What is the best way to prepare for empty nest years?

It can be difficult for many moms to adjust to the feeling of an "empty nest" when their kids go off to college or move out on their own. What are some ways to prepare for this transition?

19  Answers

10 9

The term "Empty Nest" gives the false impression that parenting is done. Actually, even though the birdies are gone, they still need attention. Parenting takes on a whole new dimension of pursuing, in love. It requires noting the different role and attention to where the adult children need or want you as parents to be involved. Cautions include being careful not to enable, but to allow them growth room. It kind of looks like standing in the wings, encouraging but allowing them to fall occasionally. Keep conversation lines open during the process. Don't wear your feelings on your sleeve because they might get hurt in the process. If you're married, pay more attention to your spouse. Your empty nest years will be rich and rewarding!

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3 14

I totally agree with you my daughter is 18 and is graduating may although she is an adult I allow her to make her own decisions, she still needs guidance to steer in the right direction. Like my parents always said just because the adult child is grown they will always be your baby and you will always be there for them no matter what. She will be going to college and I am hoping she stays close to home, I can't quit deal with empty nest syndrome yet, I still enjoy all the things I used to while raising my daughter, I will continue to do them. I also have a step son who is grown and out of the house so I havn't gone though it yet, I am not sure I want to although I know I am going to have someday, I am letting her grow into her own women I hope it will be rewarding as moms say.

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42 25

I'm going for my Masters degree, hanging out with girlfriends, taking small day or weekend trips and doing the things I've wanted to do but never had the time. I'll miss my daughter when she goes away but I'm going to love the freedom I have to discover different areas of interest.

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1 24

I have downsized and have moved to a high-rise My daughter graduates in May I have wondered how it would be with her gone We are very close I started a non-profit I am an artist that exhibits
I am also Executive Producer on a documentary that will keep me busy for the next 2 years then on to another one Good luck to all of us!!!

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2 0

Even you will have a broken heart as I did with my 3, you will get over it I promise. And remember they WILL come back, ALL THE TIME. Just think of all the things you can do around the house. Make everything the way you wan't it.

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1 4

Having done that three times, I can tell you that the nest may never be empty! My daughter is back with both of her children at this point. My plans for quiet time have been diverted, and that space I planned to use for . . .is now full. So think about what you want to do, but don't be too surprised if you have to reshape those plans for the blessing of having your grandchildren and their parent around!

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0 9

My youngest daughter, Jordan Dixon, graduated in 3 years instead of 4 and is now a freshman at Oklahoma University. It's not enough that she robbed me of a year, OMG but she is 8 hours away. She is in her second semester at OU and is doing very well. Unfortunately, I still have not adjusted. I have had to regroup and find a life FOR MYSELF because for so long I had centered my life on my girls, nurturing them, keeping them active in school activities and community involvement. I have now reached a point in my life where I have so much "down time" I don't know what to do with myself. I have learned that I MATTER, I HAVE A GREAT LIFE AHEAD OF ME AND I HAVE TO FOCUS ON ME AND JUST MOVE ON. Jordan and I skype everyday which allows me to see her. I work out, and I find myself just enjoying quiet time. Most importantly, I continue to pray for my children and ask God to guide me daily. It is a mindset. You have choices. I choose to be happy and focus on the great future ahead of me sheerly walking by faith. I totally lean on God and that has strengthened me to embrace the NEXT PHASE OF MY LIFE and watch my girls have a wonderful future. In addition, I am starting school in the fall to finish my masters and work on my doctorate. Wow! God is awesome!

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1 2

Hi Kim, I like all your comments, especially the fact that you lean and rely on God, that is most important :) Hats off to you for going back to school and completing your goals. I tried to go back to school myself but grew tired of the endless studying ( I guess school is not for everyone...lol). I have six children with two still at home. The others seem to still come and go, so I'm not sure if I will ever have an empty nest but am enjoying the journey. Take Care!

4 20

Sometimes your kids behave in such a way that you are glad to see them leave - knowing that once they do, they will realize just how good they had it at home and will want to renew a relationship with you as adult to adult but also with all the affection of mom and child.
Also begin to do the things you love that you just didn't have time/energy for when you were so focused on raising your kids - or find new adventures. For me, I've recaptured my health and wellness, discovered I love cycling, done one 500 mile bike ride (solo) and planning another one of 1200-1300 miles in the fall.

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16 2

Don't waste time thinking about how full the house use to be. You know have the time to go out and do those things you wanted to do, but couldn't because the kids were always under foot. Enjoy yourself for minute and before you know it spring break, holidays, and eventually marriage and grandchildren. So enjoy yourself now because with grand kids, it is like starting over. Take it from a grandparent who is doing exactly that, starting over and I love it.

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1

Reconnect with old friends, find the old you, go dancing, read books you have been thinking abut, I am finally okay with my son moving out. I have always been a couch potato and worry that I'll get out even less. Here are some ideas I came up with: get a magazine subscription, try recipes just for the fun of it, go to a movie of your choice, travel, take a cruise, meet best friend for dinner, look into your family history, go to garage sales, take walks with a mission, read some poetry and try to write your own, be a volunteer, work for a charity, get to know your neighbors, join a support group, create scrap books with your child's greatest hits (awards, term papers, acceptance letters from colleges, etc.) Remember, there is nothing wrong with talking to a professional to make sure your feeling and thoughts are in the normal range. I really hope these ideas help someone else.

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320 1

Kleenex. Lots of tissues!

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483 43

Start one year before the youngest is leaving the house by going to dinner or the movies without children. This way you can reconnect as adults.

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235 30

Focus on what you will do to fill the void. Also talk about what your child feels is reasonable as far as how often you can call or visit and when. Also when they do come home to visit don't expect that they will spend all that time with you. They will want to see friends as well. Don't comment on every little thing they put on their Facebook page.

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0 17

I hate to admit it, but crying seems to be what I'm doing....that and thinking of all the wonderful possibilities my future life holds. Maybe mourning is part of the process. I have been a single mom for most of their lives so my life has been 100% "Mommy". Now I have to find a balance.

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33 48

You're not alone. When my oldest daughter left for basic training, I sat on my bedroom floor and cried for a long time..and I still had two in highschool. When they left, I felt lost for a time. Sure, I was married, but we'd gotten used to each other being busy and since my daughters and I were on our own for awhile after their dad passed away, we were pretty tight. Be patient with yourself. Make yourself get fresh air, make or reconnect with girlfriends, etc. It gets better and you learn to enjoy it but it's always crazy fun when you do see the kids again! And get on facebook. You can keep up with them, copy/paste some of their pics to your computer and print them off. Be nice to you though. Guess what? You can now afford a pedi and a mani and ribeyes on the grill. Have a wine night with a girlfriend and laugh till you cry! Best of wishes! :)

29 23

This is a time that you could use to take care of yourself. Perhaps you have not had the time before to catch up with friends. Go to the gym, read, take up a hobby that you never had time to do before. In other words as a mom I know that our time is very limited when our kids are home. We do so much for them. So I would look at it in a positve way and start doing the things that you could not before because you might of been too busy at home. Reflect on your needs as a woman. This is another era of your life, different time. It will definitely help the emptiness and missing the kids. You have to change along with them. Good luck.

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16 57

Be sure you have your own job, or volunteer activities, some friends, etc. Make date nights with your husband and girlfriends. The first year is the worst!! I have now been an "empty nester" for 18 years!!
Florence

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1 0

I was a single mom with two daughters in college but still living at home moving towards the empty nest and I became a step mom of a teenage boy with my new marriage. That was five years ago and now our nest is completely empty. I stopped working outside of the home two years ago and have been concentrating on my art and so I understand the self esteem feelings you get from working outside the home. I have time now to do so many things I would love to have done while the kids were home and I don't have grandchildren. My time is my own and I am learning to value that. What I have come to realize is how important my marriage is to me. We are newly weds so to speak and so in love and committed to each other and this brings so much joy in my life during the empty nest transition time. So my advice is make your marriage the key to fulfilling your life reconnect with your spouse if you have had many years together and learn to do things together again. Date. For single parents fill your life with friends do things, get out of the house and explore locally or travel whatever you can afford. Finally visit your children and make the times they come home special.

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33 48

Think of all those things you'd like to be doing but can't because you're busy with the kids and plan on pursuing one or more of them. But I would caution against 'preparing' too much while they're still home. You don't want to miss it while it's still what's real. Yes,I it's hard when it happens. It took me four years to feel comfortable and at peace with it. My kids and grandkids all live about 1 1/2 hrs away so it's not been like starting over for me. It took some arguments initiated by me to get my hubby to realize I needed him in my life more. But it was worth it. We still have our separate interests but now we enjoy our days off together. A spontaneous motorcycle ride, extra cuddles, and we've learned to love the quiet. Also, you can reconnect with girlfriends that you didn't get to spend much time with during the growing up yrs. My grown daughters and I plan a yearly event that we get away to. One year, a stay in Madison and attended a comedy show. This year, Country USA!! Future events may be Door County and some day I would love to visit New York with them.

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0 4

My husband and I are empty nesters and we turned our whole lower floor into our church meeting place. Our daughter's and granddaighter's bedroom into our office, and our HOUSE all to ourselved and our 2 chihuahuas!!!

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18 13

I hope there are more answers than the 2 thus far? lol....my 17 1/2 is going in to the National Guards this summer after he graduates high school...my 19 year old is going in the Marines and my 32 year old lives in another state with my daughter in law and their girls 31/2 years and 5 months old. I thought I was getting married and moving to TX in the summer, but that is no longer any plan, so now what to do? I'm involved in my church and work full time. I've always worked full time so that's not an issue. But I have alot of stuff in my place that I won't really need and downsizing will only make the reality of them all gone even harder for me...or so it seems. Any help in your advice would be appreciated...however pray on it and let God lead you with your words. Thank you. With an attitude of Gratitude....Empty Nest Soon, but Shall Survive...:)

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16 2

Hi June, my suggestion to you is to always have rooms ready for your Grandchildren, they will come and visit and having their parents old stuff mixed with maybe a little new will be an experience for them. If you downsize try not to do it radically, in the long run you will just have to get something new when they come and visit. I thought I would never need an extra bedroom either, I have my grandson quite a bit and he enjoys his room, althought they live only 45 minutes away I still enjoy their company. There will always be the holidays when everyone gets together. Only donate what you really don't need and take it from there. There will also be days when you are glad it is only you. If you put all your faith and trust in God, He will not only keep you but lead you as well. It was not meant to be if your weddings plan fell through, maybe he was no the one. When you do downsize make three piles (1)keep, (2) donate and (3) trash. Good luck and continue to trust in the Lord, He won't steer you wrong.

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