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Bittersweet. A mom’s guide to her firstborn grown and flown.

By: Lezlie Brezin, LCSW

It’s 3 am. I toss and turn, hot flashes envelop my body and my mind begins to make another
list. I am that age. In that age range of pre- menopause /menopause. The joys of middle age. I
retrieve my phone as to not forget.

While it is summertime, a time of relaxation and barbecues, traveling and spending time with
family and friends, it is also the summer my firstborn will be preparing for college in the fall. As
there is no handbook for being a new parent, there is no handbook to prepare us mothers for
sending our babies off to fly on their own.

A few helpful tips to think about and prepare yourself as you embark upon this journey.

1. Know yourself-

Anticipate your emotions. It is normal to feel a whole range of emotions during this process. From joy to see them achieve their dreams to sadness for how empty the house will feel. You can’t wait to reclaim your home but also cannot imagine the house without their presence.

2. Communicate-

Reach out to family, friends, co-workers who have gone through this process. Pick their brains, compile various information from all different people to help you develop your own.

3.  Plan-

It is just as important to begin planning your own transition for these upcoming lifestyle
changes. What are your interests, hobbies, future goals? What has been placed on the back
burner all these years?

4. Maintain your confidence-

Don’t project your angst, fears or anxiety. Know you have spent eighteen years preparing your child and giving him/her the tools in becoming more independent and self sufficient. Exuding that faith in your child will help empower them and provide reassurance as they move forward.

5. Follow your child’s lead-

Listen to their thoughts, fears, excitement, anticipation. Utilize family moments to instill your wise words including safety, maintaining good health both mentally and physically, accessing emergency and support services, and budgeting.

6. Take time for yourself-

Grief comes in many forms, from death to divorce , separation , to any significant changes in our lives. Acknowledge these changes, care for yourself and know these feelings will be short lived. Grief most often will turn to relief and joy knowing your child is adapting and growing independently.

7. Focus on the new opportunities-

Spending more time and reigniting attachments with your partner as well as with your children still at home, extended family and friends.

8. Stay in touch-

Encourage your children at home to maintain contact and communication with their older
sibling without parental involvement .

Remind your child they have the wings to soar but will always have the unconditional love and
support from the ground of home.

If you find that as you go through this process that you are struggling with overwhelming emotions of sadness and grief, you are not alone. Give us a call today. One of our compassionate therapists can help you to manage this journey into empty nester years.

Written by Lezlie Brezin

From Lezlie's bio...

Lezlie has always believed that “it is not what you achieve but what you overcome.” She believes that in this ever changing world we live in, individuals may be overwhelmed with stress, anxiety and depression due to a number of issues and circumstances. Her approach is to help her clients navigate through their challenges while providing a solution focused approach to help them gain the knowledge and skills to make positive changes in their lives. She helps her clients to become more self aware, to establish goals and empower themselves both as individuals as well as within their relationships.

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