You can survive when your children leave home -my story one year on.

It seems like the end of the world somehow. You've spent years focussing vast swathes of time, money and energy trying to raise your child safe, happy and as healthy as possible, and before you know it it's time for them to leave home.

It seems laughable to some I suppose that even though I am a mother of seven children I still mourned like a "proper" empty nester when my two eldest left home. One moved to Portsmouth to be with his partner and further his career, the other started university just up the coast in Southampton.

My 5 little birds who still live at home with me.

I wanted to howl at the moon, sob like a toddler, hug them to my bosom and beg them to stay. But all my tears were shed away from them and I did my best to say positive and happy for them whilst remaining fearfully convinced they would be robbed, catch a fatal tropical disease or suffer a serious injury on the night bus home from clubbing.

I wrote (of course I wrote!) all about my feelings at the time and I don't mind admitting, I wallowed somewhat and spent more time than was properly healthy on the phone or on the motorway finding any excuse to visit them.

Luckily for them my bank balance and work/home commitments meant I could not sustain this level of mother hen behaviour and now, one year on, I have settled into a more normal way of life with my grown-up boys. Note I say, MORE normal. I don't do normal.

I wanted to write again to comfort those among you who have all of this to come. Maybe your "baby" is just settling into uni life, or you are just starting to look at options for next year. Maybe your baby is still in nappies and the thought of them leaving seems both horrifying and an age away. Sorry, but those years will fly.

I feel blessed to have what I feel is a good relationship with all of my children, including my children who don't live with us any more. I feel especially blessed that my eldest's partner (known here as FDIL-Future Daughter in Law) seems to more than tolerate her larger than life FMIL (future mother-in-law).

L-R round the table My mum, DS#1, FDIL and DH
We get on very well thankfully which means she does her best to ensure we get to see or speak to our son loads. She even drove hours through the night after a long day at work last Christmas Eve just managing to get my son to the last half of Midnight Mass - an important part of our family Christmas.

They stayed just a few hours so he could enjoy the excitement of his younger siblings (who woke him at stupid o'clock) on Christmas morning - he was still getting used to being independent and had confessed to her he would miss that part of the day. Then, bless her, she drove over an hour back south later on Christmas morning to spend some of the day with her family.

This year I won't see him on Christmas Day which will be strange, and quite hard to be honest. But I am getting used to him having a life very separate to mine.

Day to day I think of my little birds who have flown the nest and sometimes wonder what they are up to. When I was young my mum had to wait until I had 50p pieces for the phone box or money for petrol or train fare. Luckily thanks to the genius of mobile phones, FaceTime and Facebook messenger I get to see and speak to my brood regularly.

My message to all you new empty nesters? This stage of sadness and anxiety will pass and you will survive, just as you survived the first drop off at nursery, the first day at school and the first time they headed off alone on the bus or train.

Morrisons Christmas
madmumof7 & eldest son -attending a blogging event together
Hopefully you, like me, have a good relationship with your baby (who probably towers above you) and soon you will be able to enjoy the benefits of having adult children like when they buy you vodka, or dinner or start planning weddings or children themselves.

Life is a journey and every time I pass the latest stage I have to remind myself of the pros of the new stage. At the moment I am thankful for less smelly shoes, less laundry and less potatoes to peel.

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