I have worked with parents for the past decade helping them find a great summer experience for their children. As parents are and always have been, they want the very best for their children and will do anything they can to help them become the best person they can be. Sometimes, they spend so much time (especially moms) focusing on the needs of their children, they lose sight of who they are and what they are without their children. I have spoken with many mothers who hesitate to let their children go for fear of their own loss of purpose.
Empty nest syndrome isn’t a clinical diagnosis, but it is certainly an experience that many have. Parents may go through periods of sadness and loss when the last child leaves home. According to the Mayo Clinic,
“Although you might actively encourage your children to become independent, the experience of letting go can be painful. You might find it difficult to suddenly have no children at home who need your care. You might miss being a part of your children’s daily lives — as well as the constant companionship. You might also worry intensely about your children’s safety and whether they’ll be able to take care of themselves on their own. You might struggle with the transition if your last child leaves the nest a little earlier or later than you expected — or at a time different from when you did. If you have only one child or strongly identify with your role as parent, you might have a particularly difficult time adjusting to an empty nest.”
Sound familiar? To those who have sent their children away to sleep away camp, you have experienced a temporary empty nest. Most moms I speak with tell me they sit in front of the computer anxiously awaiting the photo updates of the day. Are you suffering from empty nest syndrome? Just as you encourage your children to break out, so should the parents. Eventually the children will leave, God willing. They will go to college, have families of their own and will not need you all the time.
My nest is empty and I did have lots of practice while they were away for two months each summer. I traveled, I cleaned lots of closets, I developed businesses, I took time to return to being an adult. Summer camp is not just for the child. In today’s Wall Street Journal, you will see that several of my clients have taken my advice…. Send the kids away and feel good about it. Go play!! Have fun!! Your kids are happy and safe because you made the right choice for them. Step away from the computer and live life. Because of these conversations with so many, LifeMeisters was born.
Please participate in the dialogue. Have you had experience with empty nest syndrome? How do you handle it?