Or it is really sad. When my youngest kid went to college a few years back, it felt so WEIRD to be home with just my husband. I didn’t know what to do with all the extra time. It was really hard. And sad. But I was so happy for my kids! It’s like a lot about motherhood/parenthood. A mixed bag.
It took me a while to catch on and start to enjoy the extra time, the way my husband and I could relax and not worry about anyone at home. We let our dinners become not so planned. It started to feel like it would be OK.
But for me at least, I have a hard time with transitions. I get stuck in the past. I rue things way too long. It’s just the way I am. So I would get sad in the baby aisle at the grocery store or when the high school emailed me something about upcoming concerts (both my kids were in all of them and marching band and I was in the band parent’s association for 7 years, most of which I held an office).
We were really lucky, both kids went to colleges within an hour from our house so we could go to their band concerts at college. This helped to ease the sting.
It got a lot worse when my daughter moved to Australia in 2020 to be with her fiance and they married soon after. She thought she would be back by Christmas and she would clean out her room. Turns out it’s been almost 2 and a half years — we were not allowed to go to Australia for a while due to Covid restrictions and then she got a job and couldn’t come right away.
Honestly, if my son wasn’t living with us I am not sure how well I would have fared during all this. And thank God for Facebook Video chats.
Recently, I took a podcasting class and started my own podcast in February. I interview people about their stories. It’s called The Storied Human. I really love talking to people and bringing their stories to my listeners. It stretches me creatively. And that is when my husband said “you were very creative raising the kids, you needed a creative outlet to replace that.”
Bingo. You have to fill your empty nest. With something. For you. Maybe something you always wanted to do — but something. And then it’s OK.