While you are picking out a card for your mom this week (Mother’s Day is Sunday!), keep in mind just how much she misses you. The Wall Street Journal posted a piece yesterday on “Women on the Verge of an Empty Nest,” about the new psychological issues today’s mothers face as they approach the college and adult years of their children.
My friend Bonnie, herself just one year into the kid-free zone, told me that after her youngest started college, she tended to burst into sobs every time she saw a school bus. My friend Angie said, “I’ve filled my life up with lots of new exciting things so I didn’t have to confront what’s really going on, and it worked–except on my bad days, when I have this big empty hole inside me and no one to discuss it with, because everyone else is working or pretending that at fifty you have another fifty good years left.”
So yes, among women of my generation, there is anxiety over our suddenly kid-free homes and our marriages, the loss of our daily routines, the vast new stretches of potentially empty—and boring—time, the prospect of loneliness. There is also the sudden vision of becoming grandparents, which tends to segue rather rapidly into becoming elderly.
While every generation deals with this transition differently, the end of active, daily parenting is a major event in a woman’s life. And it is important to remember, especially this weekend, the extent to which our mothers devote their lives to their children.