The Not so Empty Nest Syndrome
You raised them, gave them all you could, put them through school and suddenly this summer – you find yourself on the brink of being an empty nester. Gone is the excitement of planning and celebrating your children and every milestone they reached from birth until now. The unknown for you and perhaps for them too. Well – not so fast.
Statistics show that student loan debt are going up yet unemployment numbers among college graduates are the highest they’ve been in the past 11 years. So it’sactually becoming the norm for young people to move back in with their parents. In fact, 53 percent of 18-to-24 year olds are living with their parents and 85 percent of college seniors plan on moving back home after graduation.
Enter the fears of no dream jobs or any job, living at home, needing another car, privacy, independence, shifting routines and continuing financial draining.
While you thought change was really around the corner and your kids would be on their own, now you may be awake at night wondering if you’ve really done it all. Will they be okay as they navigate their adult world? Will they ever be able to leave the nest?
But through it all, you might want to remind yourself of:
The importance of friends: No one understands what it feels like better than someone who’s going through it too, so gather up the folks who get it – rekindle friendships with parents going through the same stage of life. Go for coffee, go for a walk and reconnect on an adult level, perhaps for the first time in a long time.
Rekindle your romance: Too many marriages fall by the parenting wayside, their couple-ness vanquished by years of exhaustion and kid-related obligations. So take the time, long before your kids leave and certainly in the months leading up to their departure, to nurture your marriage. Date your spouse. Reconnect and rediscover why you fell in love in the first place.
Volunteer: Helping others is a great way to stave off depression and feel needed. Volunteer at your local library, museum or food bank; join a town committee; work for Habitat for Humanity; the list and the needs are endless. You’ll be helping your community, keeping busy and meeting new people, many of whom are going through the same life transition.
Nurture your extended family: Parenting young children and then teens is an exhausting, exhilarating ride. Now may finally be the time to enjoy your own siblings and reach out to extended family.
Rediscover Yourself: You’ve juggled work and home for decades. But it’s your turn now to do some of the things on your bucket list. Go back to school, take up ballroom or salsa dancing, travel to a faraway country.