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Empty Nesters

July 16, 2021 by Comments

Robin, the founder and fearless leader of the Motherhood Later blog and community, recently held a  Clubhouse conversation in the club Moms Over 40 Tell All to discuss our experiences and whirlwind of feelings about being empty nesters.

We had a great conversation.  A couple of us had already been through the flying away of our offspring, while some were just getting ready to experience the experience.

I listened to each mom’s insights and came away pondering the differences between the experience for parents whose kids are more functioning, compared with parents of children with special needs or other challenging issues.

I’m not an expert on these issues, but from personal experience, it seems that the emotional journey for us parents of “out of the box” kids that takes place when our kids step out of the house and into the world of adulthood, can be a very different one than for parents of kids who have followed a pretty “normal” path of growth and maturity.

For us empty nesters of children whose lives have required our advocacy and support 24/7, we become so tied up in our children’s lives that they become almost an extension of ourselves.  So when they leave, it is also a feeling that we’re losing part of ourselves that is deeply and intrinsically connected with our sense of self, value, and purpose as it relates to mothering.

Besides the normal ‘losing a sense of purpose’ from being needed and involved in our kids’ lives, us parents of kids with special needs or challenges also face great trepidation about how our kids are going to handle the “real world” without our intervention, guidance, and support.

We’ve spent so many years “protecting” them, advocating for them, being creative in finding solutions for all types of life situations, (all the while encouraging them to step into their independence), that it feels like not just a band-aid, but a big part of our innards has just been ripped off.  Ripped off in a way that makes us moms feel unsafe and unsure.

It may bring us back to times in our own childhood when we felt unsafe and unsure.  We become childlike again as this new evolution in our family dynamics triggers emotions from the past that made us feel vulnerable. We revert back to those unstable times of when we were a child learning to walk – falling more than we’re standing before getting to the next stage of our development.

It’s a transformative time for everyone concerned – parents and kids alike.  After moving through it, I can now look back and see that it’s a very precious although tenuous time, similar to the caterpillar transforming in the cocoon changing into a butterfly.

It can be quite frightening at times, and quite emotionally overwhelming as we deal with an “unknown” for our kids and for ourselves as they leave the nest. In my opinion, this happens after spending years of our lives working to create, and many times control (as much as possible), a “known” safe and secure environment for our child.

For me, it was a time where both parent and child entered a new stage of adulthood.  One in which the relationship goes under a major metamorphosis that allows both parties to step into an even bigger and better and more powerful version of themselves.

Not always fun, not always easy, not always comfortable, but definitely on a trajectory to a new and wonderful way of being with each other that when it happens is truly remarkable.

Here’s to the courage of our children of all shapes and sizes to fly the coop and become their own beings – independent and ready to take on their future with gusto. And to the parents out there about to embark on this stage of their lives, I say kudos to you for being the wind beneath their wings as you fly your own personal coop into a new and magnificent version of yourself.

(As first seen in the MotherhoodLater Blog)



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Ali Skylar (242 Posts)

Ali Skylar’s mission is to use inspirational words, positive affirmations, mindfulness exercises and positive songs to help you learn how to change your life and have a true spiritual awakening! Ali uses her Shiftitudes -uniquely crafted self-affirmation acronyms - blog, books and courses to help keep you committed to your spiritual journey! Also, her Quotitudes – inspirational sayings, encouraging words and inspirational quotes about life - gently aid in helping you to achieve a positive mental attitude essential for personal growth and presence of mind. Chat with Ali on Google+ | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTube

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