This summer we’re going from an empty nest to a full nest! This 21-year-old rising college senior will be living at home for the last time. Who else will be back in the nest? The handsome (and single, just sayin’!) 25-year-old attorney below will be home studying and taking the Bar Exam. This will be his last time living at home as well. It’s the end of an era, which makes my empty nester heart hurt like you wouldn’t believe. (Pause while I have an ugly cry for a solid five minutes and then resume writing.) While we’re thrilled to have one last summer with both of them home, Bob and I finally admitted to each other that we were both surprised by the mixed feelings we had about shifting from an empty nest to a full nest. As we unpacked those feelings, we realized the true issue: We don’t want to regress.
When our kids were growing up, we told them that we weren’t their friends. We said the goal of our parenting was friendship with them, and our job was to help them develop spiritually, emotionally, morally, and intellectually into people we would genuinely want as friends. This summer, we don’t want to fall back into parenting mode, and we don’t’ want them to fall back into kid mode just because they’re home. Instead, we’ll be four mature adults (who love each other tremendously), sharing the same space with respect, kindness, and thoughtfulness. Bob and I are determined to be open and honest with them in a frank conversation so we can ensure one last sweet summer together. (Pause for more crying.) Today, I’m sharing the nuts and bolts of this crucial conversation.
The Heart Behind the Full Nest
This summer, we want to grow our adult relationship in a positive, mature, and loving way, and we’re going to be intentional about making this happen. It’s easy to fall back into old habits and roles, and we want to guard against that.
√ We’re going to deal with situations as they arise, confront each other in love if necessary, and not let things even head in an unhealthy direction.
√ We’re going to be thankful to and for one another.
√ We’re going to express our gratitude.
√ We’re going to be thoughtful and considerate of one another.
The Starting Point of the Full Nest
Acknowledge and understand:
√ You’ve been living on your own and making your own decisions about how to spend your time, money, and energy.
√ So have we.
√ You’ve grown, matured, and developed new interests, hobbies, and quirks.
√ So have we.
√ You’ve enjoyed your new-found independence.
√ So have we.
We’re not that different.
The Reality of the Full Nest
We’re four adults living together. It’s not exactly like living with roommates at school, because we’re a family and we love each other unconditionally. We want to have consideration for one another, and do it with thoughtfulness and understanding. We’re going to be intentional about not falling back into parenting mode, and even take the next step and ask you to gently tell us if we are. We need you to reciprocate by continuing to show the maturity that you’ve shown while away at school, and not fall back into kid mode. Since old habits die hard, this may be tricky, but we’re all going to be prayerful, self-monitor, do our best, and apologize when we fail.
The Practicality of the Full Nest
Here are some examples of what this will look like.
√ Mom goes to the grocery store once a week on the weekends. If you’d like her to buy something for you, it needs to be on the list by Saturday. (We use a grocery list app so all can add to it.)
√ Mom will let you know which nights she will be cooking during the upcoming week and what she’ll be serving. You’re welcome to join us, but Mom needs to know in advance.
√ Clean up after yourself and put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher. If the dishwasher needs to run, run it. If it needs to be unloaded, do it. The same goes for the trash.
√ Your designated laundry day is ___________. Laundry needs to be completed within 24 hours.
√ Because we love each other, sharing the details of your comings and goings (while optional) would be considerate. We’ll do the same.
√ If you’ll be coming home late, please remember that we’ll worry about you until you get home. We can’t help it. Please be thoughtful of that.
√ If you want to have people over, please give everyone as much advance notice as possible.
What themes run throughout this conversation? Love, faith, and character. As Christians and parents, our faith undergirds everything. We parented our kids by focusing on their hearts. Since we can’t anticipate every situation, we’ve chosen to appeal to their hearts. We believe that they can and will step up and choose to love well.
It’s going to be a great summer! (Annnnd, one last time with the tears…)
Are you transitioning to a full nest in the next few weeks? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave me a comment and share your wisdom.
For more on cultivating a good relationship with your adult kids, check out these posts:
- Parenting Adult Children | Understanding Your 20-Something Kids
- Five Ways to Build the Relationship You Want With Your Adult Children
- Six Ways to Show Love to Your Adult Children
- Six Ways to Bless and Encourage Your Adult Kids
- How to Pray for Your Adult Children (Six Bible Verses to Use)
What are you up to this weekend? We’re heading to the Dallas Zoo for a joint birthday celebration for my mother-in-law and my (middle, married) son! Yep, we’ll be a bunch of adults going to the zoo, and loving every minute. Watch my Instastory for BTS (behind the scenes) snaps of our adventures! If you are planning to do either Mother’s Day or Graduation shopping this weekend, be sure to check out my Mother’s Day Gift Guide and my Graduation Gift Guide for some whimsical, sentimental, and even practical ideas to help you gift like a #boss.
Every Friday I try to give you the inside scoop on the best sales of the weekend! Here are the ones on my radar: (Click the pink links below to go straight to the sites.)
BANANA REPUBLIC | 40% off entire purchase
GAP | Up to 70% off Spring Sale & 50% off almost everything else sitewide + extra 20% off with code OUR TREAT. I’m eyeing this darling blue eyelet print blouse! It would be so cute with white jeans this summer.
LOFT | 30% off full-priced styles.
OLD NAVY | 40% off entire purchase
SHOP THE POST
Photos of Suzy & Becca by Megan Weaver.