Come back cuckoo, all is forgiven!

I know Annabel and her OH love having the organised chaos of their children (or should I say, young adults) around them, but the opposite appeals to me. I need lots of time alone and so when my son got a job in Europe last year, I was secretly looking forward to some long term peace and quiet.

I think I’ve done my time. Pregnancy, child rearing, nurturing. Zillions of school runs (in my case a round trip of 35 miles twice a day). Like so many other mothers, I was used to keeping one beady eye on the clock during those precious hours when I wasn’t being his chauffeuse.  Then there was Son’s belongings -strewn around the house like an insidious snail trail which meant I was forever picking up computer cables, crusty socks and dog eared schoolbooks. Dubstep blaring out from his bedroom, making my poor old brain jangle (although it’s pretty funky music actually). Kitchen cupboards brimming with his favourite  foods – salt and vinegar crisps, Pepperbloodyramis, cans of full fat Coke and synthetic Haribo sweets. Then he would be too full to eat the healthy supper I’d taken so long to prepare from scratch. When he was older, lying awake in the wee small hours waiting for the sound of his car and his key rattling in the door, only able to sleep once I knew he was safely back home.

Come back cuckoo, all is forgiven!Then I managed to secure him a room in a friend’s house only five minutes drive from his new job in west London. I thought I was home and dry…only healthy food in our house, no more mess – everything in its place and a place for everything. Lots of time to pursue my hobbies, rather than retracing the same old route to and from school. Less washing. Dropping off to sleep at 10pm after the BBC News headlines….. aaaaaah bliss. How naive could I get?  On his frequent visits home to West Sussex, he still handed me piles of washing and, constantly hungry, he would stand in front of the fridge and hoover the entire contents into his mouth before not quite shutting the door properly! In fact, if I’m honest, nothing changed much apart from him driving himself.

So, I came up with a cunning plan to remove this 6’4″ 22 year old cuckoo from our nest. At not inconsiderable expense, we refurbished the  annexe at the bottom of our garden. Don’t get me wrong, we totally utterly absolutely adore him and this seemed like the perfect solution – he would still be very close to us but his messy belongings would not. Son was over the moon at having his very own place to hang out in when he came back to Sussex. Perfect solution. Marvellous.

Come back cuckoo, all is forgiven!Well, it was marvellous for about forty seconds. He still came to the house for breakfast/lunch/supper, arriving (usually late) laden with essential, “cannot exist without” bits of technology (mobile, laptop, iPad, headphones, camera) dumping them on the dining room table, so that he has a free hand to give me his bulging dirty laundry basket.

Then, he got a job abroad. Now I am ecstatic on the rare occasions he comes home – and completely devastated when he jets back to the gloriously sunny place he works.  Time flies so damned fast – I can hardly believe we are halfway through 2015 for example – and our children grow up all too quickly. So I am going to stop my petty whingeing about the mess he makes when he comes to visit and concentrate on enjoying having him home with us. So I’m off to the supermarket to bulk buy washing powder…


  1. My 32 year old daughter is back after 9 years far from our house. She lived in a foreign country with her husband but she’s now divorced and jobless for the moment so she asked to come back to our family home. And even if my husband isn’t so pleased to have his daughter back because he’s retired now and wants calm, I’m so happy! She’s Mummy’s little girl and all I want is take care of her. Am I a lost cause? 😉

    • Of course you’re not a lost cause! Having a safe secure home is so important – plus you are very happy, so all is well. According to statistics many children don’t fly the nest until they are in their early thirties. In 2013, over 3.3 million adults in the UK aged between 20 and 34 were living with a parent or parents. We never stop being parents, however old our kids are! Best wishes, Grace

  2. I spent many years working as well as having 3 daughters. I love them all to pieces but I sometimes wished I didn’t have to time every single thing I did to school pick ups, homework, drama classes, exam revision times, tennis matches etc etc. Now two of them have moved out to their own house (30 and 25) albeit it is only down the road and one is at University. I should be welcoming the little space I have (in between arguments by the house sharing daughters) and dissertation encouragement for the Uni daughter (gosh how many times have I done that with the other two, painful). Where are all those things I wanted to do when they weren’t around, where are the programmes to watch on tv, why isn’t there more excitement that I can go out without having to still leave meals at home or arrange babysitters? Where are the hobbies I wanted to do, how is my house still not organised even though there are only 2 of us here……we all live thinking things will be better but it really isn’t. I might chang this when Uni daughter returns home after her 4 years at Uni this year but in the meantime be careful what you wish for. I find it all very lonely and unstructured which I hate and I spend my time feeling old and past it and a bit lonely to be honest. I wish I liked my own company.

    • I went through something similar to you when my son left home. Felt really aimless, un-needed and unhappy. Eventually I picked myself up and decided to try something new that wasn’t very challenging (ie I was too nervous to do anything like a bungy jump or train for a marathon.) I went to a daytime adult education Italian for Beginners course. I felt so much better having my mind occupied on something new.You are NOT old and past it by the way, you are in the prime of your life. You just need to choose something new to do and I think you will find life a lot more enjoyable. Best wishes, Grace

      • I agree and have tried various things. I have bought a house in Vermont, I stood for Parish Councillor (lost by 50 votes), have taking an Annie Sloane painting course and travel alot. But only today I went to a shop to have a dress taken up and it was full of children and school uniforms. I keep feeling reminiscent and sad….I really must stop it.

        • p.s. I should add that the dress I was having shortened is one Im wearing to a wedding in New York next week, travelling out there on my own, heading for Tuscany from there to spend with friends and husband and travelling back via the Italian Lakes, Chamonix and Champagne. I should be slapped to be honest. What excuse do I have. It must be an age thing.

Leave a Reply