Another college semester is upon us, and many parents are faced with being empty nesters for the first time.
If you're unfamiliar with the definition of an empty nester, an empty nester is a parent whose adult children have left the home.
More often than not, the empty nester is in reference to the mother since they are usually the more active parent in the home, taking care of the children and the “nest” while the father provides financially.
Whether it's your first child leaving the nest for a semester, or your last (or only) leaving for their new home, the prospect of having an empty home can leave a real sense of loss.
The good news is there's no need to fret! Just because your son or daughter is out of your home to begin their new adventure and live their dreams, your job as their mother is not over.
Being a mother does not end when the children fly the coop, it just takes on another form.
In this article, learn how to live life and thrive as a parent in a child-free home instead of being overtaken by negativity, loneliness, and a somber atmosphere.
Your children have flown the coop, as they say, and have left you and your spouse with an empty nest. The term empty nester is not a phase, particularly in a mother's life, that is often celebrated. In fact, it usually has a negative connotation.
Anxiety, fear, grief, a feeling of sadness or loss are all emotions that come with the idea of having one's children moving out of the home.
Not having children in the house can leave a lack of purpose in a parent's life and makes them feel like their job as a parent has concluded.
Whether your children are states away or just a few towns over, empty nest syndrome can be a big change and very difficult.
This can be especially tough for Christian parents who have dedicated morning, noon, and night to their children for the past 18 years or more. However, it’s possible to manage your feelings of sadness.
Just because you are no longer living together, you will always be there to assist them when they need you. You are not turning your back on them, you're just holding their hand from a distance. They are just a phone call, text message, or email away, after all!
Decide to view this life change as a new opportunity. There is no reason the knowledge and love you bestowed upon your children can't be spread to other people.
Without your children taking up your time with their busy schedules, you will discover pretty quickly you have a lot of free time to fill. Do not allow yourself to sink into negative mental health and get lost in these spaces of emptiness.
Take this time to reconnect with old friends and loved ones, learn new hobbies, and attend community events. And, of course, stay involved in church activities.
It is very important to get out of the house and enjoy your newfound freedom, especially in the beginning when everything you look at in the home pulls at your heartstrings.
Solo activities can be just as fulfilling! There are many ways to fight empty nest syndrome. If you find yourself in a quiet home, take the opportunity to read those books you've collected over the years but have never gotten to. If you're having trouble staying in the house alone, take the book to a park.
Try a new hobby and embrace new challenges. For example, learn a new style of cooking in your kitchen. Take time to catch up on your podcast playlist.
Not everything you do in your newfound free time has to involve other people. It's about you and finding what makes you happy!
Once your children are onto the next phase of their life, you can be too! Don't let your children leaving home deter you from finding a purpose in the lives of others around you.
There are friends, family, and community members that need your guidance and wisdom as much as your children did growing up. This new stage in your life presents an opportunity to help others in need.
Throughout motherhood, so much knowledge and wisdom is gathered. What better way to put the skills and lessons that you've learned during motherhood to use than to help a new mother?
Motherhood can be a very scary experience, especially to those who do not have a support system. To have a mother who has been where you are and understand what comes next is an extreme benefit and cannot be replaced with any book on parenting.
Just as Titus 2:3-5 tells us, “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”
Take comfort in your parenting skills. There will be nights when you are awake worrying about the well-being of your children who no longer reside under your roof.
However, take solace you taught them solid Christian values to guide them in life. They have not your love, but also God's love to guide and embrace them.
Remember, as Ecclesiastes 3 tells us: “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” This is your time to blossom, just as much as it is your child's!
Keep your heart and your door open to them. Let them know that even though they moved out, your home is still a safe place for them to come back to. They will always be welcomed. They will always be your child, and you, as well as God, will always love them.