So what happens when your children leave you to begin a life of their own in a different city or a country, a decision in which you do not have much of a role to play?
Adjusting to the empty nest is difficult, there’s no doubt about it. You are clouded with feelings of depression & sadness. Women are more likely than men to be affected as mothers are going through other significant life events as well, such as menopause or caring for elderly parents.
I have two boys and bringing them up was a major part of my life.
When my eldest found a job of his choice soon after college we were very happy. It was an ideal job for him which took him on assignments to various cities and countries.
He enjoyed it.
I too took up a full time job in a travel academy just as he was finishing college. It was training young minds just out of school to start building the foundation of a career in travel. It was a perfect job for me as I loved being surrounded by the young ones with their fresh ideas and dreams. It was very invigorating. And I completely immersed myself in it.
I was a now career woman which I wanted to be all along.
I used to miss not having my son around as much, but still had the company of my youngest one, as he still had three years left into his school.
Then when he left for college in the fall of 2011, I felt as though my life’s work, that of being a full-time mother was over.
And I wondered (a lot) about what I was supposed to do next.
I missed him. And almost more than them, I missed my daily sense of purpose – the time-consuming and emotionally fulfilling job of being a mom, available and eager to help whenever I was needed.
But they didn’t need me anymore. They had wings now and wanted to fly. However I still had my job which was a blessing as most of my day was busy.
Then two years later my eldest too wanted to move out to work in a different country. He felt satisfied having found a job in a city he loved.
Knowing fully well, that this would mean that my nest would be totally empty, we encouraged him to take the step. It would have made him more responsible, which I felt he was losing it here, wiling away his free time with his friends and spending a lot of time outside his home, and sometimes very late into the night.
By now I had too had quit my job to serve the duties of an obedient daughter in law. That’s when it hit me hard. With the husband away at his work and in between looking after my MIL and the home, my life lost its purpose.
The life at home was getting stifling. I did not have the motivation to do anything. I hated cooking. I stopped making all the dishes that my kids loved to eat. There was nothing exciting left for me to do. My self esteem was at an all time low. It was slowly killing me. I knew deep in my heart that I had to get out of it.
I started to keep myself busy doing oil paintings to keep myself and my overactive mind busy. I started going for my daily walks for an hour in the evenings to breathe in the fresh air. I had a wonderful group of friends and we met almost every weekend. They were the support system my life so needed.
This writing of a blog too was initiated by my daughter in law who wanted me to initially start a food blog,but it has taken on a more deeper aspect . It has given me an opportunity to pen my thoughts out into the open which is a big step for someone like me who had mostly kept to herself.
I know it doesn’t have a wider audience still , but that’s alright with me. Someday I hope .
Life still isn’t easy without my children, but my priorities have now changed.
I have become my number one priority. I now want to look after me, which I had mostly ignored all these years.
I want to travel and see places I had only seen in photographs.
I want to do all those things which had taken a backseat most of the time like meeting up with old friends , watching movies, and going out for lunches with them. These seem mindless things if you look at it, but for someone who hadn’t got the opportunity to do all of this, it means a lot.
I want to live the rest of my time on earth completely and fully.
The truth is, adjusting to the empty nest is no painless task. I am now a mother of two grown sons and a daughter in law.
I’m ready for anything now. Because no matter what job I have or what direction my life takes me in, I’ll always be their mother.