Premature Empty Nest Syndrome

I’ve heard the term ’empty nest syndrome’ mentioned time and time again about people whose children have left home, but does anyone else have the feeling of premature empty nest syndrome like I do?


Premature Empty Nest


My children haven’t left home, don’t worry I haven’t sent them off into the world alone at just 10 and almost 12, heaven forbid. I’m sure they’ve fantasised about it though….. no-one to tell them that they don’t need their iPad two inches from their face or they’ll get square eyes (yes I promised myself I wouldn’t repeat phrases my own parents used on me but well…), no bed time, chicken nuggets for tea every night unless they mixed it up a bit and had pizza, and being able to do exactly what they wanted when they wanted.

Actually I’m kind of fantasising a bit myself now…….

No my children live at home still, but they’re at school for hours and hours every day and when they aren’t at school they’re talking to their friends from school on their various electronic equipment – that beeps and scares the life out of me when they are at school and I’m home alone.

When they aren’t talking to these friends in some way they’re outside playing with other friends or off at birthday parties, after school clubs or skulking upstairs with their bedroom door shut pretending to be tidying their room.

A few years ago I was pretty much the centre of their world, where ever I went they went…. willingly and everything. These days a family day out means I’m interrupting their plans or dragging them away from that level on the XBOX 360 that seemingly won’t exist if they put the controller down for a few hours.

At least once we do go out, they love every second of it. It’s like having my mini people back again, even if these mini people now come with a sense of humour that is probably slightly dirtier than I’d like. It’s not just me trying to not snigger at other’s accidental innuendos now, they get the rude jokes…. when did that happen?!

Who would have thought I would ever miss them needing me for everything, that I’d actually miss their constant nagging to play another game or to read them another book after the first five. The time has gone so quickly despite the toddler days sometimes seeming never-ending at times.

They still need me for obvious things like cooking for them – I’m sure they’ll learn to appreciate that one day, Fin’s medical needs with his Type 1 Diabetes and the other not so ‘fun’ parts of life, but they don’t need me twenty-four seven any more. Their worlds have opened up to so many more people, friends and experiences, just the way that they should.

So at times I do get a bit of premature empty nest syndrome, but at the same time I am proud of how much more independent they’re becoming. I’m proud of the glimpses of the men they will be when they are fully grown that I get sometimes. Proud that they will always be a part of me and a part of my life, whether they like it or not ;)

Also the times when they do want to snuggle up and watch a film with me, when we have a family day out full of laughter and the times when we’re all just being silly at home mean a lot more. I’m making the most of every moment until they become teens, just in case they become the hermit variety who never leave their smelly pit of a room, or the completely refuses to be seen in public with you type.

I’m now learning to take a step back, to let them make their own decisions and yes sometimes their own mistakes. I know they still need me more than they’d admit though, so for every step forward in their gradually more independent lives I’ll be there in the background waiting to catch them if they fall, there for the good, the bad and everything in between.

I’ll always be their Mum and they will always be the only people to know what my heart sounds like from the inside.

Stevie x


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  1. 19 April 2016 / 1:12 pm

    Love this post Stevie. You’re a fab mum and the boys are lovely too. I’m already sad that we are seeing the last of Jacks baby firsts :(. time flies hun but they’ll always love and need their mum xxx

    • 19 April 2016 / 6:53 pm

      Thanks lovely x It really does go so ridiculously fast, Harley will be at secondary school in September 2017 eek! Can’t wait to see you guys again, it’s been way too long already

      Stevie xx

  2. 19 April 2016 / 1:40 pm

    Yes nodding along here to everything you have just said. My 2 are very similar in age (13 and 10), and we have a quick 5 minute conversation when they get back from school and then they disappear. I am just learning to roll with it, put my feet up and read a magazine or catch up on blogging etc. They soon come back downstairs when they need feeding don’t they. It makes me look forward to our family time even more, and realising that its even more precious now x

    • 19 April 2016 / 6:51 pm

      I’m almost happy when it rains as I see them more ha ;) but we should both just be proud lovely that we’ve raised them to be independent and confident enough to do their own thing – I’ll keep telling myself that ;) They are SO easy these days though, so there are some definite pluses

      Stevie x

  3. 19 April 2016 / 4:41 pm

    My teen barely looks my way these days so it’s nice that I’ve still got the smaller ones. Part of me wonders what i’ll do with myself when they all grow up.All i’ve been is a Mum for 17 years!! xx

    • 19 April 2016 / 6:46 pm

      It’s so odd isn’t it and mine aren’t even quite at the teen stage yet…. eek I need some new hobbies ha ;)

      Stevie xx

  4. 20 April 2016 / 8:54 am

    Ah bless, I know it won’t be long before I’m feeling like this too. In the meantime, you’re welcome to one of mine for a week to remind you how fabulous your boys are ;)

    • 20 April 2016 / 10:07 am

      Ha ha only if I can borrow the Christmas pudding hat! Your girls are ridiculously cute :)

      Stevie x

  5. Lucy
    22 April 2016 / 4:44 am

    Hi Stevie,
    My little boy is just 4 but I can totally see where you’re coming from. They need us less and less as the years go by, but at the same time it’s fascinating watching them grow and develop x

    • 22 April 2016 / 11:23 am

      Most definitely, it only seems the other day my youngest was 4 and starting school – he’s 10 now crazily. I’ve loved every moment with them though and have some amazing memories that will be with me for always :)

      Stevie x

  6. 22 April 2016 / 7:29 am

    They do grow up really fast, it actually makes me a bit sad thinking they will be teenagers and I will go from being a fun mum to a nagging one!
    You are a great mum and everyone can see you are making their childhood fun and full of love xxx

    • 22 April 2016 / 11:22 am

      Thank you hon, very sweet of you to say :) I think at the moment they find me more fun if anything ha as the four of us are always messing around and having a joke together about something…. I also love that they feel they can ask me anything and I do mean ANYTHING!

      Stevie xx

  7. Fern
    22 April 2016 / 7:50 am

    Mine are all to young for me to feel this however I know once little L is a toddler I’ll be missing having a little baby around, my girls are very independent so I expect little L will be too.

    • Fern
      22 April 2016 / 7:50 am


  8. Helen
    22 April 2016 / 9:11 am

    Such a lovely post. My daughter is only 1 and already I’m scared of the day she doesn’t need me anymore, but like you say we’ll always be their mummies and they’ll always need us in some way :) #picknmix

    Helen x

    • 22 April 2016 / 11:16 am

      I love that age, when everything is so new to them and they think you’re hilarious :)

      Stevie x

  9. 22 April 2016 / 9:23 am

    Yes! I felt like this when BB started school last September. The house was so quiet and her presence was there, but she wasn’t actually there, if you know what I mean! #picknmix

    • 22 April 2016 / 11:15 am

      I know exactly what you mean, crazily it has been 7 years since I had a child at home with me all day every day!

      Stevie x

  10. 22 April 2016 / 9:58 am

    I know that my Mum has been worried about empty nest syndrome – both me and my brother are now back from uni. But the good thing is this – I bought a house just 10 minutes away and I see my Mum every single day.

    • 22 April 2016 / 9:59 am

      I forgot to add I found you post this week on your #PicknMix link up!

  11. There's always time for tea
    22 April 2016 / 10:47 am

    Aw I am dreading when my three get to this age because I know I am going to feel exactly the same! Lovely post lovely. Thanks for hosting! xx #picknmix

    • 22 April 2016 / 11:12 am

      Thanks hon, it does feel very strange at times! I’m very proud of them though :)

      Stevie xx

  12. 22 April 2016 / 11:53 am

    I think that is all any of us can do…be there for our children when they need us so they know we are there through thick and thin! It really sucks…as long as we support them from when they are babies, even if they live miles away when they are older, they should always want to come home or call their mum #picknmix

    • 22 April 2016 / 12:27 pm

      Thanks lovely, I was having an emotional day when I wrote this for sure. What on earth will I be like then they’re fully grown and moving out of home?!

      Stevie x

  13. 22 April 2016 / 11:59 am

    I don’t know if it was just me when I was younger but I actually wanted to spend more time with my parents as I never had the option to! It definitely reflects on kids later on in life and I think it’s great that you do the family days/spend time with each of them. You’re a great mum and I wish I had that when I was little!

    • 22 April 2016 / 12:12 pm

      My first time doing the Fridays Linky, sorry I forgot to add the #picknmix tag!

    • 22 April 2016 / 12:24 pm

      My own family is pretty complicated believe me, but I want the boys to grow up knowing I’m always there…. I tell them I love them a ridiculous amount of times in a day and I really am so proud to call myself their Mum :)

      Stevie x

  14. 22 April 2016 / 12:01 pm

    They grow up so fast! It can be tough sometimes to watch them hit that next stage of life but at the same time of course we are thankful that they have. I had a lot of mixed feelings when my youngest turned 3. No more babies! #picknmix x

    • 22 April 2016 / 12:25 pm

      Ha so you can imagine how I feel with my ‘baby’ being 10 now ;)

      Stevie x

  15. 22 April 2016 / 12:52 pm

    It’s funny, we want our babies go grow up, be independent and lead their own lives but then at the same time we don’t want to let them go and feel sad when we realise the time has gone by in the blink of eye. My boy is 3 this year and I have absolutely no idea where that time has gone, time really does speed up once you become a parent.xx

  16. 22 April 2016 / 1:39 pm

    HI Stevie, I am new to Pick n’ Mix and smiled throughout your post, not least because I am facing the empty nest syndrome squarely in the face and that was the incentive for me to start blogging (10 days and counting) as I want to make the most of these last few years. The teenage years are frustrating yes but wonderful and actually hilarious in their own way. It sounds like you have a great relationship with your boys and that makes a huge difference as they will always turn to you as they grow up. Even when they annoy me my teenagers know I would walk over hot coals for them and I am always there with a sympathetic ear and hugs aplenty #picknmix

    • 22 April 2016 / 1:42 pm

      It’s a whole new ball game as they get older isn’t it?! One moment I’m evil for making them get out of bed ha and the next I get a huge cuddle and told I’m the best Mum in the World :) I think they’ll be keeping me on my toes in future, time definitely seems a lot more precious right now and I intend to make the most of it too.

      Stevie x

  17. 22 April 2016 / 1:44 pm

    my house used to feel so empty before baby girl came along, and in just 10 weeks its got a lovely family atmosphere now. I love hearing her cooing away now we have got away from the reflux cries! xx


    • 22 April 2016 / 1:47 pm

      Aw bless you, you’re right at the beginning of the journey and you have some amazing things to come. Happy for you lovely :)

      Stevie xx

  18. 22 April 2016 / 2:32 pm

    I know exactly what you mean – mine are only 5 and 7 and I also dread the thought of them leaving, or even just having a life of their own!! That’s awful isn’t it?! I am really not looking forward to the day they are able to just head out with their friends (without me!) and I’ll have to let them go. I swear having kids has turned me into an emotional wreck! :) #Picknmixfriday

    • 22 April 2016 / 2:36 pm

      Ha I think they tend to do that to most of us ;) With my eldest’s type 1 Diabetes I have to work hard at actually letting him have freedom and not being openly panicky about it.

      Stevie x

  19. 22 April 2016 / 2:39 pm

    Its important to take the time to appreciate the little moments, because they’ll all be over soon. Thanks for sharing #PicknMix

  20. 22 April 2016 / 6:51 pm

    I totally understand how you feel.
    I must admit I totally dread the time when my boys get all independent, I will be really happy for them but grumpy for myself haha.
    They are only 17 months and 5 yrs and although it’s a while away yet, they grow up so quickly. So for now I will treasure every moment, tantrums and all :) xx


  21. 22 April 2016 / 7:12 pm

    Aww, although my son is 2 at the mo and some days i really wish he’d move out (!), i can imagine what you say. I try to keep in mind to cherish these moments! Although he has driven me crazy today lol! #PicknMix

  22. 22 April 2016 / 8:56 pm

    I love this Stevie, I could have wrote it myself. I have really struggled with these feelings, more so as my son was twelve last week and growing up so fast! And now my baby is starting school in September, and her little sister pre-school. That just leaves Harry who will be starting nursery two mornings a week and I can feel them all slipping away so fast! It’s so hard to give them that freedom they need to grow, and so hard to accept that our little babies are growing so fast, I cant bear to think of a day when they wont need me anymore, I am milking every second of it before they really do fly the nest! #picknmix

  23. 22 April 2016 / 11:20 pm

    Awwww what a lovely, and bittersweet, post. I totally understand how you feel, and know the days are fast approaching for our family. I try to enjoy every snuggle, and every time my girls come into us in the middle of the night. It is a very hard thing for a parent to start to stand back and watch their child take those first independent steps. Sounds like you are doing a great job, but I understand the mixed feelings xxxx Kathy #Picknmix

  24. 23 April 2016 / 9:54 pm

    Aww Mia is only 2 but I can see how she doesn’t need me for things now and this will only grow. I cant imagine her being 10+, playing in her room and only coming down for dinner but like you say, you will always be their mum and they will always need you as such :)


  25. 23 April 2016 / 10:41 pm

    Lovely post Stevie. Since my youngest started school last September I am noticing time is flying past quicker, and soon both girls will be asking to be dropped off in town to spend times with their friends and not me and my hubby. I’m already experiencing the eye rolling ‘do I have to’ comments when I mention a dog walk and as you say as soon as they are out I can’t get them home. Going to treasure these moments more and endure the effort it takes to get them out the house.

  26. 23 April 2016 / 11:04 pm

    The thought of the teenage years scares the life out of me, i took hope I don’t have a hermit variety that just stays in his room!! Mines only 3 at the mo though so I have a way to go yet, he still needs me….phew! #picknmix xx

  27. 28 April 2016 / 8:58 pm

    Oh wow yo may have just made me well up! What a lovely post I know I will feel exactly the same when mine are older. Xx

  28. 17 May 2016 / 10:15 am

    Yes! I totally get this! Mine are 14, 12 and 10 now and I just don’t see as much of them as I would like any more. I actually got quite down during the Easter holidays because I’d looked forward to spending more time with them, but I ended up feeling lonely and redundant.

  29. 5 June 2016 / 9:53 pm

    Yes, absolutely, I have premature empty nest syndrome. It’s difficult to adjust to, but I honestly think mine need me just as much (at 15, 12 and 10), but the balance has shifted and part of my parenting is to renegotiate that balancing act

  30. 12 June 2016 / 9:08 am

    I can so relate to this Stevie! It was the prospect of an empty nest that prompted me to start a blog a month ago. My youngest is still only 10 but my eldest is 18 and will be leaving for uni in September which terrifies me. I am not ready for this to happen and have struggled. I was at my happiest when my girls were young and our lives were intertwined – now I have to define a new me and I’m just learning to do that! xx

    • 12 June 2016 / 11:22 am

      I was the same with my blog part of starting with it was having so much free time and needing to fill it as well as all the other reasons. It just feels so odd to not be needed all the time doesn’t it?!

      Stevie xx

  31. 2 August 2016 / 3:03 pm

    I love this Stevie! As I type, my middle son who will be 27 at the end of this month, has just popped home with his work colleague very briefly to do some washing and have a meal. He is a chef who is currently working in a vegan cafe which tours festivals during the summer months. Not so long ago it seems, he was my poorly little son who struggled with asthma. He is one of five, and his youngest brother, 19 still at home with us, although he has gone to France on holiday with a friend. I have filled my empty nest with creative projects, the work I’ve always wanted to do, and my blog, but sometimes its just so good to see my kids again! It’s great to be mindful of the speed time flies, and of the importance of enjoying just ‘being’ together with our kids, even if their eyes are on screens most of the time!