You might see this title and think, yep that's me, my kids have flown the nest, or you think, this will be me in a few years, but I bet most of you are counting down the days thinking you can't wait till the kids leave home.
I'll then take a guess at the ages of your children. In their mid to late 20's and older. 15-18 year olds or pre school children.
That's usually the response I get, from the parents of kids who are those ages, when I say I have an empty nest.
But what surprises most people is my age and the age of my youngest child.
I'm 46 and my last chick flew the nest in 2014. But it wasn't my youngest child. My youngest child was 13 when he left home to go to boarding school in the UK, as were living in South Africa. We're now in Dubai and as he turned 18 last year, he didn't join us, he's opted to stay in the UK and seek work there. You can read more in the Daily Mail about my experience as a mum of a child in boarding school (scroll to the last interview)
My kids also haven't gone to University, the eldest two boys left home aged 18 and moved away with their career in the army and in the hotel industry. The next child left aged almost 19 to pursue his career in the army also. There has been a clean cut off point, no coming and going over a period of a few years, just there one day as kids and the next off into the big wide world as adults.
I noticed some huge changes within a week of the being an empty nester there was fuel in the car and change in my purse. 2 months on and I was enjoying myself, days of 'me time' and no agenda, I could do what I wanted when I wanted.
Then it went all downhill, but we moved countries and life just got complicated in a different way, I didn't adjust to life in Dubai, I didn't want to invest all my time to have the rug pulled from under my feet when we moved on again. I blamed the children for not being here, for being able to use them to make friends, to get to know more about what was going on and the best places to meet people. I blamed everything on empty nest syndrome until right now, as I was writing this post (which is now a week a go) It's been 4 years since my last chick flew the nest.
I don't have an empty nest anymore, I just just have a new phase in my life that I need to learn to enjoy.