31 Things I’ve Learned About The Empty Nest

Feeling a little whimsical and nostalgic when writing in my journal recently, I decided to ponder some of the lessons the past years have taught me regarding the a topic I know fairly well – The Empty Nest as it relates to the kid flying the coop and being off on his own with his own family and empty nest survival.

Some of these are silly while some are serious, some experienced by me, some by others….

Empty Nest Survival
Empty Nest Survival

31 Things I’ve Learned About The Empty Nest – Empty Nest Survival Memories

  1. At first your feelings will go up and down like an elevator. – our drive home from dropping him off at college was silent except for sniffles coming from both sides of the car. A few days later we were giddy and giggling like school kids picking out fish for the new fish tank. Grown-ups are weird like that.
  2. No matter how much you think the college thing is going to cost. Double it. –  we planned and I went to work full time pumping all my wages into the college fund.  Thank goodness for my folks that helped us too. It still cost us more than what they have on the books though.
  3. Don’t purchase a house or condo near your kid’s college. You may to go back to school yourself, but choose a different campus. In other words, let them spread their wings. I knew this was a reality when we hinted at buying a place near his and his new wife’s duplex and he gave us a 2 mile radius limit.  They need lots of room to spread their wings. It’s ok =)  Let them fly and soar and become their own being!
  4. You will be healthier. Less exposures to flu and cold germs, haha!
  5. A cleaned room may actually stay clean for longer than 16 hours. – Not that I didn’t miss those stacks of books, empty glasses and dirty socks. but it sure was nice to not have them multiplying 5 minutes after cleaning the house.
  6. Your child can navigate a grocery cart, make mac cheese and eat an apple. Success. They will not starve.
  7. Once they have graduated college, you won’t ever have to worry about back to school supplies list (unless YOU go back to school!)
  8. Your nest isn’t really empty. You will just have extra room in the closet and more food in the fridge
  9. In all likelihood, your “ME TIME” is going to be used dealing with menopause, retirement and aging parents.
  10. You realize you bought entirely too much stuff for your kids. – Once they move out and are really on their own and don’t want any of it in their new space you realize how much stuff was just STUFF.
  11. You realize you bought too many school supplies for your kids through the years. You won’t need markers or spiral notebooks for a while. I kept finding stashes of pencils, pens, markers, note books and paper for a year after he left home.
  12. You don’t have to save desert for last. – I actually adopted this rule when I turned 40, when he was still at home.  So if you haven’t yet, DO it.  It’s one of life’s pleasures.
  13. Now you have time for hobbies that YOU want to do.
  14. You can take a break – a real break. A break from school schedules. It’s really nice.
  15. Don’t feel guilty about doing nothing. Wallowing in the bliss of nothingness and inactivity is a wonderful thing.
  16. Pets don’t make a good substitute as a kid. They are actually better. They don’t talk back.
  17. It’s a great time to learn new hobbies. There aren’t any kids around to roll their eyes, giggle or point at you.
  18. You can vacation in ‘grown up’ places and not worry about entertaining the kids.
  19. You are going to learn about areas you may have failed at in parenting.
  20. You are going to learn about areas you actually succeeded in parenting.
  21. You are a parent which means you aren’t perfect. Move on.
  22. You are still a parent, but your job description has changed. “MOM” is not your #1 job anymore, and that’s OK!
  23. Get to know THAT man better. That man sitting on the other side of the living room. He looks familiar. That’s your husband. Now is a great time to get reacquainted.
  24. Get off the couch. The world isn’t meant to be seen through the living room window. Explore!
  25. Refeather the nest. Redecorate the kids rooms into craft rooms, a study, an indoor sauna, or break through walls and open up living space. We had move into our son’s room do that due to a major house repair that had to be done in our section of the house.  It was actually a God-send and we LOVE that we had to ‘take over’ his room. It never went back to ‘the way it was.’
  26. Sell the nest. Maybe you don’t need as much space as you think you do. You may find smaller square footage still serves the needs of the occasional visits by the kids, but gives you and your husband the space YOU need.
  27. The empty nest is only as empty as you want it to be. Don’t fill it back up with things, but rather with wonderful life experiences. I’ve been on a constant clutter buster binge and downsizing exercise for the past couple of years anyway. But I’m taking it “more extreme” and it’s very freeing to get rid of ‘stuff and clutter’.
  28. Don’t feel guilty about doing nothing. Wallowing in the bliss of nothingness and inactivity is a wonderful thing. You are going to have more time on your hands. But don’t be so quick to rush in to fill in the space. Give yourself some time to adjust and figure out some real wants and goals.
  29. Indulgence is not bad. Spend a little money and time on yourself. Take some lessons, clean your closet of the school t-shirts and buy some new clothes or restock the pantry with some exotic foods. A few special things for yourself is not bad.
  30. You are free, and the sky is truly the limit. Dream. Plan. Do!
  31. Design Your Awesome You -you were created in the beginning to spend a life full of purpose, passion, design and delight. Some purposes and passions may change through the years – but life is always meant to be live with God’s beautiful Design and in pure Delight! Now is the time to Design Your Awesome You.

Hugs and feathers from the nest~~()~~

Kim Steadman is the Content Curator and COOP (Chief Online Operating Person) for The Re-Feathered Nest, a place of encouragement for moms entering the Empty Nest Zone who are ready to RePurpose and ReDesign themselves according to God’s purpose for their lives now that the kids have flown the coop. Kim can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheRefeatheredNest and on Google+ at +Kim


  • Somer

    Great post! I’m not a empty nester but I loved your post!

  • kimsteadman

    Thanks Somer! Well, some day you WILL be so you have some things to look forward to! =) Thanks for stopping in for a visit!

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