Guest blog from Gina…..
Last year I dropped my only child off at college. This was something I’ve dreaded – deeply – since I dropped him off at his first day of Kindergarten. Leaving him in his dorm and driving away was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I found myself grieving…..grieving the fact that my family would never be same again…grieving the end of motherhood as I knew it.
One Year later…..
Now, one year later, I still miss my son immensely, but I learned some things to help me navigate and embrace the changes:
- I’ve taken stock of my goals, dreams and plans for being an empty nester. I asked myself questions like, “Do I want to travel more? Go back to work, switch careers or earn an advanced degree? If you’ve had to put your goals and dreams aside while raising kids, now is the time to revisit them. I’ve decided to dust off those dreams and come up with a plan to make them happen.
- I would have had something for myself ready in the pipeline before my child left. Whether it’s a part-time job or volunteer work, I feel it’s important to give yourself a meaningful motivation and something to look forward to daily. Once your child is off at college, you don’t want to wander aimlessly around in an empty house all day. Be prepared and give yourself a reason to get out of bed each morning.
- Investing in those special relationships. Chances are you haven’t been able to focus on your spouse or other special relationships like you did before you had kids. For me and my husband we found that it was just two of us again – time to have fun! We decided to go out on dates, take the dog on a long brisk walk together, cuddle on the couch watching movies, or exercise together at the gym.
- To those mothers who may be facing an empty nest, my advice is to rethink the way you view your child leaving home. Instead of focusing on the loss, celebrate the beginning of their new adult life, all that is waiting for them, and all they will achieve and accomplish. And you will be watching from the sidelines, cheering them on each step of the way!
It’s incredibly hard to drop your child off and leave him or her behind. Working yourself out of a job is the goal of a parent, which seems counterintuitive; but the empty-nest phase of life can be very fulfilling and sweet!