My daughter has been at university for a month now, the longest time we have been apart since the day she was born. For her, the last month has been busy making a new life, in a new home, with new friends. For me, it has been a month of getting used to an empty bedroom, a quieter house and smaller meal times, the absence of her feels a little easier with each passing week.
The dynamic of the house has changed now it’s a house with me, my son and my husband. In this new, more male household there is more chat about sport at the dinner table – as well as on the tv. Something those of you with all male children already know about.
There are things that I am growing to appreciate. Less housework – washing, shopping, and running around, that means more time to do whatever I want. Life is expanding to fit, as it does. Lots of things that have been waiting for me to have the time to do them are getting done, and get togethers and weekends away have been planned.
Last week I went with some friends to see Ruby Wax on her Sane New World tour. The audience were predominantly women, although there were some men. If you haven’t seen the show I recommend it. She talks about modern life, how fragile our mental health can be if we overload it – and how best to protect ourselves from emotional burn out or depression. It made me realise how busy life had been just before my daughter left, and how important a bit of down time is to give perspective and allow our minds and emotions to adjust and realign when life throws up changes and challenges, as it does. Mindfulness, Ruby explained, is good for lowering the cortisol (the hormone our body produces when it is under stress). It may be meditation, mindfully doing a task – such as cooking, or if neither of those sorts of things work for you, doing some form of exercise. Whatever it takes to make you exhale deeply and drop your shoulders from around your ears!
So this term is shaping up as time for letting the dust settle and adjusting to the new normal, which I’ve been reliably informed by a mother who has done this before me, I will have got used to by Christmas – just in time for the old normal to return for a while, with added washing!