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Dealing with the empty nest blues

Monday, March 14, 2011

I have 4 children, 2 of my children boys (27 and 21) are both out of the house already. My closest children to me are my 19 year old twins (Brittany and Tiffany), they went everywhere with me.

Last November, I took my daughter (Brittany) to the airport so she could leave for Air Force bootcamp. I couldn't contain my tears, I cried there, I cried on the way home.

March 1st my other daughter (Tiffany) left for Army bootcamp, she is the closest and most like me, I am still having a hard time going in places without them and having people ask me where they are without breaking down and crying in public.

I know it is natural for children to leave the nest, it is just a fact of life and it happens, but I never thought it would be this hard :( I am very proud of them and letting go is something I have to do, but cutting the umbilical cord is so hard. I have been an "active mom 24/7/365 for a total of 27 years" and my role as mom is changing. Maybe it is that I still want to feel needed and still want to protect my daughters, but at some point I have to let them wing it on their own.

Anyone a military moms out there or parent who has a child who has left home have any coping tips?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I don't have children of my own, but I can tell you this...even at age 43, whenever something goes really wrong or really right, my Mom is the one I want to tell. There are times when I am struggling and my boyfriend will even tell me to call my Mom, b/c he knows she can help in a way that nobody else can.

    You will always, ALWAYS be needed by your kids. You fill a need in them that nobody else on the planet ever can; even when they marry, have children of their own, etc, they will always need Mom.

    2051 days ago
    Oh, I feel for you. :( My oldest (25) left abruptly 4 years ago, taking her 3 year old, whom I was the primary caregiver of, with her. My heart broke. I sobbed as they drove away. They are still in our lives and I see them frequently, but that was really hard. This year, my middle one (18) left for college. I miss her every day. My youngest (16) wants to join the Navy as soon as he's old enough. I get sick to my stomach every time I think about it. It really makes me nauseous. I don't know how moms of soldiers do it. I tip my hat to all of you. I think if/when it happens to me, I will go insane. Huge hugs to you. emoticon
    2384 days ago
    It is so much harder than I ever thought it would be. I have been a single mom for 16 of her 18 years and so it was always just the two of us.
    When my daughter went away to school in the fall it was heartwrenching. I looked up a lot of info and read: get closer to your spouse (do not have one), remember what you used to do before kids and do those things again (I was 21- dont really want to go back there:-)).
    If you have a close network of friends I would say to lean on them (my family and friends are on the other side of the country from me), or focus on Spark and the friends you have here. It helps.
    My daughter didnt call or email or anything for almost 2 months and it was the hardest 2 months of my life. It hurts to know that we cant help them, talk with them, or get a hug from them.

    But it does somehow lessen. Forgive yourself for feeling like you have to mourn the loss (even though they are not too far away, it still feels like a loss) and let yourself cry if you need to.

    I think there are teams on Spark for empty nesters as well.
    2384 days ago
  • LEAH57
    I remember this group from when they started over 14 years ago, by some moms who's sons went to Marine boot camp, and just wanted to commisserate together. They started on the AOL community that I was a board leader for, and have grown quite large since.


    2384 days ago
    I'm sure that you are as "needed" as ever!

    What helped my DW was keeping in touch in as many ways as possible...cell phone, e-mails, instant messaging, etc.

    Hang in there...your kids are going to keep making you SO PROUD of them! :-)

    2385 days ago
    My son left for Marine Boot Camp last May and saying good-bye was the hardest thing I have ever done so far. I did get through it....and you will too. It's so hard, but it does get easier as time goes on. Now he is getting married, so I'm dealing with loss all over again. On the one hand, I'm so happy that he is happy....but on the other I just keep thinking about how he'll never come "home" again - his home won't be with me anymore. It's been hard to come to terms with. But hang in there! I've got on board with his choices and I bet you will too.

    I have my older daughter home temporarily and that helped a lot. But I'll havd to go through the separation thing all over again when she moves out on her own. I also have my 92-year-old mom living here....my husband and I are almost looking forward to the empty nest days ahead. It's all relative.....
    2386 days ago
    I pray that this will get easier, currently moving in with my 20 year old son, because there father passed away and they inherited this hugh house and he is not capable of taking care of the home, nor is his 18 year old brother my youngest. I am sure they will visit you and come and stay awhile when they get leave but that will change when they get married and life happens for them. Good Luck.
    2386 days ago
    Well I had one child leave for the Army and now my second son is in college so I too understand the feeling of having an empthy nest!! Truth is it just takes time but we will always be moms no matter what age they are!! We will always miss them and wish they were close by but such is life!! We raise them to go out into the world and continue their journey!! We can only feel proud of what we have accomplished and smile for they will always be our babies!!

    Take care and know that Military Mamas and Papas understand what you are going through and are here if you need us!!

    Best oof luck!!
    2386 days ago
    Hard task----but you have raised them to be responsible adults so pat yourself on the back----and when someone asks, share your pride in where they are and talk their ears off about how you miss them. Nothing wrong with that and it might help the tears just talking about it.
    2386 days ago
    When my son left for the Navy it was really hard...but my older son was still home-not long though,but he broke me in slowly with his leaving.I think it is especially hard when you are a single parent-it really is empty. All I can say is pray a lot! It helps if
    you have a pet-not too lonely with a furry friend to greet you! Good luck!-Linda
    2386 days ago
    emoticon Oh, boy, do I know the feeling. I have exactly one, count him, ONE child (thus the moniker)... and when he left for boot camp? I had to be strong because his girlfriend was the puddle of tears. Because she was so weepy, and it bothered him so much... I waited to cry until later!

    Then I hired myself a personal trainer and worked my little fanny off in psychic communion with the boot camp experience. Silly mom. But it worked. Took off enough weight and increased enough fitness to get told at graduation "I almost didn't recognize you, Mom". I've used exercise and fitness as a coping mechanism throughout his entire Army experience... because if I kept on eating over the stress, I would have put myself into a grave by now, and my kid doesn't need THAT added to his responsibilities!

    It's not easy. But we are strong moms... or we wouldn't have such great kids, eh?
    2386 days ago
  • CONCHA77
    Time. I think it just takes time. I know exactly how you feel, I have been there. All I know is now, years later, I am even more proud and closer to my kids. Funny how life works out. (My kids have been gone over a decade)
    Be kind to yourself, you did great being a mom.
    We are here for you. Connie
    2386 days ago
  • SUNNY332
    Joshua (Our Soldier Boy) was the last to leave home so well acquainted with the "empty nest blues". Bless your heart. There is no "sure cure" - just take it a day at a time and try to focus on what a great job you did raising these kids and what awesome choices they have made for themselves. I know you are proud but that doesn't help on days you just want to sit down and talk with one of them. I spent the first year Joshua was away to boot camp/specialty training making a scrapbook for him. I gave it to him on his first visit home. It did help me deal with the emptiness.

    Hang in there and do stop by your groups and don't be afraid to ask for hugs. We'll be here for you.

    2386 days ago
    Lots of people will say to find a hobby, volunteer somewhere, etc. and all of those suggestions are good ones. If you're involved with a church, I'd say to find a group to join in with for a Bible study or community project. The best way to keep from being miserable is to occupy your mind with something else--that's logical. If you're married, enjoy rebuilding and renewing that relationship.

    In the end, the empty nest is bittersweet. Bitter, because of the word "empty." We feel that--displaced and drifting--like we aren't sure what to do next. But it's sweet because we've accomplished our goal and helped our kids to stand on their own and become adults. Our role changes (as you've learned with your boys, I'm sure) but it's still very important. They still need us, just differently than before.

    Try to find something to fill the empty time. It really does get easier as you all begin to adjust to this next phase of life. Rejoice in the closeness of your relationship with your girls--you have a lot to be proud and happy for. Not everyone has that comfort in the transition. Sometimes, when the kid leaves home it's because of bad choices and that really stinks!
    2386 days ago
    It is hard. All you can do is take it one day at a time. Find new things to do the you haven't done with them. It does get easier
    2386 days ago
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