My youngest child left to go away to college almost 3 years ago and I officially became an empty nester. At the time I didn’t know how I would feel or even manage my time. I was always the mom that made it to every school recital. Many weeknights and Saturdays I would drive long hours to football or volleyball games. Their schedule kept me busy and I learned to enjoy every moment. And then it stopped. Not suddenly since I knew she was leaving but it felt abrupt enough to leave me unsure of what to do with my time. Letting go was a challenge.
Fast forward to today and I am happy that I have adjusted although the road to get here was bumpy, I made it. I realized that there were many benefits to being an empty nester and having my life back. Today I am sharing 3 of these benefits.
Discover Your Real Self
This time as an empty nester has been filled many moments of me getting to know myself. I was 24 when my first child was born, barely out of college. I feel in love with being a mom and I quickly added 2 more children for me to adore. Motherhood is a true blessing and I am proud to have been able to nurture, protect and provide for each of them. But as I sat alone for the first time not having to cook, or run to a practice I realized that I didn’t know who I was. This initial discovery was overwhelming and scary, thinking only about me was a concept that I had to embrace.
Being purposeful in all that I do has become a priority. I have learned to say no and focus on doing what brings me joy. My health and peace are vital and my mindset is “Why Not Me” I am more than a mom. Why not me as an entrepreneur? Why not me as a motivational speaker? Why not me as a world traveler? The list is endless and I am enjoying this process of discovering me.
Rekindle Your Relationships
The empty nesting period has allowed time for us to reconnect. I have to admit it wasn’t easy at first. We struggled with trying to figure out who we were as a couple and what we still had in common. Taking the time to communicate our individual needs has became a priority. While less demands on me has allowed more time and opportunities for both emotional and physical intimacy. Reigniting our partnership and creating meaningful connections without the children has improved the quality of our relationship.
Appreciate Peace and Quiet
The absence of teenagers arguing over food, tv time, computers and even clothes is a welcome change. There are days when I can hear a pin drop. I never fully understood that this type of quietness existed. On the nights that I am completely alone in the house I look forward to eating in bed and watching Netflix. The serenity is intoxicating, a feeling that creates a sense of peace. When they come home to visit I welcome them with open arms. During that time I enjoy falling back into the routine of taking care of them knowing that my quiet time will again return.
No one can truly prepare you for what happens when your children turn 18 and leave the nest. I know they are not “leaving me” exactly, but they are not living here any longer. The good news is that I have done my job well and our children are independent, capable and adventurous. They have become everything and more than I could have dreamed of. This is a new chapter in my life and I have to trust the process and embrace the progress.
Until next post,