My children will be all raised and gone from my house before I know it. I will be left behind with their memorable words, dirty handprints, and toddler images rooted in my mind. My brain understands this, but my heart does not! My identity will be carried off with them.
These children have been the focal point of my life for the last twenty years. At times, they have been the only thing standing between me and insanity. They have been my anchors when my life was adrift. I poured all of the best parts of me into raising them and I have never been prouder of anything else. They are the best and only achievements that matter to me.
My oldest daughter has flown the coop already. She has not looked back either. Although I miss her terribly, I know she is smart and self-sufficient.
My boys, however, don’t inspire much confidence in self-sufficiency. Even so, my eighteen-year-old son is counting down the days until he can spread his wings. I can’t fault him. I was the same way.
The problem is that I still look at them and see the two toe-headed little toddlers that they once were. The ones that constantly brought mischief, excitement, and exhaustion into my life. The ones that taught me how to be a mother and truly love someone.
However able they may be, it is still excruciating for me to sit by and watch them make mistakes I see coming a mile away. They ignore what I know is a red flag and just assume I am an old lady who doesn’t know what she is talking about. After all, my experiences were from the “olden days” and these are new times. So, I shut my mouth and sit back.
I still have two young left to finish mothering so that will keep me in check for the next eight years. But after that, I can already see that I’m going to have a hard time figuring out who I am other than a mother.
I have a career, hobbies, and a husband, but they all take a backseat to motherhood. I have dogs, birds, and a turtle to use my motherly instincts on as well. But I can foresee that it won’t be enough for me.
My plan of action for the inevitable empty nest syndrome is to continue to improve myself and work on finding a passion beyond writing and mothering. I need to strengthen other relationships so I can lean on that love while the other leaves me temporarily.
I also plan to adopt six more dogs, but don’t tell my husband. I did some research on how the “experts” say we should prepare for empty nest syndrome. No one can say that I am not preparing for this upcoming disruption in my life.
The Mayo Clinic says to prevent being afflicted with empty nest syndrome you must accept the fact your kids are leaving, keep in touch with them when they go, seek support from friends and family, and to stay positive.
The experts at Wikipedia note that you should stay in touch with people, get invested in a new hobby, or rekindle your relationship with your spouse should you be so inclined.
Good Housekeeping, in my opinion, gives the best advice. They say for you to figure out who you are as an individual, make a plan of action to stay in contact with the nest flyers, structure your days to stay busy, and to find new pleasures in life.
In the meantime, I will focus on enjoying the time I have left with them. And since I’m fretting so far in advance, maybe I’ll try to wean myself from my mothering dependency. This whole time they thought they needed me, but I needed them more.