Terrified of the Empty Nest..how I made it through

Are you about to have less laundry?

instant empty nest as they drive away from home
The day they BOTH drove away from home…kicking up dust as they went…

EMPTY NEST… the words don’t have any positive in them for most parents facing their child going off to college.

I can vividly recall the days leading up to dropping my oldest off at college. I can actually put myself back into that day and the emotional upheaval it caused within me too. – No, even I don’t want to go there again. {SIGH}

It wasn’t any better with my youngest 3 years later. For me, or for my husband. Coming home to an empty house and knowing we didn’t have that daily contact with the boys any longer was a turning point for sure. Missing the dirty dishes, the laundry, the extra car in the driveway…simple things became painful.

But different isn’t always bad.

You can embrace this time to spend some time on yourself, or with your spouse. Find ways to indulge hobbies like you haven’t been able to – or a community group you didn’t completely explore. Or actually finish all the laundry, LOL.

I strongly encourage you to talk to your about-to-leave-home-teenager about your fears and worries. It’s ok to let them into your worries about empty nest syndrome – if knowing you are worried gives them a reason to call home more often, YAY! Don’t let them think you aren’t concerned, or scared, or even terrified. They know they will be missed, but let them know you are there as a parent still, maybe not the disciplinarian role any longer, but advisor role is important too.

Let them be adults

They are adults now…whether they can address an envelope or write a check, they are recognized as being able to be responsible for their own decisions and you have to be able to take a back seat now.

This part is critical, I tell you from experience. Let them grow up and be there with them as they do. They will change. They will question more. They will have new influences on their lives and they will seem to grow away from you. But they aren’t really growing away…just seeing what else is out there for consideration besides their own families viewpoints.

They are adults now…

Up to this point, you’ve been their major influencer in so many ways. Now, aren’t any longer.

It’s actually a good thing. You still have things to teach them, I promise. And they will come home again, I promise this too. Different isn’t always bad…it’s just new and strange for a bit. If you don’t resist it, it makes it easier on everyone.

Reach out to friends who have been through empty nest already – not necessarily the ones going through it now with you- but others who have already traveled that path.

I promise, sitting in their almost empty bedroom won’t help. Get up, clean the kitchen, do the laundry, and go out to dinner with your spouse or good friend. Focus on the new relationship you will have with your ADULT child.

Here’s a resource

Check out the website https://grownandflown.com and follow them on Facebook for wonderful little anecdotes about what you and many others are going through.

Follow my blog for more ramblings and check out my website for family photos too – because you need a a new photo of your family – www.pattyschuchmanphotography.com

See what I created when I needed something for me –www.pattyschuchmanphotography.com

Thank you for reading through my ramblings on Empty Nest. It’s been a journey for me and one I’m proud to have gone through, but I cannot lie – it’s a hard journey for most parents to go through.

  1. Randy Garcia says:

    Love this Patty! Our youngest of 4 left for Grand Canyon University this past fall, and we quickly adopted an “open nest” vs “empty nest” mindset. This included a “landing pad” for not only family but friends to call our place home for a meal, a night, or a week stay. This renewed approached helped to lift us out of the grieving of “losing” our last, joyful child to the “world out there.”

    The long distance and “touch and go” relationships we have with our children have opened up a whole new chapter for us!

  2. Patty Schuchman says:

    Thank you for stopping by AND commenting! Empty nest is more of a variable these days with COVID 19, but the essence is still the same – our children are finding their own paths and moving further into independence. It’s an overall good thing, for sure. Just an adjustment as we as parents seem to get hid hard emotionally by it all. I hope to raise more awareness with people BEFORE the emotional hit so they can weave through the emotions a little bit easier. We aren’t losing our children, we are transitioning in our roles and we have the opportunity to turn this new stage into a new adventure for all of us! I love the “Landing pad” and I’m so glad you are finding your way with your adult kids.

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