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Premature Empty Nest Syndrome and Mom’s Weekend Off

My husband and I had a long, uninterrupted conversation last night. Nobody asked us where his or her backpacks were. Nobody fought over the Wii. Nobody needed to get to a Cub Scouts meeting. And it was both glorious and saddening at the same time.

The kids are at my in-laws’ house for a few days, because school is closed for teachers’ conferences. They go there every year for at least part of the four-day weekend, while I stay home and catch up on work, laundry, and Tivoed episodes of The Colbert Report. Normally, I welcome the break while still missing the kids a little bit, but this time, I miss them more than usual. This time I had a case of Premature Empty Nest Syndrome.

I’ve blogged about how much I’m loving my tweens’ ages and stages. When you can have an intelligent, thoughtful conversation with your children about the presidential election as opposed to, say, an exasperating explanation as to why one shouldn’t keep toy trucks in the refrigerator, it makes life easier indeed. And, for me, somewhat more enjoyable.

So after my husband and I finished our uninterrupted conversation last night, I remarked, “It’s awfully quiet around here.” He agreed. And suddenly, I pictured my boys gone off to college a few years from now, and I felt a pang for the end of the soccer games, the piano recitals, the Guitar Hero showdowns, the conversations about the presidential election. I missed my boys, even though they still live here.

Don’t get me wrong. I won’t be one of those mothers who creates a shrine in each kid’s bedroom after they leave the nest. I like to believe that it will feel like it’ll feel like it’s time for the next stage, and that I’ll be satisfied with raising them. But I’m not done yet, and there’s still so much left to do with them.

They’ll be home tomorrow with their dirty laundry and loose papers and bickering, and then I’ll get over my Premature Empty Nest Syndrome. Until then, though, I’ll let the pang linger a little longer.

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