Pre Empty Nest Syndrome? Is this what I have?

Not quite a teenager and not a little boy content with running up to his mummy and back. My little boy is growing up and I’m finding it hard.

empty nest syndrome


When I saw my eldest son ‘M’ for the first time, it took my breath away. The moment is always with me and I look back and talk about it whenever I can….here with you, with the kids and with my friends. The feeling was no different with my second boy ‘G’. I’ve always had a strong drive to keep both of my boys safe and a bit wrapped up in cotton wool. Those that know me would nod along now and hopefully smile in recognition as I’m probably the most over protective of the lot. I’ve heard of empty nest syndrome but never pre empty nest syndrome….my babies are still at home, just growing up.

empty nest syndrome
‘M’ aged 4….he’s 11 now. Oh how time has flown.

As my eldest reaches towards 12 I am having a few moments when I struggle with him taking that next step towards teenagehood and being more independent. I think maybe it’s because it’s the start of another school year and so many different questions….and behaviours have begun to show.

The reluctance by him to spend as much time with me has been something to get used to. Having him want to spend time alone, chatting with his friends without wanting me around is something new.  I love it so much, that he’s growing up and he has lovely friends who all get on and laugh at their own in-jokes. However, I’m now looking on at this and not instigating it. It’s not created by me – for him…..I’m not included as much, wow, when did this happen? I’m starting not to be the only big thing in his world. It’s a bit of a shock!

empty nest syndrome
He looks alot different now but I couldn’t resist these of when he was smaller.

The full on unashamed spontaneous hugs have also started to fizzle out, when they do come it’s magical and I crush him in my embrace. He does that ‘ok mum’ and giggles, knowing that I will undoubtedly now ruffle his hair which he has just preened and styled to an inch of its life.

My rational side knows that I am proud of what we have achieved. This is what I have been preparing him for so why does it give me a lump in my throat even writing about it?

I know that being a parent is to nurture and care for our young and I realise that they are not to be owned by us. We have to prepare them and set them on their own unique path. I hadn’t realised until now that the notion of this would be so hard, I had been in the caring role for so long.

It’s all such a learning curve being a parent. I’m always amazed at the different emotions it brings.

Am I alone or is this normal or even normal-ish? Do you ever get these feelings?

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70 thoughts on “Pre Empty Nest Syndrome? Is this what I have?”

  1. I have a different situation with a boy of 11 who will never fly the nest. On the one hand, it hurts like hell to know that he will always need full time care, but on the other, he loves me with the same passion that a toddler does. I always get the best hugs and he loves to snuggle and tell me he loves me. #KCACOLS
    Rachel George recently posted…“Pushed out” of school.My Profile

  2. It is very hard seeing them grow up yet wonderful all at once. I found it very hard seeing my first leave for University last year, next year another will go, but they come home and there is nothing better than having them all back for holidays. I guess this is just preparation for really leaving and moving away. The roots bit is easier than the wings bit! It probably sounds way of to you with an 11 year old but trust me it comes round fast. #KCACOLS
    Fiona Cambouropoulos recently posted…November isn’t winter in Cornwall.My Profile

  3. My eldest is only two and I freak out about her growing up too fast! I think it’s a totally normal feeling as we love our kids so very much and the thought of them not needing us so much anymore is very hard. X #kcacols

  4. My daughter is of a similar age and whist she’s definitely showing signs of not needing me and wanting to do her own thing. She is still very much my little girl at times and loves to spend time with me so I think I’ve still got a while left yet #kcacols

  5. I have similar feelings about my 9 year old daughter. She is growing up way too quickly for my liking! But at the same time I am relishing in the fact she is growing up as my 10 year old son died in august. I am looking forward to watching her grow up into a teenager and an adult – something I will never get the joy of with my son 🌈🦋

    1. Hi Nikki I am so sorry to hear about your son. Really sad and my thoughts are with you. Thanks so much for reading and for commenting and for letting me into your own thoughts and feelings about what I have written, I appreciate it. Mainy

  6. Such a beautiful quote. My children are still only young, my eldest being 7 but each school year comes around so fast and as much as I love watching them grow and thrive and become more independent, it is a little bitter sweet #kcacols

  7. We’re at the early stages of parenthood so we’re at a different point in our journey. There are times though with my eldest – who’s two and a half – when I see signs of independence. This is great because for the main part he still depends on me so it’s nice to see this side of him grow. Like you though, I don’t know how I’m going to feel when he doesn’t need me as much! I dread to think what I’ll be like when he has his first full day at shool, or I no longer pick him up to take him somewhere! I’m feeling sad just thinking about those things. I guess we need to embrace all stages and not want to rush anything! #KCACOLS

  8. Argh! Seconds pass like decades, decades like seconds… It is so hard, Bravo for giving him the foundation and take the time you need to mourn the loss… even though it is good. I’ll be doing the same all soon enough! #kcacols xoxo

  9. I thought it would be hard, but it is not to bad, they ring me most days and I see them about once a week, I thought after 10 years after they had moved out that things would taper off, it has not

    1. It’s funny how I didn’t appreciate time so much before having children. You’ve been through it with one child and have a bit of an insight which makes you even more aware I guess. Thanks for commenting, Mainy

  10. This blog post was a really interesting read, I too have a 12 year old son who is wanting to be more independent, it is a tricky age!

  11. I struggle to get my 13 year old to be more independent! I am pretty relaxed and encourage him to make his own way to school, allow him to come back on his own with his own key but he doesn’t want his independence! He wants to be picked up and put down and have everything done for him! Right now I don’t mind but I just hope I’m still not doing it all when he’s 30!! #KCACOLS

  12. Sooo normal! I remember when my daughter no longer wanted to sleep with me sometimes, or for me to give her a bath, no more holding hands…… It was a stab to the heart! But I knew, also I had done a good job and she was feeling confident in herself, she is 17 now, and once a day I force a hug on her! Sometimes! She comes and gives me a random hug, and this means the world to me……..I think the biggest thing was realising that my little girl was not really ‘mine’ never was, they belong to themselves just as we do, and our job is to raise encourage and support, still hurts though xx Take pleasures as you grow together, the things you like to do together will change, so you used to like snuggling, now it’s building dens?! Or shopping, or cooking, keep having your things xx

    1. What a lovely and thoughtful insight. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts, it means a lot, Mainy

  13. My eldest is 20 and I am still not ready for any of them to fly the nest. I still get lots of cuddles from my just turned 13 year old but the rest are only affectionate if they want something! #kcacols

  14. My eldest is in her last year of primary school now and just turned 11 so I’m feeling very similar to you. She’ll sometimes still hold my hand as long as she knows none of her friends will see, and she is caught between that sweet little girl, and wanting to have more independence. It is flying by so quickly isn’t it? #KCACOLS

  15. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way! My son will be 10 in a few weeks and I’m struggling to let go of even the little things already and find it upsetting when he tells me to get off when trying to give him hugs ☹️

  16. I have just had a little cry reading this. I can totally relate to these feelings. My two are only little (4 and 3) and I am devastated, almost daily, at how they are growing up. I dread to think how I am going to feel when they aren’t around even half as much as they are now, let alone when they move out! thanks for sharing. #KCACOLS

  17. I can’t imagine what this may feel like as my little girl is only 7 months old. On the one hand, you should feel proud that you’ve raised a child who’s independent and wants to do their own thing, but I can understand how you’d feel sad at the same time #FamilyFunLinky

  18. As somebody who is in the midst of the caring phase (with a 2 and 3 year old) this seems a lifetime a way. Bu treading this it makes me very happy about that. I know it is inevitable but the thought of not being there all and the loss of the cuddles and the admiration they have for me the way only little people do scares me and reminds me to treasure it whilst it is here. Thanks for joining us at #familyfun
    Tammymum recently posted…FamilyFun…Week 60My Profile

  19. Unfortunately I am a parent where my only child was stillborn, and I live every day knowing that won’t ever get to see him grow, to become independent or to leave home and make a family of his own. I think you have a good balance at the moment there is nothing wrong with loving them so much you don’t want things to come to an end. So long as you keep the attitude of not controlling them then you will get there.

  20. Strangely (or not) I know where you’re coming from. My eldest starts primary school this year, and although it’s what we’ve been preparing for, it still feels like I’m losing a little bit of her. Thanks for linking up to #HappyNewMum

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