This is the 1st year having all of the kids out of the house.
Why the heck did no one tell me about what to expect?,?.?,
Hey you Fiery Force to be reckoned with, listen up….I am about to give you a heads up on something that no one gave me the memo on (long but worth it). In almost every one of my programs, I have an orientation that serves to prepare people for what's ahead. It is a necessity bcs I find that people have a higher chance of succeeding just by knowing common obstacles.
However, in my entire life I've only heard one person mention ‘Empty Nester’ challenges (I can't stand that term. I don't particularly care for labels & definitely not labels that don't feel good energetically). Anyway, it was about a decade ago. A client told me that they were new empty nesters & finding it hard to communicate with one another now that the kids are gone & topics of carpooling, sports practice & dance recitals were non-existent. Obviously at that time I couldn't relate personally & had not learned techniques professionally about overcoming that unavoidable & emotional life event.
Now that I have just completed my 1st year of all the kids being out of the house, I have to tell you the MAJOR struggles I've faced & how I got myself back to my SUPERCHARGED set point.
A few years back when I 1st dropped my son off at his dorm room, I remember decorating his room, saying goodbye & driving away feeling like I'd just abandoned my child! I kept thinking about what he was doing…if he were making friends..If he had the right foods.
Fast forward to this year with all of them being gone, I was like ‘What the entire HECK!’ I got pregnant with my 1st child at 18, so I went from being a child to raising children. I am ONLY used to having kids around & taking care of them. So walking into an echoey house everyday has been surreal.
So here are some SPECIFIC issues I've had this year:
Going to out dinner I would feel sooooo guilty going out to eat. I would look at the menu and guess what the kids would order if they were with us or make a note to myself to bring them to that restaurant once they came home from break. I stopped asking the hubs if he wished the kids were with us at the restaurant bcs clearly he didn't have my sentiment. He'd be like, ‘No I’m not thinking about them right now!" Uggghh lol
Grocery Shopping If you've been shopping for a certain amount of mouths to feed for decades, you end up mastering quantity. You know exactly how much of an item you need & how long it will last. Well the 1st few months of the kids being gone, I wasted soooo much food. You don't have hungry teens in the house anymore, so you have to get used to buying way less food.
Walking Past their empty bedrooms This part is weird because you don't feel their energy. I walk past their rooms and peek inside or resist the temptation to peek inside. The mind game is freakin' crazy!
Driving past their old hangouts You will drive past their old schools or playgrounds & be reminded of how fast they grew up. I drove past a Trunk-or-Treat in Oct & remembered dressing the kids up and taking them there. I had a similar feeling driving past the car line of an elementary school. You just look & remember, but realize that you are no longer partaking in those activities anymore.
Feeling lost in your identity/purpose Again, I'm not big on labels & I know that my identity is not a mom, my main divine assignment is a mom. But you get a wakeup call that you no longer parenting, prioritizing, guiding these little humans on an everyday, moment-by-moment basis. That once utilized space becomes open space. You feel the depth of that void.
Enough of that depressing crap. Here are some SPECIFIC ways I Supercharged my set point to get back to my happy place in my head (with family):
Wordle l didn't know what the heck a wordle was 3 months ago. My mom originally told me about it bcs she'd seen it on the news & the hubs told me his client mentioned it to him. So we started playing wordle & sharing it in the group chat. It's cool to have a way to bond regularly in simplistic way.
Continued Parenting 2.0 This was something I had not considered & was a welcomed surprise. The kids ask for our suggestions MORE than we'd ever witnessed in their lives! It is weird however knowing that they don't have to take your suggestion/advice. It's like ‘wow, they can straight up hear you but still choose to do their own thing…weird.’
Breaks When they visit or come home for break, you really cherish the time. It is interesting to watch how they've developed. It is rewarding to see how all your years of hard work has paid off. You know who they were but you get to see who they are becoming.
Here are some SPECIFIC ways I Supercharged my set point to get back to my happy place in my head (with self):
Volunteer l have always volunteered with teens at church, but now I just recently volunteered with the little kiddies at some golf thingie. I don't know diddly squat about golf, but I know the value of being around the energy of children. It helps you stop being self-centered & cultivate being more others-centered. Their unconditional love & constant curiosity is also contagious.
Business Introspection & Restructuring Once you notice how fast 20 years flew, you realize that time is an important commodity. You have a desire to make sure you are expressing your gifts/talents in a way that serves you & others in the most impactful way. On the flip side, you have little patience for people who are still playing games with their body, family or life. This is not a dress rehearsal. The people who want 2.0 transformation have to be ready to go deep bcs the surface stuff is no longer interesting…the surface stuff is actually petty & a waste of attn & effort.
Self-Care When the kids were home I would do Self-Care Sundays. Now I have a DAILY self-care ritual. It is a non-negotiable for me bcs it makes me feel AMAZING! If you could ever see my daily self-care ritual, you'd be shocked. …Especially if you consider/have a limiting belief that some of the practices are normally reserved for special occasions. Therefore can't see giving yourself permission to do the same or similar.
Although I had that one client mention losing a connection with her spouse once the kids left.. Research shows that two-thirds of couples feel closer to their spouse after the kids leave.
I know one thing that is not a myth: You actually do walk around the house naked. Or at least I least I find myself in barely there loungewear that I never would have been able to walk around in freely with kids in the house LOL!