Our nests are empty
Feeling tearful or depressed because your child goes to university this week? Stop it now! Three readers reveal how they’ve survived – and are learning to thrive – after their children left home…
‘I’d lost my role in life’
Jacqueline Holford, 51, from Leicestershire, is mum to Isabelle, 21, and Jacob, 18.
‘Empty’ is exactly how I felt when my kids moved out. My role in life has been ‘Mum’ for so long, it was hard to accept that they didn’t need me as much as they used to.
We were very close, especially as their father and I broke up when they were toddlers. I’d take them to cafés for breakfast at the weekend or on trips to the seaside. I treasured those moments and, unlike a lot of parents, I hated it when the school holidays ended.
Everyone said the childhood years would fly by, but I didn’t expect them to disappear as quickly as they did!
When Isabelle went to university in Birmingham and my dad and I dropped her off, I was sobbing so loud that my dad said he couldn’t hear the satnav!
The following year, she changed universities to one closer to home. I prayed she’d move back in, but she said she wanted the full university experience, so she didn’t.
And, although he only moved out recently, Jacob changed completely when he turned 18 last year. It was a real milestone, and I could tell he wanted his independence.
I’m still trying to find a new purpose in life. For the first time in ages, I’m focusing on me. I’m getting braces to improve my confidence, and am also planning to book a holiday with my boyfriend.
I’m so proud of my kids – I just hope they remember to visit me every now and then!
When the chicks leave the nest, Mum has to find her freedom again
Isabelle and Jacob have flown the coop Jacqueline is adjusting to life as her children spread their wings