The time has come, after 18 years of devotion, hectic schedules, being the go to, the cheerleader, teacher, costume maker, school event baker, going to every game, practice, the taxi driver, psychologist, hugger, heart mender and tear catcher. Our kids have chosen their college, military or work path. This is an extraordinary and exciting time for our children. This juncture marks the very beginning steps towards their hopes and dreams, paving their way and imagining how they will make their mark on the world.
For some parents the empty nest is a long awaited and anticipated celebration. I giggled as I saw so many posts on Facebook with the parents woo-hoo’ing ~ who without hesitation immediately start clearing a room for a new office or work out space. While some began booking exotic locations and are already loving the freedom.
While others, I am also seeing it is a very challenging time emotionally. Our kids have been our focus, our world, we plan every element of our day around their activities, school and even their social life. For myself, I have been a single mom for 13 years to 2 girls. My children who are now are 24 and 18 years old have not only been my heart, priority and focus, but I have done this road alone. We have formed a beautiful dynamic relationship together of love, support, and humor. We with out a doubt have each other’s backs 24/7. After all of these years, now what? It is easy for people to say, oh this is your time. All of the things you have been waiting to do….you can now do. But first, the adjustment and healing must come. I know I am not alone in this adjustment as a parent. I also happen to be in the Healing Arts. I am a reiki master and I specialize in the power of your mind and energy. It is from this awareness that I share the following tips.
- Honor your feelings – Yes honor what you are feeling. Denying them is dishonoring the grief you are feeling. If we suppress feelings too long they have a tendency to come out sideways, lol. Meaning in ways we don’t want them to or at a person who didn’t deserve the unleashing of what we have been holding inside. I teach in my coaching to sit in the emotion. I agree, it does not feel pleasant. But this actually is a practice that allows that feeling and energy to dissipate more quickly. Allowing yourself this space will help you work through the process faster to feeling better.
- Begin to look within to your WISH LIST – after you have processed for a bit, start to think of what is something you have pushed aside for years. Really enjoy navigating these wishes that you have not explored for some time. Have you always wanted to take guitar lessons, a dance class, or painting class? Fill that space with your creative side, your playful side. Before my youngest left home I already started to take some online classes to learn areas I felt I wanted to explore. Seeing friends you haven’t seen but would love to is a great add on. I just returned from a gorgeous weekend trip last to upstate NY to see a wonderful group of the most special friends and colleagues. I realized during my 12 hours of driving, that this new situation has provided me a new freedom with no mommy guilt. Rekindling friendships that you haven’t seen because of distance or time is an excellent way to fill that new time you have available.
- Plan something special for the next get together with your child– When are the dates you know you will have time together? Parents weekend may be coming up, or perhaps it will be Thanksgiving. Search ideas or fun things to do together, and make sure to run it by the kiddos. After all they will most likely have their own plans while home. Be sure to set both of your hopes of what you would like to do together clearly and what works best. This way no one is disappointed. And something for your both to look forward to do together.
- Be positive – Our words we speak, the thoughts we think absolutely have an effect on our bodies, our day, and our energy. Yes, feel the feelings as I said above…. but don’t stay there in the wallowing by making wallowing a new habit. Instead, say things to yourself such as, wonderful changes are happening. I am excited to have new opportunities unfold in both of our lives. Invite the Universe to help bring to your path wonderful surprises what you would really enjoy. Words and attitude are a choice. Choose words that produce love and good feelings within. Feelings are an indicator of how you are doing in your thoughts and where your mind is focused. Focus on a great feeling thoughts such as, it is your time to thrive, focus on what brings you joy, what do you want to learn?
- Be Active – Yes you finally have time to sit, lol. But don’t make inactivity a habit. Take up yoga or that latest trendy work out that looks interesting. Even daily walking and soaking up that Vitamin D. The health benefits of getting out in nature is so good for you on a physical/mental/emotional level. These are all a great way to commit to yourself.
- Commit to yourself – So let’s expand on this committing to yourself. As a parent we often put ourselves and our needs last. I do teach self-care to everyone no matter where in life you happen to be. But now, now is your time! Instead of focusing on your child and building around their schedules and day, begin each day with loving yourself, committing to you with new adventures. You have greater wisdom, intelligence and now….and now we have time. We are not taught while young to commit to ourselves are we? Well I give you permission always to commit to yourself. But for those who now have an empty nest, ask yourselves how can you love and commit to yourself today? This month? Have fun with the new adventures coming your way, make it happen. Look for events that interest you and get out there. But also remember to be gentle with yourself if you are still in process. Wishing you beautiful new beginnings to yourself and your wonderful kiddos.