How do you cope with an empty nest?


Billy at the top of Pen-y-Fan My heart was singing as I drove home on Friday. Billy was at home and I hadn’t seen him since bedtime on Thursday over a week earlier, as he’d spent a week in Wales on a school outward bound trip.

Welsh landscape He’d had a fantastic time caving, gorge scrambling (whatever that is!) and hill climbing (he got to the top of Pen-y-Fan as he claims the photo shows, but all I can see is cloud! Still, the views from lower down look stunning).

Memories of my own gap year

As the children weren’t allowed to take mobile phones we had no contact for the eight days they were away and I found that harder than I expected.

It made me think about my gap year when I was 18. I went to America for three months and I think I contacted home only two or three times. It was more expensive and more difficult then, of course, but my poor mum!

Keeping in touch with the kids 

We always said no news is good news, but I’m glad communication is so much easier nowadays. It has certainly made the transition from having three children at home to only two easier to handle.

Bex is having a great time at uni, and is really good about texting her news, as well as calling for a weekly update. I’ll probably find it more difficult when it’s Billy, my last, who has left, as the two boys still keep me busy with cooking, laundering, supporting homework and general taxiing around!

"Helping your children grow roots and wings"

I once heard a phrase about rearing children which rung true for me and I have done my best to achieve it: 'To help your offspring to grow both roots and wings'.

It’s not always easy to wave goodbye to your children as they become independent, but it’s so much easier if you know they’ll be coming home! And the security their roots give them provides the confidence they need to spread their wings.

Encouraging our children on their steps to independence

I wrote about children’s books in my blog last week, but it’s music I’m thinking of now. The Abba song ‘Slipping through my fingers’ is one that can always bring tears to my eyes.

I didn’t really know it as an Abba song, and first noticed it in the Mamma Mia musical which we enjoyed as Olley’s birthday treat a few years ago. And of course Meryl Streep sang it beautifully in the film.

It’s an emotional song about a parent watching as their young daughter heads off to school, but it’s easy to translate it to teenagers leaving home. I heard songwriter Bjorn Anderson on the radio saying that ‘Slippping’ is one of the few songs of truth that he’s written. It was inspired by the moment he waved his seven-year-old daughter off to school on her own for the first time. She was wearing her bag on her back, she turned to wave to him and he realised these were steps towards freedom for her.

It’s so important we encourage our children on those vital steps, whatever their age, but let’s hope they’ve grown strong enough roots to bring them home for regular visits. I recommend Richard Jackson’s Root Boost!

How do you deal with an empty nest?

Do you have a song that has deep meaning for you? Or any tips on coping with ‘empty nest’ syndrome. I’d love to hear – we could start a support group for redundant mums!!

Do take care
Love Kathy


  1. Margaret November 23, 2009 at 10:57 pm -  Reply

    Hi Kathy , your children leave home but take heart, my two girls who were very close just 18 months between them and have been gone now for 11 years and 10 years. Oh I did miss them so the house seemed too quiet but when we got used to it we were fine ,now we go shopping together out to the theatre the phone rings and its Mum would you like to do this or that I love what we have now the best of both worlds , music does stir me and I must admit if I hear anything from the eighties and nineties( that was their era)I feel all sentimental though at the time we were always shouting TURN IT DOWN happy days to be treasured , you know Kathy theres no such thing as a redundant Mum they will always need you but in a differant way even if its at the end of the phone asking how to cook such and such and for how long ,All Best Wishes for Christmas and Happy and Healthy New Year, Margaretxx

  2. suzanne.anderson November 26, 2009 at 2:29 pm -  Reply’,but.l.would’’m.pround.of.the.people.they.have.all.become….suzanne…xx

  3. Allison Smith November 26, 2009 at 10:36 pm -  Reply

    Hi Kathy, i have 2 sons aged 16 and 13 and i’m dreading them leaving home!!!!!! I know you have to let them go but i wish i wasn’t so soft. Anyway, you ask about songs with a deep meaning and i wondered if you had ever heard the song “shine son” by Dennis Locerierre……he used to be the lead singer with doctor hook. I am yet to listen to this song without crying……with having two sons it just makes me so emotional, as you also have a son i’d be interested to see what you think of the song if you can manage to listen to it.
    Take Care
    Allison x

  4. jayne bowen November 28, 2009 at 4:39 pm -  Reply

    hi kathy when my daughter left home for university i found it hard with me working regular night shifts coming home in the mornings when my husband left for work it would be so lonley but then i found qvc & craft and now i craft with my westie pebbles and my hubby moans about the craft mess so alls well still missed her though but now shes a married woman & i did all her wedding stationery so if anyone feels lost look up qvc & dawn bibby merry christmas take care jayne x

  5. Kathy Tayler December 3, 2009 at 10:44 am -  Reply

    Hello Margaret
    You are absolutely right – there’s no such thing as a redundant mum – I only have to look at my own mum to see that. There’s four of us, from 44 to 51 in age, all married (bring 4 children-in-laws) and eight grandchildren. If mum though she was going to have a rest in her old age we soon proved her wrong!!
    I hope you have a lovely Christmas with your family. Very best wishes.
    Kathy x

  6. Kathy Tayler December 3, 2009 at 10:50 am -  Reply

    Hi Allison
    I have made a point of finding ‘Shine Son’ to listen to and can see why you find it so moving. Dennis Locerierre’s voice is beautiful and distinctive (I know and love The Ballard of Lucy Jordan and Sylvia’s Mother but hadn’t heard Shine Son) and the lyrics of the song put into words trhe feelings that surely every parent has. It’s a beautiful song – thanks for introducing it to me.
    Have a great Christmas with your boys – mine two boys are 16 and 14 so I know what fun you’ll be having, and I’m looking forward to having 18 year old Bex home for a couple of weeks too!
    Best wishes
    Kathy x

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