Following the NETFLIX release of the much talked about film OTHERHOOD last weekend it prompted an emotional response. It deals with the trauma of three mothers and their distancing relationship with their sons. “Like their are breaking up with you on a gradual basis” was the quote that resonated with me.
As a Mother of a son think it definitely afflicts us more, girls on the whole tend to stay in touch. I am also a single Mother since my son was two so we had an extremely deep bond. Any article I have read on this deals with the void left when your teenagers leave for university, the first step. When being a mother changes , you are no longer needed in the same way. Motherhood becomes Otherhood. But often these days your offspring tend to return to the home post graduation.
As in the film though I believe the real isolation you feel from your Son comes in their twenties when they are carving out their own life…..without you. Many readers of my blog (50+) I am sure you will relate to this. My own son went off to University………..in Los Angeles a massive impact on me but now he is living in London and in his twenties I feel MORE distant.
This is a very real syndrome especially when you identify very strongly in your role as a Mother. The feeling can be overwhelming, almost a grieving period. My son was the centre of my life. Our daily time together was over.
Can I just add this can affect Fathers too. Whoever tends to be the primary care giver.
So lets look at some coping mechanisms
- You have done a great job if your child is showing independence. Remember you primary purpose is to give them wings to fly the nest.
- Your child will always need your support . Just cheering them on from the sidelines of the playing field of life. When they score the goals AND when they drop the ball. Let them know you are still their root.
- DONT stalk them on social media.
- Refrain from calling them everyday but DO still call regularly. They won’t call you. Don’t expect an instant reply to your text. I used to get upset if he did not reply within……3 minutes ! This is normal. You are no longer the centre of their world. Accept this.
- Embrace your liberation. Write a ‘pleasure list’ of things that bring you happiness and do a daily pleasure. Its all about you ! Less time spent cooking, shopping, washing and ironing more time for you !!
- Cultivate new friends and interests. These tend to be linked. Art galleries, a luxury brunch, long lazy lunches ( no school run ).
- Update your image. Employ the help of a local stylist. New haircut. Clear out that cosmetic purse. Closet cleanse. Ready for this new chapter in your life.
- Many marriages can fail at this time if your main focus was your children. Plan some together time. Reconnect. Travel. Date nights. Dancing classes. Beautiful lingerie.
- Equally I personally have scheduled a lunch date with my Son fortnightly we take it in turns to choose a venue and to pay ! It really is a great catch up. We appreciate each other more as we no longer live in each other pockets.
- Finally even though you feel as though you have been dumped do not express this and put pressure on them to treat you better will isolate them even further. This is a perfectly natural process in their twenties. It changes as they mature. they will be back.
Anyone going through this right now or your child is going off to University next month I would recommend you to watch the film, enjoy it and recognise we are all in the same boat with our sons (maybe some daughters too).Take the humorous route. Accept they are developing new relationships and you are no longer their main focus. they are on their own personal Journey and once they have been through the process of discovery they will return and will probably assume the parenting role over you.
JOJOS STYLE LIST TIP : FILL YOUR LIFE WITH JOY AND FREEDOM
7 thoughts on “OTHERHOOD:COPING WITH EMPTY NEST SYNDROME”
Great article !
Glad you enjoyed it ! Its a tough time for many x
What a cool picture – two good looking people! Jo you look great in your outfit! looking forward to more tips and great infor to inspire me! –
Thank you xx
I have not seen the film yet, but I can certainly relate. Single Mom with one Son who is now a sophomore in college. This year has been harder than freshman year because he is showing more signs of independence which is great for him, but hard on me.
I knew this would challenge me so I started a blog documenting my road of self-rediscovery. I’ve endearingly call it “Waking the Woman – a Mother’s quest to rediscover herself after her Son leaves for college” it’s the follow-up blog to “Waking the Walker – a Mother’s quest to survive her Son’s zombie years – AKA his teens”
I have certainly implemented many of the coping mechanism you suggest. Finding others going through the same process is very helpful.
Guess I need to watch this movie.
Thanks Mariann. Just the fact they produced a movie proves there are many mothers going through this. But it does have a humorous take on it which you will find cathartic xx
In seeking out blogs for women facing identity issues when their children leave the nest I have found the content seriously missing in the cyberworld. It was very refreshing to find your post about this movie and hear your story. Mother’s dealing empty nest syndrome need to unite.
Yes, humor is vert cathartic. Thanks again.