Gransnet forums

Other subjects

Empty Nest

(63 Posts)
Minniemoo Sun 07-Jul-19 23:44:33

Hi there, I am not accustomed to posting stuff on here so apologies if it's rubbish. I've been scrolling to see if there's any Empty Nesters here but can't find one. I have 3 children. 3 and half grandchildren. The first 2 left home and all was well, I waved them off in a bountiful fashion. But my last one ... daughter aged 23 ... she has gone and I feel a bit lost. She's a star and keeps in contact all the time. She comes home a couple of weekends a month. And all school holidays, (she's a teacher). I don't know why I feel so bereft at times. My much loved Mum died last year and my baby left soon after. She wanted to postpone but I was all magnanimous. Anyway, just a bit of a pity party really. Thanks to anyone for reading

Grammaretto Sun 07-Jul-19 23:59:19

I'm sad for you. It didn't hit me immediately as they came home often but when the last one married, moved away, had her own family, gradually the dynamics changed.
It's ok and natural to be sad. You'll find a new relationship with DD - perhaps a more equal one. You can be proud of your independent child.

Minniemoo Mon 08-Jul-19 00:07:05

Thank you Grammaretto. It's been tough and I just wasn't expecting it to be!

Opalsusanna1 Mon 08-Jul-19 00:45:08

I know exactly what you mean Grammaretto. When our youngest son left for university, I was heartbroken but I think I've discovered the ideal solution for us and it may be something worth considering for others who feel as we do as well.

His eldest sister, who is a fair bit older, has a really well-paid job, a partner who has just started a new career and they have a child. They were finding it really hard to get the deposit together for the sort of house they wanted and were fed up with renting. I had some capital and also wanted a house that was a bit easier to manage following quite a severe illness.

Our solution was to find a house we all liked that would allow us sufficient space to lead our own lives. We found a beautiful Edwardian house that needed a bit of work doing but we were able to move in last year. The result is brilliant. There is a room for our son who has just graduated and room for his brother who lives abroad when he comes back. Our other daughter lives nearby so we can see her and her little family too and to see one of our grandchildren every day is wonderful.

It's not always the easiest. We have to agree and compromise on certain things and make sure there's space for everyone but we are empty nesters no more. Even the cat is happier. We've kept our old house though, just in case things do go pear-shaped and our other children are decorating it and use it as a base when they go home to see friends or family. We will eventually sell it I suppose.

As you and your daughter get on so well Grammaretto, maybe what we've done is worth thinking about. One of my friends came over a few weeks ago and was so impressed, sheis now nagging her daughter to do the same thing!

Good luck anyway whatever happens, but a new challenge has certainly worked for us.

Greta8 Mon 08-Jul-19 05:43:34

Hi Minnie, empty nest is so hard, isn't it? I never thought about it, then suddenly - wham - my only daughter was gone and it hit me so badly. All I can say is that things do change - they need to go away to become fully formed adults - and you let them go. But if you maintain a good relationship, then that is absolutely the most important thing. For me, ten years down the line, my daughter has married a lovely chap and they've just had their first baby. A year ago she asked me if we'd consider moving nearer to them and we wanted to downshift too, so we've managed to accomplish both. A lovely new-ish house with a much smaller garden, near amenities and half an hour from them! I'll be doing some of the childcare when she goes back to work - I've already seen her more since she's been on maternity leave than probably I had in the last year - and she's said how happy she is that we've made the move. It sounds as though you still see a lot of your daughter - hold onto that for now.

Anja Mon 08-Jul-19 06:18:10

You will adjust and get used to this. Honestly!

absent Mon 08-Jul-19 06:26:57

My daughter not only left home at 17, she left the country and went off to live on the other side of the world. I am not sure that she fully realised that something that final was what she was doing, but I certainly did. Of course I shed tears at the airport and of course I missed her over the years, in spite of visits but I also rejoiced that she had found the place where she wanted to be and the life she wanted to live, albeit with a few glitches along the way.

Now, approaching 20 years later, I have immigrated to New Zealand – with the support of absentdaughter and my son-in-law and have lived here for six years. I have been and continue to be an integral and important part of family life, especially with my six grandchildren. If I ever had a plan for my future, this was not it, but it has worked out wonderfully and I wouldn't change it.

A wise parent teaches her/his children to fly and does not clip their wings when they want to leave the nest. We always joked that we had the longest umbilical cord in the world, but we never lost our closeness and deep love and respect for each other in spite of the thousands of miles apart that we lived. Now that we are a 15-minute drive away, it is not a problem.

Don't clichés and sayings exist because they hold a fundamental truth? Maybe when one door closes, another door opens.

BradfordLass72 Mon 08-Jul-19 09:18:29

Minniemoo there's so much tied up in that empty-nest syndrome that I often feel we should call it 'empty arms syndrome'.

We lose our role when the last one goes: no one to nurture or look after on a daily basis. If we're lucky and had children who valued us and were affectionate, giving that up, even if they visit, is like coming off a drug! smile
There's no one to physically hug, cook for (it took me ages to scale down my food preparation to one, instead of 3!!)

If you are left alone, as I was, no one to have great conversations and discussions with. No one to shout, 'I'm home Mum, what's for tea?'
So many little things which make us Mum, go with them. So of course it's hard and I have cried a LOT of tears, even though my better self told me they were happy and I'd prepared them well for life.

But gradually, though you never, ever cease to miss them, you find other ways of being useful, of helping, of being a different sort of supportive person.

And you will always and forever be their Mum and that's the most wonderful thing of all.

Hetty58 Mon 08-Jul-19 09:35:20

Is it just me, then, who enjoys the freedom of being alone? I finally can do exactly what I like, when I like, according to my mood. I can always change my mind too, eat what I fancy when I want to, go out or just stay at home etc. etc. I love it!

ninathenana Mon 08-Jul-19 09:42:30

My DD has bounced back home 2-3 times (long story) after leaving home to join her husband Germany at 19.
She has been here for 8 mths now and is planning to leave soon and I will really miss her when she goes this time. I love hearing about her working day and just girly chat.
I will never gave an "empty nest" as our adult autistic son will ways be with us. However, the nature of his condition means he's not great company.
I do sympathise with the OP

yggdrasil Mon 08-Jul-19 09:49:39

Hetty, no not just you. My daughter left at 18 to go to Uni and never came back. My son was around till he was about 25 but both of us were glad when he got a place of his own.
(I have 2 grandchildren and the oldest will be leaving my daughter in about another year.)

Opalsusanna1 Mon 08-Jul-19 10:05:30

Hi Minnie, I just realised that I addressed my post to Grammaretto when it was meant for you, I'm so sorry - my only excuse is that it was very late!

Grammaretto Mon 08-Jul-19 10:21:16

Just shows how we are all different and find our own solutions. I couldn't relocate to be nearer any of ours even if I wanted to, which I don't. I am a little like Hetty and appreciate the freedom though I love to visit all my children even the one who's 12,000 miles away and we will always try to help out if we are needed.
We still have APs (aged parents) nearby.
We tried the multi generational living when our DC were small but that's another story.
It all works well at the moment but we should be open to changes which are bound to come.

Grammaretto Mon 08-Jul-19 10:23:04

Opalsusanna1 smile it's all the same conversation

crazyH Mon 08-Jul-19 10:39:12

I'm with you Hetty. I have done my bit and still doing, with the grandchildren. So it's real Heaven when I have a day to myself. Like today. My visitors from abroad have gone to west Wales for a week. 2 sets of grandchildren are on holiday . Saw daughter and children yesterday. So got today, to do whatever I want. Yaaaaaay !!!

Tamayra Mon 08-Jul-19 10:45:57

You are so blessed to have a home of your own & a home to spare
It’s a lot harder for those of us who are single renting & no collateral to use

Coconut Mon 08-Jul-19 10:52:58

It is hard, but just take one day at a time and fill your life up as much as you can. I live next door to DD in a granny annexe but am very respectful of their space. I am lucky with lots of friends, we walk, lunch, shows in London, singles holidays, plus I do casual work invigilating in exams. I’ve made a bucket list and am working my way thro it and even adding more bits as I go ....just enjoy your life and be proud of the confidence you have instilled in your AC.

Johno Mon 08-Jul-19 10:58:12

Your reaction is normal. The thing is that life continues to advance. Boring, I know but that's the top and bottom of it. You will soon evolve phone and internet contact. Whatsapp is the best form of contact.. you get free calls and video calls and photos and comments to and fro are instant. Of course, I am assuming you have a Smart Phone? If not get one. open up the world.

newgran2019 Mon 08-Jul-19 11:09:44

I can sympathize too. I felt oddly bereft when my daughter went to university even though her brothers were still at home, and I was ridiculously upset when she went to America for two years. Now they are 260 miles away, with our first grandchild, which is sad in some ways but as I don't want to provide childcare it's maybe for the best! Our youngest son left to get married in 2017 and a few months later my mother moved into (supposedly) sheltered accommodation down the road; I have found the sudden swap from being a parent to being an unofficial carer for a very demanding parent (with whom I have never got on well) very difficult. Our boys keep in touch regularly but prefer to use smartphones to do so, which I don't need for general use, so I miss out a bit, but that's my fault.

As Grammaretto says, when our children leave and lead successful independent lives it shows that we have done a good job of bringing them up, though of course it can be emotionally painful too. I think one has to try to build friendships with people of all ages, through work or community involvement, local groups, etc., and remember that you were never justa mother.

Minerva Mon 08-Jul-19 11:11:13

It is somehow harder when the youngest leaves. We had spent far more time together as there was only her left at home but like all sad events we come to terms with it in the end.

absent my youngest did exactly the same 15 years ago and they married and half my grandchildren are out there. They struggle to survive financially so I see them rarely now that I am too infirm to make the journey and it costs a bomb to bring the whole family over here.

But the other grandchildren are over here and very much part of my life so I count myself blessed.

Scottiebear Mon 08-Jul-19 11:18:50

It is hard. DH and i have only got one child. Just before he was due to start University, DH and i were out for the evening in his university city and we decided to drive past the flat he was going to be moving in to, as we hadn't seen it. I cried all the way home. And he was only moving 20 mins from home! Daft. I'm sure you are still mourning the loss of your mum. Huge amount of change and upset for you. Only thing I can say is that hopefully the future will bring an ever increasing family for you, with more grandchildren. And you sound very close to your daughter so I'm sure that close relationship will continue even if the shape of that changes. So hang in there and hopefully things will get easier.

harrigran Mon 08-Jul-19 11:20:57

I have never suffered from empty nest syndrome, I was just 44 when the last one left home.

Emelle Mon 08-Jul-19 11:25:26

hetty58 - I'm with you too! I enjoyed bring our three up and gave it my all. We have helped out and still do with the GC but I so enjoy the freedom we have now.

fluttERBY123 Mon 08-Jul-19 11:54:26

My 4 are all within an hour's drive but I see less and less of them as gcs grow up. For me the emptying of the nest has been gradual. We all keep in touch and have gatherings. I spend time now with a friend who had had a stroke. Transferring skills!

Dillyduck Mon 08-Jul-19 11:55:40

You are entering a new chapter in your life, which can be wonderful. I was widowed at 54, had to learn to live life on my own. 13 years on I have lots of new friends, and go on holiday several times a year. I'd suggest starting by staying at a singles hotel in Crete, the Mistral at Maleme. Lots of really positive people, lovely rooms, spotlessly clean, the freshest food (they have awards!). Do it once and you will never look back. Find the new you.