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10 emotions you go through when your child leaves home

Posted September 4

Parenthood is emotional. There are plenty of ups and downs, and moms go through many emotions every day while raising their children. When it comes to empty nesting though, things can get even more emotional. Whether this is your first child to leave, your last, or anything in between, you’ll probably go through these 10 emotions as the big day draws near.

1. Fear

It’s a big scary world out there. Anything could happen. Living at home puts a kind of protective bubble around your child, or at least that’s what you tell yourself.

You were always there to check for everything from monsters under the bed to the correct tire pressure on his first car. Without you, he’ll likely get attacked by monsters, or get the tire pressure wrong. Under inflated tires can result in a horrible accident or, at the very least, an uncomfortable ride. Seriously, anything could happen without you there.

2. Sadness

You’ll miss him. You’ll be lonely. He was your constant companion for 18 years or more. Even through the taciturn teenage years, he was always there. You laughed, and bickered and walked the dog together. Walking the dog on your own just isn’t the same.

3. Panic

You suddenly realize there are all sort of things you forgot to teach him. You’re pretty sure he doesn’t know how to roast a chicken, put up a shelf or apply for a mortgage. It doesn’t matter that he will figure all this out just fine, and can call you if he needs advice. You convince yourself you’re a horrible parent. You’ve undoubtedly failed to produce a fully functioning adult.

4. Pride

There are some things you didn’t teach him, but you did get to quite a lot. And many of things he learned all on his own. He’s so smart. You did a decent job as a parent after all. You’re so proud.

5. Concern

This kicks in after you’ve gone through the fear and panic stages. You know he’ll probably be OK, but you still worry. This nagging parental concern for your grown children never goes away. Learn to live with it.

6. Bewilderment

How did this even happen? Is he really a grown (albeit young) adult? It seems like yesterday he was making mud pies and learning to tie his shoe laces.

7. Nostalgia

This follows fast on the heels of bewilderment. The time went so quickly. It’s natural to want to relive it. I’ve yet to meet a mom who doesn’t get the family photos out when her child leaves the nest.

8. Freedom

You finally have more time to yourself. How liberating! You have no idea what to do with it, but the feeling is there. Build on it. You may have a grown-up son or daughter, but you’re younger today than you will ever be again. This life stage is full of possibilities. Use your freedom wisely.

9. Satisfaction

You did it. You raised an independent human being. The sense of achievement is suddenly overwhelming.

10. Excitement

What next? For you and him? You’re an empty nester, or getting there, even if you have younger children still at home. One day soon you’ll be able to travel and volunteer overseas. Or buy a big boat and sail around the world.

And what about your child? Maybe he’s off to college, or his first proper job. Maybe he’ll get married and have kids of his own. Maybe he’ll win a Nobel prize. Anything could happen.

Karen Banes is a freelance writer specializing in parenting, lifestyle and entrepreneurship. Contact her at her website http://www.karenbanes.com/.or via Twitter where she tweets as @KarenBanes.

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