The Nest Is Emptying in 10 Days - Mixed Emotions

Updated on August 07, 2015
M.M. asks from Allen, TX
17 answers

Hi wonderful tribe of Mammas....well the twins are off to college in 10 days and I have such mixed emotions. I am so proud of the young women they have become but I am so sad to see them go....I know, what's the alternative? Living at home in the basement? Of course not. But, I am feeling so emotional now. What's your best advice for transitioning to this next phase? I'm working on the hobbies, reaching out to a few friends, but YUK! I will miss my messy darlings.

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answers from Austin on

Enjoy it while you can! We have 4 kids, and at this point, 2 of them have moved back in temporarily....... and one other has boomeranged several times....

The nest doesn't stay empty for long!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

My messy darling will be a Junior in college this year.

It was weird when she moved out but she is thriving in her environment and that makes me feel great. She is balancing her grades (steady 4.0's), social activities, internship and living on her own very well.

The day she moved out, I was at home on crutches due to surgery and could not go to her new condo. I didn't go upstairs for weeks in my own home and see that she cleaned me out on furniture either!!!

Now look forward, it was one of the best things we did. We purchased a condo for her and she lives about 20 minutes away from us and attends college. Our relationship is closer than ever... she comes here about once a week for dinner and laundry night while we watch our favorite TV shows. I see her about once every week or 2 weeks for lunch shopping or mani/pedis. She is maintaining her condo beautifully. I fully expected it to be a huge mess because her room was always a mess but I go to the condo and it is hard to find dust anywhere!! Spotless.

I'm fortunate that she is attending a well regarded school here in the Dallas area. For the longest time, we thought she would be a plane ticket away from home and that would have been great as well because she was ready for this next stage.

It is sad to see them go but it is rewarding to see what they achieve, how they develop and see the women they become.

They will "grow up" more in college and hopefully they are prepared socially to interact with others because that is vital for social activity as well as academically.

You'll do fine.

I work with my hubby 24/7 running our business. I will also start my 15th year as a substitute at the elementary school where my daughter went. I love the children and I sub because I love the children, certainly not for the $$, LOL. I also volunteer. There are tons of volunteer opportunities in our area... (I'm in the Plano Allen area as well)

Look around you, find interests but don't push yourself to get into something too quickly. Take your time and enjoy the empty nest! I don't do the nightly cooking I used to do. Now I cook a couple times a week, we still have date night every Friday night, and we enjoy a better relationship than ever with our daughter.

Enjoy this new stage of your life!!!

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I felt that way too - I think your feelings may be doubled because you are sending twice the activity/noise/mess level off at once! I have one child so it was still an all-or-nothing send-off at college. He went to a great school, a perfect fit for him, but it was 5 hours away - so we knew we wouldn't see him much. It turned out to be great for me to move out of Mom mode on a daily basis.

What I can say is, look at your Mamapedia name: Passion To Raise Them Well. You've done that. And how do you measure "raising them well"? You measure it when they leave to go put to use all the skills that you've taught them and encouraged them to develop on their own.

What's happening to you now is exactly what you worked for and hoped for. But there's still a little part of you that thinks they can't (or shouldn't quite be able to) manage without you.

Here's the thing: your job as a mom isn't over. It's just changing to the next phase. It changed when they started walking, when they went to school, when they rode their bikes without training wheels, when they had their first sleepover at someone else's home, when they got behind the wheel with a permit and later with a license. You managed all of those transitions. This is the next one.

They still need you. Just not every day. Resist the urge to call them all the time and ask about all their classes and friends. Let them learn to live life every day without you there.They MUST do this. Don't call their professors to say they are too tired to take an exam, don't grill them on their social lives. Let them get too little sleep now and then, let them screw up a test now and then, let them figure out the next steps.

So try to get a little excited about the new stuff for their rooms and a few supplies, then have a good cry when you drop them off. Have a plan for something for yourself - get a facial, have one (and only one) Pity Party dinner with friends, take a long walk or hit the treadmill, and get to that list of things you've been putting off. Join something, anything - a zumba class, a pottery class, a retile-the-bathroom tutorial at the hardware store. Change some things at home or in your home life so that you see progress there, not just the emptiness. There's more fullness in your life than you think - just be open to it.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on


If you are so inclined, consider fostering a dog or cat. Seriously. Obviously it won't take the place of your girls, but you will be doing an animal a good turn, and appropriately channeling your loving energy.

F. B.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on


Some people instantly love the empty nest. I didn't. It was time for them to leave, for sure, but for me the silence and emptiness of the house after they departed has yet to be sufficiently filled. They do come back for vacations, etc., and those seem to come quickly, the first year.

I still love it when they come home. I read an article by a woman who said it took her four years to completely lose the empty nest blues, so that's the timeline I've set for myself. For me, it's the mourning of an irreplaceable era. And yes, I have hobbies, friends, a life, but I still miss it.

If you and your husband have a strong relationship, that will help a lot. For me their leaving forced us to finally have to confront our marital problems, which was hard.

I will say, daughter just came through our home like a whirlwind for four days, and man that girl can make a mess, as she rushes from activity to activity with her friends. Also, when they live away I don't worry as much. Once they are home, I start to worry if they haven't returned at 4 a.m.

Good luck with it!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

I'll be in your shoes in 2 years time.
I expect I'll be very proud and doing my best to bury my feelings at least till our son is off to school.
THEN I'll be a bit of a basket case.
You might want to take a romantic trip with Hubby - 2nd honeymoon, something like that.
Believe it or not, you'll adjust eventually - and so will they - and before you know it visits home will be stressful - and you'll enjoy your empty nest.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I have one child graduated who works out of town and I see some weekends. My daughter graduates in a year and then it will just be my SS every other weekend. I've had the time to adjust with them spending summers with their dad.

You just get through. I give myself two weeks before going through their rooms and cleaning up or cleaning out. It's a new phase in life and you get hit double with twins. You get to establish a new relationship on a different level with them b/c its not about picking up their clothes, cleaning their rooms, curfew and schedules. Even though you know this is the next step in life for them and you, it still leaves you with the empty rooms and the silence. I love when they're all home and there's extra kids around. You will learn to appreciate the dishes still all being done when you get home from work, there still being milk in the fridge (where you left it), knowing when you're low on shampoo - the silly stuff. It's the little moments that I miss them the most - critiquing my outfit in the morning, helping curl hair, sitting on my bed at night getting a rundown of life but it makes those hours reconnecting so special when they do come home. They'll still call just b/c they needed to hear their mom's voice.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Get busy! Stay busy!
For now you need a distraction.
Get out of the house, call friends to meet up for lunch, go for long walks, go
shopping, drive to a new nearby town for the day.
Take yourself to a movie.
Fix up the basement.
Pick up new hobbies. Now!!!
Go out to dinner w/your husband.
Go for a weekend hike w/hubby.
Get to the library for some quiet reading time.
Volunteer. Not only are you helping but you'll make new friends.
Get a part time job. Something that interests you.
Help out at an animal shelter.
Get out of the house for sure. Go places. Do things you couldn't do before because you were tied to the house w/responsiblities tied to the kids.
Plan a trip to go visit them.
Send them care packages. Work on them now getting stuff together.
Join a book club.
Take golf lessons.
Join a bowling league etc.
Wishing you the best & I'll be back here ain a few years asking you the same question. ;)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I think it's tougher for you because they're leaving at the same time. At least I had one with me still when the first one left for college. Now the second one's in college and the first one is out in the BIG WIDE WORLD with his first job. That's even more scary for me than him being in college!! (But also extremely satisfying, since the only thing I'm supporting him with now is letting him still be on our family cell phone plan...)

I just continued to do my own stuff, to be honest. I probably work harder at my hobbies and the charities I support, because I don't have them here to pay attention to. I also seem to mother people a little bit more, LOL!

Make sure you travel to parent's weekend. It will actually mean a lot to them, even though they may act otherwise. And it will help YOU to acclimate.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

It is a part of life. Your daughters have grown up. If you have taught them well, they should be able to cope with the transition.

You however have not transitioned very well. Our children are with us for a set amount of time in which we teach them how to be citizens of the world and to be productive and self-supporting.

Take this time to go back and do things you want to do. Get a job or do other volunteer work that interests you. What did you want to do before you were a mom and just beginning your adult life? This is the time for you to do that.

Enjoy your home and its quietness. Enjoy hearing the birds outside when you have a cup of coffee or tea in the morning. Plan to meet friends and do a yoga class or two. Your life is your life now and go for it to the fullest. Fill in the void and enjoy it.

I always knew that my children would leave and so I worked to keep me busy and not have the empty nest blues. Yes, I miss them both but I am my own person and I love it. Keep in touch but don't go overboard as they are now on their own journeys in life and to explore and to create new memories together and separately.

the other S.

PS My children are my life but my life is not my children.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I say focus on your relationship with your husband. Maybe start with a naked picnic on the living room floor. lol Congrats and good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

well, it IS sad. of course you don't want to wallow in it, but i think you should give yourself some space to mourn the end of this big life phase. it's significant. it shouldn't wreck you, but i think it's okay to acknowledge it as a big deal.
but boy, such a great new vista is opening for you. when my boys moved out i a) fell back in love with my hubba hubba hubby b) started writing again c) realized how desperately i'd been craving solitude for a couple of decades d) examined some of things i always thought i'd love to do 'if i had time' and decided which ones were real e) started spending a lot more time on MP<G>.
:) khairete

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Get busy doing things for yourself.

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answers from New York on

I'm so not that kind of mom. I love my babies dearly but I'm so looking forward to them moving out of my house and becoming full fledged adults.

Since you haven't already transitioned in your mind for this to happen then you are going to have to play catch up.

Remember when they were small and they had their first day at all day school? Yes you missed them but you let them go and be independent. This is much the same.

Try not to crowd them by calling too much. Give them room to grow and soar. It's good you have hobbies and are contemplating reconnecting with friends. Most of all I would advise you to make your plans for the future. They will probably return to your home for breaks and after they graduate if they must. You have more than likely done an excellent job as their mom and now it's time to encourage them to fly and to soar to higher heights. As you do this spend time creating the life you always wanted for yourself. Think about things like travel, new experiences, and just enjoying your life.

You girls have each other and they will always be your chidlren but they aren't babies any longer. It's time for you to embrace your adult chidlren and being on the otherside of raising them.

If it gets really tough for you, you could always consider getting a pet. They NEVER leave and require similiar levels of commitment as children.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Keep your head down and keep doing what you're doing mama. You just have to experience it and get through it. You're doing right by staying busy, and pouring your heart out when needed is good too. Don't ignore the emotions - you've earned them! But don't wallow either, and I know you're not. Hang in there. You'll get through it!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I am sure I will feel the same way when the time comes! I plan on doing things I never have time classes, creating art to put up in a gallery, exercise, long hikes, trips and travel, and joining clubs and groups.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

It takes some getting used to but just when you are enjoying having the house to yourself they will be back for the weekend, or Thanksgiving, etc. It really does go by quickly. You need to find things you like again, call friends, go to the gym, go for walks, just sit and read a book, etc. Those were all things I enjoyed when my house was empty...and then came the grandchildren and we are busier than ever. It is hard to remember that we were wondering the same things you are wondering.

1 mom found this helpful
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