ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Emptying Nest...When Your Kids are Growing Up and Moving Out

Updated on October 18, 2018
Karen Hellier profile image

Karen Hellier is a freelance writer and eBay entrepreneur. She lives happily in the mountains of North Georgia with her husband and her dog.

My 3 children, who are out of the nest now/getting ready to leave.
My 3 children, who are out of the nest now/getting ready to leave. | Source

People talk all the time about the "Empty Nest Syndrome," but no one talks about the "Emptying Nest Syndrome." As a parent of 3 teens, I am here to say this in itself is a hard period to go through. Especially if you enjoyed being a mother or father, and spending time with your children.The "Emptying Nest Syndrome" is when your children are still with you but are leaving, one by one, and some are preparing to move go off to college, to get their first apartment, etc. The hardest part is that you know the Empty Nest stage of your life will be here soon, and so the separation begins.

I have a 20-year-old son and 17-year-old twin daughters. When my oldest moved out a few years back, it was tough. I had had to ask him to leave as he thought he was beyond the stage of following house rules, etc. once he hit the age of 18. Too many stressful, (and sometimes loud) arguments later, the decision was made that he would find a place of his own. We had been very close while he was growing up. He was my first born, so while I knew the move was necessary, it still wasn't easy. For the first week after he moved out, and in with a friend, tears flooded my eyes at the grocery store when I saw items I knew he liked and I would normally have bought for him to have in the house. I was sad inside that he wouldn't be there with a funny comment to his sisters or me. But things were more peaceful, so after awhile, the peaceful home was a balm for the space he left behind.

Now, my girls are 17 and will be moving onto college in the Fall. "Senioritis" has hit one very badly, and although we used to be buddies, it's not always that way now. She is ready to move on, to a life of semi-independence at college. We butt heads a lot, and she never thinks I do anything right. I try to have patience, but it's not always easy. I remember when I went off to college, I saw my parents in a whole new light and appreciated them much more than I had when I lived with them. I hope that she has that realization as well someday after she moves on. I remind myself of the sweet and always loving child she used to be. But that in itself is very painful.

Motherhood was always so very important to me. Being a mom completed me, and when my children were babies and were pre-school age, I was never as happy as when I was with them...reading to them, taking them to museums, going on hikes in the woods together. It was a blissful state for me. Once they entered elementary school, things started to change. Their peers became pretty important and had more influence on them than I cared for, especially in some cases. Maybe that was the first stage of the Emptying Nest. Then they moved onto high school, and things really began to change. I saw them becoming more independent, and not needing me as much. Now that the youngest two will be moving on in less than a year, and my nest will be empty of children, I find myself wishing for more time for the good stuff, and rehashing the parenting mistakes I have made. I wish we could go back to the before school years so I could hug them more, read them more stories around a campfire, bake more cookies with them, take them to the beach again and let them jump in the waves.

After a few months of this nostalgia, and actual sadness, I realized I had to snap out of it, or I would miss the good times we still have left. And I remind myself that although the memories we made in the past are precious, there will be good times to come. So, I took my daughter to a movie that we had both wanted to see. We shared popcorn and soda and a wonderful memory. I took my other daughter out for ice cream at her favorite ice cream shop on a Friday night, just the two of us so we could catch up on things in a setting we both enjoy. In April, one of my daughters and I are going on a college road trip to Pennsylvania to check out three colleges that we haven't had a chance to see yet so that she can make her final college decision by the required deadline of May 1st. I realize that although the days when they were young are gone, there will be plenty of time to make wonderful memories in the future, with my children as young adults, as spouses when we add more family members, and hopefully as parents, so I will have grandchildren to enjoy. And all that is something pleasant to look forward to. I am concentrating on that during this emptying nest phase so that rather than being sad for memories of the past, I can be looking forward to our experiences in the future.

A selfie during a visit with my daughter, now in college!
A selfie during a visit with my daughter, now in college! | Source
On a trip with my daughter to New York City last summer!
On a trip with my daughter to New York City last summer! | Source
My son and I on a trip to Tennessee!
My son and I on a trip to Tennessee! | Source

Stages of Parenting

What stage of parenting are you in?

See results

© 2012 Karen Hellier


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)