When our children are little, we think that we have forever with them under our watch. The days are often long in those early years, then they quickly pick up speed, and before you know it, you are helping them pack up their bags for college. Because the majority of your moments as a parent are defined by what your children are doing, or what phases they are going through, it can be quite a shock when they go away to school. Here are a few tips for surviving Empty-Nest Syndrome.
Reconnect with your Spouse. All those years of putting the kiddos first, has most likely caused a little distance between you and your other half. Now that the kids are out of the house, you have no excuse. Pick up where you left off before you had babies. It’s time to make some more memories as a duo and schedule some trips that you’ve had on your to-do list. Take the time to capitalize on date nights without having to worry about who is going to watch the kids. Since your schedule has likely been centered around your child’s activities, you may need to figure out some things that you and your spouse like to do together. Be patient, and you just might find that you discover hobbies that you never thought you’d like.
Know your role. Over the years you have taken on many different roles including child, sibling, aunt, friend and parent. For most people, the role of father or mother is by far the most important role, which is why it can be hard to let go of that identity. You will most certainly still be a mom or a dad after the kiddos leave the house, however; you will learn that there are a lot of other roles you may find yourself embracing. Maybe you want to be an active community member, a giving friend, a caring neighbor, or a dedicated volunteer. There is no need to let go of past roles, while being open to new ones. Identifying new roles may help you feel valued and appreciated.
The beauty of being an empty nester in today’s world is that you have the convenience of technology, making it easier than ever before to stay connected to your children. It also makes it easier to discover your love of new things. A simple internet search for hobbies may stimulate an interest that you never thought you had before. Gardening, running, painting? The world is your oyster.
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