Who knew how fulfilling becoming an empty nester could be?
My youngest child bought their first house a year and a half ago, and I officially became an empty nester. I have five kids total, and we had just that last kid under our roof without her siblings for five years before that …. So, I can say that this was a very long and drawn out transition for me- to go from a full house of 7+ people and pets at any given time to just my husband and me.
We never really had our own time before kids, since I married into this already formed family with kids, so I have very much been looking forward to this time of life when we really could truly focus on our relationship and learn together what it would be like to parent through some distance and further gained wisdom.
Through the past year and a half that we have been home alone, I realize that there are many benefits to being an empty nester, and I cannot wait to share some of them with you today.
You Have Time To Discover Your Real Self
This time as an empty nester has been filled with many moments of me getting to know myself. I was 27 when I became a full-time mom to our five kids overnight. As you can imagine, that messed with me a bit, and before I knew it, I had completely lost sight of who I was as an individual. My days instantly became a running blur of counting 1,2,3,4,5 everywhere I went, and I just hoped and prayed that I could help mold them into amazing, thriving adults through all of the turmoil from their childhood.
I never expected to be a mom, but I did embrace motherhood fully once it was brought my way. Once my honey and I sat alone in an empty house for the first time, I realized how much more deeply I could actually get to know myself, more fully without having everyone needing me or pulling at my attention all of the time.
Being purposeful in all that I do has become a priority. I have learned to say no and focus on doing what brings me joy. My health and peace are vital, and my mindset is, “Why Not Me?” I am more than a mom. Taking the time to understand and embrace my interests has been an exciting venture. The list is endless, and I am enjoying this process of discovering me.
You Can Rekindle Your Relationships
The empty nesting period has allowed time for me to reconnect with my husband. We both work from home, so we’re together A LOT already … But having this extra time together has been so wonderful for us to very intentionally deepen our relationship.
Taking the time to communicate our individual needs has become a priority. With less family demands on both of us, we have more time and opportunities for both emotional and physical intimacy. Reigniting our partnership and creating meaningful connections without the children has improved the quality of our relationship.
I also have had more time to deepen my friendships and the quality of my relationships with my kids. Having them out of their own and living their own lives, I find that our conversations, while less frequent, are more meaningful and rewarding.
You Will Appreciate Having Peace and Quiet
The absence of teenagers arguing over food, TV time, computers, and even clothes is a welcome change. There are days when I can hear a pin drop in my home. I never fully understood that this type of quietness existed, to be honest. On the nights that I am completely alone in the house, I look forward to eating in bed and watching Netflix. The serenity is intoxicating, a feeling that creates a sense of peace. I have learned to fully embrace this as self-care. Time to myself that is much needed to center my peace and embrace joy.
No one can truly prepare you for what happens when your children leave the nest. They are not “leaving” but rather going out into the world to experience a life in which we have prepared them to flourish. I have done my job well, and our children are independent, capable and adventurous. They have become everything and more than I could have dreamed of. This is a fun new chapter in my life, and I have to trust the process and embrace the progress.
It’s Easier to Eat Healthier
This is something I never even thought about, but once I became a full-time mom and started cooking more “kid-friendly” food, that started to change my entire relationship with food, which has stayed with me for the past 20 years. I LIKE eating healthy, but when I would buy this food before, it would go to waste, and it was too hard for me to cook separate meals for seven people. Now that it’s just my husband and I at home, we share the meal prepping and planning and are truly enjoying the food we are making at home. When we decide to eat out, it’s a wonderful experience and we know no one is going to eat our leftovers! I find it’s easier to stick to whatever eating plan I’m doing when it’s just the two of us to plan and prep for.
You Can Do Whatever You Want At Home
This might sound silly, but I promise you… It’s AWESOME!!! You never have to worry about a kid overhearing a conversation they shouldn’t or what anyone would think about you going on a Netflix binge. If you want to sleep until 11 am, no worries- go for it! You are the queen of your castle; enjoy it! Your messes are now your own and it’s up to you what you do about them. You can buy the gorgeous décor of your dreams now, because there aren’t any kids there to ruin it. You see where I’m going with this? It’s heaven … trust me!
Becoming an empty nester is not an ending … it is only the beginning. Raising my children was the most important thing I have ever done, and I will carry those memories with me forever, but empty nesting has become the favorite season of my life so far. They have become my best friends, and I look forward to spending quality time with them and my grandchildren. I also cherish the time that I can spend with my husband, Craig. We are doing things in our lives that we could not do years ago.