"But by December, I remember thinking, "I've adjusted." Suddenly she and her husband were going on impromptu dates and getting together with friends.And Shure, a family therapist, threw herself into editing a clinical treatment book—something she would never have time for if the girls were still home."I absolutely miss my kids," she says, "but I'm enjoying a really full life now." Research is confirming what many mothers have been discovering—that "empty nest" syndrome isn't so empty after all.
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Blake Lively, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Hilary Duff all have two things in common: they are A-list celebrities and they have all conquered the bright lights of fame and fortune by the tender age of 25.
Indeed, 54 per cent of those polled confess they feel they have already made 'many' mistakes in their lives - with past relationships top of the list (43 per cent) ahead of overspending (40 per cent), trusting someone they shouldn’t have (38 per cent) and their choice of education (26 per cent).
Jane Shure wasn't surprised by her grief—the sense of deep loss, the resonating silence in the house—when her youngest daughter left for college; what shocked her was how quickly it dissipated.
"At first simply driving past a soccer game would make me weepy," says the 54-year-old mother of two from Philadelphia, who officially became an empty nester in August 2007.
Proulx, Ph D, a University of Missouri professor whose 2008 study found that mothers took their children's departure no harder than fathers.
(According to another 2008 study out of Wheaton College, fathers were actually less emotionally prepared.) One reason for the shift is the growing number of women with fulfilling careers; another is the advance of communication technology like cell phones, PDAs, and computers.
"When I went to college, I had to schedule one day a week when I could call home from the dorm phone," Shure says.
"Today I chat away on Skype with my oldest in Madrid as if she were sitting next to me." But the empty nest isn't just survivable—it can even be beneficial.
When Sara Gorchoff, Ph D, a postdoctoral researcher at UC Berkeley, and colleagues tracked marital changes in 123 women from their 40s to their early 60s, they found that empty nesters reported greater satisfaction with their partners than did mothers with children at home.