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Almost-empty-nest syndrome: how do you deal with this?


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I've been homeschooling for 18 years now, and hard as it is to believe, the end is coming into view...and I don't know how to handle it. This summer, I have had all four of my sons at home, but likely for the last time: the oldest (22) is home temporarily after being away at school the last three years and will soon move away again; my second (20) just headed back to university for his second year; my third (almost 18) graduated this summer and is taking a year off (as his older brothers did) to work and plan for the following year; and my youngest (13) is still at home, doing grade 8.

 

You'd think I'd feel as though I have a full house again, but really, it just feels as though they're all slipping away. Because my youngest is 4 1/2 yrs younger than the next brother up, he will be very much on his own here for the next few years as all his brothers will most probably be gone. I know he already feels lonely, though he does have a co-op he attends on Thursdays. And I feel the loneliness too, as a single parent (widowed) with no extended family.

 

I know that most hs'ing moms have their husbands to rely on once they finish hs'ing, but even so, how do you deal with the end of the era when it comes? How do you manage the sense of loneliness both for yourself at that time and for the youngest child alone at home the last few years? Those younger years seemed to last foreve, but now they just seem to be flying away.

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It's kind of funny that you opened this topic, because I've been toying with starting a thread about some similar feelings.

 

I'm not so much worried about being lonely. I'm an introvert, and enjoy time to myself. So, being constantly "on" for all of these years has been a little exhausting for me. Also, I'm not sure what my relationship with my son will be like once he's off to college and beyond, but my daughter and I are very close. Even when she was away at school, we rarely went more than 24 hours without touching base.

 

But I'm starting to struggle with a lot of regret and sadness about all of the things we didn't do or did "wrong," things it's now too late to make up or fix. I don't mean academically, although there is a little of that. For me, it's mostly experiences I wish my kids had been able to have, things I wish we'd done together, etc. It's breaking my heart that I blew it on several fronts, that their childhoods are almost over and we missed things.

 

So, I don't think I'm feeling the same things you are, but I definitely have my own case of almost-empty-nest syndrome. And the answer to "how I deal with it" is not well. I'm kind of a basket case when I let myself think about it too much. All that keeps me from letting it get in the way even more is forcing myself to remember I should be focusing on what time we do have in this phase of our lives and knowing I don't want to miss more things between now and when they are out the door.

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I'm at that stage too.

 

I have a college grad who is working nearby and living at home and dd2 is a junior. The other two are off and away.

 

The house seems much emptier and quieter, especially since ds1 is gone most of the time and dd2 is out at classes or practicing much of the day.

 

I'm tutoring and getting more involved in my own things, but it is a HUGE change.

 

I try to keep on remembering that this was the goal -- that they head out the door as prepared confident young adults who are starting their own lives. But their moving on does leave a hole.....

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I only had one at home, and she was only 3yrs younger, so that span of time didn't seem so difficult for us. Also, I started a little one-room school at my church when she was 13 (older dd was 16, and taking classes full time at the c.c.), where she attended full time the first year, part-time at the c.c. the next year.

 

I began to develop my own activities that had nothing to do with homeschooling: I started taking Scottish Country Dance classes, and then was on the board of governors for the South Bay Scottish Society. :-)

 

But I also stayed in touch with homeschooling. Hey wait--here I am, on a homeschooling forum!!!:D

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I don't know if this will make it easier, but imagine how you would feel if they were not capable of living independently or stretching their wings. It's so much better that they can be off and running. As far as what to do with yourself, I say indulge yourself! What do you enjoy doing? What things can you do to pamper yourself and take care of you? I know it sounds like a cliche but after years and years of doing for others, you deserve a bit of the royal treatment. ;)

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It's probably different for me because I have an only child and have always worked part-time while homeschooling.

 

I remember dropping ds off at day care in his first year of life (2x a week) and crying and crying and crying because I so much wanted to stay home. I listen to my older sister who has been very emotional about her dc growing up and moving away. I think of the majority of people who drop their children off for kindergarten and have so little time with them. I'm glad I've had more time, even if it has been a juggle. At the same time, I'm ready now to have some time for myself. It probably helps that since puberty hit him, I am largely just an inconvenient truth. :tongue_smilie:

 

Because ds has been completely outsourced since 10th grade and got his driver's license at the beginning of this year, I've had more freedom to do as I please and more time as well. The first thing I started was researching how to drop the pounds I had gained since the beginning of peri-menopause. This led me to the whole area of nutrition, which is large and contradictory, so it gives me lots to research. That led me to other related fields. Then, I had to revamp my meal repertoire to accommodate new eating habits. I think for every 10 new recipes I tried, I kept 1-2.

 

I volunteered at an adult learning center and at the CC as a math tutor last year. I'm continuing tutoring at a GED center this year.

 

At the same time, the job I've held for 24 years, doing the same thing for the last 16+ years, became unbearably boring when I didn't have hs'ing to juggle, so I started researching many options. I hit upon a solution that allows me to stay where I am (30hrs/wk from home), but add some new and different work. Yeah!

 

I do feel lonely at times and want to form new friendships. I have a number of people I "lunch" with. My "best" friend just got her first job (after hs'ing for 16+ years) and is rarely available anymore. My husband is an introvert and so is not very social. :tongue_smilie:

 

I'm happier than I have been in years. Not having to do as much of the juggle that I've been doing for 10 years has been a weight lifted off my shoulders. This is odd to say, but lately I've been thinking that I've completed what I've been put on earth to do. I feel like whatever years I have left are my bonus years, and I want to make the best of them and enjoy them.

 

What do you enjoy?

 

:grouphug:

Edited by Sue in St Pete
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This is odd to say, but lately I've been thinking that I've completed what I've been put on earth to do. I feel like whatever years I have left are my bonus years, and I want to make the best of them and enjoy them.

 

Wow... what an interesting way to frame this "change of seasons". Thank you for that - it gives me much to chew on! I've been enjoying this thread; I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about what my next move should be; I've spent my entire adult life being a SAHM, so what am I even qualified to do? Where do I go now? I've got some leads, but the idea that I've completed what I was meant to do and so whatever is left to me is all a bonus (gravy, as it were) is an interesting concept.

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Because ds has been completely outsourced since 10th grade and got his driver's license at the beginning of this year, I've had more freedom to do as I please and more time as well.

 

I think this may be part of why I'm struggling a bit.

 

I pretty much feel like homeschooling/raising kids is what I'm best at doing, as well as what makes me feel most valuable to the world. I have no driving desire to do anything else, and I don't feel like I've missed out on anything being here and doing this. I've always been passionate about education. My sadness is largely that I wish I'd done a better job in a variety of ways. I don't feel like I've had a chance to "finish."

 

When I do have free time, I enjoy spending it researching, planning, thinking about homeschooling and/or my kids. Being a homeschooling mom isn't just my job, but also my hobby.

 

Also, I'll just miss my kids when they're not here. I had a taste of what life will be like without her when my daughter went away to school. We talked/texted/Facebook chatted pretty much daily, but I still missed her like crazy. Although I realize it can sound like it, I am not a clingy, overprotective mom. (After all, I sent my 12 year old to college.) I just really like her, and I miss her when she's not here.

 

I'll be thrilled and proud when she's ready to move on, but I know it will be a loss for me.

 

And I have no idea what kind of relationship my son and I will have as he matures. We spend a lot of time together, still, and I think we're pretty close. But I suspect he won't be as intentional about keeping in touch as my daughter will. Again, I had a little preview of what missing him will be like while he was in England this summer, and I was surprised how much I felt his absence. I'm so happy he had the experience and proud as punch that he handled it so well, but I missed him while he was gone.

 

I'm not in a hurry to get my life back, because I like the one I have now much better.

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I think this may be part of why I'm struggling a bit.

 

I pretty much feel like homeschooling/raising kids is what I'm best at doing, as well as what makes me feel most valuable to the world. I have no driving desire to do anything else, and I don't feel like I've missed out on anything being here and doing this. I've always been passionate about education. My sadness is largely that I wish I'd done a better job in a variety of ways. I don't feel like I've had a chance to "finish."

 

When I do have free time, I enjoy spending it researching, planning, thinking about homeschooling and/or my kids. Being a homeschooling mom isn't just my job, but also my hobby.

 

Also, I'll just miss my kids when they're not here. I had a taste of what life will be like without her when my daughter went away to school. We talked/texted/Facebook chatted pretty much daily, but I still missed her like crazy. Although I realize it can sound like it, I am not a clingy, overprotective mom. (After all, I sent my 12 year old to college.) I just really like her, and I miss her when she's not here.

 

I'll be thrilled and proud when she's ready to move on, but I know it will be a loss for me.

 

And I have no idea what kind of relationship my son and I will have as he matures. We spend a lot of time together, still, and I think we're pretty close. But I suspect he won't be as intentional about keeping in touch as my daughter will. Again, I had a little preview of what missing him will be like while he was in England this summer, and I was surprised how much I felt his absence. I'm so happy he had the experience and proud as punch that he handled it so well, but I missed him while he was gone.

 

I'm not in a hurry to get my life back, because I like the one I have now much better.

 

Jenny, :grouphug::grouphug:

 

I feel for you. Like you, in my free time I spend hours and hours researching curricula, arranging schedules, changing this and that...just planning school. I love planning school. I do! :D

 

I do have friends, but most of them do not live in my state. I have a few that I have lunch with regularly, and thank goodness my mom & sister have moved here because I love having family over. I travel a lot, mostly with family but sometimes just my dh and me, but I miss the kids quite a bit when I'm gone, and would feel more at-ease if they were with us. I tend to worry. :tongue_smilie:

 

I'm not clingy, and my kids have a lot of freedom, but with my son in ps and my daughter a mix of ps, out-sourcing, and homeschool, I feel these next 4 years will be gone in the blink of an eye. My dd and I are very close, and we really enjoy each other's company. When they're up and out, what in the world will I do with myself? I have ideas, but they kind of feel like "filler".

 

Rats.

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I'm happier than I have been in years. Not having to do as much of the juggle that I've been doing for 10 years has been a weight lifted off my shoulders. This is odd to say, but lately I've been thinking that I've completed what I've been put on earth to do. I feel like whatever years I have left are my bonus years, and I want to make the best of them and enjoy them.

:grouphug:

 

:iagree: I, too, am really enjoying this new season of my life. Like most of you I thoroughly enjoyed my 12 years of homeschooling. I loved lesson planning, enjoyed the challenge of figuring out how to work through one child's learning disabilities while still challenging them both academically. We survived a year when both my mom and dh's dad were in hospice and passed away. Shoot, I survived the puberty years!! And now that they are interesting young adults they are 3 time zones away.

 

I am really glad that a large chunk of their final years were outsourced because it allowed me to focus on just being mom. I'm really glad they didn't get their driver's licenses early because I enjoyed our conversations during the drives to and from community college or work. I'm also glad for their time in community college classes because it gave me time to sit on the couch and ease into the issue of "what do I do with my life now". I was initially horrified at the thought that I'd no longer have an excuse to put off house work because I no longer had to read ahead or review algebra.

 

Now that they are both gone, I'm relishing my freedom. I started voice lessons. I'm cooking more and exercising. I'm cleaning out closets that have years worth of accumulated junk. I teach violin and play in a couple chamber groups and in community orchestras. 3 of my students are adult women, empty nesters who always had wanted to learn violin finally are starting. I'm gardening, sewing and crocheting more. Taking an afternoon nap when I feel like it. My husband and I are enjoying just being a couple again and are taking a trip next month.

 

It isn't that I don't miss my kids, because I do. But we have wonderful conversations each week, they post random observations on facebook, send silly pictures, text about books they are reading or things that happened in class. Best of all, I am so very happy for them because they are getting much more than I could provide here, academically and socially. They love the resources on their campuses, are attending lectures and presentations, and are making all kinds of new friends. How can I be sad when their lives are so rich? How can I regret not being the one to teach them x, y or z when their discovering it in this heady time of their lives makes it so much more meaningful?

 

Cherish these last few years. Do things you used to do when they were little, like going to the zoo or baking cookies together or playing board games. Look at pictures with them and talk together about your homeschool memories -- you'll see how little you have to regret and how much you have to celebrate. Then start looking into volunteer opportunities for yourself, start thinking about what you would like to learn, what you've never accomplished on your own. Make a "bucket list" for yourself. It will give you things to talk about with your kids, make you someone interesting to talk with and to visit. And it will keep you young!

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How do I deal with it? Deal. Complete denial. :)

 

I have 4 years left (including this one) and I have this frantic feeling of running out of time. DD will be going away to college and I already know I'm going to miss her desperately. DS may still here and go locally, so it won't be completely empty right away.

 

You could do what my sister is doing. Her youngest of 4 is in college. Her older 3 are all married. She and her DH decided to adopt two children - ages 12 and 5. :)

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Jenny,

 

Could you teach a homeschool co-op or help out some fellow homeschoolers in your area of expertise? Or maybe help guide those in your group to help pick curricula or navigate the college application process? That is what I think I might do, but I have 8 more years before that will happen here. But it is going to be really weird when I just have my girl at home.

 

I've considered those options, but I have no "group," and my kids' experiences / needs / talents are not at all mainstream. So, I'm not at all sure my expertise would be helpful to most folks. (Also, I have no "group," in part because of this same thing.)

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I am the opposite-I am enjoying every single second of hs'ing because I know when they are gone I will have to go out and work. I dread it :( Literally, to the point of having nightmares. But I have to-we have negligible retirement savings and dh is older than I am, practically retirement by the time I end homeschooling.

 

So feel blessed if you have the freedom to do what you want once they are gone! (even though nothing can change missing them-homeschool families are so close and that makes the transition harder!)

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Hmmm, I was pondering this the other day (as panic hit me for a moment), trying to put it all into perspective. As it turns out, even with 4 children, the mothering part of my life is really only going to be about 20 years - out of, let's say, 80! That's 60 years around which I have had and have to have some other kind of life! Even though it feels like my ENTIRE LIFE is wrapped up in this project, maybe it isn't ;)

 

Another thing I've noticed is how my IL's are still very much involved in being parents. One single son (38) who spends a lot of time at their place, another son going through a divorce living there temporarily, they are very involved in the lives of their grandchildren too, I don't think they are bored or lonely even though the dynamics are different. Part of my desire is just be of service to my family where I can, as they are. It is so wonderful the support they give.

 

I pray you will find the peace in the situation. That the blessings of the season will make themselves obvious!

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I think a lot about this. It's so much more than having a fulfilling life. Really we just plain miss her. Our lives are busy and full but that doesn't change the new normal we have to deal with.

 

:iagree: This is exactly how I envision my feelings when my dd moves out. I'll be busy doing my thing, but there will be a hole.

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I'm there, too. One left at home and he's at cc most of the time. I think probably my getting-older parents are going to fill the hole, and I've started something new and absorbing (watercolours) and managed to get the worst, most depressing part of the learning of it out of the way while my boys were younger so now it is actually satisfactory. Also, the older ones aren't really gone - they are in and out between jobs. They are adults now, though, and I only see them sporadically. They do their own cooking and laundry and driving. My husband has helped by planning nice things we can do when it is just the two of us, like travel. I have been thinking about what I can do to make the world a better place for my new adults. On top of those things, I have my sister's preschooler an afternoon or two a week. I'm doing everything right... and I still hurt badly and am beginning to suspect that I will continue to do so for a long, long time. The things that seem to help me the most on a day-to-day basis are going to my parents', my new career (although I hesitate to call it a career because it isn't going to make any money even if I sell some stuff), and the dog I inherited from oldest. Thank goodness for the dog. Thank thank goodness for the dog and my kitty...

 

Hugs to all the others dealing with this,

Nan

Edited by Nan in Mass
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It's kind of funny that you opened this topic, because I've been toying with starting a thread about some similar feelings.

 

I'm not so much worried about being lonely. I'm an introvert, and enjoy time to myself. So, being constantly "on" for all of these years has been a little exhausting for me. Also, I'm not sure what my relationship with my son will be like once he's off to college and beyond, but my daughter and I are very close. Even when she was away at school, we rarely went more than 24 hours without touching base.

 

But I'm starting to struggle with a lot of regret and sadness about all of the things we didn't do or did "wrong," things it's now too late to make up or fix. I don't mean academically, although there is a little of that. For me, it's mostly experiences I wish my kids had been able to have, things I wish we'd done together, etc. It's breaking my heart that I blew it on several fronts, that their childhoods are almost over and we missed things.

 

So, I don't think I'm feeling the same things you are, but I definitely have my own case of almost-empty-nest syndrome. And the answer to "how I deal with it" is not well. I'm kind of a basket case when I let myself think about it too much. All that keeps me from letting it get in the way even more is forcing myself to remember I should be focusing on what time we do have in this phase of our lives and knowing I don't want to miss more things between now and when they are out the door.

 

this post resonated with me -- I have a little more time as mine are in middle school now but I'm an introvert and being "on" for the kids when they need me is a struggle, yet I am feeling the time slipping away faster and faster. I look forward and as close as we are now, they are boys and they will be busy in college, so that will come to an abrupt end. I picture a mother-daughter relationship being much closer in general, and don't think my sons will be the exception to the rule. One is taking a few outside courses this year and I can barely get him to tell me what the homework assignment was, much less how the rest of the class went.

 

Jenny, can you elaborate on the bolded? What regrets... wondering if I am missing something big that I will end up regretting as well. I am always so tempted to remove the kids from sports and outside classes and hit the road in an RV for a very long trip but it has never been the right time. Now I realize there will never be a right time and it is bumming me out!

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Jenny, can you elaborate on the bolded? What regrets... wondering if I am missing something big that I will end up regretting as well. I am always so tempted to remove the kids from sports and outside classes and hit the road in an RV for a very long trip but it has never been the right time. Now I realize there will never be a right time and it is bumming me out!

 

Interestingly, my husband and I have often talked about how much our son would have loved that very kind of trip. We fantasized for years about renting an RV and driving cross country, stopping at every national park and monument . . . It would have been the vacation of a lifetime for my son (although my daughter has made it very clear she would have been miserable if we'd made her go along), but it's too late. We missed the opportunity.

 

Similarly, I desperately wanted to take him on a Disney cruise when he was younger. But, again, my daughter would have hated it. And my husband would have gone along just to humor me. It was never a high enough priority, and now we never will and he wouldn't enjoy it if we did. Another missed opportunity.

 

I wish we'd made time to do more family things together around holidays when they were little, instead of always rushing to cram in the last bit of schoolwork before the break. Neither of them has any interest in baking cookies with me now.

 

I wish we'd gotten my son a dog when he was younger and needed a buddy.

 

I wish I'd had more patience with them when they were little, and that I hadn't lost my cool and yelled at or punished them as often. (Not that I'm an ogre, but still.)

 

My daughter is working/volunteering part time at a dance school now to earn her classes, and the school is in this lovely area of town. It's almost like an old-fashioned downtown, with a grocery store and pharmacy and restaurants and coffee shop and dance and music schools, as well at a YMCA, two public parks and elementary and middle schools all within walking distance. They have community events like outdoor movies in the park, holiday festivals, etc. When I took my daughter out there for her interview, I was struck by this just physical feeling of sorrow, knowing how much my kids would have loved living somewhere like that when they were younger. Instead, we've moved from apartment to apartment to one boring, suburban house after another, and they've never been able to go anywhere or do anything without me driving them.

 

I could go on. I have a nice, long list. But I'm sure you get the idea.

 

Most of the time, I can remember that we did other things, that they had good childhoods, that they had many opportunities other kids didn't, that they don't hold against us the fact that we aren't perfect and couldn't do everything for them . . . But sometimes, in the middle of the night, I can't help torturing myself by thinking about it.

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I am nearing the end. My youngest is a sophomore in high school and the others have graduated. If, when my dh retires from the military in two years, we are still living here, and that is our plan, when I retire from homeschooling, I know what I will be doing. More tutoring, taking classes that are very low cost or free at the college and at the library (both are classes for those over 50 and I will be that next year), more involvement at church, be able to volunteer also at the Botanical Garden, and hopefully have more time to work on improving my health. Dh and I took our first mini vacation alone this year in over 23 years. It was great and we look forward to many more vacations without the kids. We are also taking a vacation in early October with our youngest and that should be fun.

 

I am so happy to have this time with my youngest. Because I was already homeschooling her brother when she was born, she never got full attention until last year. All three of us have really enjoyed the times without her older siblings. We also enjoy times with them too but it has been nice for the youngest to get some more alone time with each of her parents.

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Hmmm, I was pondering this the other day (as panic hit me for a moment), trying to put it all into perspective. As it turns out, even with 4 children, the mothering part of my life is really only going to be about 20 years - out of, let's say, 80! That's 60 years around which I have had and have to have some other kind of life! Even though it feels like my ENTIRE LIFE is wrapped up in this project, maybe it isn't ;)

 

Another thing I've noticed is how my IL's are still very much involved in being parents. One single son (38) who spends a lot of time at their place, another son going through a divorce living there temporarily, they are very involved in the lives of their grandchildren too, I don't think they are bored or lonely even though the dynamics are different. Part of my desire is just be of service to my family where I can, as they are. It is so wonderful the support they give.

 

I pray you will find the peace in the situation. That the blessings of the season will make themselves obvious!

 

That's food for thought - both about the 20 out of 80 (more like 25 or 30 for me but still...) and the parenting continuing. My oldest is 25. I am still parenting him, not by cooking him supper but by doing other things. When I think of my parents, I can see that they never stopped parenting. My Dad toilet trained my oldest because I was pregnant and sick and he was the one coming every day to take care of me. They are helping me through this transition now. They are most definately parenting my children as well as my sisters and me. They are involved with their other grandchildren as well, just less so because they aren't homeschooling. We still play games, take walks together, and some of the other nice family activities. Hopefully that will continue with my adult children. Of course, this depends on my children living close by... which might or might not happen...

 

Nan

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It sounds as though many of you,while anticipating that you will miss your hs'ing years, are already looking forward to such things as travel time with husbands, etc. But what do you do in my situation, when you are widowed and have no extended family? My oldest son., to whom I used to be much closer, is launching out in his career as an actor and is ready to move anywhere in the world for that. Second son, to whom I'm still close, is already talking about doing his master's degree out in BC (we live in Ontario) and likely would want to live out west. If the past year is any indication, third son won't want to remain around here; that leaves son #4, and I sure wouldn't want the entire burden of "spending time with mom" to fall on his shoulders. I'm not a clingy or controlling parent, as the boys acknowledge, and they do need to have their own lives, but being without them here will be very hard. And even though I'm an introvert by nature, I still need time with friends/ others, and I find that so hard to attain. Whether or not my friends are homeschoolers, they are busy, buys, busy--often too busy to fit me in even for an hour or two once a month. Most of my social time, what little there is, occurs at our high school co-op where I teach a course and where we cross paths occasionally at meetings and such, and my closest friend lives in another city. Just the thought of the years looming ahead emptily overwhelms and saddens me.

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:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug:

 

I'm so sorry you don't have extended family around you. My sister is a widow, and her kids live all around the country, so she moved here to be closer to me and my parents (who moved here after they retired). I wish you had that option, and I feel for you deeply. No ideas, just sympathy. :grouphug:

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...I pretty much feel like homeschooling/raising kids is what I'm best at doing, as well as what makes me feel most valuable to the world. I have no driving desire to do anything else, and I don't feel like I've missed out on anything being here and doing this. I've always been passionate about education. My sadness is largely that I wish I'd done a better job in a variety of ways. I don't feel like I've had a chance to "finish."

 

When I do have free time, I enjoy spending it researching, planning, thinking about home schooling and/or my kids. Being a homeschooling mom isn't just my job, but also my hobby....

:iagree:

This sounds exactly like me a few years ago!! What ended up happening is that, after the boys were on their own, I plunged right back into working with home schoolers. I had already been teaching Latin for home school groups. But when I got the opportunity to teach on almost a full time basis in a new private school I jumped on the opportunity. And it has been wonderful!

 

I knew that we would need some supplemental income if my husband would ever have any hope of retiring, so I took a job doing the only thing I know about....teaching history and Latin. It's been a whole lot of work, but I figured that it would be mainly doing what I developed a passion for when homeschooling: studying and developing curriculum. I knew that I'd be fond of the kids, but didn't realize just how rewarding those relationships would be! I wondered if I could feel the passion and love for other students as much as I did for my own. And of course, it is not exactly the same, but it has different rewards, and I do love the kids, just in a different and much more limited way.

 

I still get choked up sometimes when I realize that my sons will never live here with us again, but at least I have other kids to see regularly and to discuss history with. And since these students are around for years (since the school has become quite a nice little community of mostly homeschool families), it means that you get to have a warm relationship with them even later when they move on!

 

The relationships you have with your married and grown kids are just wonderful, after you adjust! So just try to keep yourself busy with new projects, then soon you'll find that your life gets filled up with other sorts of blessings.

Edited by Beth in Mint Hill
Typos!
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It sounds as though many of you,while anticipating that you will miss your hs'ing years, are already looking forward to such things as travel time with husbands, etc. But what do you do in my situation, when you are widowed and have no extended family? My oldest son., to whom I used to be much closer, is launching out in his career as an actor and is ready to move anywhere in the world for that. Second son, to whom I'm still close, is already talking about doing his master's degree out in BC (we live in Ontario) and likely would want to live out west. If the past year is any indication, third son won't want to remain around here; that leaves son #4, and I sure wouldn't want the entire burden of "spending time with mom" to fall on his shoulders. I'm not a clingy or controlling parent, as the boys acknowledge, and they do need to have their own lives, but being without them here will be very hard. And even though I'm an introvert by nature, I still need time with friends/ others, and I find that so hard to attain. Whether or not my friends are homeschoolers, they are busy, buys, busy--often too busy to fit me in even for an hour or two once a month. Most of my social time, what little there is, occurs at our high school co-op where I teach a course and where we cross paths occasionally at meetings and such, and my closest friend lives in another city. Just the thought of the years looming ahead emptily overwhelms and saddens me.

 

Robin, my mom was a widow, and I'm an only child. From watching her I totally hear what you are saying! It was very hard for her to find friends and with only me there was only so much she could be part of as far as my life was concerned. I have a very soft spot my widowed friends! I will pray for you.

 

The passage about not worrying about tomorrow comes to mind as today has enough worries of its own. Who knows what may happen at any time! Things may not look anything like you are anticipating and if they do I pray grace will come when you need it most. Maybe it's like planning through grade 12 on the first day of Kindergarten. So many things change that we can't anticipate and some of those changes don't hurt as much we thought they would, some are seamless! And sometimes there are just extra blessings we didn't count on.

 

Blessings, I couldn't resist posting for a fellow Canuck (btw I think I may have bought your R&S items recently ;) )

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But I'm starting to struggle with a lot of regret and sadness about all of the things we didn't do or did "wrong," things it's now too late to make up or fix. I don't mean academically, although there is a little of that. For me, it's mostly experiences I wish my kids had been able to have, things I wish we'd done together, etc. It's breaking my heart that I blew it on several fronts, that their childhoods are almost over and we missed things.

 

 

I feel like he's missed a lot. He's never seen the Rocky Mountains, we still have time, but it won't be the same as when he was younger.

 

 

I think about this too. My reality is that I will have to work. Hopefully, I can do some part time stuff at home, probably writing, while I'm working on my real writing projects. Some of it depends on where he goes to college and if that means leaving home to do so.

 

I was thinking of the fact that 1/6th of our school year is already gone. How quickly are these next 4 years going to go? He's my buddy, I get along with him better than dh most times (did I just say that outloud :001_huh:), so dh is going to have to put up with my goofiness once ds moves out. I'm raising him to that end, to have his own life. His goals don't include anything in this area and I don't want him to miss what HE wants out of life just to live close to us. Truth is we aren't tied to this area either. We're here for my parents and I will have to help them out in the future, yet once they are gone we'd be likely to move closer to a body of water.

 

I am not opposed to reinventing myself a bit once his schooling is done. We've been on a break this week. I couldn't write and I did some school planning. Ds slept in everyday. I was bored.

 

Lots of people start new careers once they are retired. I have a lot of self-education trails I want to explore, instruments I want to learn to play. Right now we don't own a piano and no room for one with the classroom, although I used to know how to play. I told dh and ds that I want a piano as a you-graduated-him gift.

 

I dug out some baby photos the other day for ds's birthday. Time does fly and so much has changed since he was little. Who know what this next 4 years hold.

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Robin, my mom was a widow, and I'm an only child. From watching her I totally hear what you are saying! It was very hard for her to find friends and with only me there was only so much she could be part of as far as my life was concerned. I have a very soft spot my widowed friends! I will pray for you.

 

The passage about not worrying about tomorrow comes to mind as today has enough worries of its own. Who knows what may happen at any time! Things may not look anything like you are anticipating and if they do I pray grace will come when you need it most. Maybe it's like planning through grade 12 on the first day of Kindergarten. So many things change that we can't anticipate and some of those changes don't hurt as much we thought they would, some are seamless! And sometimes there are just extra blessings we didn't count on.

 

Blessings, I couldn't resist posting for a fellow Canuck (btw I think I may have bought your R&S items recently ;) )

 

Thanks for your kind thoughts and prayers : ) Yes, I'm the Robin in ON who sold the R&S books; hope you're enjoying them. I know that years ago, I never envisioned homeschooling,,,and then of course never envisioned being a single parent...so you're right, who knows what the future might bring. It certainly would be lovely to find work teaching at a private school (as another poster said) but although I have several graduate degrees, I don't have B. Ed. and can't see going back to get one (I find that since I was in a serious car accident a few years ago, I just do not have the energy or drive to do nearly as much anymore). But I will hold on to the promises that God is a defender of widows and trust that the future may not be as bleak as I fear (though of course, my sons fear that I will end up with 47 cats.....)

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I think this may be part of why I'm struggling a bit.

 

I pretty much feel like homeschooling/raising kids is what I'm best at doing, as well as what makes me feel most valuable to the world. I have no driving desire to do anything else, and I don't feel like I've missed out on anything being here and doing this. I've always been passionate about education. My sadness is largely that I wish I'd done a better job in a variety of ways. I don't feel like I've had a chance to "finish."

 

When I do have free time, I enjoy spending it researching, planning, thinking about homeschooling and/or my kids. Being a homeschooling mom isn't just my job, but also my hobby.

 

Also, I'll just miss my kids when they're not here. I had a taste of what life will be like without her when my daughter went away to school. We talked/texted/Facebook chatted pretty much daily, but I still missed her like crazy. Although I realize it can sound like it, I am not a clingy, overprotective mom. (After all, I sent my 12 year old to college.) I just really like her, and I miss her when she's not here.

 

I'll be thrilled and proud when she's ready to move on, but I know it will be a loss for me.

 

And I have no idea what kind of relationship my son and I will have as he matures. We spend a lot of time together, still, and I think we're pretty close. But I suspect he won't be as intentional about keeping in touch as my daughter will. Again, I had a little preview of what missing him will be like while he was in England this summer, and I was surprised how much I felt his absence. I'm so happy he had the experience and proud as punch that he handled it so well, but I missed him while he was gone.

 

I'm not in a hurry to get my life back, because I like the one I have now much better.

 

Jenny - My children are a bit older than yours - 25, 22, and 18. The oldest just went off to seek his fortune in Pacific. The middle one is in college 5 hours away and is studying something that will mean that he, too, will work far away, globally far away. The youngest is a senior this year, mostly taking cc classes. I'm not really homeschooling anymore.

 

When I look back over the last few years, I can see that the regrets phase of homeschooling came at about the 15 to 17 year old time period and then somehow receded in the 18 to 20 year old period when I was more able to see who they were as an adult, rather than who they might be as an emerging adult. It is easier for me to be proud of their achievements and dreams when they have them as independent adults than when they have them under my wing, somehow. They aren't bundles of potential that I can help or hinder but instead, independent achievers who are doing interesting things on their own, sometimes things that I couldn't help them with even if I wanted to. Or maybe over time I came to accept things as they are as I got used to them? I don't know. I just know that I am much more comfortable now than I was earlier. Earlier, I was caught in a mix of panic over not much time left and regrets over things I hadn't done earllier. It is hard to explain. Perhaps it will be the same for you, though, and things will get easier in the next few years?

 

Hugs

Nan

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  • 1 year later...
Guest Billie Jo in Iowa

It's kind of funny that you opened this topic, because I've been toying with starting a thread about some similar feelings.

 

I'm not so much worried about being lonely. I'm an introvert, and enjoy time to myself. So, being constantly "on" for all of these years has been a little exhausting for me. Also, I'm not sure what my relationship with my son will be like once he's off to college and beyond, but my daughter and I are very close. Even when she was away at school, we rarely went more than 24 hours without touching base.

 

But I'm starting to struggle with a lot of regret and sadness about all of the things we didn't do or did "wrong," things it's now too late to make up or fix. I don't mean academically, although there is a little of that. For me, it's mostly experiences I wish my kids had been able to have, things I wish we'd done together, etc. It's breaking my heart that I blew it on several fronts, that their childhoods are almost over and we missed things.

 

So, I don't think I'm feeling the same things you are, but I definitely have my own case of almost-empty-nest syndrome. And the answer to "how I deal with it" is not well. I'm kind of a basket case when I let myself think about it too much. All that keeps me from letting it get in the way even more is forcing myself to remember I should be focusing on what time we do have in this phase of our lives and knowing I don't want to miss more things between now and when they are out the door.

 

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Guest Billie Jo in Iowa

Hi Jenny in Florida,

 

Your post reads as though I had written it myself.  I am feeling exactly the same way right now & I really don't know what I am going to do with myself.  I see that you posted this in Sept of 2012.  How are you doing now?  Any tips on how to get through this difficult time?

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