I hear a lot of moms talk about all the fears they have now that the kids have left home and the nest is empty.
Do Empty Nest Fears have you frozen in your steps?
It’s always a new and changing world, but it seems especially more so when the only child (or last child) finally leaves home on their own.
Will they be ok? Can they survive without Mom taking care of them? Can I survive? What will I do now?
The questions, wonders and worries can actually consume your every waking moment if you let them.
BUT, we CAN have control of our fears IF we choose to take control of them.
Take control of your Empty Nest fears
1. Start by acknowledging your fear
It’s so easy to just try ignore the fears and say “it will get better someday.” But I like to look those fears square in the face. The best way I’ve found is to actually write the fear down. By writing down that fear, I have no clearly identified it and I can stare it in the face. It’s the first step to gaining control over the fear. I do find that my daily journal is a perfect place to record fears, whether new or old ones.
2. Define WHY that fear exists
This is where you clearly write out why that fear exists. Get to the root of the problem. What is the fear’s history? Is there something that happened in your past that it’s related to? Something that maybe even happened as a child? Something you think you haven’t done well as a parent? Can you define how long you have had that fear? Are there outside triggers that cause the fear to raise it’s ugly head? For example, I have a fear of needles. I’ve had it since I was a child. Something triggers in my body, and if I see a needle I will break out into a cold sweat, and sometimes faint. If it involves a needle in my arm (such as a blood test or needing an injection) you can pretty much put me down for the count. I’ll be on the floor passed out. My first experience of passing out due to a needle was when I was 17 years old. I’ve gotten a little better over the years of not passing out when I have to do my yearly blood test (2 years in a row – YEA ME!) BUT, I can clearly define that moment when I was 17 as my first moment when the anxiety and fear of the needle was defined.
3. Clearly state the fear RESOLVED in a positive statement and do the steps required
This is probably the most overlooked and easiest step! Maybe you want to go back to work now that the kids have flown the coop. But you haven’t worked outside of the home in years.
Start by clearly stating “I am working outside the home”. Now, start making the necessary plans to make that happen. Do you need to update your resume? Do you have an idea of the types of places you would like to work? Start researching companies and gathering ideas.
4.Gradually introduce the fear into your life
Sounds scarey, right? But, it’s the best way to look at the defined fear in the face and put it in it’s place. I know it works, because as I child I had something happen that should have made me extremely fearful of water. When I was a little girl I fell out of a boat and almost drowned. (Way back in the dinosaur days there were no boating laws that required life vests..and my parents have always regretted that they didn’t do the obvious, safe thing and have me wear one.) My dad dove in and rescued me and they took me to shore to put on dry clothes. But before the end of the day, they made me get back into the boat and go onto the lake. He didn’t give fear any time to take hold in my young mind. As an adult though, we may have some fears that have been a part of our life for a long time.
For an Empty Nest Mom, you have may have been in the same routine of caring for your family for years. And now some change is forced on you. The household is changing whether you like it or not!
But, you can start by slightly adding some change to your daily routine. Drive a new route to your regular errands. Or maybe you just need to think about times when the fear you are dealing with didn’t bother you. Think back on those days and really focus on how you felt THEN…and imagine how you will now once you have chipped away at the fear and it’s removed.
Kim Steadman is the COOP (Chief Online Operating Person) for The Re-Feathered Nest. A place of encouragement for moms entering the Empty Nest Zone who find they need to Re-Purpose and Re-Design 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.