The Empty Nest-Finding Joy in an Empty House

What a precious gift it is to be a mother. The joy and pain that comes along with being a parent, is priceless and something not to be taken for granted. However, there comes a day when our job descriptions change and our duty as a caretaker ceases to be no longer. The day in which our babies leave the nest, and begin their life, as a young adults. Bitter sweet, to say the least… but something that happens to every parent sooner or later.

As I watched my son collect his possessions last summer and pack the car for his first year of college, thoughts of sadness and joy filled my heart. For the past 18 years, I have watched this young man grow from being a boy to a man. I have cared for him when he was sick, taught him how to ride his bike, helped him tie his first bowtie, endured riding with him as he learned how to drive a car, and  listened well as he walked through various relationship breakups. Now it was time….this young man was about to spread his wings and fly.

It is normal to feel a sense of grief when your children leave the nest. After all, for 18 years they have been a huge part of your life. Feelings of sadness will be present, feelings of emptiness will be experienced, and feelings of joy will be right around the corner, as you look towards the possibilities of new beginning, in your life and in your child’s life.

Tips on finding joy in your empty nest

Allow yourself to grieve. Although you are not “losing” your child, you are letting go of something you know and love. Give yourself permission to grieve and cry, is normal and expected.

Find other parents experiencing the same transition. There is comfort in knowing others are going through the same experience.

Give yourself time. Do not rush. Within a few weeks, you will adapt to your new family dynamics.

Take time to reinvest in your relationship with your spouse, if you are married. Schedule date nights, go on a vacation, etc. If single, find some activities you enjoy and spend time meeting new people in those activities.

There is a time for everything under heaven. This is one of those times. Letting your eagles fly is the beginning of a new adventure…..not only for them, but for you too.