Empty-nesting is liberating, for sure. I sleep, eat, and play whenever and wherever I want (most of the time). I don’t even have a pet.

My kids are young adults and one of them even has kids of her own. They need very little from me at this point — occasional work or parenting advice, a recipe, an address, or some tidbit of family health history.

But this past week I got an opportunity to be the full-on mom again, and I quite liked it.

I played Play Dough with my granddaughter and catch with my grandson. I cut up fruit for their breakfast and even changed a diaper. Like riding a bike, you never forget how.

My younger daughter had a group of friends out for the weekend and I took their breakfast orders and made a bagel run.

And, just like in the “old days” of motherhood, I juggled my mothering with work, finishing three major projects within deadlines.

The big difference between now and then is that I’m able to enjoy it more. I worry less about screwing-up. I usually manage my stress better.

I don’t miss the early morning wake-up times, the diaper-changing, and the crying. But I do miss serving meals for groups of kids and listening to their conversations. I miss the bedtime hugs and kisses.

Today I return to my adult life. I will mentor rather than mother. I’ll bring an extra cup of coffee for a co-worker. I’ll even get up super-early when I hear a cry. But it’s more likely to be a client “cry” via e-mail asking for something for an urgent deadline.

All are gratifying, but the title of Mom is one that lasts forever.


  • Nancy A Shenker

    The Silver Hair Playbook: How to Be a Bad Ass >50™

    Nancy A. Shenker is a marketing innovator, brand builder, writer, speaker, and self-proclaimed rule breaker. Over the course of her 40-year business and marketing career, she has been a C-level executive, an entrepreneur, and a mentor to hundreds of small businesses at all stages. Founder of theONswitch marketing, Nancy was formerly a senior executive for major consumer and business brands, including Citibank, MasterCard, and Reed Exhibitions. She has written four books, and publishes a women’s entrepreneur community (www.sheBOOM.com), as well as AI/machine learning/robotics site www.EmbracetheMachine.com and travel and lifestyle site www.BleisureLiving.com. She also wrote a column for Inc.com called Bots & Bodies (about the human side of tech) and is a contributor to a wide range of consumer and business media. She recently won the "Killer Content Award" for a major project for a fast-growing technology company.