Every July, August, and September, my email inbox and social media direct messages fill up with soon-to-be or new empty nesters who are reeling from the transition to the empty nest. My heart goes out to them, and I do my best to answer every single email and direct message. Today, I’m sharing some of the empty nester FAQs that I get, along with my answers. Some of these are specific questions I’ve received, and some are compilations of questions I’ve received on the same topic. Please feel free to share this post with others if you think it could be helpful.
As I’ve shared before, the empty nest adjustment is a form of grief, and as such, it looks and feels different for everyone. Often the anticipation of the empty nest is the worst part! I have the opportunity to speak to many groups about how to prepare for the empty nest, and I’ve found that people either tend to underestimate or overestimate the impact of the empty nest on their lives. Those who underestimate it may be somewhat blindsided by the sheer weight of their emotional response. Those who overestimate it may be surprised (and even feel guilty) that they enjoy life in the empty nest more than they thought they would.
Empty Nester FAQs: Soon-to-be-Empty Nesters
Q: I’m really worried about losing it on drop off day and embarrassing my daughter. Any advice on how to keep it together?
A: This might sound blunt, but here it is: If you truly love your daughter, you’ll take the focus off of yourself that day and put it on her. You absolutely cannot lose it. You may be facing a big adjustment, but she is too. Finish strong as a parent and do all you can to encourage her and build her up on that day. Make it about her, not you. As soon as you leave, you can deal with your own emotions. Do not put that on her. She’s got plenty of emotions she’s dealing with herself.