The experience is known as Empty Nest Syndrome and is also characterised by "a loss of purpose and a sense of sadness."
Mothers are said to suffer more than fathers, and even more so if they were stay at home moms. It's not a clinical disorder or diagnosis, but an "emotionally challenging" "transitional period in life that highlights loneliness and loss".
Netflix tackles the topic
Tapping into this is Netflix, which has released a flurry of 'mom flicks' and series like Workin' Moms, Yummy Mummies and Good Girls aimed at moms who just want to collapse on the couch after a long day of work and kids.
Their latest creation, set for early August, is called 'Otherhood' and tells the story of three moms who are feeling forgotten on Mother's Day. Of course they're best friends who then leave the suburbs and drive to New York City together, to surprise their adult sons to hilarious - and touching - effects. The film stars Angela Bassett, Patricia Arquette and (currently quite contentious) Felicity Huffman.
The trailer really gets you in the feels, and even if your kids are young now you'll relate.
Nonetheless, we don't necessarily recommend chasing your kids down as a way to cope with them moving out, either.
So sad... JK!
Not everyone feels this way though, as hilariously demonstrated by American couple Randy and Amy English.
Their brilliant photoshoot went viral recently, as they gleefully posed with signs celebrating that their 3 kids had all finally moved out.
Funny enough, it was their youngest daughter who came up with the idea and who is also the photographer behind the camera. The shoot was inspired by her moving out.
Again, while funny, maybe not the healthiest way to process the feelings if they're not otherwise faced properly.
If you're really struggling with the thought of your kids leaving home for good, Psychology Today suggests the following treatments:
- Visit a doctor if feelings of loneliness, depression, and sadness are overwhelming.
- Consider psychotherapy. In some cases prescription medications may be suggested.
- Stay in touch with the child, via regular texts, emails, or phone calls.
- Reach out for social support and share with friends and family.
- A healthy diet, plenty of sleep, exercise, and downtime is recommended.
- Take your mind off the loss by tackling hobbies, travel, friendships, and career or education goals.
A parent's identity may need to be reshaped, from that of a parent of a child to that of a parent of an adult child. This adjustment takes time, so go easy on yourself.
How do you feel about your kids moving out? Do you have any advice to share with other parents facing this?
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Share your experience of empty nest syndrome with us, and we could publish your story. Anonymous contributions are always welcome.