I can’t believe Daniel and I are Empty Nesters. I knew this day was coming but I was shocked on how the transition went for us. I expected to be sad and dreary, and I’ll admit, when my son first talked about moving out, I tried everything I could to convince him to stay home and save money.
I mean I spent most of my life catering to the well being of my children so it’s only natural for us to be sad right?
Well, I am not sure what happened, or what clicked inside of me but as the time drew closer for my last little birdie to fly the nest my husband and I became excited about the time alone we would have together. Our questions of don’t you want to stay home became questions of…… so… when are you moving out again?
Don’t get me wrong , we love our kids, but life has different seasons and we were ready to embrace this new season together. If you are struggling with becoming an empty nester or your reading up to plan ahead for when the day comes, we’ve got 10 tips we would like to share with you to help you transition into that empty nester phase of life. We planned an Empty Nesters photo shoot to help celebrate the next phase of our lives and we are sharing the Empty Nesters photos with you our readers first! A huge thank you to Farris Photography for helping us with our photo shoot!
10 Transition Tips for Empty Nesters:
1. Embrace It – Your kids leaving is part of the next stage in their life to transition into young healthy adults. Instead of holding on to the notion that your kids might stay with you until after college or longer, start preparing yourself that your kids have their own ideas about what they want to do with their life and they may surprise you by leaving sooner than you thought.
“OUR PLAN” and I quote, lol “our plan”, was to let our kids stay at home till after they graduated from college so that they could save money. But our kids had other plans.
2. Set Some Ground Rules – We were having a conversation with our son and teasing him about knocking before he comes over because my husband was going to officially call this “The Naked House” lol. My son quickly looked at us and said just because I am leaving doesn’t mean I am not welcome to come over.
WHOAAAA NELLY……. We just realized that while our son was wanting to move out and become an adult, he still felt like this was his house. While are kids are always welcome, we thought it was a good idea to establish some ground rules. Like calling before they come over, knocking or using the doorbell before they just walk in.
3. Don’t Fix Their Problems – Now that your children have decided to leave the nest , you will be tempted to jump at the chance to be mrs/mr fix it in your children’s lives. Now I am not saying you can’t help your children, but for them to become strong , independent children, they need to be able to learn to cope with life’s challenges. They need to learn how to work around their financial problems and mistakes so that they can learn from them and be prepared on how to the handle the situation better next time.
I find that this one is a hard transition for most parents. Finding the balance of knowing when to help and when not to swoop in to save the day. If your child/children aren’t great with finances meaning they pretty much blow and go, then I’d say you are not helping them by bailing them out every time. But if your child/children are responsible adults, they have a good job, they pay their bills on time but they run into an unexpected financial situation like medical bills, someone totals their car, or other random unexpected financial situations, it’s ok to lend them a hand if your in the position to be able to do so.
There is also nothing wrong with gifting your kids with things if they are appreciative, respectful and have a good head on their shoulders. Due to my position as an online influencer I have had the opportunity to gift my children with new furniture or take them on a paid trip, but I also know that my kids have been appreciative and smart responsible adults when it comes to their finances.
4. Let Them Live Their Life – One mistake I see parent’s make most often is trying to live their life through their children. We all have our own hopes and dreams and they way we think things should go but so do your children. Don’t second guess their decisions, It’s ok to give them advice, IF they welcome it. But don’t take it personally if they want you to “butt out”.
Also DO NOT go over to their house and talk about how they keep their house in order, or what kind of food they keep in their cabinets etc. This kind of negative activity can really drive a wedge between your relationship, and if you thought you didn’t see your children enough already, get ready because the time in between is about to get a lot farther. This is part of my Empty Nesters No No’s 101 lol.
5. Take Advantage of the Alone Time – Now that you are apart of the Empty Nesters Club, that time of self-sacrifice is over. You have spent so much time catering to your children and now it’s time make yourself a priority.
For me it was about traveling more with my husband, going and getting a massage, turning the extra empty room into the photography studio I always wanted. Let me tell you we had my sons room and his old computer room/man cave painted and ready to go within the first 2 weeks of him moving out.
We also wanted to reach out to friends and other couples to get together for dinner or a card game or two. Our house is no longer kid friendly so this one can become sort of a challenge with having friends with smaller children.
6. Get Organized and Declutter – As a mom I could not believe all the stuff we have accumulated over the years. As I started going through closets and drawers and cabinets, I actually found stuff I had forgotten about. I was finding so much stuff, that I thought maybe there was a long lost child hidden somewhere I had forgotten about lol.
Let me tell you it felt good to get rid off all the extra junk and I had a lot of fun posting items for sale and using the money to fund our Anniversary trip. We did a lot of downsizing.
7. Don’t Take Things Personally – Once your kids move out, they are going to be embracing their freedom. Don’t sit around and wait for their texts and calls. They aren’t going to be checking in regularly and it has nothing to do with you as a parent, it’s just part of the independent process. It’s perfectly normal.
8. Don’t Discount Your Feelings – It’s perfectly normal to be sad that your kids are gone. This is part of what they call the mourning process. While the mourning process will vary for different amounts of time, try to refer to #5 and work on some me time.
9. Make a Difference – If you find yourself lonely, board or having a hard time transitioning to this phase, how about focusing your time on others. You could involve yourself in volunteer work, hold a Bible study or maybe help an elderly neighbor. You could even sign up to become a foster dog mom.
10. Don’t stop cooking – Cooking for two may take some adjusting but it’s important to keep a healthy diet. This is something my husband and I are working on right now. We are even saving time and money by cooking normal but freezing leftovers for later. It’s so easy to want to just do take out all the time, but something we are trying to do is spend more time in the kitchen cooking together. If you don’t have a spouse, this is a good time to try new recipes and do some freezer meals portioned out.
Ultimately it’s up to you on how you transition into this stage of life, but wether you transition to it heavy hearted or full of excitement. I promise there is life after children.
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