If you are waking up this morning to peace and quiet, a full fridge and tidy lounge and wondering what has happened, might it be that the kids have gone (back) to University?. If you are one of those parents whose child/children have just started or returned to University is this space/peace welcome? Of course, grown children leave home for all sorts of reasons and it needn’t be University, it might just be ‘the right time’ to spread their wings. Whatever the reason, are you happy being an ‘empty nester’?
For some, the answer will be whole heartedly a somewhat relieved yes, a sign that the job of parenting has been done well enough to see your child(ren) through to the next phase of their development and growing up. This can be a welcome opportunity to focus on your needs and your relationship and this can make the transition an exciting one. Plans that you have been making over the past few years can now be put into place, holidays can be taken outside of the school holiday times and as a couple rather than a family group each time.
However, if you are the type of mum who sheds a tear when the school holidays are over,(you are not alone in this) or wonders what you’ll do to fill the space and spare time when the kids are away, this transition can be problematic. If you find that your spousal relationship hasn’t weathered well during the last 18 years or so, or that the children have been the ‘glue’ keeping you together and you don’t recognise yourself in any other role outside of the parenting role, this new found space can feel daunting and unwelcome.
Naturally, the age at which the children leave home can coincide with other changes that women in particular are experiencing such as menopause and this can exacerbate any negative feelings around the children leaving home.
If you find yourself looking around and wondering ‘who was I before I was so rudely interrupted’ by motherhood/fatherhood or ‘who were we as a couple’ or if parenting has been a substitute for personal growth, with resources channeled into the children at detriment to yourself or your relationships, then counselling with Debbie Kelly, either as an individual or as a couple can offer a safe and non-judgmental environment in which to explore these issues and feelings.
Debbie Kelly MSc is an experienced counsellor working in Basingstoke in North Hampshire. She sees clients experiencing life challenges concerning anxiety, depression, work stress, grief and bereavement, relationship difficulties and miscarriage/pregnancy loss.
Contact Debbie on 07590 572866 or email to arrange a free 20 minute introductory meeting.