Fear of empty nest syndrome which led to new club

My son is at university but my 18-year-old daughter decided to have a gap year before leaving home, so I’m not facing the empty nest feeling quite yet.

Many parents feel mixed emotions when it happens: guilt at feeling glad and liberated that they have gone - a new phase of life both for couples and single parents.

Some couples fearing being left alone to face reality, others excitedly plan, like one of my friends who said: “I know exactly which mountain I am going to go climbing on with my partner when our last teenager leaves home.”

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Some people plan ahead for this new phase, others don’t realise until it hits them. When I realised my teens were using me more as a chef, cashpoint and taxi driver, I started my life, career and social media coaching business, which I could fit around school, part time job and helping them with homework. I am lucky as I have had a transition, so hopefully I’ll plan some activities just for me when the last one leaves.

There are also financial implications. Many parents lose their tax credits and child benefit and have to subsidise their offspring at college or apprenticeship. So they may need to be creative about making the most of their new freedoms. Some may feel depressed as relationship difficulties rear their head once the kids have moved on.

Learning how to spoil yourself and plan things to do so as not to waste that fantastic 10-15 years from when they leave until retirement is an aim of Sheffield Empty Nesters. I do not want to waste a second. We wanted to share our experiences about setting up businesses, having a great work life balance and looking after yourself. I have met so many women through my networking who have become self-employed as their kids got older and left home. I have also met people who are worried about the job situation at the moment and may be looking for a chance to change direction now they are empty nesters and have much more time to fill. Having a regular walking/networking /business-building empowering session with others will hopefully help people to make the most of the opportunities being an empty nester brings, without the guilt.