As a mom empty-nesting with a daughter in college, it’s expected that you must adjust to the change. But did you also know that feeling deserted by your daughter and feeling left out of your daughter’s new interests can undermine your adjustment process?
Does the thought of empty nesting bring up questions, or fears, or remind you that you lack may not be adjusting well to the change?
If so, then keep reading because this article has secrets to help you stay connected without getting disconnected from her. The best thing of all, these 3 valuable secrets forge a new kind of relationship with your daughter while she is away at college.
Secret #1: Leaving The Nest Doesn’t (Necessarily) Mean Flying The Coop.
A main idea Moms keep overlooking is the fact that your preparation for empty-nesting beforehand is essential for a smoother adjustment.
The important thing to know here is that if you haven’t had a chance to prepare for empty-nesting, you can always make adjustments afterwards that will keep you connected to your daughter.
This is critical to realize because your emotions may at times “tell” you that your daughter will “never want anything to do with you.” However, the apparent distance while she is at college, will give you the room to get a new perspective on ways to reconnect with your daughter.
One thing you should do is to find out if your daughter is upset with you about anything that you’ve done (or not done) and then apologize to her for it specifically.
Secret #2: Distance From The Nest Does Make The Heart Grow Fonder
This secret deals with the a fact of physics: while at a basic microscopic level, there is distance between everything, bonds still exist.
You need to know this because relationally, even though there may be (emotional, physical, etc) distance between you and your daughter, she is still connected to you in some way. It’s just that that connection will just be different than what you may be used to experiencing.
This secret is important to keep in mind because, while you are empty-nesting, you will experience new mother-daughter behavior patterns and expectations that will push some emotional buttons that you may not have thought were in you.
So, it’ll be helpful for you both if you’d take time to:
- ask your daughter what she is/is not expecting from you while she is away at school and while she is home during her school breaks.
- share your expectations you have for when your daughter is at home during her school breaks.
- make sure the stated expectations are age-appropriate and consider any extenuating circumstances..
Secret #3: Reuniting (In The Empty Nest) Can Feel So Good!
The important thing to understand about this secret is that when your “baby” is home, things will feel so good and familiar. However, it’ll be important to make sure you don’t fall into old patterns of behavior with her.
Al this means is that you will need to keep at the forefront of your mind that your “baby” is not only “not a baby anymore” but is growing up into her own person.
Moms who are empty-nesting with daughters at college really need to understand this secret. Why? Because often it can emotionally feel like your daughter is either disrespecting or not listening to you–which might ruffle your feathers. However, sometimes it’s just your daughter “flapping her wings” to stretch and get a feel for venturing out on her own–becoming her own person–apart from you.
So the thing for you to do here is to
- pause before you speak
- hear the emotion of what your daughter is saying
- see your daughter as an adult
- communicate to her as an adult and let her know that you heard her emotion
- respond to the content of what your daughter says.
Your efforts to adjust to empty-nesting will get much easier when you accept and start using the knowledge from these 3 secrets to become the mom your daughter needs as she faces and embraces her adulthood.
Lastly before I forget, I have a FREE PDF of 5 Tips on how any mom, who’s empty-nesting with a daughter in college, can cope better with the change! Here’s where you can download your copy: https://bit.ly/GetHer2Talk
©Dr. Michelle Deering