Empty Nest Syndrome
Dealing with the expected wrench of your child leaving home.
Whether your child is off to study at university or simply setting up home on their own home, the emotions parents go through, can be quite confusing. It’s not surprising that many parents struggle in the first few months, here are just a few and perfectly normal feelings that you may experience.
If like me, you’ve spent the last few years picking up after your teenager, constantly battling to keep the kitchen surfaces clean, fridge stocked and bathroom, laundry free, when this suddenly stops overnight and for the first time in years you can leave to the house tidy and return to it, just as you left it, you will probably feel a little guilty at the sense of joy of at last, having some control.
But here is the snag, don’t’ be surprised, if, you also feel a complete loss of purpose! Your main focus for the past 18 years, your child, has now left, leaving behind that void that you are not quite sure on how to fill. You’ve nurtured them, through the toddler and pre-school years, to then arm them with advise to help guide them through their confusing teens, they have been your priority 24/7.
Once you’ve waved them off, to venture forward to follow their own dreams, don’t be surprised if you now feel lost, rest assured, you are not alone and it’s perfectly ok to have these feelings.
Allow yourself a little time, but remember, now is the time to prioritise you!
This sadness will pass, focus on the fabulous experiences you have enjoyed together and don’t lose sight that you have many more to come, with your now grown up child/young adult. Accepting this and your new found freedom will open up many new opportunities for YOU!
Reclaim your home, redecorate, take time to plan a new adventure for yourself, learn a new skill, plan a trip you’ve always wanted to experience, fill your days. You’ve done a fantastic job of bringing up your child enabling him/her to flee the nest, now it’s time for you!
ARM THEM WELL
Supply them will some failsafe recipes. Spend some time showing them a few classic and easy to cook recipes
Create an easy shopping list of weekly and store cupboard staples
Wash and go – explain the washing machine, and an important one, how often bedding should be washed! Simple things like washing lights and darks separately!
Get them ironing, a shirt should put them to the test, much needed for interviews/in laws.
Tidy tidy, explain the uses of a hoover and duster and how often they should be used.
Your job is now done!
Learn to cook – Don’t survive the first year on takeaway’s, learn to cook 5 simple and nutritious meals. Spagetti Bolognese, Pasta bake and a hot Chilli are a good start.
Make new friends, but don’t forget those at home
Friends for life are often made whilst studying away from home, but don’t forget the good friends at home. Life at college can be like living in a bubble, so avoid that awkwardness of returning home to reconnect with your old friends by involving them. Invite them to crash at weekends, check in with them regularly, don’t just disappear, let them know you value their friendship. With social media, there is no excuse for not keeping in touch!
3. Be well equipped n Dealing with illness or a simple injury can be daunting when you’ve not got mum to hand. Get yourself a first aid kit. Include plasters, antiseptic cream and cold remedies but also a good hangover cure and vitamin tablets. n Photo ID cards are needed in all manner of places, but also for student discounts, so ensure you have up to date photos. n Insurance, your gadgets, your keys, the contents of your room, whether its stolen or lost, need to be covered. n Memorise your new address, an important one if you find yourself stranded at the end of a night out after a few beers and need to hop in a taxi.
4. Don’t forget your parents! – They will value the odd phone call. They’ve been in your company for the last 18 years and may be struggling not having you around. Just ring for a chat and let them know how you are doing, it’ll probably make their day. Txt and share some some news.
5. Take a little bit of home with you. – Whether that’s your favourite pair of socks, a fridge magnet, a photo, or your pillow from home. Having a little bit of home with you is remarkably comforting.
6. Enjoy yourself – The transition to college is not smooth for everyone, don’t feel too anxious if you’re home sick, if you feel you’re not fitting in, not everyone has the time of their lives as soon as they step foot on campus, it may take some time. Do what you love, join clubs of interest to you where you’ll meet like minded people. These years soon pass, and you’ll find yourself in a regular job, so enjoy the freedom, make as many friends as you can, it’s daunting walking into a room full of people you don’t know, but just relax and be yourself and most of all have fun. Participate in events, go out and make the most of your student discounts. Work hard and play hard.
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