Empty nest syndrome refers to the feelings of sadness, grief, depression, loneliness, emptiness and loss when children grow up, leave for college, get married, or leave home to live on their own. “Empty-nesters” can either be mothers or fathers, but mothers are primarily the ones who have difficulty dealing with or coping with an empty nest when children begin leaving home to live their lives as adults.
What do I do now?, What can I do now?, are questions empty-nesters commonly ask before, during or after learning their children are leaving home, since parents have spent most of their lives focused on raising children, caring for the home and family, until suddenly the kids are gone.
Are you an empty-nester? Are your children leaving home to head off to college? Are your children getting married soon, moving away or getting their own home? Is your son or daughter leaving home soon, leading you to ask yourself, What do I do after my children leave home?
Empty Nest Syndrome
First, let me say, Congratulations! Give yourself a big pat on the back for having raised your children in such a way that you’re not dealing with adult children living at home years after kids should have left home and begun living their lives as full grown, successful, independent adults.
You have taught your children how to be an adult, and you should be congratulated! You have cut the apron strings by letting go, and the “tied to his mother’s apron strings” quote doesn’t apply to you in regards to your son or daughter leaving home. Trust me, you don’t want to deal with the “revolving door syndrome” so common in today’s society. Good for you!
If you are trying to deal with an empty nest now, or will be an empty-nester sometime soon, please understand you’re not alone. Many moms and dads are trying to cope with empty nest feelings and emotions just like you are, and no two people deal with stressful situations like this the same way, so patience, understanding and empathy are important.
What Do I Do Now? What Can I Do Now?
What do I do after my children leave home? There are many things you can do, should do or need to do now that your children have left home and you are alone at last. It’s time to change your focus on being a parent and the responsibilities of parenting children still living at home, and direct your time and energies towards other things you can do that bring you enjoyment, pleasure and a sense of fulfillment.
Ask yourself, if you could do it all over again, what are some “coulda, shoulda, woulda” things you wish you had done before getting married or before having children? The answer to “What do I do now” is that you now have time to take a life inventory on yourself and start doing the things you have always wanted to do but never could before.
It’s time to get busy! Put your thinking cap on and get those creative juices flowing, and come up with a “What I Can Do Now” list now that the kids are grown and gone. Go back to school to get your high school diploma, or get the college degree you always wanted. Rekindle the romance with your spouse and fire up your marriage by spending time together and bringing back the fun and excitement experienced when you were dating or before the kids came along.
Do some volunteer work; find a new hobby; join an active online support group for encouragement. Travel! Take a cruise, rent an RV and stay at RV parks while traveling, or check out the cost of Flights and buy a plane ticket to visit places you’ve always wanted to see but couldn’t. (I recommend the Philippines) Learn a new language! You can do what I’m doing and learn spanish online, or you can learn japanese online or any other language you have wanted to learn but never had the time.
Or, here’s an idea for you and it’s completely FREE! I bet, after raising your children, you probably have lots of interesting mom, dad, grandpa or grandma stories to tell. Why not start a free blog and write stories about whatever topics you are passionate about? If you’re wondering what is a blog, you’re reading a “blog post” right now about Empty Nest Syndrome. Get it?
Are you dealing with empty nest syndrome? What are some things you have found that helped you cope with your children leaving home? What is on your What I Can Do Now list? Share your ideas, suggestions, tips and advice in the comment section below.