For most parents, seeing their last child off to college brings with it a sense of great pride, accomplishment and a deep-seated happiness that your child is off to pursue his or her dream.
When you return to the empty nest, however, you may experience a whole range of emotions you never expected. Many parents miss not only their child’s presence, but the hustle and bustle that went along with raising children. Here are some strategies to help you transition to the next phase of life:
1. Go easy on yourself.
While knowing your children are happy is all any parent ever wants, it’s still okay to miss them and feel sad. When all the kids are out of the house, many parents experience a sense of loss akin to grief—and feel guilty for feeling that way. This is normal and will pass, so let yourself process the emotions without beating yourself up.
2. Pick some projects.
Now is a great time to delve into those unattended tasks that nagged at you over the years, but were never priority. Great solace can be found in cleaning out the linen closet, organizing the kitchen cabinets and finally framing and hanging those photographs. Not only are such tasks therapeutic, they’ll make you feel productive as well.
3. Give in to guilty pleasures.
What parent ever has time to sit around binge-watching Netflix series? Empty-nesters, that’s who! Indulge in some good old-fashioned couch potato activities— you deserve it!
4. Explore your own backyard.
While you and your spouse suddenly have the free time to travel, if you’re juggling college tuitions, you may not have the funds to spend long weekends in the Caribbean. Instead, spend time in your own town—watch the sunset at the beach, hike the trails at the local park, take a day trip to the city or spend a weekend at a B&B. There are probably many places within driving distance that you never had time to discover. Now’s your chance!
5. Invest in your friendships.
Whether solo or as a couple, it’s important to start spending more time with your friends. While raising kids, most of our social activities revolved around their social life and school activities. As empty nesters, however, we get to create our own social calendar, so call up some friends you haven’t seen in a while and host a pot luck, check out the new craft brewery in town, go bowling, or go see a local band. This is your time, so you make the rules!
While you’re creating your new empty nest life, remember that your kids are only a phone call away, so stay in touch and start redefining your relationship with them. In the blink of an eye, they’ll be home with loads of laundry in tow.
Contact our office today for more tips to help you successfully transition to an empty nest.
Published with permission from RISMedia.