I’m a pretty hands on parent. I have always known what was going on in my daughter’s life. I’m OK with that, as it’s exactly how I wanted to parent. So inevitably, when I run into someone I haven’t seen since DO (drop off) they can’t help but ask:

“How are YOU??? How Are you handling her being away? Do you miss her? Are you bored without her.”

Some of those asking are my friends also became empty nesters this year. When they ask, it’s more like checking in: they have done the drop off, they face the same empty room every day. They are in the same boat and are eager to share their thoughts on all things empty nest.

Some that are asking are my friends who will become empties within the next few years: they know what kind of parent I’ve been, and are generally curious about how the experience is, and how they should be prepping for it.

And some of the people…..

Some of the people are the one’s that are kind of secretly hoping I’m failing at the parent sans child thing. Some of these people were present last night at a holiday dinner. And here’s my answer to the questions:

I’m fine. No, I’m actually never bored, there are lots of things I like to do. I’m handling it all fine. Of course I miss her, she’s my angel, but you know, I’m actually OK with her being away.

But they press on: But you WERE ALWAYS WITH HER. YOU MUST BE MISERALE WITHOUT HER.

And I repeat: actually, the house is now always neat. I do a third less laundry. I don’t need to buy as much food. I’m not on call 24/7.

BUT SHE WAS YOUR LIFE? YOU MUST BE DESPONDENT.

Yes- she’s my daughter and I love her, but I can love her with the distance. If I miss her I text her, or call her. That hasn’t stopped.

BUT YOU SURELY MUST BE SAD WITHOUT HER

At this point I shake my head and try to change the subject. Because there are just some people who want me to be miserable. They want to see my crumple into a little ball and sob every day because apparently my life is over because my daughter moved away.

Why are some people rooting for you to fail?

I chose my own way to parent, and I received a lot of grief about it from certain quarters. I feel like they were looking for ways to see that I sucked at parenting, that some of my “new fangled” ways would not work. I was told that my daughter would fail at school because I didn’t send her to Pre k at three years old. She didn’t. I was told that I was starving her because I fed her small portions of food. She didn’t. I was told that she would be left behind by being educated in NYC public schools. She didn’t. I was told she wouldn’t be a leader because I allowed her to be shy. That turned out to be false as well.

And they still want me to fail. But this time as an empty nester. If you pull back the veneer, they also want my daughter to fail at college. They keep pressing that surely she’ll be homesick the whole time she’s at college because I was too hands on. That she won’t adapt and it will be all my fault.

So I ask again, why do we actively want people to fail? Why do we have this incessant need to want to be right more than we want things to work for others. Why do people keep the words “I told you so” so readily available in their arsenal?

Can’t we choose to cheer one another on?

 

70 thoughts on “How Are you Doing???

  1. We can indeed choose to cheer each other on — that is our job! Reminds me of the old joke: “How many feminists does it take to change a lightbulb? Six. One to change the lightbulb and five to tell her what a good job she’s doing.” ;-).

    Liked by 2 people

  2. We don’t want to people we love to fail but sometimes we do want them to understand and empathize with us. Sometimes people are takers and we get mad because they don’t give back. And then you realize, you can’t do a friggin’ thing about it, except take care of your own things and your family.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. There is a fine line between respect for family and then waiting on them to do the “right thing.” My situation with the family and taking care of their two dogs in cages for 12 weeks. It was initially only for 4 weeks with the grandson. I feel we got dumped on but the dogs are gone, the stepson and family are still working and enjoying their “toys” and everyone is for now getting along. Strange situation for me to adapt to but I try to understand as I don’t have all the pieces and move on. Only a mean person wants for you to fail but only a fool will admit this. We all want for people to perceive the best for us but we are not all the same. I wish you well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s what I don’t understand either. But people do it in al, branches of life. If someone does something you don’t believe in, you don’t want them to succeed. It could be regret, or it could be just plain old unkind, or narcissistic behavior. It’s like comparing things, you think that’s bad, I’ll tell you bad….it’s almost passive aggressive

      Liked by 3 people

  4. You are so on the nose with this. I’ll never forget people insisting that I should be grieving when my kids left for their respective colleges. Not so much with my son, because they’d say, “At least Ashley’s still at home.” As if one kid replaces another. But when I didn’t get all emotional every time someone asked about my empty nest they’d tell me how distraught they’d been. That they’d cried for a week (a month, a year) when their youngest left. Obviously I wasn’t as good a parent because I hadn’t done that. I got a bit teary eyed when we dropped each of them off at school freshman year, but I was so darned proud of them it didn’t occur to me to be sad.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. LA, I couldn’t be more impressed that you have done so well avoiding that common but fruitless empty-nester crisis. As you yourself say, and based on many of your posts, given how involved you were in your daughter’s life until now, you could have fallen into that unpleasantness. Bravo for not doing so. Just ignore those who question your excellent mental health and who question your trust in your daughter to lead her own life. They need to get a life!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The problem is, I think people confuse being an active participant in parenting with not having your own life. I had a particular way I wanted to parent, which worked for me and my family. But I always taught my daughter how to take care of herself. I just enjoyed watching her do things. People don’t realize I had my own life and interests outside of my daughter, and now I get to explore that more. I’m a complete person, with or without her. Just like I have a separate identity from my husband. It’s hard for people to understand

      Liked by 4 people

      1. That’s it exactly. We live together and do things together, but at the end of the day…we have our own lives.

        I just recently returned something I had bought for my daughter. She was busy finishing a paper for school and I wanted to help. She didn’t need it so I took it back. She had already made another plan! I told the cashier, “Maybe I raised her to be too self-sufficient?!” The lady smiled and said, “No. You raised her right.” ❤

        Keep being a freakin' hero. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve had to think on this one for a bit because I don’t really remember this happening. I suspect that I had seen and heard lots of this sort of thing throughout various stages and came to realize that once elementary school was over I could begin to distance myself from parents like this. I realized most of “those people” were not close, just acquaintances from school activities when the kids were young– actually mostly from my oldest. As my daughter begin to find her niche, her best pals, the others naturally drifted away and so the time with those adults ended for me as well, as I had no real attachment. I didn’t have to think about their kids or worry about their opinions of my kid/myself.

    Family is a different story, but most of those went with the ex-husband so I think I’m pretty okay all around!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I suspected as much, given past posts on that subject. I’m sorry because I think your major option in this case is simply ignore, ignore, ignore. Or scream at them and say really bad words… 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I sent my mother a text twenty minutes ago,

    ‘Out of interest did you suffer from ’empty nest syndrome when M. and I left home?’

    and she replied………. ‘Sorry to say, not really! Missed you both of course but not to that extent’,

    an interesting reply to a question I’ve never asked 🙂 .

    Liked by 3 people

  8. People hate what they don’t understand. You have a great relationship with your daughter and yet you manage to be a fully functioning adult! Imagine the horror of it all. Seriously, I don’t know that they want you to fail as much as they didn’t agree with your parenting in the beginning and they wanted a little part of it to justify their original thought. You obviously are not having a problem and that is their problem.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. I had a friend in HS that I was exceptionally close to. After we graduated, we grew distant. When I was getting divorced from my first husband, we reconnected. It took me years to realize that the only times she was interested in connecting with me was when things in my life weren’t great. She wanted nothing at all to do with me when things were going good because she couldn’t stand to hear about it. So much so that I hadn’t heard from her in nearly two years (coincidentally after I met and married Hubby), but calls me out of the blue when there was news that the company my husband worked for at the time was doing massive layoffs. When I told her they didn’t impact him, the conversation ended quickly and I haven’t heard from her since.

    I won’t get into yet another rant about how bad my relationship is with my mother, but she was kind of the queen of sitting around expecting me to fail and letting me know she felt that way.

    I honestly think that much of this attitude comes from a form of jealousy or envy. People see someone doing well, having the things or experiences they want for themselves but don’t have for whatever reason and they don’t like to see that. I don’t think this is everyone or every part of it, but I do think it plays a part.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Some people need to pick themselves up by putting others down, or like you stated, flock to them when they’re in a bit of turmoil. They lack self confidence, so they do anything to make themselves feel better. It’s sad and frustrating

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I enjoy encouraging people and can’t imagine imposing a negative attitude on them. I knew I was different, though. I didn’t cry when my children got on the bus for kindergarten. It was time for them to go, and it was time for me to enjoy their being gone. I teared up at a niece’s high school graduation. Wonder if that would count on the mommy scale.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tearing up at an event is just a showing of how proud and excited you are for the person involved. Nothing wrong with sentiment. But yeah, we have kids, we help them get through stages. I actually did a little jig when I walked out if the kindergarten classroom

      Like

  11. Very well thought out analysis of folks response to you being an empty-nester! I don’t believe that every person who makes those remarks are hoping that you fail – unless the same comments keep coming up time and again whenever you have a conversation – then you just need to stay away from those folks or actually be blunt and call them on it. You could fire back the same question they ask you and maybe it will be an opportunity to gain some insight as to how they have handled their own challenges – whether they fell they have failed, done ok, or are doing well. However, I think, that people who care about you or are going through the challenge of empty-nest just want to know how you are dealing with, perhaps to glean some wisdom for their own situation. We have 5 kids, all married as of last year, so we thought, Yeah! Now we have some freedom – but then we inherited my daughter’s large dog – so there goes that idea. Lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those pets!! I think people foist their own insecurities onto those around them. People who had a hard time separating from their children just want to group everyone else into that boat, just to make themselves feel better

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I totally get what you mean. I’ve come across this too and I also don’t understand why people do it. It’s like they think life is a competition where they have to get one up on other people instead of a journey where we cheer each other on.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I have been an Empty Nester for over ten years now and they are proving to be the best years of my Life. When I retired at Xmas at 59 years of age the most common question asked of me was “ when will you be putting the house on the market to be closer to the girls?” What the? Why?
    People are people.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I believe some people simply thrive on drama….other people’s drama. And, when others are miserable, they somehow feel better about their own lives. it sounds like you have a healthy approach to the DO and are doing fine. Our job isn’t to keep them. They were always just on loan to us. xox

    Liked by 3 people

  15. I just dont understand why some folks just want others to be miserable, or fail. Is that the only way they can be content, or feel better about themselves?
    Sad.
    Of course you miss her! Being without her sucks. But the other side of that coin is an entirely new kind of freedom and focus on self! ❤
    Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I get it. People didn’t understand when I said I was looking forward to the kids being out of the house. It was such a freeing experience being able to go out to dinner on a whim or not needing to consider anyone else’s schedule but our own. Of course my college daughter wasn’t so thrilled when I took over her room to be my craft room 🙂 Now that she is home from college and our son moved back to get himself on his feet again our nest is no longer empty, but the dynamics are different. Good for you for handling it perfectly!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I really dislike this personality flaw some people have. I’m not sure what makes some people root for failure, but it’s not my style. I always pray people do well and feel well. Cheerleading for others has always been my thing. Sigh. Oh well, I guess we just have to deal with these people. I love your posts. They always make me think.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. There is so much mom shaming…I am in a group on Facebook for a grocery store chain that has an almost cult following. Whenever a mom shares a picture of what they feed their child for lunch, no matter what the lunch contains, there is always backlash. Too much sugar, not enough protein, too much fruit, too much plastic…it’s sad. Let’s let others do what works best for them, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Glad you are adjusting well to your daughter in college. I’m not sure it’s that people want to you to be sad or miserable. Perhaps it’s just that they assumed you would be given your close relationship with her. It’s always wonderful to rise about people’s expectations. A lot of women are sad when their kids leave, and perhaps you will be giving your “friends” hope that they won’t be miserable. I don’t think either reaction is right or wrong. It’s just how we respond to change.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. First of all, there is nothing wrong with being a “hands on” parent. I was too…and yes, I missed my kids when they went to college, but no, I didn’t fall apart either. They’re adults now with their own lives and guess what? We’re still close, just in different ways than we were when they were young. I suspect you and your daughter will always be close, too.
    But the bigger question is truly, why in the world to some people want us to fail? And why do they rejoice in our failures and pain? The important thing to remember is that is NOT a healthy or normal reaction, and it is their problem, not yours. Put as much distance between yourself and those people as possible!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Here’s a long distance cheer for. A fellow empty nester. The day my daughter was accepted to university a country away (4 hours by plane) I got a tattoo of a map on my feet – she said ‘ see, you’ve got the world at your feet mum, this time is your time’ when I’m bored or lonely I look down and remember those words

    Liked by 1 person

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