Empty-Nest Syndrome

close up photography of bird nest

Photo by Evelyn on Pexels.com

Mothers sometimes complain that adult children abandon them after they grow up and leave the nest. Empty-nest mothers feel as if the children no longer care. They want to know whether the children still love them.

Here is a simple test to help mothers know the score.

Regardless of how hard it is, do NOT call or contact your adult child for one week, but wait to let her or him contact you first. Subtract 1 point for each day that passes without a call or visit. If you give in and call the child, subtract 10 points.

Positive _____ Negative _____

Call up your adult child on the phone and say, “I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to lend you any more money. Ever.” If the child says, “That’s okay, mom, you’ve done more than enough already,” give yourself 1 point.

Positive _____ Negative _____

Visit your local hospital and call the adult child. Say: “I’m calling from the hospital. Can you get over here right away?” Hang up. Give yourself 1 point if the child is there within an hour.

Positive _____ Negative _____

Invite your adult child to come over for dinner. When the child arrives, say something else came up and you didn’t have time to cook. If the child offers to take you out to eat, 1 point. If it’s fast food or no food, subtract 1.

Positive _____ Negative _____

Ask your adult child to take you to your next medical appointment. On the way home, ask her or him to stop at the pharmacy, the grocery store, and the dry cleaners. If the child complains, subtract 1 point. If he or she offers to take you to the doctor again next time, add 1 point and thank your lucky stars.

Positive _____ Negative _____

The next time you see your adult child, give him or her twenty dollars. If she or he keeps it, subtract 1 point. If she or he says, “I don’t need your money, Mom.” Give yourself 1 point. If he or she offers to give YOU money, add 10 bonus points. (Of course, this will never happen.)

Positive _____ Negative _____

Call your adult child and say that you need help with mowing the grass, painting a room, cleaning carpets, or washing the car. If the child agrees to help, add 1 point. If the child makes an excuse, subtract 1 point.

Positive _____ Negative _____

Send the adult child a card on their birthday. If she or he calls to thank you, add 1 point. If the child actually remembers your birthday or even Mother’s Day, add 1 more point.

Positive _____ Negative _____

Ask your adult child to go to church with you. If he or she goes, add 1 point. If he or she says he will go, but doesn’t show up, subtract 1 point. (But you should have known that this would happen.)

Positive _____ Negative _____

If the adult child calls you for any reason except to borrow money or baby-sit, add 1 point. If the child visits any time except on a holiday, give yourself 1 more point.

Positive _____ Negative _____

If the adult child has a picture of you displayed in her or his home, add 1 point. Subtract 1 point for every picture of the child or grandchildren that you have displayed in your home.

Positive _____ Negative _____

If the adult child never borrows money from you, add 1 point. If the child borrows, but only for emergencies, subtract 1 point regardless since everything is an emergency to children. If the adult child pays back the money they borrow, add 10 bonus points. This is not likely, but we won’t give up hope.

Positive _____ Negative _____

TOTAL _____ TOTAL _____


If you ended up with more points that are positive, the child loves you, but it’s time to cut the apron strings.

If you end up with the more points on the negative side, you are being neglected, and can continue nagging.

If you didn’t bother to keep score, count your blessings and quit whining. Your kids are grown and your work is done.

Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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2 Responses to Empty-Nest Syndrome

  1. themama1836 says:

    In general, I enjoy reading your site. However, it would be great if your blog did not combine politics with actual medical facts. Just sayin…


  2. themama1836 says:

    I love this! I definitely had empty nest syndrome when my youngest moved out. I have 3 grown kids, and now my middle kid and my grandbaby are living with me. I know that it’d definitely going to be hard when they move out again. This too shall pass.


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