3 THINGS I’VE LEARNED AS AN EMPTY NESTER

 

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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,

 

 

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9 Comments

  1. February 22, 2019 / 1:41 am

    It’s a fabulous time I find – although a bit of tip toeing through knowledge of who you really are. Particularly when you were known as “……’s mother”… I myself only wanted to be a mother – so I had some back tracking and re-learning about life – more than most.
    Thanks for the great post… loved reading and may your future goals turn out to be the best yet to come!

    • michell
      February 22, 2019 / 2:46 am

      Yes, a wonderful time of discovery along with some trial and error!
      I can relate to wanting to be someone’s mother. This was a title I only identified with for quite some time.
      Lots of self reflecting has gotten me to where I am today πŸ™‚ Thanks for the kind words, I really appreciate you!

  2. February 22, 2019 / 3:41 am

    Your welcome Michell! – I guess it’s not looking in the past – that’s not the direction you’re going πŸ™‚

  3. February 22, 2019 / 2:38 pm

    I’ve been an empty nester for quite a few years now and for a long time, work filled that empty space. It wasn’t until I found myself on long term disability that I discovered what it was like to be truly “empty”. It took some time to rediscover myself and what I was capable of doing with my health issues, but I’m able to volunteer now and that helps me a lot.

    I’m glad you were able to rediscover yourself and found the things that brought you joy. It doesn’t always have to be elaborate things, does it? Sometimes just Netflix and a favourite snack is enough to make you happy! And it really is a joy when the kids come home – especially when you know they’ll be leaving again! Just kidding! Thanks for a lovely post. It brought back some good memories for me.

    • michell
      February 22, 2019 / 4:04 pm

      Thank you for your kind words. It ‘s amazing what quiet time can do for you. The blessing is that the “empty” feeling will eventually go away. I’m happy to hear that you have found joy in volunteering. It is special to be able give of yourself to someone or something that isn’t directly related to you. I know that your kindness is appreciated by those that you are helping.

      Netflix and I are the best of friends, I never took the time to watch TV in the past and I am truly enjoying it now.

  4. February 22, 2019 / 3:32 pm

    Beautiful post! I am 6 months away from being an empty nester after 28 years! I am working on getting myself emotionally ready for this time, kind of like prep work. πŸ™‚ Thank you for mentioning that it’s ok to enjoy the quiet, every moment does not have to be jam packed like it was when I had a house full of kids. Looking forward to additional posts!

    • michell
      February 22, 2019 / 4:08 pm

      Hey there, I am excited that you will soon be an empty nester. Through all of the changes, it is a special time that I hope that you will cherish. Taking the time to get to know yourself is a beautiful thing. And yes, enjoy the quiet time! Thanks for commenting and I hope you’ll enjoy future posts.

  5. February 22, 2019 / 5:01 pm

    My husband and I had our daughter late in life and so at 57 I have a 16 year-old! I wish for her to be able to go away to college so she can have that true college experience. My husband on the other hand keeps pushing community college for a year or two and then she can go away. I don’t know what option she will embrace but I DO know it’s going to be very strange and a real life change for all of us 😳

    • michell
      February 26, 2019 / 9:04 pm

      It is a blessing to watch our children grow up and go out into the world and make their own choices and decisions. We have done our job of teaching and instilling values, we now have to trust the process and believe that they were listening. Enjoy the next few years with her being home, the time will go by quickly:-)

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