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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tips for "Empty Nesters"

So I dropped my son off at college last Saturday, sigh. I am finding this period of my life like a roller coaster of emotions. I am quite excited for my son and for entering a new phase of life for myself. I am thrilled that my sons are both fine young men. It is admittedly a great feeling like completing a painting or personal creation and liking what you have accomplished in the process. However, I have to recognize I spent a large portion of my adult life caring for them full time and so need to give myself time and space to process this big change. I have come up with some suggestions of things I plan on doing to cope during this transition, perhaps you will find some of them helpful. Feel free to share your own as well in the comments section.

  1. Reconnect with your spouse or significant other. Plan a getaway. My husband and I plan on going away for a few days in the next few weeks. It has been a hectic summer and will be nice to relax and reconnect with each other.
  2. If you haven't created a "life list" create one now. Begin looking at what you would like to do with the second half of your life and take steps to achieve your goals.
  3. Do something for you. Become a volunteer with a non profit, take a class, learn a new skill. Try something new. Perhaps you have always wanted to learn to paint or sculpt. Go for it!
  4. Join a group. I love going to museums, galleries, movies and such. I have created a "culture club" of women who will get together once a month and participate in a cultural activity.
  5. Create a few care packages. I love sending care packages and know my firstborn really appreciated them during college. Plan a few packages for your child with items you know they will use and enjoy.
  6. Get support. Sending your last child to college is a transition in life. Recognize it for what it is and give yourself time to process it. It is a loss of sorts and you may feel depressed. Look to your family or friends for support or if need be, professional help to help you through this time.
  7. Embrace the positive! Celebrate the accomplishment of raising an independent individual well on their way to making their place in the world. There is joy in such an event.
Links:
Empty Nest Moms
Women to Women
Empty Nest Book List

9 comments:

Tiedupmemories said...

Great Tips!It's definately a change in life!I'm not looking forward to it. Or at least I hope I can keep extremely busy and have lots of money to travel!! I better keep making my tags! LOL!
Tracy

OMB said...

Yes, those are great tips. I too am an empty nester as all 3 of my girls are away at college this year. Right now, I'm enjoying the peace and quiet :O) My husband and I are truly enjoying "our" time together. We are doing more things together.
Sounds like you have some great things lined up for yourself. You'll transition just fine!!!!

Kath said...

my big tip is KEEP BUSY! Just try to not dwell on it. Which is hard, but anytime you are doing something fun and productive, rather than sitting on their bed sobbing (not that I ever did that, lol) gets you a little closer to being able to handle it.
Also consider helping others...I've done soup kitchen, food pantry, etc, and when you see those people having such a rough time, and young people the age of your kids who have nothing, and many are disabled, you realize how fortunate you are that your child is in college, preparing for his or her future.
My husband's solution to the empty (or in our case, not as full)nest blues was to buy a motorcycle for the 2 of us, and I have to say, it is a good diversion, lol

~JarieLyn~ said...

Those are wonderful tips. It sounds like a great list of things to do.

Bridget said...

Fabulous blog post. I've got a furbaby, no human children. I have a dear friend who is coming up on being an empty nester. I'll share your post with her.

Butler and Bagman said...

Thanks. I really needed these tips. Although I think I do better than my wife. The first tip about reconnecting is a bit tough because even though our male bird has flown, she still holds on with phone and visits, getting involved and shooting out advice on every little thing he and his wife are doing. Sometimes I want to jump around with a big sign that says, "Hey! I'm still here!"

BailiwickDesigns said...

Those are great tips, Denise! Keeping busy is good, and so is looking forward to a new chapter of your life and making the most of it. The kids aren't usually gone forever - they always come home for holidays, weekends, to do laundry (lol)... ::Jill

Chef E said...

I have been fighting this battle for two years...now with the job market in bad shape I am finding myself bored...I am going to look into taking classes when I return...

Scriptor Senex said...

My last fledgling refuses to take wing but even so he's teetering on the edge. I loved this post. Such great advice - especially the first one. So much of both parents' time and energy is devoted to the youngsters that to find oneself part of a couple again can be a great experience; really rejuvenating.
(And in response to Butler and Bagman, I have a feeling that my partner may have similar difficulty letting go. Perhaps that is one of the biggest issues - especially for Mums.)