Are you enjoying your new empty nest? Or are you heartbroken and missing your kids? Are you getting ready to have your last one leave?
I think we all go through different stages of joy and pain when our kids leave the nest. Our youngest left in the fall of 2013 for 1 year and then returned home. During that year, my husband and I discovered some amazing times of no sports schedules, no extra meals to make, a much cleaner home, and privacy (what is that???)...just the two of us. Other times we found we had marriage challenges that we put on the back burner...but didn't even know it.
I recently read an article from the FocusOnTheFamily.com website talking about Empty Nest Syndrome. Here are a few excerpts:
Benefits: The first thing most empty nesters notice is that the house is quieter. You can get to bed earlier because there's no more loud music, the clatter of young people arriving and leaving, the TV or talking keeping you awake. And it's easier to fall asleep when you're not worrying about whether your teenager will make it home safely. An added benefit — the car is available when you need it!
One extremely noticeable difference is at dinner: you and your spouse alone, facing each other across the table, wondering what to talk about.
Becoming Friends again: In Song of Songs 5:16, his lover calls Solomon her "friend." The empty nest can be a time to become "friends," to renew and deepen your friendship with your spouse. Without interruptions from children, you can have longer and more meaningful conversations. Since you are no longer attending school activities and meetings, you can use evenings to go on dates again. Or you might start traveling by yourselves and rekindle the romance of your pre-parenting years! Another upside is simplified meal preparation (e.g. one meal is enough for two nights of dinners). Eating out can be spontaneous and will cost less.
The empty nest is generally not the same experience for dad as it is for mom, especially if dad is still at his job all day and the mom is primarily a homemaker. For her, the added time can be used to resume or start a career or to pursue hobbies and projects she didn't have time for with children underfoot.
Dads get phone calls from fledglings whenever one of them has a computer problem or needs advice on technology purchases (digital cameras, iPods, cell phones). Moms get the calls during peak emotional times (roommate crises, boyfriend/girlfriend concerns, stress overload). Fortunately, our generation benefits from technology that allows us to stay connected with our children via e-mail, cell phones and Facebook!
I think this is all such great advice. We need to take the extra time and get to know our spouses again. Have a planning night each week, for us it is Sunday nights. We discuss the week ahead and non-negotiable events already on the calendar like mid-week or Sunday service. Then schedule our date night and dinner with friends or family.
Also, how can you serve your community or church now that the kids are gone? Usher or be a teacher in children's ministry. What about the Youth and Family ministry? Our children were blessed to have a strong Youth and Family ministry to grow through. Strong teaching and Godly convictions helped our children grow to be strong men and women of God. You could help mentor singles or newly married couples.
Whether you are seeking God or not, there are many ways to encourage your spouse and build a strong empty nest. Your children may be grown but they will never stop seeking your advice and counsel. Stay strong in your marriage, set an example for your fledglings.
Proverbs 22:6 "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." (NIV)
If you are seeking a great group of Godly women or church shopping, please let me know. Our church site is www.NVCOC.org. We meet on Sundays at Oakton High School in Oakton at 10am and on Wednesdays we meet by region at 730pm.
Mom. Mother-in-law. Chef's Wife. Navy Chief's Wife. Realtor. Christian. Connector. Empty Nester. Business Woman. Foodie.