Madonna. Madge. Maddie. Mad. Mary, mother of Jesus. Whatever you call her, one thing is for sure, Little Miss Madddiepants has successfully survived decades in the public eye. Love her or hate her: she certainly has got one thing totally right; she reinvents herself. All the time. Even through the menopause.
My youngest, aged 18: off to uni. The last time I felt this type of anticipated pain, was when I drove my beloved border collie to the vets to be euthanized. That feeling of utter despair, (even though I knew I was doing the one and only right thing), I am reminded of now, in that I’m snatching every available second, to tidy his hair, stroke his back…get his food…knowing this will be one of my very, very last chances…end of an era….
Perfect timing: menopause right alongside your nest getting thoroughly emptied.
Okay my son is not dying; I’m being over-dramatic. But him leaving is, for me, another painful, albeit inevitable, life-changing occurrence. It IS a rather big corner.
What else would I want, though? He’s been successful enough to get to go to uni: well done me. Good parenting. Wahoo. I didn’t even encourage him to have a gap year. I could have maybe got another year out of ‘what’s for dinner?‘ or ‘can I have some money please?‘
But actually its not all about those duties you’re seemingly constantly harangued into doing….its way more than that….In my case..well…how the hell am I gonna cope without him?!
He looks after the (new) dog when I’m working; he helps me work my camera; he’s the sole, in-house (tremendous standard fyi) cake-baker; he even asks how I am. Okay, to be completely truthful, he has practically become my counsellor. I feel physical pain, in my gut, that he’s going.
My fluffy nest feels like its being turned inside out.
So why is Mary, Mother of Jesus (bet she was an incredibly proud mum) relevant to Empty Nest Syndrome?
Madonna is really interested in herself.
She takes time to work on her entire image. Sure, she has people to do stuff for her, but ultimately, she is the one asking for ideas on clothing, image and hair styles. She wants the best for herself. And why shouldn’t she? So she’s busy. With herself. And that help heaps, if you’re feeling that final severing of that strong, yet intangible, umbilical cord, as that ‘taking-to-uni’ day arrives. You need to pick yourself up and at least try and look good.
So, get your inner Madonna out and focus.
Its great that you’re not needed anymore. Come on; it is! You will now have a bit/a lot more time to consider some self-reinvention. Cause, if nothing else, it will stop you from wallowing in your own tears, and encourage you to rediscover YOU. Someone other than just his mum.
Maybe, like me, you’re realizing that it’s much less how you’re defined by others, but more how you’ve inadvertently defined yourself – “my son”, “my angel”….”my co-dependent”….”my rock” ..”my ‘he-makes-me-feel-needed-and-useful-and-stuff'”…”my I can’t fucking cope without him!”
I can. You can. Once I stopped crying; I drank a bottle of vin rouge while watching shit tv, I then decided that I’d better get to bed and wake up in an altogether more acceptable mood.
Upon awakening, I dragged out my inner Madonna and decided to work from the outside in. So my personal reinvention began with a fabulous fake tan.
It stops you from crying. Cry, and pay with streak marks down the face; therefore, keep it together bitch. This fab faux tan instructs to use at night, but it also works beautifully during the day – especially if you need to make yourself happy/slightly happier/less miserable. And its so easy to use, as long as you’re not balling your eyes out, you can’t go wrong.
But I didn’t stop there. I then immersed myself in the fabulous melting coconut balm
James Read products are very user-friendly. I literally LOVE using the coconut melting balm. It is beautiful to massage in – the smell and texture takes you away from it all. This particular tanning brand understands that people are generally complete rubbish at applying their own fake tan, so it compensates in products that do the work for you. They moisturize as well as any luxury skin brand does, while giving you the tan you want – superbly natural.
However, if you do need more help, maybe from the inside out, then read Germaine Greer inspirational book The Change
Although arch feminist, Greer slates sex a bit much in this read; her general stance on how to deal with the change, for me also helps in how to deal with life when you’re facing up to the fact that you’re no longer as needed as you were before…
Come on girls: lets VOGUE