Is it time to rebuild your nest? Are you an empty nester? You may be thinking am I an empty nester and does that really ever happen. Yes and no. You will always have a spot for your babies to come back and roost for a bit if they need to and you will still have your kiddos in your life. But as your children start to leave for college you are in the process of your nest emptying. AND this is the time where new possibilities begin to open and appear for you as a couple.
REBUILDING YOUR EMPTY NEST
- Support One Another – This is a time to reflect and decide what you need as a couple at this point in time. Going through this process can feel painful for some folks and you may go through a bit of a grieving process. So you really have to be there for each other. You may each handle it in a different way.
- Give Yourselves a Pat on the Back for Your Years of Active Parenting – This is not to say you will no longer be a parent. You will enter a different phase of parenting and there will be a transition as your children leave college, as they marry, as they have children, etc, etc. But do take time to congratulate yourself on all you did to raise your children. It is not always an easy job and recognizing and giving yourself credit for what you did is important.
- Create New Goals for Yourself as a Couple and as an Individual – As your responsibilities for active parenting of children in the home has ended, you will find you have this lovely space to create new goals and to redefine possibly what you feel your purpose in life is. This is true for you as a couple and as an individual. This can help with your grieving process of transitioning from a certain stage of parenting.
- Have Fun, Love life and Enjoy Your Freedom – You do not have a soccer game you have to attend. You do not have to take the kids to practice. You do not have to be in three places at once. You are free. You have more time to be with each other as a couple and more time to pursue individual interests. It is a wonderful time to re-connect and start dating and getting to know each other again. To travel a bit. Or to take up yoga. Or whatever it is you have held off on.
- Remember You Will Always Be a Parent – It will just shift as to your role. So do not despair. It is never really over. But it does change. But that is ok, you are ready for a new adventure!
So grieve if you need to. Talk about your feelings with each other. But remember you have new wonderful opportunities ahead of you. So enjoy!
It may not feel like it will every happen. But then it does. They LEAVE the nest! It may be to go off to college or to live in their own living space or maybe to get married. And there you have it – AN EMPTY NEST. So what does one do with an empty nest? One can choose to fill it with something else. One thing that can happen is for “the couple” to reconnect and cuddle up in that nest. It can feel really nice for sure. For many “empty nesters” they find that they have lost of a bit of their connection with their spouse or partner as they have many times put their full energy into raising their children. So let’s look at some ways to RECONNECT with our spouse or partner after the children are no longer living full-time in our homes.
- First of all, recognize the normal feelings of grief and loss. This is a time to SUPPORT one another by really listening and acknowledging each other feelings. It is very possible you will have similar but also different feelings about your child leaving home. Being there for each other in dealing with the normal feelings of loss is crucial. Also, understanding you will have somewhat different perspectives. This is not a bad thing. You can broaden your outlook by really hearing each other.
- Be gentle with each other as to how long it takes to adjust and adapt to your child leaving home. One of you may have more difficulty than the other. Or it may be that one will have trouble in the beginning and the other may have more upset after some time has passed. Being aware that it may affect you differently will help.
- Begin to find the good things about your child leaving home. NUMBER ONE, you have done your job, they are moving on to create their own adult lives; they are going to college or starting a new job or maybe starting their own family. Do we really want them to stay at home forever? Of course not. We want them to be strong, independent, happy adults. But it is hard to see them go.
- NUMBER TWO, this new space creates an opportunity for you to re-connect as a couple. It can be a time to get to know one another again. A time to enjoy each other with a new freedom that was not possible before when your child or children were at home. Oh, the things you can do, the places you can go!
- NUMBER THREE, It is time to create a new VISION for what you want to be as a COUPLE. And then go for it!
There is so much more to this story, but a bit to hopefully think about and begin this journey of re-connection and re-commitment to one another. Here is to the two of you! ♥♥