So it’s that time of year.
This week, I have met women whose teenagers are heading off to the armed forces, university, the world of work and travelling. As I write this, I am 4 days into waving goodbye to my oldest, as he goes travelling on his own. It’s only for 4 weeks but it is the longest time and the furthest away that we will have been apart.
It’s bitter, sweet. I am excited for him, anxious that he is so far away and very jealous that he is going to a part of the world that I would love to go to.
Many of my friends and clients are sending their first born to university, some are watching their last child leave the family home and truly have an empty nest .
5 top tips for getting through this:
Talk, Talk and talk again. Feel your feelings.
It is ok to feel sad, to feel a little lost and to feel anxious. We have looked after these beautiful people for 18 or more years, we are used to having them, their mess and their friends round.
They bring noise and life to the house and mess, did I mention mess?
They take up our time, our headspace, our days. They need lifts and help and ironing done.
They need food.
Of course we feel lost.
Of course we feel sad.
I will miss my son’s humour and even our late night political debates that can get heated and leave us fizzing at our political differences.
I will miss him coming through the door and knowing he is in the house.
Some women have quietly whispered that they are looking forward to them going. As they say it, they search my face for recrimination or shock. They get neither.
The teenage years are tricky and tiring and filled with sleepless nights.
It’s ok to feel that too, not the guilt but the relief of less ironing, the promise of a full fridge , less last-minute lifts, less teenagers strewn over settees in the morning with hopeful eyes of food appearing from the kitchen. It’s ok to need a break from that. Don’t be riddled with guilt.
It doesn’t matter what you’re feelings are; they are probably a confused jumble of every feeling that is out there.They probably change by the hour.
Find a friend/ friends who ‘ get you’ , talk to them .Find a friend/ friends who ‘ get you’ , talk to them .
Note to friends:
Just listen and give a hug please.
WE KNOW we “have to let go.”
WE KNOW, “they have to leave one day”
WE KNOW “they’ll be fine.”
Please don’t dismiss our feelings just let us talk them out, maybe have a cry, then make us laugh, or pop a film on.
Don’t try and fix us.
2. Make a plan for the first few weeks.
This is important.
Make a plan for you.
Choose whatever it is that fills you with what you need .
For some, that will be working, for some working out, for some reading.
For some it will be binge watching box sets of Netflix with tubs of icec-cream.
That is ok, if you don’t stay there for the whole of the first term they are at university!!
For myself, I have ensured that I have a lot of work for the day after my son leaves. Focusing on other people’s lives and making them feel better helps me. It’s my job, I love it and it will reduce the anxiety of my sons travelling.
For the rest of the weeks, I have planned a weekend with two girlfriends that involves some learning, some prosecco and an afternoon tea.
I have a day allocated to spend with a beautiful friend who is back from America .
I have a day out planned with friends who make me laugh and ‘get me’ .
I also have a ton of work and a husband and son to spend time with.
- Congratulate yourself.
You have done a great job.
You have helped to create a human who can go out into the world.
They are brave and strong and you had an impact on that.
4. Invest in your relationships.
Enjoy your time with your husband, partner, other children or parents. You should have some free time to channel into other deserving people around you. Make plans to spend time together, pour your love into them .
Don’t forget your husband/partner is feeling it too. He/She doesn’t show it in the same way you, do but trust me, he/she is feeling it too.
It’s their baby leaving, their empty nest too.
Do nice things together and be patient with each other.
5. Who are you?
If this is your last child leaving, many of my clients feel like their identitiy is in tatters.
Who are you?
What do you want out of life?
What do you dream about?
Where are you right now and what would you like to change.
Plan it, do it, be excited about this next stage.
If you don’t know the answer to the question. You know where I am.
Book in for a workshop or a coaching session.
I would love to help you get excited about the next part of your journey.