If you’ve been a mom for 18+ years, it is somewhat of a shock to the system when your nest empties. You probably had days when the prospect of an empty nest sounded wonderful, but now that you are facing it, you are a bundle of mixed emotions. You may be feeling some combination of grief, relief, fear, joy, anxiety, excitement, and sadness. And that was just in the last 30 minutes!
I want you to know that you are going to be okay. It’s critical to take the time to feel your feelings. Sit with them and lean into them. Talk them over with your spouse, a good friend, or a counselor. Whatever your mix of feelings, know that you are in the midst of what can be a complex time of transition. There’s no right or wrong way to feel! It’s different for everyone.
Just as each phase of parenting comes with unique joys and challenges, so does the empty nest! In the empty nest season of life, there are blessings — less laundry/cooking/cleaning, and more time to pursue what you want to pursue, whether it be travel, fitness, work, or a hobby. There are also challenges — physical changes, caring for aging parents, and reconnecting with your spouse. For me, the biggest challenge was redefining myself as a woman in today’s fast-paced world. The truth is, focusing on myself just felt uncomfortable for a while!
It will take time to get used to the empty nest. Give it the time it deserves. Don’t rush into decisions. Now is probably not the time to go out and get a puppy, redecorate the kid’s rooms, move, start a new career, etc! There will be time for those things, but for now, just know that you are in the midst of a transition, and it’s okay to take the time you need to adjust to your new normal. Here are some of the resources that helped me along the way. (Click on the books for more information.)