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Empty-Nest Syndrome and the Single Mom
It's not easy being a single Mom, let alone being a single Mom of teenagers.
This following article is meant to point out that you, the parent of teens are not alone, feeling frustrated when the kids want to spread their wings.(Too soon)
The only expertise I have on this subject is that I was the proud owner of such "novelties" (teenagers that is and thank goodness they've grown-up). I lived through two of them a few years back, and now one more, as my last Baby just finished College and is on her way to establish herself in her chosen field.
I'm told by authorities on the subject, that the reason teenagers are what they are, has something to do with raging hormones. (that's another kettle of fish we can discuss some other time).
Going back to when my two older children were teens, and if there was such a thing as visual hormones, the air around my place would probably have been as thick as pea-soup.
Let me set the scene, my son and my older daughter both teenagers and my baby girl almost three (who at that time was only in her terrible twos therefore no problem whatsoever $6) then there was me just in my early twenties (ha-right). Anyway, just when I was able to talk to my two older ones, almost adult to adult, it seemed that I had to make an appointment to see either one of them. Now to have all of us at home at the same time for dinner, would have been worth the nomination to be the tenth world wonder.
Do you reading this, know what I'm saying? I bet you understand that frustrating feeling I had. It was not only the kids that had to grow up to start their own life. No, I had to learn to do the same, and I can tell you I really felt the growing pains. I found it very hard to take the back seat in my children lives. After years and years of total involvement, it felt strange for them to decide their course of action and not to ask first or at least discuss it. I can honestly say, up till then I had loved every bit of being a Mom, not ones, not even for a single second regretting the hardships that went along with being a single Mom and sole breadwinner. This new development in my relationship with my two older ones totally floored me.
Don't get me wrong, I knew this to be a natural progression in my life but...And neither of the two were trying to be thoughtless, no, they had been "perfect children", and had become normal teens with the arrogant belief of youth that thought they were invincible. Even though they had given me the courtesy of letting me know where they were but ... They had not wanted to understand that I had not complained just for the sake of it. And being teenagers always in a hurry, naturally they had no interest in knowing I was worrying about them. Impatiently, with rolling eyes, answering 'hhhhhhh we know, we know, Mom, we'll be careful'... They didn't want to know that this Mom had separation anxiety. They had no understanding that this Mom was missing the pitter patter of those size elevens, my sons and those of his numerous friends that seemed to be raiding my fridge on a constant basis. Missing all that giggling and whispering that my older daughter and her friends used to perform at their sleepovers, seemingly week-in and week-out.
I wonder now, had I been selfish? Let me explain I think now and even then thought, it was the right thing for them to go out and have fun, and never stood in the way of the new and exciting experiences coming to them.
A friend, who had some professional authority on these feelings (she and her hubby raised and fostered 14 children), and I had discussed this 'teen abandonment of Mom phenomenon' she admitted having had the same feelings and had written a book on it. She had given it the "Empty Nest Syndrome" name. I guess it can be called that, it had not mattered to me what the name or the title, just that it was a real feeling and very hard to accept.
She had also told me that parents with partners also had these feelings but most often, because they had each other, this "alone" feeling didn't hit as strongly. (Which is another big subject and in need of an article of it's own).
This brings me to now. Lets face it I survived. I was now equipped to handle it, I knew what to expect, after all I'm a pro I've done it twice already.
It is now the middle of November. College started, what 10 -11 weeks ago. Why do feel so alone? Why can I not get my act in gear and just accept that over the past so many years I've given my children values. My job as Mom is done. To the best of my abilities I've given all three as much as I could. I have to try to remember that their lives were mine to lead only, until they're old enough to take the job on themselves.
I don't need to keep reminding them that unconditionally, whenever they need me I'll be there for them. They know this, they call and we do get together, but it just isn't the same anymore. I feel so secluded from their lives...not the important things, those we somehow still talk over, but those silly everyday occurrences. I miss those.
It's all just a phase we all need to grow through. It's an adjustment time for teenagers and parents alike, single or not...
You know, I understand all this with my head but not quite as easily with my heart...