Are you facing an empty nest this September? It’s an exciting time as those college and university acceptance letters start rolling in! You’re so proud of your child as they prepare for this next phase in their life until the worry and sadness sets in – your baby is leaving the nest.
It can be an overwhelming time; not only will you miss your child and worry about how they are doing, but you may also face an identity crisis of sorts. If you have focused the last few decades of your life on your children, you may now wonder, “what’s next for me?”
When you face an empty nest, it can be challenging to transition to a new normal. If this is the year you’ll officially be an empty nester, starting to prepare now will make the transition just a little bit easier!
- Turn your focus inward.
I’m going to guess that during the last 18 years of raising your child that you haven’t been putting yourself first? That’s about to change! How can you focus on taking care of yourself? What would bring you a sense of joy? Who do you want to spend time with? What type of life do you want to create?
- Acknowledge that your role in your child’s life is changing.
As your relationship grows and evolves, so will the way you communicate and spend time together. Embrace this change and roll with it. Have you got to know your children as adults? How can you spend time with them as friends rather than in a parent/child relationship?
- Find joy in things other than parenthood.
What do you love to do? Now that you’re facing an empty nest consider picking up a new hobby, joining a book club, volunteering, or planning a trip. Maybe it’s time for you to take a class, master a new skill, or pick up a side hustle? It’s never too late to try something new! (And it’s never been easier to do with so many online options).
- Take baby steps and start prepping yourself now.
Taking things slowly can ease the transition, as you get used to the idea of being an empty nester. What activities can you start now so that you’ll be busy and having fun by the time September rolls around?
- Make the most of the summer.
Enjoy the last few months with your child full-time at home. What quality time can you spend together? Are there any activities you both love that you haven’t had time for lately? Create your summer bucket-it list together (and be sure to keep in mind that they’ll want to spend lots of time with friends too).
- Ease your mind by making sure your child is prepared.
Be sure they have everything they need, but give them space as they become more independent. Let your child call the shots and ask (rather than tell) how you can help.
- Seek out other people in the same boat.
Join groups for empty nesters, and spend time with people in the same life stage as you. Having someone who gets the mixed emotions that comes with being an empty nester can make it that much easier to transition.
- Redefine yourself.
Have you always thought of yourself as a stay-at-home parent or soccer mom? Part of the reason it can be challenging to face an empty nest is that we tie our sense of identity to being a parent. Look at this shift as an opportunity to reinvent yourself – how do you want the world to see you? Focus your energy on creating the best version of YOU.
Remember that it’s normal to feel sad and overwhelmed during significant life changes like this. Be sure to give yourself grace during this difficult transition. You’ve got this, mama!
If you are looking for extra support from other empty-nesters join our Facebook group. We’d love to meet you!