When we’re in the thick of it, we can’t imagine that the day will come when we’ll be empty nesters. We might even completely deny that empty nest syndrome will one day arrive. Ladies, it’s time to pour yourself a glass of wine (or two), and grab a box of tissues. Go ahead and cry it out. That time comes sooner than we think! This blog started when I had another decade ahead of me before any of my five children would be eighteen years old and possibly moving on.
Obviously, time flew by faster than I could blink. While I love watching my children grow and developing new normals together, I miss the old times, too. Now, one son lives in his own place and has an independent life. Another is in college, working, attentive to a girlfriend, and rarely home. The triplets will soon be in High School. Life is different now and sometimes I feel those twinges of empty nest syndrome creeping in.
The transition to an empty nest can be tough, but it’s important to remember all the amazing memories and experiences you’ve had while raising your children. They’ll last a lifetime and will always hold a special place in your heart. Also, it’s time to start building memories and experiences as the new you.
Take the memories with you into the next chapter of being an empty nester.
Here are some examples of my own fond memories that many parents will remember too:
- Family vacations: Whether it’s a road trip, camping trip or beach vacation, family vacations are a great memories of bond with your children, even on those vacations when nothing went as planned.
- Holidays: Holidays are a great go-to for remembering your own family’s traditions, time together, laughs, and love.
- Birthday parties: Whether you’ve gone the route of big bash birthday parties or small family gatherings, hold on tight to these moments. You did good!
- Firsts: First child, first steps, first words, first day of school, first sports game, etc. These milestones are memories that will comfort us for the rest of our days.
- Family game nights: Remember the times you spent bonding together and just having fun!
- Cooking and baking: That time the kitchen looked like it had been hit by a flour tornado and you nearly cried during the clean up; but it was still worth it! Those cooking and baking together memories are sure to bring back the smiles and giggles when we recall the classic moments.
- Movie nights: Just think about how many life lessons you’ve taught with a movie as the conversation starter. What about those songs that the kids wouldn’t stop singing? You know, the ones we swore that if we heard one more time we’d have a break down!
These are just a few examples of the many fond memories that parents have while raising their children. It’s important to cherish them and hold them close to your heart as you navigate the transition to an empty nest. Another great thing about memories is that they are transformative. When moments are happening, we might have a completely different perspective while we’re in that moment. Something that might have made us furious in the moment could bring us to tears of laughter as a memory.
Empty Nest Syndrome is a new chapter in your life, not the end.
We have to face the reality of the “Empty Nest Syndrome”. Yes, I know, it’s a tough pill to swallow. Our little birds have (or soon will) fly the coop, leaving you feeling like a lost soul in a quiet house. But don’t worry, we’ll navigate this new chapter in life together with some great suggestions on what to do next.
First of all, let’s acknowledge the struggles that come with this transition. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, let me tell you. According to experts, mothers who experience Empty Nest Syndrome often feel lonely, bored, guilty, and uncertain about their future. So, if you’re feeling any of these emotions, know that you’re not alone.
These 12 tips will help you navigate through the transition and reclaim your life. It’s time to embrace opportunity for growth and self-discovery.
- Embrace change: Change can be scary, but it’s also a chance to start fresh and create a new path for yourself. So, grab that change by the horns and make the most of it.
- Get a hobby: It’s time to dust off that guitar in the attic or finally sign up for that pottery class you’ve been eyeing. Find something that brings you joy and helps fill the void left by your little birds.
- Volunteer: Helping others is a great way to feel fulfilled and connected to your community. Find a cause that you’re passionate about and give back. Some great places to volunteer include your local food bank, animal shelter, or hospital.
- Reconnect with old friends: Spending time with friends is a great way to combat loneliness and boredom. Set up a girls’ night, go on a trip, or just have a glass of wine and catch up on each other’s lives. Some fun ideas for a girls’ night out include trying a new restaurant, going to a comedy show, or taking a dance class together. As for trips, consider a spa retreat, a weekend getaway to a nearby city, or a scenic road trip.
- Treat yo’self: You’ve been working hard for years, and now it’s time to pamper yourself. Get a massage, buy yourself a new outfit, or take a trip. You deserve it!
- Embrace your new role: Being a mom is a full-time job, but now that the nest is empty, it’s time to embrace your new role. You’re still a mom, but now you can focus on being the best version of yourself.
- Learn something new: Whether it’s a new language, skill or trade, learning something new is a great way to challenge yourself and expand your horizons. This can also lead to new job opportunities and a sense of accomplishment.
- Travel: Now that the nest is empty, it’s the perfect opportunity to see the world and experience new cultures. Whether you’re looking to travel solo or with friends, there’s no better time to do it. Consider taking a guided tour or booking a luxury retreat, the possibilities are endless.
- Get physical: Exercise is a great way to boost your mood and stay healthy. Whether it’s joining a gym, going for a daily walk or trying a new sport, getting active can help you feel better both physically and mentally.
- Get involved in your community: Whether it’s through volunteering, joining a club or getting involved in local events, getting involved in your community is a great way to meet new people and make a positive impact.
- Start a business: If you’ve always had a passion for entrepreneurship, now is the time to turn that dream into a reality. Starting a business can be challenging, but it’s also incredibly rewarding and can provide you with a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
- Write a book: Have you always had a passion for writing? Now is the time to turn that passion into a reality. Write a book about your life experiences, or a fiction novel based on your imagination. The possibilities are endless.
Realistic expectations are key to enjoying this next chapter.
No matter where you are in your journey, some moments will have you wondering what to do next. The best advice I can give came from a horse (kind-of).
While you are taking the next step, know that laughter really is the best medicine. A good sense of humor can help you navigate this transition with ease.
Embrace the change, find new hobbies, connect with friends, treat yourself, and embrace your new role. And, if it helps, don’t forget to have a glass of wine (or two) and cry it out.
Make the most of this new chapter in your life and embrace all the opportunities that come with this transition. Don’t let the fear of the unknown hold you back.
- Lonely Planet. (2021). Travel inspiration and ideas. https://www.lonelyplanet.com/
- Small Business Administration. (2021). Starting a business. https://www.sba.gov/starting-business
- VolunteerMatch. (2021). Find volunteer opportunities near you. https://www.volunteermatch.org/
If you found this list helpful, be sure to share! Whether you’re looking to travel, start a business or learn something new, the possibilities are endless.
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