Although there have been ‘back to school’ signs in the shops for weeks, it’s finally that time when the schools go back and we settle back into the normal routine of life. It’s that time of year when lots of parents are preparing children for moving out and for leaving home to go to college or university for the first time.
As parents, when children leave home, there can be such a mixed bag of emotions. Of course, we want to see them as adults, doing their thing and finding their own way, but we can also feel that overwhelming sense of loss; when the role that gave you purpose and meaning seems to have come to an end. Our kids don’t need us as much. Our work here is done and that can leave us feeling adrift, when so much of our identity was wrapped up in being a parent.
Perhaps there’s a sense of time passing in the blink of an eye and we feel the loss of an era that we can’t relive, which perhaps touches a nerve in us to do with our own aging and mortality.
Equally, children leaving home can create space and opportunity in our lives. Perhaps we now feel that it’s time for us to make time for us, to do something else that’s equally meaningful and which gives us a sense of purpose and fulfilment. Apparently 60% of people who start small businesses are between the ages of 40 and 60 (www.smallbizgenius.net) This period in our life feels can be full of opportunity; self-reflection, and rediscovery. It can be hugely exciting and at the same time terrifying.
Both Mums and Dads can be impacted, and in this article, Gordon Ramsey talks brilliantly about what it felt like for him, when his children left home for the first time.
If you’re struggling with any of this, just like any emotional event, here’s what I’d suggest;
- Don’t be afraid to acknowledge how much it hurts. You don’t have to put on a brave face. It’s not a sign of weakness to feel sad, or that you can’t cope.
- Talking about things really does take the sting out of it. Find someone to talk to about how you’re feeling. You don’t have to tell all and sundry but saying things out loud might help you to process the cocktail of feelings that you’re dealing with here.
- Give yourself time. It’s a grieving process. You’re letting go of the past and stepping into a new way of life. It’s a big change and you can do it, but it will take time to adjust and settle into a new way of being and living.
- When the time feels right, perhaps you can start to think about ‘what next for you?’ if you have some space now, what would you like to do with it? What have you always wanted to do, but never had the time?
As always, if you’d like to get things off your chest so that you can look at your options, please get in touch and let’s make a start!
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