Empty nesters: what is it like?

The children do leave home one day.  This is a photo of my great-grandmother , her youngest son (not in this shot) was my grandfather. 
My husband and I are empty nesters. 

Our two sons have left home, the eldest is married and has set up a home of his own with his lovely wife, whilst the youngest has moved in with some friends. 

Children grown up and want to spread their wings. We can't keep them at home forever and neither do we want to. Whilst parents love their children dearly, their own relationship is also important and part of being an empty nester is rediscovering that relationship which is often lost (sometimes only a little, but for some couples a lot) when children and life take over. 

As children become teenagers and young adults they start leading their own lives, they have their own interests, study, work and friends. It is a nature progression from the dependency on one's parents to be able to live independently. That is one of the things we train our children to do. As they start this move, they begin to spend less time at home. So by the time they move out, it almost feels ready - the right time and therefore the separate (and sadness) is not as tough as you might think it will be. 

In this modern age of texting, camera phones, Skyping, emailing, Facebook etc... you really aren't that far away from your adult children.  Mine remain in contact and often send me photos of what they made for dinner or a photo of them drinking at the cafe, latest purchases right through to asking advice on something or just for a chat. Just because your child moves out doesn't mean you loose contract. Sometimes you have more contract, just by different methods. 

The upside to being an empty-nester is rediscovering your partner - you can enjoy romantic dinners togethers (which can be at any time you like), go on long walks, spontaneous outings and long sleep-in on weekends. And, there is no one to interrupt your evening. Its a little like dating again!! You can start a new hobby together or  simply getting re-aquainted. 

Do I miss not having children in the house?  Yes and no. 

I think we all go through chapters in our lives, and I have had my chapter with children and loved it, and now I move onto my next chapter which is child-free and I am enjoying the freedom. Grandchildren will be wonderful and they will spoilt, so it doesn't mean I don't welcome children, its  just nice to have this break.  I don't think it is selfish to enjoy this freedom or its certainly not wrong to use the time to reconnect romantically with one's husband.

Being an empty-nester also allows you time to do things you didn't have time to do before, that may include charity work, helping out at your local church more, helping an elderly neighbour, gardening (growing more vegetables which you can share with your children) etc..   

So the idea of having a house with no children sounds rather scary when they are young, but believe me, it is not quite as scary or as sad as you might think.  It's a normal and natural progression and by the time it happens its not quite as tough as you might imagine. And also remember, parents must let go and  allow their children to create their own families and stand on their own two feet.

PS However in our house, 2 cats (one more than the other) have decided that they will become the "new" children and this has led to two very spoilt felines and the money once spent on children is now spent on expensive cat food, cat tunnels, cat igloos, cat rugs, cat toys . . . . . 

Comments

  1. Ah yes. The cats! Worse than children. ☺

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  2. The cats seem to know when the coast is clear and they can take over!!

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  3. I'm glad to hear it's not as horrible as I imagine... Being at the other end of the spectrum, it seems awful to think of my children leaving (as you said)...! Glad to hear you're enjoying this time - and yes, an excellent opportunity for many varied things and reasons! :)

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    Replies
    1. It can be sad of course, but we all left home and our children will too - it really is a very nature thing to do and something we train our children to be able to do.

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  4. oh Jo, I so needed to read this! I can't imagine the thought of not having Rebekah at home...something I've started thinking about lately....so it was really good for me to read this:)

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