minimum supervision. However, the nostalgia I feel when looking back on old photos is immense and quite overwhelming. Just proves they were my happiest times and the years just go by too quickly, but how lucky are we to have experienced it all ....

grannybuy Mon 19-Aug-19 10:53:15

Being at home, bringing up three children was a stage in life that I loved. Due to having learning difficulties, AS is still with me, so I'm not alone, but nor am I entirely free to please myself, but that's fine. When on holiday, sometimes I'm envious when I see families with young children.

Guineagirl Mon 19-Aug-19 10:57:13

Me too Imm6 it’s only been three years but it’s still hard. Yes I have interests etc and my daughter visits and we visit her but I think there are other factors like losing our parents, retirement etc it’s not as simple as just get some hobbies. Like anything in life it affects people in different ways. Also, what I have learned some people have a better support system as well

NfkDumpling Mon 19-Aug-19 11:07:32

I recently came to the conclusion it's why I hate spare rooms. Rooms which sit there dead, empty, without a purpose except to be there for when the kids come and they come alive again for a few days. Those old children's bedrooms which became spare. I was happy to downsize and only have one proper spare room - and that doubles as a study. No empty nests.

CarlyD7 Mon 19-Aug-19 11:08:50

What strikes me is that parents - especially mothers - are encouraged to give their all to their children, and if they try to carve out a social life or even a job they love from "family time" wow do the critics come down on them for "being selfish". And then when the children leave, we are supposed to let them go (i.e. our "lives") and not mourn them, or the life we had, but "get on with our lives" including making new friends - which, for a lot of us means starting again. I think mothers, in particular, can't win!

Tigertooth Mon 19-Aug-19 11:18:36

Two of mine just left for uni but with a long gap I had two more in my 40’s so mine range from 21 to 9.
I’m dreading my only daughter going to uni in Sept but have the little ones to keep my busy - I’m 53 so they should see me into my old age - I imagine I’ll be too exhausted to care by then! Hopefully older ones may have given me some GC.
Property is so expensive in London, I might just keep the youngest illiterate so he is poorly paid and has to live with mum ( joke) ... we were taking the two younger ones to Spain tomorrow but older teo got wind if it so now we’re ALL going!

Beachwriter Mon 19-Aug-19 11:21:46

An additional point. When my children were young, I knew my role was hopefully to produce two happy independent adults who had a purpose in life. My daughter was late diagnosed with Aspergers and suffers from ME. She is disabled and lives at home. As a result, I don't know what my role is now and I have some difficulty in coming to terms with this.

Pagzy Mon 19-Aug-19 11:30:25

I do understand the empty feeling of not having anything worthwhile to fill the days and not having friends Other grandsnetters usually have lots of suggestions for hobbies etc
The only thing that really helps me is my 4 year old grandson but he and my son and partner will be moving to another part of the country in a years time .
One day might you have the joy of grandchildren to look forward to?