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 to go away to school, 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; I am happy that I have adjusted although the road to get here was bumpy. Today I realize that there are many benefits to being an empty nester, check them out below.
Discover Your Real Self
This time as an empty nester has been filled with many moments of me getting to know myself. I was 24 when my first child was born, barely out of college. I fell 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 me. This initial discovery was overwhelming and scary, thinking more 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, motivational speaker or world traveler? Taking the time to understand and embrace my interests has been an exciting venture. The list is endless and I am enjoying this process of discovering me.
Rekindle Your Relationships
The empty nesting period has allowed time for me to reconnect with my husband. I have to admit it wasn’t easy at first. It was a struggle 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. I have learned to fully embrace this as self-care. Time to myself that is much needed to center my peace and embrace joy.
No one can truly prepare you for what happens when your children turn 18 and leave the nest. They are not “leaving”, but rather going out into the world to experience a life in which we have prepared them to flourish. 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,