Preparing for the Empty Nest

In just a few weeks thousands of young people will head off to college including my daughter who will start her freshman year. Excitement and a bit of anxiety fill the air as we see her off to prepare for the next chapter of her life.

While my daughter is preparing to leave for college, I am embarking on my own new phase in life. . .the empty nest. We have been married for 23 years, and most of those years have been with children.  Although we still have a high school student in the home, both of us are looking forward to spending more time together.

Anticipating the empty nest makes a lot of parents very nervous asking questions like, ‘What will I do with my time?’ ‘How will my role as a parent change?’ ‘I’ll be so board, ‘Do I remember how to cook for two?’

As I find myself in this new season of life, I’m not only beginning to make a few changes, but I’m also beginning to examine how my parenting role will be different. My daughter will still need us, but in a different way.

Summer time is usually slow for my graphic design business, so I’m taking this opportunity to start some new projects. I designed a blog for my friend back in May, and her blog inspired me, so I began my own blog a few months ago, and I’m loving it! It’s another way for me to be personally creative, and it’s very much therapeutic. My daughter is the one who always chimed in “MOM BLOG!” when I was sharing too much information with her! So here I am!

I have joined Pinterest! I was hesitant at first… just one more thing to keep me on my iPad right? Well, Pinterest has been very inspirational. It has allowed me to really take a look at myself, and to re-evaluate what is important to me, and the things that I like. It’s also been very therapeutic! I also really enjoy sharing, and getting ideas from others. Since joining Pinterest, I was inspired to reorganize my pantry, but I will blog that another day.

My husband and I have begun beach evenings on Fridays, grabbing a gourmet dinner-to-go at Gelson’s and eating, reading and watching the sun go down!

And so my journey begins. . .

Here are a few suggestions to parents who are just beginning this journey:

  • When dropping off your child leave them with a positive experience.  Shed your tears in the car!
  • Instead of focusing on what you are losing, consider what you are gaining – time together, new hobbies and activities
  • As hard as it may be, let them have their space.  Let them be the one to make the first call.  It is crucial to recognize they are on their own.
  • What you are feeling is not unique.  It doesn’t hurt to reach out to someone who has already walked that road.
  • Discover new things that you would like to accomplish and make it happen.
  • Recognize that men and woman deal with the empty nest differently.  It takes time to work through it.
  • Celebrate! Parenting takes a lot of time and energy.  Your goal for the past 18 years has been to get your child to this place.  Give yourself a pat on the back and celebrate.
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