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Victoria Beckham just reframed empty nest syndrome – and she's so right

Gwyneth Paltrow admitted she's fretting about her son Moses leaving home, but fellow A-lister Victoria helped reassure her

Melanie Macleod
Wellness Editor
9 May 2024
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Gwyneth Paltrow seems to be one of the most confident, self-assured women in showbusiness, so it came as a surprise when she sought solace from fellow A-lister, Victoria Beckham, sharing her worries about soon having an empty nest.

On the latest episode of the Goop Podcast, Gwyneth lamented: "My son [Moses] is going to college in August, and my stepson is too. We're going to have an empty nest.

"I don’t know what is going to be in store for me, I feel like I'm on the precipice of change, I can feel it coming," she continued, before telling Victoria: "You're lucky you've still got a little one, you've got some years left."

Gwyneth Paltrow in black at an event© Getty
Gwyneth Paltrow is worried about her son leaving home

Comforting her fellow businesswoman, Victoria reassured Gwyneth the best is yet to come, telling her: "You'll have some wild parties Gwyneth, when you've got an empty house you'll have a lot of fun doing all those things you couldn't do."

We're with Victoria on this one. While Gwynnie said she's struggling with a "deep sense of impending grief" ahead of her son Moses leaving home to go to college, an empty nest doesn't have to focus on loss – instead, we can reframe it as a time to rediscover who we are as people rather than parents, and concentrate on ourselves once more.

Reframing empty nest syndrome

"The nest might feel emptier, but there’s still at least one person there who is worth nurturing, and that’s you," says BACP-registered counsellor Georgina Sturmer.  

"Think back to the times that you’ve possibly sacrificed your own interests in order to make plans for the children. What hobbies can you rekindle, what new challenges can you set yourself?  How can you fill your time?  It might feel like the end of an era, but it’s also the beginning of a new one," Georgina adds.

Woman sitting relaxed with legs stretched on a sofa couch and reading a book© Getty
We can find time for ourselves again when our children leave home

Fellow BACP-accredited counsellor Louise Tyler adds: "As a parent, you’ve probably been at the bottom of the list of everybody’s needs. This new phase could be viewed as a chance to establish new social activities, hobbies and self-care. 

"If you’re in a relationship, this is a great time to prioritise it," Louise continues. "Parents can fall into the role of simply being partners in the business of life. Romance, fun and friendship can go out of the window. An empty nest is a chance to reconnect and work on the relationship."

INSPIRATION: How I beat a midlife confidence crisis at 49 

Therapist Billie Dunlevy adds that we needn't be endlessly busy when our children leave home. "You don’t have to be constantly doing or keeping busy," she reassures. "This is an unhelpful message from society. You are allowed to rest, relax and just enjoy your life! When we rush to fill in the space, we can lose some of the lessons that might come from just being and seeing how the next chapter naturally unfolds."

Whether your children are soon set to fly the coop, or your nest has been empty for a little while, we hope that reframing empty nest syndrome can help inspire you ahead of the next chapter.

Introducing HELLO!'s Second Act

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