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The Empty Nest, The Movement and The Solo Mom

The Nest and I

A few years ago, I was doing a series of articles on “Empty Nest Syndrome” for a client.

Sometime, after almost three fourth of one article, I found myself unable to write. It was as though something visceral deep within me was bursting to come out. I stopped hitting the keyboard and sat still for a moment. And then I let myself sob. Unrelentingly. Unstoppably.  For a good ten minutes.

My reaction surprised me. P still had two years to go to college. And J had lots more. So was I not being a tad too dramatic even by my own standards?

I did not think much about the incident and put it all down to hormones and PMS. Come 2017 and the article began doing the rounds again. In my head. In my ears. And in my tummy.” I did not think much about the incident and put it all down to hormones and PMS.

Come 2017 and the article began doing the rounds again. In my head. In my ears. And in my tummy.

P cracked the entrance exam of the institute he wanted to study.

We celebrated.

The Empty Nest, The Movement and The Solo Mom
Picture courtesy:

Deconstructing the empty, the nest and the Syndrome

As I began getting things ready for him, I wondered about that crazy, dramatic morning when I was doing the article. And that was when it struck me— It was the word syndrome. When followed by empty and nest, it produced a cadence that was disturbing. Almost like a cacophony. But inaudible.

I looked up syndrome and sure enough, I was not wrong.

This is what the Merriam Webster says about the word:

1:a group of signs and symptoms that occur together and characterize a particular abnormality or condition

2:a set of concurrent things (such as emotions or actions) that usually form an identifiable pattern

I hated patterns. Especially the ones that were meant to condition me in negative ways. And limit me. And not to forget limit my kids as well.

The Personalized Interpretations

Picture courtesy:
Picture courtesy:

I knew, I had to re-define the word in a manner where my kids and I would be able to embrace it. Sans drama. With joy, hope and love.

I said Empty Nest aloud. And the following interpretations opened up immediately— Empty for possibilities. Many of them. Tending towards infinity.”

Nest for the space where you transform those possibilities into dreams and convert them into actions.

That left me with syndrome.

I was not ready to say that medical-y, stuckup word aloud. I kid you not, when I do that, a sickly fruity smell gets lodged in my throat and refuses to leave. Which meant, I had to replace the word with something else.


A word that spelled dynamism and  pushed you to experiment. To move forward. Or upward. Or in a diagonal manner. To quicken your pace one moment. And slow it down the very next. To be the master of your own rhythm. Walk. Run. Sway. Flow. Breathe. Remain still. And gather momentum again. Like a river. Like a stream.

So how do you transition from syndrome to movement?

I made a commitment. To myself. To my children. That I won’t anchor myself in the so called symptoms  associated with the empty nest.

I will initiate a movement movements.

Here are some of the commitments I made:

  1. I will complete my Ma(Psychology) within the next 2 years.

(Status— Enrolled, made a beginning)

  1. I will do an NLP course. (Status—Enrolled. Will update again in the beginning of December after I finish the course)
  2. I will write more frequently.(Status—Did two essays, two food posts, one short story and answered many questions on Quora within the last two months).
  3. I will focus on my health.(Status—Walking for forty five minutes daily.)
  4. I will rekindle my love for reading (Status—Lost count of the number of books I read in the last 3 months).
  5. I will focus on networking. (Status—A dear friend made me aware how much I made progress in this)
  6. I will re-do my working space.(Status—in progress)
  7. I will have an artist’s date with myself.(Status—not yet begun)
  8. I will go on an all girls’ trip with my girl friends(Status—will update in the first week of February, 2018)
  9. I will conduct a writing workshop(Status—Conceptualized)

How did all these actionable steps help me?

  1. Investing in myself showed me that I still valued myself as a woman. This was a liberating feeling.


  1. I laughed more easily. These are some of the silly conversations I have with my elder one over the phone.


  1. I was finally able to let go of Mommy guilt.


  1. I was able to set P’s mind at rest. Knowing that I am not anchoring myself in pain, he is able to focus completely on his studies.


  1. I managed to make J all excited about food writing.

Now every time, someone asks me how I am coping with the intense loneliness and whether I am planning to shift to my parents’ place now that P is in college(I don’t know how that will make me miss P any less but this question keeps popping up quite frequently), I nod sagely and tell them that I have plans. Thousand of them.

Stock image from WordPress

©: Sridevi Datta





Published inParentingUncategorized


  1. You rock and roll, Sridevi. You are awesome.

    • sridevi1994 sridevi1994

      As you do Bhavana. <3

  2. Loved every word of it…
    The individual’s capability to address such symptoms surpasses everything else! I love the way you’ve embraced it all…
    I also miss my girls…each in different cities…yet I try to keep mysef busy and happy…its all a small nudge from within…
    Hugs mommy ❤

    • sridevi1994 sridevi1994

      Thank you so much dear Uma. Your words gladden my heart. <3

  3. Nagu Nagu


    Your articles are crisp and clear and hit the nail on its head. In today’s world of so much socialization, it still surprises how lonely we feel inside. Its true that if negativity creeps into our minds, then nothing else is going to prevent the doom of gloominess in our lives. Staying positive in some stages of life is difficult but not impossible. It depends on how we steer our thoughts in the right direction. Get engaged and keep yourself busy …thats the ultimate point..and when one sets some goals, then definitely its possible to overcome. Easily said than done. Ultimately, support of friends and family do help a lot and a small word of encouragement is enough to make the entire day positive,

    • sridevi1994 sridevi1994

      Thank you so much Nagu. I agree about the lonely part. All these social media websites create an illusion of communication. In reality, they drive people further apart. Hence, it is all the more essential that we charter our own path of happiness and seek out the right people who will encourage and motivate us.


  4. Shalini G Shalini G

    So well emphasized. I could feel each and every word written. It passed positivity to me too.
    Thanks <3

    • sridevi1994 sridevi1994

      Thank you so much dear Shalini.

  5. G v Rama Rao G v Rama Rao

    If I am correct you are d/o.smt.vijaya Lakshmi. You imbibed this quality of writing from your mother

    • sridevi1994 sridevi1994

      Yes I am her daughter. Thank you very much. 🙂

  6. Sunitha Sunitha

    Wow.. i was going thru quora randomly… from one of ur mom’s post… to here I land.
    Amazing writing skills !
    I look forward to knowing about ur resolutions 🙂

    Keep it up girl 🙂

    • sridevi1994 sridevi1994

      Thanks very much Sunitha. 🙂

  7. Serendipity Serendipity


    I am 6 months away from an empty nest and was crying oceans since last year at the very thought of it. As D-day approaches, I was feeling more and more hopeless until I chanced upon your blog and your interpretation of the word syndrome. You inspired me to make a commitment list which I will follow and as soon as I made it…i felt less despair. Thanks for this direction and its nice to know Im not alone in this though Im also….

    – Another Solo Mom

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