Time really does seem to fly when it comes to raising children. Once day they’re in diapers and you can barely find the time to even breathe, and then before you know it, they’re packing up their room and heading off to college. For most parents, mothers especially, walking into an empty home does much more than cause them to shed a few tears, for some it can actually lead to a deep depression. In an effort to help you cope, we’ve put together a few helpful tips to get you refocus and maybe even smiling again!
Go through the emotions… The first step to healing and getting over something is to first allow yourself to FEEL. Remember, just because you held it together in the dorm room after saying goodbye doesn’t mean that you have to stay strong once you get into the car. If you need to cry, then cry. If you need a weekend alone going through old baby pictures and videos, then take it. Do whatever you need to do to get those emotions out. Once you’ve taken the time to feel it, you can begin picking yourself up and redesigning your life.
Start thinking about “me time”… Remember when your children were younger and you had that bucket list of things you wanted to do but could never find the time to do them? Well, there is no time like the present! Whether you wanted to take a class, go skydiving, do a girl’s trip to Europe or simply spend more time working in the garden, you now have much more time to focus on you. Make it a point to stop looking at the extra time on your hands as a negative thing, and instead start finding ways to fill this time with new experiences.
Find new opportunities… So many women resort to either working part-time jobs or becoming stay at home mothers when their children are younger and then feel lost once the children are grown and gone. While getting back into the working world may prove to be a challenge, it’s not impossible. If you already have a degree under your belt, try taking a few refresher courses in your field or even an internship. If you never had the time to get your degree, why not start now? Remember, this is as much of an adventure for you as it is for your children; make the most of it.
Spend time reconnecting…Another thing that seems to fall through the cracks when raising children is the personal relationship between a husband and wife. Most mothers are so wrapped up in caring for their children’s needs that often intimacy and quality time with the husband fall low on the list of priorities. For many couples, an empty nest means a huge adjustment for their relationship and a need to learn how to reconnect. Take the time to reignite some passion in your relationship. Whether you make the choice to start taking trips together, sharing a hobby, or even something as simple as making Sundays the day where the two of you stay in your PJ’s watching movies and ordering take out, use this time to get to know each other all over again.
Downsize… Sure, that five bedroom house was a necessity when all of the kids were still at home, but now that it’s just the two of you, do you really need all of that space? While it’s certainly understandable to want to have a spare room or two when kids come home for a visit, staying in a house that is too big (and keeping their rooms looking like a shrine in their memory) could be doing your psyche more harm than good.
If nothing else, always try to stay positive. Yes, the empty nest can be quite an adjustment; however, it doesn’t have to be a negative experience. Use this time to get YOUR life back on track. Use it to get the romance back with your significant other, or simply use it as a time to experience new adventures. Keep yourself busy and in no time at all, that ache in your heart will slowly begin to melt away.
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