When listening to Women’s Hour recently a guest speaker said, “I didn’t believe in the term ‘empty nesting’ because unlike humans’, birds refill theirs with more chicks”. When we give birth to our children even though we don’t like it, our children grow up. They develop their independence and leave home to progress with their own life, it is something we just have accept In fact, as a society we tend to look on adults who still live with their parents as, not the norm. Even so, when they go they leave a huge gap in our lives and a huge sense of loss that we must manage and adjust to.
We may think our life is empty but just take a moment to have a think. Is it as empty as you really think?
My sister is a big runner and has noticed that since she has moved up into the 50+ age group for the track competitions she is up against a fiercer competition. When thinking about her own family life and talking to her competitors they have more time to train because their children are self-sufficient or have left home.
If you are at the empty nesting stage of your life maybe you have filled it with:
A better social life
Better fitness regimes
Looking after the grandchildren or elderly parents
Longer working hours
As a young family, we had always been a two-dog household but lived without one for five years. We all knew that the time for a new four-legged friend was getting nearer. My daughter had flown the nest, off to University and my son was well on his way. When I look back, I had already started planning on filling my empty nest with taking my business to the next level. I had also made the decision that it was the perfect time for another dog. The search began by my daughter and the one and only Alfie, was discovered and bought home within a couple of weeks. Our new black hairy bubbly bundle transformed the feeling in our home within hours. The joy of being greeted at the door every time I arrived home was re-ignited. I had missed those feelings of importance and being needed, with no dogs and at that time, grown up children, who loved me but had lost the thrill of their Mother coming home to them.
One dog was great but gradually I realised I actually needed two. Two dogs to replace two children, that makes sense.
The Christmas / New Year break is a wonderful to have everyone home but there comes a time when you all sit around doing your own thing on your phones or laptops. It was one of those such occasions when my son suddenly stated,
“Mum, you know that deep down you know you want another dog?”
As I rolled my eyes rather like a teenager does.
“Yes. I know, that you know, that I know I want another dog. Why?”
“Well there’s one here that needs a new home.”
“What sort of a dog is he?” As my son nearly fell over his size 10 feet to show me the Facebook picture.
“The thing is they say that if he isn’t rehomed in 7 days he will have to go back to the dogs home he came from.”
Well that was it. I’m a sucker for sorrowful creatures, that’s why, many years ago, I ended up bringing home Shorty. He came over to me on the street to show me how gorgeous he was: rolling on his back, showing me his pink belly, wagging his tail and smiling at me as if to say, “Love me”.
Within an hour we had arranged a meeting with this Facebook friends dog.
Within half an hour of meeting him we had now got our second dog, Harley.
Going back to my original questions, we often fill our empty nest without realising it.
My empty nest has been filled with my dogs.
The more I think about it the less I chose my dogs and the more my children chose them for me. The more I’m with my dogs, the more I realise that my children chose their dogs which resemble their own characters.
My daughter chose Alfie. A gentle and loving who has high concentration levels. He is a low risk creature, who knows how to have fun but also knows how to chill out and has subtle but meaningful facial expressions.
My son chose Harley. Another gentle and loving animal, who is a higher risk creature, has a huge amount of energy levels, has a low boredom threshold and will only come home when he wants to.
My children have chosen me pets that have filled their own gaps in my life.
If you are struggling with empty nesting syndrome then the strategies in my up and coming book ‘Living With Normal: When my Dad became Joan’ will support you in rekindling your empty nest.
Cath Lloyd specialises in life change coaching, training and support to manage the life you have, gain the strength to change what you no longer desire and be the person you always wanted to be. Contact Cath today to find out more about how her coaching techniques can help you be happier, be less affected by stress or fears, and live your life to the fullest, achieving all you ever wanted to achieve.
Make the change from stress to success.