Having put all of who you are into raising your kids over the years, chances are, at one time or another, you have wished for a little bit of time to yourself and longed for the day when they finally leave home. Whether that is to go to college or they are simply spreading their wings and starting a home of their own.
As a parent, it is natural to have changing feelings about this. After all, having kids in your home is something you have not only become used to but enjoyed over the years, even in the bad times.
Empty Nest Syndrome.
Empty Nest Syndrome is the overwhelming feeling of grief or sadness that accompanies your children leaving home. Suddenly finding yourself with no one to take to school, cook for or even clean up after can take some getting used to, especially if you are used to having a lot of people at home.
But this doesn’t mean your life should now be over. Far from it, in fact. This is a time to take back your life and start looking at different and new ways of filling your days. that doesn’t mean you forget about your kids, not at all. But rather, you can start to enjoy the next phase of your life now you have successfully raised your children into strong independent adults who are capable of fending for themselves and finding their own way in the world.
Let’s have a look at some of the ways you can take your mind off your empty home and fill the space left behind and enjoy this next phase in your life.
Take Up A New Hobby.
There are so many things you can do when it comes to taking up a new hobby. Maybe you can take up that art class you have been wanting to do or learn a new language? If you are missing helping the kids with homework, why not look at taking up crafting.
If you need some more ideas on what hobbies you can take up, how about;
- Learn a new language.
- Learn to play a musical instrument.
- Try something you have always wanted to do
- Start a business selling your homemade crafts.
- Read/write a book.
- Take-up dancing.
- Take up a new exercise, eg yoga.
If you are serious about this, maybe you can look at converting a bedroom into a craft room, reading nook or office? You can create a place of solitude to practice doing what you love as well as having a room separate for all your craft needs. Add in some storage to keep all your tools such as a magnifying glass with light for those smaller trickier tasks, scissors, materials, glue gun and anything you need to indulge in your hobby.
Travel The World.
Or even your own country. If being a full-time parent didn’t allow you the chance or opportunity to explore the world as you always wanted to, what’s stopping you now? You may be a little bit older now, but that is no reason to stop you. In fact, this means you can enjoy the world more and enjoy it on your terms.
So book a holiday or a long trip somewhere you have always dreamed of visiting and enjoy some one on one time with your partner. If you aren’t part of a couple, then why not see if you can arrange a trip with some like-minded friends. This a great way to be more social too. If the thought of traveling on your own is enough to put you off altogether, there are travel companies who cater to people in your position.
Regardless of where you want to travel, you can holiday with people in the same boat as you and make some new friends at the same time.
Use this time to redecorate or even remodel your home. It has served your family over the years, but now it doesn’t need to be a practical family home. Instead, you can create a home that perfectly suits your life now and in the future. With fewer people at home, it means the work can be done in a quicker time frame too. So all those little projects you have sitting on your someday list, why not get started on getting them ticked off now.
Need some ideas? How about these for starters;
- Create a hobby room as mentioned above.
- Add in a games room.
- A TV/Cinema room.
- Extend your bedroom and add an ensuite.
- Create a pet cave.
- Build A Home Gym.
- Design a guest room.
- Create an outdoor sanctuary for you to relax.
- Create a loft extension/renovate the loft for storage.
- Redesign the basement
There are so many things you can ultimately decide to do if this is something you have been thinking of. Your home will always be your family home, however making some modern changes to adapt it to your new lifestyle can help ease the transition when the kids leave home.
Learn Something New.
Education isn’t just for the young. As we mentioned above, you can use this time to learn something new as a hobby. For example a new language or something fun. But what about a career change?
There is no denying that there is a large percentage of parents who have fallen into what they do for a living as a means of providing for their families. So why not look at going back to school to learn a new career? You can take classes alongside your current employment or enroll as a full-time student to learn a new trade, whatever you choose to do.
With the age of retirement nearly 67, there are plenty of working years left for many empty nesters to look at completely retraining and finishing up their working life in a career they love. But what should you choose to retrain in? the choice is completely up to you however, with the many life skills you have developed over the years raising your family. There are many skills you may have acquired that could suit certain professions perfectly.
Careers such as social workers, care assistants, nurses, therapists or family advocates can be popular with empty nesters. As too can career in accounting, teaching and construction and interior design.
Get Involved in your Community.
for those parents who loved to be involved in the more social aspects of parenting, getting involved in the local community could be ideal. If you enjoyed helping with homework, attending school functions and volunteering for things such as bake sales, organizing dances, etc, then you can put this enthusiasm to help out others who may need your help or may be struggling.
From simply helping parents with the day to day practicalities of parenting and running a household, to helping out with meals on wheels delivery service or simply volunteering to help neighbors with errands and small jobs they might be struggling with.
Check out local organizations in your local area to see how you can get involved and still play an active part in your community to help you keep busy and retain some of the social aspects you may be missing the school years are over. Check out VolunteerMatch to find opportunities in your community and virtual opportunities online.
Learn To Be You Again.
It is so easy to get lost as a person when you are a parent, isn’t it? Raising a family can be the most rewarding yet exhausting and full-on period of your life. Depending on when you choose to start a family and your life after that, you may simply lose your way when it comes to simply be you. This can apply to your marriage or relationship too.
This can be the perfect time to get back out into the world and discover who you are and who you want to be now. you can rediscover your relationship and each other again as people and not just parents or the good cop to your bad cop (or vice versa!).
Because, before you were parents, you were your own person too. And now you are older, wiser and in a new, unexplored time of your life. So why waste it. Your family will always be there. Your children won’t resent you for taking a path of self-discovery and figuring out who you are now.
Whether you put into practice some of the ideas from this post or you simply choose to live your empty nest life your own way on your terms, just make sure to live it. As long as you are doing what you want to be doing there is no right or wrong way to adapt to life once your children have left home. there is no manual and all your thoughts, feelings and actions are justified and personal to you.
So take a breather to get used to this new period of your life, or rush in headfirst and develop a new and different life, the choice is yours and yours alone to make.