Single mum and impending empty nest

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Written by Nikki Ross

I have been a single mum to my twin boys since they were 6. It was unexpected, happened overnight and was for some time an emotional roller coaster. I continued to work full time as a senior police officer and managed evening, weekend and overnight commitments as best I could. I had terrific childcare – my mum retired to become my nanny – but everything I did I did for my boys and to make sure they were happy. 

As they got older I felt they needed me more than when they were younger, but working full time was tricky to balance. I took time off for the GCSEs and revised alongside them to help them through the process. I now remember more of Hitlers rise to power than I did when I sat my own O levels. Towards the end of year 12 (lower 6th) one of the boys (for reasons which I won’t go into) decided to move an hour away and live with his father. Overnight half of my nest was empty. In the lead up to that between the 3 of us we had visited 10 universities and were primed and ready for personal statements and big life choices.  To facilitate the move to his dads he went back a year thus delaying the university choices. The remaining twin and I continued down that path and as the time progressed he made choices, was offered, secured an unconditional offer and is off to Wales in September – all being well! He has cooked dinner for me every day of the lockdown so is now university ready from a culinary point of view. He has been furloughed from  his job as a lifeguard and saved lots of money to fund his adventures and we have applied for loans and accommodation. 

Now it hits me – in less than 4 months he will be on his way and I will be left home alone. Most couples think this is a great moment to reconnect and start to have adventures. I have just retired but started on a huge new adventure in a new career. I have a house that is rather too large for one and a will but not much desire to downsize. I plan to exercise, to socialise and to start hobbies – but lack a bit of enthusiasm to do any of those things. In January I made a resolution that this year would be all about me. Not that I wouldn’t still look after everyone else – obviously – but that I would spend time focusing on me and making my world a bigger and better world for once the nest was empty. I failed to really do that at the beginning of the year and now find myself in lockdown with even less opportunity. So the summer will see a new me. My son and I are going on a massive holiday to celebrate his A levels – this may be postponed but we will still be going at some point. I am off to Antigua with some girl friends to mourn the empty nest in October (hopefully) and will return from that a new woman. I will still be a mum but it won’t be the bit that defines me. I will be me and I will be looking for opportunities for me at all times. Closed to nothing and open to offers!

 

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