Though it isn’t a clinical diagnosis, many people suffer from what is called “empty nest syndrome” when the kids move on with their lives.
Mixed emotions are the order of the day. You may be excited to have the house to yourselves and are planning on converting that bedroom into a sewing room, or you may be sitting in the quiet house wishing for some signs of life.
You’ve gone from cherishing all the baby stuff you can handle to not knowing what to do with yourself.
Here are some tips to not let the empty nest get the better of you.
Keeping in touch
You may be wanting to talk to your kids every day and get the stories of their new lives, but you may have to accept that your only calls are about student tv licensing and other practical questions.
Keep in mind that your kids are choosing to call you because they trust you. They may be too busy or excited about their newfound freedom to want to call to chat. And that’s ok. Just accept it and understand that they are going through this phase and want to detach a bit while still clinging on for a little bit of support.
Try to resist the urge to reach out too often. Keep the lines of communication open, but let them breathe and find a way forward for themselves.
Find a hobby
Your identity may be inextricably linked to being a parent to your children, but it’s important to find your own identity again.
Going out for a hobby is a great way to take advantage of not having somebody waiting for you at home. This extra time can be spent taking on some challenges to realign your brain to take care of yourself instead of others.
Chances are that you will encounter other empty nesters there and can find somebody to relate to. Sharing your experiences can be very helpful to not feel like you don’t have anybody to talk to about it.
You may find some friendly faces with your hobby, but if you don’t there is nothing wrong with finding a therapist.
Even if you do find yourself among other empty nesters, having a professional guide you through the process is always a good idea.
Somebody who can listen to your fears and insecurities that are not very close to the surface may help you with the tools you need to move forward.
Redefine your roles
You’re still a parent and your children still need you. But, you can now branch out. It’s important to make sure you and your partner are still partners and need each other now more than ever.
Rekindling your romance could be one of the best things about finding ourselves alone at home.
As with any transition, it is difficult to find your way in this new reality. Having a role to play may help ease that transition into the unknown.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.