Updated: Dec 3, 2020
Soon becoming empty nesters. How to prepare and what to expect.
The time has come where hubby and I will soon become empty nesters. This brings a roller coaster of emotions for my husband, myself and our two kids. The four of us are feeling both excited and scared… and sometimes even sad. The future seems to hold more unknowns than we are used to. Where will the kids live? Will they be near or far? How will they do? Will we be able to be there for them as much as we are now? What if they need to move back? Do we downsize now? Do we wait a few more years just in case?
The one thing I do know for certain is that I will miss our daily conversations, hugs and laughter.
Becoming an empty nester can be a confusing time.
But is the anticipation of the changes to come more overwhelming than the reality of living as an empty nester?
Some parents feel lost after having spent years prioritizing their children while some parents feel excited because they are now free to put themselves first again. No matter which category you fit in, there are ways to prepare for this next part of life.
“It’s important to acknowledge that your role in your child’s life is changing,” Dr. Sarkis adds. “You will always be Mom or Dad, but your child may need you in a different way now.”
5 ways to prepare yourself for an empty nest.
1. Find enjoyment in things other than parenthood.
Don’t wait until the kids leave the nest to find new interest or reconnect with old interests. Start now. Parents who have a balance between being a parent and being their own person… that are content in areas of their lives other than parenthood… will have an easier time dealing with an empty nest.
2. Get social and connect with others.
It’s helpful to be around other empty nesters who can validate what you’re going through. Meet with your bestie for a weekly coffee. Find ways to surround yourself with people that are at the same stage of life as you are.
3. Reconnect with yourself.
This may feel odd to you as you have likely spent the last 18yrs or so looking out for others. Whether you are married or single, preparing for an empty nest is a good time to focus on making yourself happy. You will always be a parent, but who are you as an individual? Rediscover who you are. Now is a good time to pay attention to what makes you happy and what makes you feel fulfilled. Which takes me to the next point.
4. Make time for yourself.
Enrol in a new class to learn a new language or a new degree. Join a dance class, a plan a vacation or try out new hobbies. Do something for yourself, something that makes you happy and ignites your interest.
5. Reconnect as a couple.
Date nights! If you haven’t done so during the parenting years, now is the time. As a couple, you want to make time for date nights and reconnect. Re-remember what it is that brought you together in the first place. What it is that you enjoy about each other.
You will always be Mom or Dad to your child. That will not change. What will soon change are the ways in which your child will need you. And that is ok.
From a soon-to-be empty nester ~ Nancy Shimmy