It is often assumed that women find it more difficult to process the moment when their adult children leave family home. It is mainly due to the social role of women, in which they are seen as full-time parents and caregivers. Women are credited with constructing their identity based on their role as a mother. In the traditional discourse a woman moves smoothly from the role of a Polish mother to the role of a „Polish grandmother” (Badinter 1998; Budrowska 2000; Titkow 1995, 2007, 2012; Titkow et al., 2004; O’Reilly 2010; Imbierowicz 2012; Kaźmierczak-Kałużna 2016; Packalén Parkman 2017; Włodarczyk 2017). We have, on the one hand, a scenario of caring roles (together with the image of the „Polish mother”) and, on the other hand, a cultural disenchantment of these roles by revealing the extent to which they pressure and affect women’s biographies. This translates both into the experience of women’s entry to motherhood and maternal roles, but also, into the intensification of identity ambivalence accompanying 'leaving’ the role of mother behind (Gajewska et al. 2022)
In the presentation Authors will focus on what happens in the lives of women whose role as mothers is transformed. I will look at the identification experiences (how they define themselves, how they perceive themselves, how they talk about themselves, how they experience themselves) of mothers faced with the change brought about by an external factor, which is the departure of an adult child/children from home.
Emergence from the role of mother appears as a process reversed to the point at which a woman becomes a mother. In my presentation I approach both stages equally as ones that bring about a huge change in every woman’s life. However, what is essential, in contrast to existing rituals connected with motherhood and passing through its consecutive stages, the stage of emptying the nest is not connected with any culturally recognized rituals (Spence, Lonner 1971; Cassidy 1985; Gullette 1995, 2002; Russo & Green 2002; LaCoste Nelson, 2006; Rubenstein 2007; Sheriff; Wojciechowska 2008; Weatherall 2009; De Singly 2011, Thorn 2012).The leaving of children from home in Poland is not accompanied by any special ceremonies or customs.