The idea of your children growing up and leaving you with an empty nest is so daunting: you’ve spent over 20 years nurturing, caring for and devoting all aspects of your life to these people and their wellbeing and happiness and now that purpose for existing is almost gone. It is something that many of us, especially women, choose to be sad about. We feel lonely, sometimes we feel rejected and sometimes we feel a little lost. But the good news is, that depending on how we look at this transitional phase of our lives, we don’t have to.
Transitioning and dealing with empty nest syndrome brings about some enormous benefits that can have incredibly positive impacts on our lives. So to help you and others out there who are faced with an empty nest, here are some of the things to smile about…
1. Bring your mojo back with your partner
It’s something that many people find naturally happens with the onset of children… Less sexual activity, less attraction and less time to work on those two things. When the kids are gone, it is just you and your partner, and this means you have more time to work on the things you neglected together for quite some time. This is a chance to reconnect and rediscover each other and things that brought you close together many, many, years ago.
2. Improved relationships with your children
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It is a funny thing, once the children move out, even though you spend a lot of time worrying about them, you accept that they’re finally their responsibility. This means that rather than being on “parent” mode when you see each other, worrying about what they’re doing, the choices they are making or what they have on this week, you’re more interested in catching up and spending quality time together. In a 2000 study, it was cited that, “They’re going to have a more mature, more emotionally meaningful and deeper relationship with them to look forward to.”
3. Time to rediscover yourself
The extra time doesn’t just mean more time to reconnect with your partner – it means more time to connect with yourself. You can finally explore interests, hobbies or even new careers that you’ve always wanted to but just haven’t had the time or capacity to do so. Whether you’re a father or mother, we all put our desires, dreams and plans on hold to prioritise our children’s instead so use this time as an opportunity to reinvigorate those goals and jump into new things.
4. Enjoy a bit of extra cash in the bank
The problem that comes with prioritising your children’s desires, dreams and plans is that those wonderful hobbies, education and extracurricular activities that go with that also means the financial responsibility. As parents, we want the best for our kids, and we give that to them – at any cost. So when they are no longer financially dependent on you, you can finally enjoy that extra cash to do the things you’ve always wanted to do.
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5. Get your social life back
While we have kids, our social interactions revolve around them. We make friends with the parents of children in their sporting teams. We see them on weekends, and we have them over for dinner after they’ve looked after our kids. We go to the school functions together, but we don’t get to socialise in the ways we want to. When the kids are gone, you can take long weekends to head to the coast; we can run away to the farm and help out friends for a weekend. We can make dinner on any night of the week, or you can take spontaneous day trips whenever we like!
These five things are all parts of life that you should look forward to and embrace when they’re here.
So today tell us, what were the positive things you found about life when you were left with an empty nest? What did you enjoy most?