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…

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‘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

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