I cratered eight months after my youngest son left home. I was so happy to have done a great job and thought I would love my empty nest.
I decided to be a stay at home as soon as my first son was born (when my husband and I were just 22 and 23) and was fully committed to the task for the next 24 years. I KNEW I had the best job in the world, it was consuming and stressful, but no one could fire me, all I received was praise and love and support from my four guys, and I truly loved it. It was my full identity.
When our youngest son left, we traveled, had lots of fun for a while and generally enjoyed ourselves. Then one evening I was having dinner with all of my guys and I realized they were all gone, The anxiety caught me off guard. I became psychotically depressed and it was a nightmare.
I thank God for a husband who knew all along what was going on with me when I didn't know what day it was. Only three years later am I seeing my experience not as a mere "empty nest" issue, but as a retirement issue, too. I wish I had prepared for my son's departure as retirement.
I am only sharing this because I truly hope that there are women out there who can handle it better than I did. So many bright, educated, and capable women have stayed at home and view it as a job in the best sense of the word. P
PLEASE prepare yourselves. PLEASE find a segue of sorts, Losing your kids and your job in one fell swoop is brutal for the mom who is there 24/7 and loves it and sees mothering as her "job".
Wendy: Wow, Lucy, I had published an article on Homemakers in Retirement a few years ago when some friends started emailing about it.
Your story here on Empty Nest Syndrome shows how REAL it is. Most folks assume it's simply a longing for a full house again, but it can go much further.
Consider this: really a mother facing empty nest syndrome is much like a real retirement... I worked 35 years and retired to a whole new life. You worked in the home, but still did the same "job" with the kids for 25 years.. and suddenly, knowing they will leave home but out of the blue comes this depression as they are gone. I never thought of this before!
I hope other moms will chime in and write back to you about their experiences. I also pray you find a retirement life... new adventures and experiences separate from the adult kids. Find new friends and have FUN in your retirement years!
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