Handcrafted log cabin birdhouse. Close-up with shallow dof.
Credit: Handcrafted log cabin birdhouse. Close-up with shallow dof.
Having your children leave home can be hard, even heartbreaking. Research* has found that the “Empty Nesters Syndrome” phenomenon can provoke identity crisis and feelings of severe loss for parents. What if though, this new reality provided better opportunities for parents?
Guilt, fear or worry should be forgotten when your children flee the nest. When we have children, of course we put them first. It’s an automatic reflex. We have to step out of our comfort zone once our children have left. It’s actually a chance to commit to your own life.
Embracing empty nesters syndrome doesn’t necessarily mean packing up and going on an expedition. Rather, it provides the opportunity for parents to embrace things they may not have done previously.
Finding purpose beyond children may frighten parents, but these tips will help you to embrace the new empty nest:
1. Go all in
If you have wanted to take on more responsibility at work or take a different career path, now is the time. The stakes are not as high later in life, and this allows you to choose how you can use your skills and experience.
2. Use your talents
Your skills and talents might have been put on the back burner while raising your children, but it’s now time to embrace them. Take action by engaging in what gives you happiness and joy by using your talents for possible business ventures or ways to strengthen other relationships.
3. Choose yourself first
You can now put yourself first, so do so. Choose activities that nurture. Saving time for yourself is important. Take a yoga class, read a new book or even get a massage.
4. Remove judgement
Parenting is done in so many ways and it becomes easy to judge others around us in the process. What if, people’s judgements where in fact admiration and respect for choosing to do something different? Once your children have left home you can build new habits and stop judging yourself.
5. Be yourself
In the words of Dr. Seuss, “there is no one alive you’re than you.” You will always be a parent, and the traits that you have built along the way make you who you are. Just because your children have left home this does not mean you must stop acting like the parent that you are.