To call it an empty nest or not

A Note from a Mom for all the parents who are helping their children live their dream to study abroad.

I am neither an avid reader nor a writer but there are some people who always impress me with their writings and there are topics which always touch my heart. Such people and their writings immediately establish a connection and compel me to pen down my perspective on same. Being a mother of three children topics on parenting enjoy this privilege.

A term which I have been coming across these days too often is –The Empty Nest. As our children grow up , get ready to go away from homes to pursue their dreams most of us experience this feeling of emptiness. I just read an article by Shweta Bachchan Nanda describing how she grappled with this emotion when her son Agastya left home for boarding. I must say that one could see a mother’s heart all poured out into the words as she talked about it. Must appreciate her control over the words, it reflects that she has discovered her own way to deal with this emotional turmoil. I think this feeling of empty nest keeps pricking all of us every now and then especially once the kids reach high school. I constantly wonder and fear what will happen to me when my babies will step away, in fact my twosome the twins will be stepping out together.

While motherhood is the biggest gift of God it also comes with a heart which is totally dipped and loaded with emotions. It’s actually the attachment which comes from those 9 months when she keeps the baby in her womb and starts getting attached to this wonderful extension of her even when it is yet to come out into the world. Sudha Murti has beautifully described this emptiness that a mother experiences in her write up as, “Beauty of Attachment in Detachment.” I resonate feelings with both the writers I mentioned above .The fact is that we all have to deal and tackle with this feeling sooner or later in life. As the young ones of a bird leave the mother bird’s nest, to discover their own wings and to be on their own, our kids also need to be out on their own to follow their dreams. They also need to find their wings to fly and soar high. In reality birds do this much earlier as compared to us humans. The longer we hold on to our children the tougher it gets for us to detach ourselves from them and let them go away.

This feeling is much difficult to handle for mothers than fathers as they actually merge their identity into their children in the initial years of parenting and child care. They just forget about themselves and what defined them. Hence all of us who may have taken a backseat in their career when kids came into the world or all those who forgot to pursue what they liked should start going back to it much earlier. Much earlier than when it’s time for kids to leave. Don’t wait to pursue your hobbies and tell yourself, “I will do this once my kids are grown.” Don’t keep telling yourself that you are not important right now and what you want can wait, rather while children are growing start working on your own passions too. Make your children involved with things that you like, so that they also get to know about your individuality. They can also be confident that when they’ll step out, their parent’s will not be all sad and sobby but will be occupied & involved.

Please don’t forget that while we parents are dealing with our emotions associated with their going away, they are also dealing with pressures. Those associated with success and failures which comes with various career choices. They are also fighting the fear of being away from home, away from all the usual comforts. So at this juncture if we parents stay strong…the strength will get passed on to our children in their outlook towards the new world.

So let’s not call the nest empty- let’s call it full! Full of memories of time well spent with children. Full of images etched in mind with each new phase of life. And we should fill it further with sounds of laughter of our friends or family by spending more time with them. Revisit our relationship with our parents, as suddenly we find ourselves in their shoes. So make memories each day and welcome this big leap in life with a bigger smile!



Ritu Srivastav



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