Once you become a mother your life changes completely. Your time is no longer yours. Your priorities change. All your energy and emotions are invested in the children while your own interests take a back seat. You make adjustments for your children , but the beauty of motherhood is what you do for your kids comes so naturally to you that it never seems to be a sacrifice.
In fact, your life revolves around the children but when they grow up, spread their wings and fly away, the empty nest syndrome hits you hard. You are left with the feeling of emptiness. You feel incomplete and even redundant at times. All these years children have been your life, you have assumed multiple roles, donned several hats catering to their never ending needs. You have been their personal secretary doing all sorts of odd jobs –from helping them complete their school assignments, arranging dress for their fancy dress competition to finding out their lost items. I remember having been one (wo) man search squad carrying out many successful search operations to trace out a lost belt or a missing notebook. My mother unearthed the lost property for us and in the best of motherly tradition; I too have done the same. No wonder the saying goes, “A thing is not lost till the time your mother declares it has been lost.”
Despite the fretting and fuming about the pressure of bringing up children, juggling between home and work, you enjoy being the ‘queen bee’. You may not have any ‘me time’, but you feel important. However, when the children fly away, you feel miserable. I remember when my elder one left home a decade ago, I cried but then, I had to wipe my tears to rush to the college as I had my job to attend to. I was disturbed, but could recover fast also because, I had my younger one around to keep me busy with his gruelling coaching schedule. When it was the turn of my younger son to leave home, I was distraught, tears won’t stop. It has taken much longer to adjust to a new reality.
When the children leave home there is bound to be a void, a vacuum But don’t let sadness, self pity and feeling of distraught fill the vacuum. It is time to pat your back for the years well spent, well loved and a job well done. You have given wings and also the strength to the children to fly and soar high. It is time to be content and enjoy their success.
But it t is easier said than done. A popular post by Sudha Murthy (wife on Narayan Murthhy, co-founder Infosys) advocating ‘attachment with detachment’ is the way forward. Continue to shower your love on the children but don’t expect them to reciprocate in the same measure. Children have their own life; their dependence on you is bound to diminish over time. Eventually they would make their own nest. Equip yourself emotionally to deal with the change. It is important to cultivate hobbies, develop your own interests so that you don’t keep reminding the children about every little thing you have done for them. Be happy and let the children live happily.
(Published in HT Sunday Read on Sept 9 ,2018 )