From Empty Nest to a Full Life
I think being a parent is a radical privilege. To get to experience a love so vast and to influence and witness the unfolding of a human is breathtaking. I don’t recall a single stage when my kids were growing up where I didn’t enjoy parenting. Of course I faced the typical challenges around exhaustion, worry, how to find time for myself etc., but mostly I loved it. I held the belief that parenting was the hardest but the best work I’d ever done. I also believed (naively) that because I had a career I loved, I would somehow be immune to the pain and grief I saw other moms experience.
I was wrong. It hurt like hell. I was thrown into a tailspin of grief that periodically had me out on the living room couch in the middle of the night crying my guts out. I had moments of feeling lost as my identity as “mom” was crumbling and shifting and I wasn’t sure who I was anymore.
It took several years to traverse this death; death of an identity, death of the dependency I enjoyed, death of an era. But I hung in there, facing into the huge internal and external shifts that were occurring and slowly emerged into the new me. I began the work of rebuilding, the “rebirth” Brene Brown talks about.
And it’s been oh so worth it! I can honestly say that I absolutely love my life now!! I’ve come out on the other side and learned what it really takes to not only go through a stage like this, but allow it to transform you.
Your Success Path:
- Honor yourself! Appreciate the years you’ve invested in guiding and providing for your children.
- Be gentle with yourself as you grieve. Learn how to feel all your feelings to completion.
- Celebrate your children’s flight into the world and support their separation.
- Work to shift your relationship from parent/child to adult/young adult.
- Develop your own adult relationships with a spouse, partner and/or friends.
- Be asking yourself, “What would I love to create next?” Don’t just focus on how a part of life is ending, but also be open to making the rest of your life something you treasure.
In my professional and personal experience, women who embrace this stage as grist for transformation are the ones who thrive. I want you to be one of those women. They’re lit up and in love with life! If you feel stuck in this passage, don’t hesitate to reach out and receive some support and guidance. You owe it to yourself and your children to create your best years yet!