Today, we drove my youngest daughter, Love, to her new home. It is 14.8 kms away from our residence, quite a fair distance. As we were driving, I was asking myself, "did I really allowed my daughter to live away from home (even if it is an educational requirement to comply with, prior to graduation in college)? I was telling myself, she"ll have a hard time because after her duties, she has to do her laundry, iron her clothes and prepare her own food. Days prior to this date, her Dad & I were trying to dissuade her from completing her "on the job training" in a far location from home but she was adamant with her decision to go through with her plans. She tells us that she and five other girl friends are staying together and that they are scouting for a place near their place of work to stay. I know it was a sound decision on her part because academically, she would benefit from the training in the hospital and second it is practical to rent a place near their work rather than commuting to and fro everyday.
The ride to her new apartment, has taken me back in time. My daughter as a new born baby, was quite big, weighing 8 lbs. Always clinging to Mommy, I can't even get out of bed without her getting awake too. No matter how I tried getting up slowly, she would instantly wake up. My daughter, who I breastfed until she's one month short of two years old. I'm just days away from giving birth to my youngest child but still I can not wean her. As a young child, she was very precocious, she was the baby doll of the family. When she was in pre school, she would write me letters telling me she loves me. She would insert it inside my bag, so that I'd see it when I reached the office. She has so many excuses not to go to school so I would bring her with me to the office. I was working abroad, and in one of our video calls, she complained to me, that a particular topic her teacher was discussing in class was wrong and she told it to her teacher. I asked her what did the teacher said, she replied, the teacher got mad and wrote her Dad a letter to see her in school. She was nine years old at that time. Many years passed and now my daughter is a year away from her college graduation, she has made us proud by being a dean's lister. She's an obedient daughter, has not given me headaches, but she stands up for herself. She voices out her opinions, whether or not, you agree or disagree with her. As a mother, I am here to guide her, support her and to champion her in her endeavors.
Many mothers, midlife women, is in the same boat as I am. I encourage you to support your children in their plans. Let me share with you, how you can cope up with children leaving home. Not to make it a tragedy for yourself and for your children.
Facing an empty nest, becomes a crises for midlife women. Coming home to an empty nest leads to empty nest syndrome. Empty nest syndrome is feelings of depression or grief by parents living in a home from which the children have left.
Here are the things, midlife women can do to cope up with an empty nest:
1. Plan for it - we should be open to the fact that our children will eventually leave home, either to study, work or have a family of their own. If we are not blind to this fact, it is easier for both the parents & children. We have to be supportive of our children because they will not forever remain as kids. When the time comes, we have to respect and recognize that our children have grown up and have their own responsibilities too. This way, it won't be hard for our children to leave us too. Leaving is also a hard decision for our children, it means leaving the comforts of their homes. If they came from a tightly knitted family, leaving their siblings will be hard too. Let us not make the leaving of home of our children, a sad occasion for them so that they could cope up easily too.
2. Maintain continuous communication - nowadays,our loved ones is just a call away. How easy it is, to connect with our loved ones,it may be by text messaging, phone call or video call. In that way, they won't be too lonely too. By calling them, we can check on them on how they're doing. See to it that you' re not overdoing it, your child might not appreciate it anymore if your calling them at every hour.
3. Keep busy - if you're working, continue to do so, in that way, you"ll not miss so much your child. If you're a stay at home mom, get a hobby, it's interesting to learn new things. You can also engage in simple exercises. When we exercise, our body releases the chemicals endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that trigger happy feelings.
4. Eat a well balanced diet - a balance diet has a good influence on one's mental health. It helps to overcome stress and depression.
5. Connect with your loved ones and close friends - if you're having a hard time coping up with the situation of your children leaving home, you have to share these feelings with your spouse, close relatives and friends. Do not bottle it up, share it, express it. If you need medical help, go to your doctor so he could help you.
6. Stay positive - keep a healthy outlook in life. This is also the perfect opportunity to take on new challenges at work or in our personal life. Pray always, lift up your worries and anxieties to the Lord. "Cast your cares upon the Lord and He will sustain you - Psalm 55:22".
It is important to teach our children, proper values and love for family from the time they are little. Family will always be home to our children. Love and respect your children and they will love and respect you too.
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Middle life is beautiful.
Till next time. God bless.