Empty Nest Syndrome

Updated on January 10, 2007
S.L. asks from San Antonio, TX
8 answers

How do I deal with my 18 year old leaving home? I am so worried about her, Is she eating right? Is she safe at night? Is she happy? I guess I never thought she would leave home or it never dawned on me that she would eventually leave me. I mean I knew it would happen but I thought I had more time with her. I feel a little lost without her here. Sometimes I am happy since now I have more space, the bills have gone down (electric, etc)but I miss her so very much. There are times that I just cry like a baby because I miss her so much! How do I let her grow and experience life and still keep my baby? When I look at her, she is still my baby.

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So What Happened?

HI Ladies,
I appreciate all the advice and I know it's normal. I have seen signs that she is missing me perhaps. I finally made it over to her apartment to see it after a couple of months of her being there. I didn't know what to do or say. She gave me the "tour" although it was a short one. ;-) She had said she was playing Sims on the PC so I brought her some info on getting health care since she can longer be on mine. I didn't really know what to say plus there's always the chance of me breaking down and that wouldn't have been good. Why I mention this is because she then went to my MySpace page and left me a comment asking me if I liked her apt and why I didn't stay longer. i sent her one back saying i liked the apt and I didn't know she wanted me to stick around. She never responded back. She is so moody. Sometimes, wait no, most of the time she acts like she can't stand me and all I want is to love her. She does come over like at least once a week to "go online" and "visit the animals". I just don't know what to say to her. Recently we asked her to go to Bingo since they had invited us to go twice before. They showed up to my amazement. Well, none of us won although she almost won, her number she needed would have been the next number called but someone called Bingo. After we left there, I was all torn up. First it was because I wanted her to win so badly since I know she could use the money. Then I started crying badly because I missed her. My boyfriend suggested I call her and let her know I missed her. I could barely get the words out of my mouth. She is like, " what's wrong" I told her nothing, just that I missed her. We went back and forth with that conversationa few times and then I said I loved her and good-bye. By the way, she won't tell she loves me. Last time was when she had one of her couple of drinking moments. I guess it slipped out, I dunno. One other thing y'all should know, Stephanie is my only blood relative I know since I was adopted. My Mom was the closest to me but I lost her in March 01 which I might have already mentioned.

Okay, that's an update for now. Please continue to suggest ways to get through this period because I feel very sad now and already on a few anti depressants which I was on prior to her moving out.

Thanks again for your feedback, I identified with all of y'all, from people that went throught it, haven't yet went through it, and on the other end..someone who lived it from the 18 year old perspective.


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answers from Lubbock on

I don't really have any advice, but I think it sounds so sweet the way you talk about her. I think some of the others have given good advice. ((hugs)) to you!

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answers from Philadelphia on

I love Brandi's response!!
I have an infant, so I am not in your position yet, but I can certainly sympathize.
I wish that I could offer you more encouragement other than the old saying : This too shall pass.
Sometimes when things get rough for me, I have to tell myself that nothing is permanent and things will soon change. You are a great mom for letting her go like you did. My mom held on for so long and so hard that as an 18 or 19-year-old I became angry with her. I give you much respect for letting your baby grow up. One day, she will be a great mom like you.



answers from El Paso on

I know when I moved out it was really hard for my mom. I was her only little girl, but when I lived at home we would fight and did not have a very good relationship. When I moved out it really was much better for both of us. We still have a few fights here and there, but we also have a relationship. Then once I got pregnant I REALLY needed her! So, just wait a little while for her to get her stuff together and you might be surprised how much she will still depend on you. "Mom how do I make this?" "Mom how do you do that?" "Mom Mom Mom????" :)



answers from San Antonio on

try talking to her i was 17 when i left my mom house ans she was single i member her crying all the time and real depressed she called me one day to ask me if i cn come over ans spend the night so every other weekend i would saty with her and talk to her its called commucation u need with her u probley thihnk it is just u but its not she probley misses u to and down that she not home try tallkning to her ok



answers from San Antonio on

That is so sweet that you two share that bond. Make sure to keep in contact with her. If she hasn't moved out of town, make a lunch date with her once a week to catch up on each other's lives. My mom is out of town, so I call her at the very least every Sunday. Usually we speak on the phone every other day.

One thing I do want to say, you have to be patient, there are times when she'll want to completley detach from you. That's okay and it's normal. She needs to find her own wings. Stay close and give her a safety net. My parents had a hard time when I moved out, between the ages of 18-21, I was partyin' too much. But I did eat well :) Anyway, It wasn't until I had my own kids that I'd call my mom every sniffle and every pain. That's where the new bond begins, motherhood, and grandmahood, then you'll get to enjoy the rollercoaster years all over again...lol

In the meantime in all this, how do you cope? Do fun things, go to church, volunteer your time. There are many things you can do that would benefit from your love and compassion!

Stay strong!

B. (25 y/o mother of a 2 y/o and 10 m/o)



answers from Corpus Christi on

Hi S.,
It is kinda funny be/c I have the opposite problem. My kids are very young and need me to do everything for them. It is a labor of love, but nonetheless it takes up all of my time and energy. I love to scrapbook, but I'm years behind! I wonder if this would be a fun hobby for you? It's like making storybooks out of your kids pictures. It brings back so many fun memories for me. Sometimes I feel like crying, but mostly I just smile and think about what great kids I have. And it's a fun way to make friends. They have groups that meet at scrapbooking stores and also groups called "creative memories" that meet at people's houses.

Blessings and best of luck to you!



answers from San Antonio on

Hi S.. Well, let me just say that I cannot speak of this from experience-I am 28 with a 5yr old and pregnant with #2 so I am not pretending to be an expert at the empty nest feelings. However, I know what you are feeling is totally normal. Especially having been a single mom, you had to do everything for her and BE everything for her whenever she needed anything. You are so used to taking care of her and providing for her needs every day, you're bound to feel a little lost at first and miss her like crazy. I'm sure I will be the same way, when that day comes. ;( In regards to your worries, I think you just have to have confidence in the way you raised her and values/morals you instilled into her, that she will rely on those to make the best decisions regarding her safety and well-being from her on out. Once she's moved out there's not much more you can do. I hope you get to looking up, I'm sure it's just a matter of time to get used to your new lifestyle and freedom. You might start to like it someday! :)



answers from San Antonio on

as soon as my daughter turned 18 after debating with her...i wanted her to stay home she wanted to be 18...i said to her ok i will let you go.....and not even 3 months later i lost her....when your daughter moves out on her own make it a point to always listen and be there for her...and you should call her daily......if i had a second chance i would have held her tight

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