Empty nest


#1

I have four children. My last child is away at college.Two of my children are married and starting families and the other one the only boy(21) is moving out next month.Lately, I have been sensing a strong pulling away from three of my children. I know this is necessary for them to become independant but I didn’t know it would hurt so much to have them ignore me.
I am getting a sense that I have to start some kind of life without them(is this the empty nest syndrome?)Part of me is excited about this(travel with my husband,art class,lunch with a new friend) but part of me feels like I was slapped in the face by some of their rude comments.Does it always have to hurt to have change?Also I have one daughter(the oldest)who is so kind to me and also tries to keep the family together.I feel sorry for her because i think I am pulling away from her as I pull back from my other children in a protection of my feelings?
Has anyone got some advice about going through this time of my life and Is this normal that everyone is pulling away or are we a family that is falling apart.I certainly don’t feel like giving it my all when I sense it is unappreciated. At times I feel like running away.Oh I forgot to mention that I am beginning menopause.


#2

[quote=mariainman]I have four children. My last child is away at college.Two of my children are married and starting families and the other one the only boy(21) is moving out next month.Lately, I have been sensing a strong pulling away from three of my children. I know this is necessary for them to become independant but I didn’t know it would hurt so much to have them ignore me.
I am getting a sense that I have to start some kind of life without them(is this the empty nest syndrome?)Part of me is excited about this(travel with my husband,art class,lunch with a new friend) but part of me feels like I was slapped in the face by some of their rude comments.Does it always have to hurt to have change?Also I have one daughter(the oldest)who is so kind to me and also tries to keep the family together.I feel sorry for her because i think I am pulling away from her as I pull back from my other children in a protection of my feelings?
Has anyone got some advice about going through this time of my life and Is this normal that everyone is pulling away or are we a family that is falling apart.I certainly don’t feel like giving it my all when I sense it is unappreciated. At times I feel like running away.Oh I forgot to mention that I am beginning menopause.
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I can only advise, please try and return the kindness being offered by your oldest daughter. And remember, growing up and moving on does not justify rudeness. Sometimes, people don’t mean to be rude - they think they are being clever, especially at the age you are describing - but you are allowed to gently remind your children that you are their mother and should always be treated with respect.

The daughter that is being kind - ask yourself, if this was a girlfriend of mind, how would I respond? If this was me acting this way, how would I want to be treated? Remember, you are the heart of your home, even now.


#3

Being at a much different stage in my life, I can only offer you my two for a few days…LOL – I’m not poking fun, it’s just interesting how inviting your life sounds to me right now…:o

note – this is after a day of having the house bombed for fleas and entertaining the kids with no naps (talk about “irritable”) all day long on a rainy day…so that’s probably why an empty house sounds like heaven to me right about now!!! (1hr till bedtime…1hr till bedtime…)


#4

[quote=mariainman]I have four children. My last child is away at college.Two of my children are married and starting families and the other one the only boy(21) is moving out next month.Lately, I have been sensing a strong pulling away from three of my children. I know this is necessary for them to become independant but I didn’t know it would hurt so much to have them ignore me.
I am getting a sense that I have to start some kind of life without them(is this the empty nest syndrome?)Part of me is excited about this(travel with my husband,art class,lunch with a new friend) but part of me feels like I was slapped in the face by some of their rude comments.Does it always have to hurt to have change?Also I have one daughter(the oldest)who is so kind to me and also tries to keep the family together.I feel sorry for her because i think I am pulling away from her as I pull back from my other children in a protection of my feelings?
Has anyone got some advice about going through this time of my life and Is this normal that everyone is pulling away or are we a family that is falling apart.I certainly don’t feel like giving it my all when I sense it is unappreciated. At times I feel like running away.Oh I forgot to mention that I am beginning menopause.
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As a 40-something daughter of an empty nester, I’d like to offer a different perspective. I know it was tough on Mom when we all started leaving the “nest”. However, she became completely overbearing/controlling as we all began to leave. I know it was because she was losing some control of our lives, but it was still very difficult for all of us to deal with her as she became like that. My mother was not kind to any of our future spouses, and to this day none of them like her. At this time, my brother is not even speaking to her, and all of us are somewhat estranged. It is true, that mother was always “difficult”, but moreso as we left. In turn, we all began to “deal” with her by not seeing her as much, not calling her as much, and possibly in her eyes “being rude and disrespectful”. There is no reason to ever be disrespectful or rude to one’s mother, but I think it’s natural for kids to sort of “drift away” if one’s mother is overbearing/controlling.

I hope I haven’t hurt your feelings. I’m sure you are not as I’ve described Mom, but I wanted to share my thoughts—I hope I’ve helped in some way.

I’ll keep you in my prayers as you enter this bittersweet time in your life—that time is only a few years off for me!!!:frowning:


#5

[quote=Giannawannabe]As a 40-something daughter of an empty nester, I’d like to offer a different perspective. I know it was tough on Mom when we all started leaving the “nest”. However, she became completely overbearing/controlling as we all began to leave. I know it was because she was losing some control of our lives, but it was still very difficult for all of us to deal with her as she became like that. :frowning:
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I do not want to be this type of mother. Actually I am tired of trying. I would just like to think about me and my husband for a while and not get caught up in their lives.Is this selfish,do I have the right. I know I take the risk that they will have nothing to do with me. But I already raised them and I don’t think I owe them anything.They do call when they want something and it feels onesided except for my one daughter who treats me like a friend.


#6

[quote=mariainman]I have four children. My .Lately, I have been sensing a strong pulling away from three of my children. I know this is necessary for them to become independant but I didn’t know it would hurt so much to have them ignore me…Oh I forgot to mention that I am beginning menopause.
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part of the natural progress, kick the little birds out of the nest and encourage them to fly away. Actually, moms should be starting to get a life long before the youngest leaves the nest. Our fulfillment and happiness should come from within, not from those we love, and from our act of loving them, not from their acts of love toward us. It is part of necessary spiritual growth to learn to do without visible signs of love from them. Plus, menopause makes us all crazy and emotional, so don’t discount it. Clinging to our children after they become adults is a major contributor to their difficulties in their own marriages.


#7

[quote=puzzleannie]Clinging to our children after they become adults is a major contributor to their difficulties in their own marriages.
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Wow, so true.


#8

[quote=Princess_Abby]Wow, so true.
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AMEN!! My MIL is incredibly guilty of trying to live vicariously thru us, and it has caused ENORMOUS amounts of stress…


#9

[quote=mariainman]I do not want to be this type of mother. Actually I am tired of trying. I would just like to think about me and my husband for a while and not get caught up in their lives.Is this selfish,do I have the right. I know I take the risk that they will have nothing to do with me. But I already raised them and I don’t think I owe them anything.They do call when they want something and it feels onesided except for my one daughter who treats me like a friend.
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I want to make a suggestion. I wish that my MIL would try this one out.

Set aside one weekend/day a month to invite all your children and their children over for a visit. Cook dinner, etc. but this one day can become a tradition in your family. Say every 2nd Saturday or something like that!

That way your children feel like you want to see them, and you will have a scheduled time for doing so…then you can make plans with husband for other things you both want to do.

Also, it may keep everything “going” within the family. Not one person has to make any special efforts to get together…this one day and or weekend will always be the time you all see each other.


#10

Just because your children are leaving home and starting their own lives doesn’t justify them being rude or disrespectful to you. I’m 27 and I’ve been married for 3 years…I still call my mom just to chat, ask questions when I’m not sure what I’m doing (those times happen more than either of us would like to admit) and I’d say that there is still a great deal of respect in our relationship, but it has changed a great deal now that I am an adult living in my own home and about to have a baby. She’s said herself that being my mom now isn’t like being my mom was before…she tends to see herself in a more spectator type role or as an advisor rather than acting as a disciplinarian…and I’d agree with that assessment…I go to her for advice sometimes, for directions on cooking (she must think I’m never going to learn to cook), etc. She spends her time doing things she enjoys, takes care of her dogs, travels, scrapbooks and all the things she couldn’t do before because she was too busy being Mom. I’m happy that she’s taking time for herself, and doing things she enjoys. She still loves me, she still loves my little brother, and she’s always gonna be my mom, but she has a right to a life too and I’m happy to see her living it and to be a part of it.

On the flipside of the coin is my MIL who is also an empty-nester now…she saw her children as her way of having power over someone else and control over their actions…She still tries to control them and she’s even tried controlling me and even MY parents…My MIL put so much energy into detailing her children’s lives that she neglected herself, and seems to be lost without someone to control…I pray that she’ll be able to accept this new role as a mother, I believe it will benefit us all…

My advice would be to not neglect yourself or your growing family…invite the grandkids over for cookie baking days, have a family dinner on a day other than a holiday…spend time with them but also spend time doing things you and your husband enjoy…reconnect with him…take time to focus on your relationship with him and the vocation that God has given you…

It sounds as though you have a wonderful daughter, don’t pull away from her too much, it sounds as though she has a great love for you and a great deal of respect…

Love,
jamie


#11

My advice would be to not neglect yourself or your growing family…invite the grandkids over for cookie baking days, have a family dinner on a day other than a holiday…spend time with them but also spend time doing things you and your husband enjoy…reconnect with him…take time to focus on your relationship with him and the vocation that God has given you…

It sounds as though you have a wonderful daughter, don’t pull away from her too much, it sounds as though she has a great love for you and a great deal of respect…

Love,
jamie

I have been that type of mom. but I am burned out from taking care of my mom and babysiting my grandkids.I’m tired of always making dinner and cleaning up after they all leave.Like I said i have one daughter who will probably pick up the ball and run with it but the others just don’t care right now and I can’t care. I don’t have the energy to work at it.
Also I have one daughter who has been an emotional drain on me her whole life. She has ADHD and learning disabilities. Recently we had a very ugly argument that left me raw and she was rude to me. i fear that she will always be rude to me when we argue and it seems like we do that often. I think that what i’m saying is that I need some space to heal but i am also afraid that I will never have a good relationship with this daughter.


#12

[quote=mariainman]I have been that type of mom. but I am burned out from taking care of my mom and babysiting my grandkids.I’m tired of always making dinner and cleaning up after they all leave.Like I said i have one daughter who will probably pick up the ball and run with it but the others just don’t care right now and I can’t care. I don’t have the energy to work at it.
Also I have one daughter who has been an emotional drain on me her whole life. She has ADHD and learning disabilities. Recently we had a very ugly argument that left me raw and she was rude to me. i fear that she will always be rude to me when we argue and it seems like we do that often. I think that what i’m saying is that I need some space to heal but i am also afraid that I will never have a good relationship with this daughter.
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Have you considered talking to a counselor about some of these feelings and family dynamics? It sounds like you’re in need of someone to purely listen and help you figure out what you would like to do, or NOT do.

catholictherapists.com


#13

[quote=Princess_Abby]Have you considered talking to a counselor about some of these feelings and family dynamics? It sounds like you’re in need of someone to purely listen and help you figure out what you would like to do, or NOT do.

catholictherapists.com
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I saw a counselor at retreat this weekend and she said I need to forgive my daughter and myself. She said I am too raw to do anything about it at this time. So I think she was giving me permission to distance myself for a time because i need it.I am just not feeling very strong right now.

I hate the idea of going to another counselor. That’s why i wrote this thread.


#14

Here’s another counsellor to try the Counsellor. Try spending an hour a day (if possible) in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Just shed your troubles for that time and give them to Jesus.

Say a Divine Mercy for each of your children, inserting their name… “Have mercy on … and on the entire world.”

I have a daughter who sounds suspiciously like yours. She verbally abuses me whenever she feels angry with me. I remove myself asap when this happens (sometimes I go for a drive to get away from her) and say an extra Divine Mercy for her.


#15

Gulp…I am in the process of this now…

Read about your symptoms, causes and treatment here.

Although mine still live at home they really have more than one foot out of the door. God has been gracious to me and prepared me very gently for the transition.
Eileen T. gave the very best advice around. Pray Pray Pray
What better thing is there to do than to be with our Lord in pray? God Bless you mariainman !


#16

[quote=mariainman]I do not want to be this type of mother. Actually I am tired of trying. I would just like to think about me and my husband for a while and not get caught up in their lives.Is this selfish,do I have the right. I know I take the risk that they will have nothing to do with me. But I already raised them and I don’t think I owe them anything.They do call when they want something and it feels onesided except for my one daughter who treats me like a friend.
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YES! Go! Have fun! They will come back as they need to. Also, they will be shocked that Mom has a life, believe me! Mine said… 'You can’t DO that, Mom.!" When I said what some of my own plans were. I said… " smile… Watch me!" I raised my kids. I love them, I have great respect for them, but my responsibility is done, in most ways. I am in easy contact via phone, or internet messengers at almost any time, and when home, or not working, I am here for them if they need me. They are not my focus any longer. They do not need me as they once did, they now can be ‘friends’ with me.

Never would I try to lay a guilt trip on them, but if I don’t hear from them in a timely manner, considering their schedules and mine, I give them a call to say… Hey, how ya doing? long time no see…and then they start talking…

Sometimes, our loneliness can bring fears and we can get clingy. I try to avoid that as much as possible. Oh… and I don’t have a husband with me to travel with, etc… I go where I go alone, meeting friends or family. And I have been to a third world country to do work much needed while visiting a friend there, too, many times.

God bless… get going! Enjoy life, love your kids, and renew that marriage! Grin.


#17

[quote=mariainman]I have been that type of mom. but I am burned out from taking care of my mom and babysiting my grandkids.I’m tired of always making dinner and cleaning up after they all leave.Like I said i have one daughter who will probably pick up the ball and run with it but the others just don’t care right now and I can’t care. I don’t have the energy to work at it.
Also I have one daughter who has been an emotional drain on me her whole life. She has ADHD and learning disabilities. Recently we had a very ugly argument that left me raw and she was rude to me. i fear that she will always be rude to me when we argue and it seems like we do that often. I think that what i’m saying is that I need some space to heal but i am also afraid that I will never have a good relationship with this daughter.
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The others are still young, and you have been a caretaker. Now, take care of you. They will come ‘home’ eventually, even the difficult one. I no longer fight with my kids about anything. It is not worth it. I may not agree with what they have said, done, etc. I make my one statement if needed to be guidance only. But my one who was difficult, IF she chose to fight, found herself fighting alone. She stayed away nearly two years, with only occasional communication (mostly me letting her know when family functions, etc were taking place) Sent a thinking of you card occasionally, also saying “I love you”… but when reconciliation took place… as it did, it was a result of her growing up, finally.

You don’t owe your kids babysitting, either. Not sure how often you DO babysit, but… my Dad told me long ago… “Your mother raised her kids; don’t expect her to raise yours!” I have the grandkids over at my discretion, and I do babysit at times, but not routinely. That would be burnout. Total, as much as I love them. When they are with me, they also help clean up the mess that they have made before they leave (toys, etc).

You are tired. Take a holiday, even if just a day or two and go away with dh. And that advice to sit in Adoration… also a good one. :slight_smile: :thumbsup:


#18

It looks like you are getting lots of good suggestions here. I can tell you what my mom is going through now, but it is different, as are all individual cases.

I am the oldest of 12 children, and the only one to have married and moved away. We are expecting our first child in Spring, and the first grandchild on both sides of the family. My mom is still more than occupied with her 11 remaining children, ranging in age from 3-21, but she is getting much better at the letting children grow up routine than she had been!

I guess that’s the price of being the oldest-- not only the pioneer, but the guinea pig as well!

At any rate, our relationship has changed alot over the last 4-5 years. In highschool, I was right under her nose 24/7, so when I left for college, it was a big adjustment for her and the family even moreso than for me. Afterall, there were lots of activities, and, above all, work to keep me busy! She and I grew apart somewhat during those years, as she wanted to love all of her children similarly, but, as an adult, I needed a different kind of loving and attention. Things are much better now that I am married and expecting our baby soon. We have discovered a whole new realm of parallel experience and things we have in common. This had been lacking while I was in college, because I had more of an academic focus than she had had when she tried college, but it just wasn’t for her. I think she also worried that I would get too tied up in my career to give the necessary attention to a husband and family, whenever God chose to send them… little did she know that I had been thinking of that all along!

I hope this can give you some encouragement. Sometimes parents and children just need some time to grow, and to adjust the dynamics of their relationships. It is completely normal and healthy to want to do things by and for yourself after your years of devotion. Many women, especially in these younger generations, see the need for self-growth time as being more immediate. God bless you for giving of yourself without reserve all these years, and now that you are not needed with the same urgency, enjoy this time He is giving you to rediscover yourself and your changing world, and may He continue to bless you always and abundantly!


closed #19

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