After my divorce and after I got settled into my new bachelorette pad, I went through stuff I had hastily packed to see what to save and what to purge. I ended up finding most of my blog posts when I first started writing in 2009. As a result, I have been slowly retyping them so as to make myself a book. Today, I came across a post titled, Being A Mom, written May 10, 2009. Which got me thinking of where I am now…a semi-empty nester.
Most parents, when they reach this stage of life, kick and scream. Going from a kid filled home to a space with just one or two people is a drastic change, to say the least. Especially for moms and especially if the whole marriage was centered around the kids and not the relationship of the couple.
When my youngest started his first year of college, he is a junior now, I helped him pack, drove him down and helped him unpack, then drove home. For the first 3o minutes of the drive, I bawled, knowing the home had gone from three to two. (My oldest son was still in house at that time.) During that year, my son slowly adjusted by coming home about 2 times a month as well as holidays. That helped me to adjust as well. When my son returned as a sophomore, he rarely came home. Towards the end of that year, my oldest made the decision to move in with his girlfriend.
Suddenly, the nest shrank! My oldest had prepped me for months by discussing his plans. However, he talked about moving in with a buddy not with a woman he barely knew. But, he was 26 and I figured it was his choice and his life. When it became apparent his move was permanent, I asked him, very politely, to take his name off my lease and return the extra key to my abode. That was the day I breathed a huge sigh of relief. One gone…one to go…ok JUST KIDDING!!!! (Recently, my oldest broke up with his girlfriend and asked if he could move back in with me. I told him he needed to have a job or jobs that totaled 40 hours a week so that he could contribute to not only the utilities but also the rent. He ended up moving in with his dad.)
After my oldest moved out, I lived alone for about 6 months before the youngest came home from college for the summer. Talk about an adjustment. Let me just say I had gotten quite used to having a nest of one. I loved coming home and watching whatever I wanted on t.v., eating ice cream for dinner or nothing if I had a big lunch, wearing a t-shirt as pajamas, going to bed at 8 or 9, having leftovers, lower grocery bills, lower heating bills, and not entertaining anyone but my cats. When the youngest moved back, I had to really adjust to not only sharing my space again, but also being a mom again.
I had more laundry, needed to designate snacks so my youngest wouldn’t eat me out of house and home, planned dinners, turned on my patience level when he was up all night playing video game tournaments with his friends, watched movies my son requested when I felt like reading a book, and learned to live with two again.
Now, just so I don’t sound like the wicked witch of the west, I do love my boys and relished the time I had and have with both of them. But, this time around, I was more than ready for my youngest to start school again. Yet, when he requested to come home a couple of weeks after school started, I gladly drove down, picked him up, did his laundry and feed him some good meals. All of which I know he appreciated because I got an unexpected HUGE hug and a super thank you. Nevertheless, I love my empty nest, and being divorced and here is why…
I now have days off…I can go to the bathroom without anyone interrupting me…I get to sleep all through the night without anyone crawling in my bed because they had a nightmare…I don’t have to change dirty diapers…I just have me, myself and I to get ready in the morning…I don’t have to spell any words because I am trying to hide something from my boys…I have a great adult relationship where they know they can come and talk to me about anything without me freaking out…I don’t have to be embarrassed anymore because my kids have temper tantrums in public…I can eat a meal that is hot…I can stay in my pajamas all day if I want…I don’t have to buy school supplies anymore…I don’t have to help with homework I don’t get…I don’t have to go to teacher conferences…I thoroughly enjoy the fact my boys are now adults, living their lives in their own way and on their own terms…I have more time to take care of my parents…I can live my life out loud with no one criticizing, putting me down or making me feel less than who I am…There are no more arguments just because…I am surrounded by peace, quiet and joy…I can be me.
So, for those of you experiencing empty nest hood, don’t fret over it. You should be happy your kids are flying. After all, isn’t that what they are supposed do to? You should be happy if you have a partner, that now you can date again, sleep in late, have sex whenever and wherever you want. This should be the time you as a couple, have fun!!! And if you are facing the nest, empty and alone, pursue that dream of yours! This is your time, not to languish over how much you will miss your kids, but how much time you have to live OUT LOUD on your terms and in your way.
In other words, having an empty nest is not bad at all if you realize this is your time to do for you. This is your time to fly. What are you waiting for? Spread your wings and soar. You may forget you have kids!! Okay, just kidding!!