There will be many parents who are now experiencing an empty nest for the first time. It can be very tough those first few weeks when suddenly you feel redundant as a parent and you ache for that little boy or girl who has been the centre of your world for so many years. But there are some positives too. Here’s my list of things to expect once the kids have flown.
1. You find yourself walking around their rooms, lovingly touching childhood toys and burying your nose in once-treasured teddy bears. Have stern words with your other half if he suggests a clear-out.
2. It takes a long time before you stop setting that extra place at the table.
3. You keep an eye on the weather forecast for the city in which they now live so you can give your offspring prior warning of a cold snap.
4. You may have to learn the offside rule and other sporting technicalities so you can have a meaningful conversation with your husband who has lost his telly buddy.
5. Don’t expect an instant reply to text messages: that way madness lies. You will imagine all manner of catastrophes have befallen your child but your son or daughter is probably in a lecture or asleep. They will eventually reply with a short message and an array of unintelligible emoticons sometime after midnight.
6. Skype is now your best friend, once you’ve adjusted your position so the scary, saggy chin doesn’t appear in the corner of the screen.
7. Utility bills will decrease, particularly the water bill because the shower is no longer being used as a warm place to continue dozing despite having slept for twelve hours.
8. The amount of laundry is significantly reduced and occasionally you get to see the bottom of the basket.
9. Food stays in the fridge and cupboards for ages: crisps in particular can sometimes last longer than their ‘best before’ date
10. Without a teenager in the house you can reignite the passion you had before children came along. Have weekends away on a whim, stay in bed all day, watch rubbish on the telly. You have all this freedom to do just what you fancy.
Thankfully the sadness you feel when they leave home does lessen. And if you are still struggling with their absence, just think, it will soon be the end of term and they will be back home to fill up the laundry basket, linger in the shower and empty your fridge again.