Life as a single Mother-Empty nest, Dating, Ex-husband, Best Friends, Full-time Employment, Unemployment, night school...How do these all relate to one another? Come with me:

Monday, August 29, 2011

"For over two decades my number one pursuit was raising my children well, and now the job is over, and here I stand like a high level, high stress but low paid CEO who's company just got bought out."- T-shirt design on

I have been a mom for twenty-two years this week. I became a mom just one month before my twentieth birthday.
I am still a mom.

The leash is a lot longer now, but the connection is still there.

My house is near empty now. Just one child home. These are the days I have talked about for years. When their father and I decided to start our family young, there were many friends who were also starting families. There were also many who thought we were nuts.
We were often told we were giving up our own youth. And to some degree maybe that had some truth to it.

Our response was most often

 "If we have them young, we will have the energy to keep up with them. And then, when they are grown, we will be young enough to go and play and enjoy our own freedoms."

And here we are. We certainly never expected that we would be a broken family. Funny how the future doesn't always come out the way we expect.

Moving into the empty-nest stage of my life as a mother is also not how I had planned it would be.

I can remember when Baby Boomers- my parents generation were the target audience. I find more and more that advertisements and sales are geared to my own generation. One hit wonders from the 80s on clothing and food advertisements. Many fashions I recognize from my teen years once again on the shelves. They know what they are doing. Raising kids.

Most of my friends have school age children. Ranging from kindergarten to college students. And we are the parents who are watching those ads. We are the parents sending them to school. And picking up the bill in turn filling the pockets of those companies selling the wares.

But when your children leave the house- out on their own, how should you feel? What are the emotions that come with this stage?
I speak to friends who are in such a hurry to start their childless lives that they insist that their kids move out on their eighteenth birthday. Make their own way and grow up. Many from parents who just recently grew up themselves.
Or there are the parents who just cant let go. They make their children go to the local college so that they can still wake them, drive them, and pack their lunches. Doesn't this lead to the aforementioned Peter Pan syndrome?
I suppose I am neither of those.

If I were still married, or married again... maybe I would feel differently about an empty house. It does feel empty. I do miss my kids. Terribly.  I am concerned about how they will fare on their own. And of course I am so proud of the adults they are becoming.

But for a single parent- it is a whole different feeling I suppose.

The emptiness is more than just the empty bedrooms I pass at night, no sleepy eyes peeking out at the sliver of light from the hallway, It is more than the absence of sleepless nights waiting for the click of the front door lock signalling they are home safe. And it is more than the empty seats around me as I curl up for a movie on the couch.

It is a peculiar kind of empty.

I have gone it solo for over fourteen years. I had four schedules in my head. I had four mouths to feed. I had four bodies to get to bed. Everything I did or thought was in Fours. I ran on adrenaline most of the time. I didn't have time for rest. I had a job to do and did it.
My mind has been for many years focused on three children while I attended and studied for night school.
My mind has been focused on being the best employee I could be in order to provide for the four of us.

And now.

I no longer keep four schedules, meals or bedtimes--- just one.

I no longer focus on my education--- that is done.

At the moment, I do not focus on my employment I have none.

My world has changed. It is my time to have fun- sure. I am emotional- sure.

But I am also a little bit lost and confused.

All I know is being the best mother I can be. I still strive for that.

But my full-time jobs- Mother, wage-earner and student- are no longer full time.

And so. I Exist. I am, I always will be mom. I will always be a student and I will once again be a wage-earner.

It will just be a new mom role. A new Student role and someday soon, I will be a wage-earner once again in a new role.

And now I will learn to have my life back as my own as I once learned to make it theirs.

Keep on keepin as they say.


  1. Certainly takes some getting used to. I have dreams where my children are young again. I awake disappointed, missing those days. But these days are good, too. Have a lovely day ~ Alexandra

  2. Yes, it is a peculiar kind of empty - though at the moment I'm more tired and numb (and worried about money) than anything.

    But this captures the sense of being laid off so beautifully - and a peculiar kind of layoff at that:

    If I were still married, or married again... maybe I would feel differently about an empty house. It does feel empty. I do miss my kids. Terribly. I am concerned about how they will fare on their own. And of course I am so proud of the adults they are becoming.

    This isn't about "feeling sorry for ourselves" or even wanting to go back. It's about a major transition, and doing it alone. It's about fear, when part of what has kept you going through dreadful times is your children - the need to do that job, no matter what. It's about disorientation.

    I've got a few years on you, which adds a few layers of complication, but otherwise, we're in a similar boat. Thank you for this post. It is reassuring.

  3. Thank you Little Dog for the visit. It seems there are many of us facing this empty nest.

    BLW- You are not that many years up on me. Absolutely true- not feeling sorry for ourselves. Just at a loss as to what to do with this time. You hit it spot on regarding the kids keeping us busy enough to push us through the hard times... Glad this post helps a little.


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