It’s the first day your young adult child moved out of the house.

You look around and the house feels so empty. You even miss the dirty socks on the floor, the loud music playing upstairs, and the dirty dishes often left in the sink.

You’re lonely. You’re sad. You’re filled with so many emotions and bittersweet memories.

Emotional Rollercoaster of Empty Nest Syndrome

Your child is now on their own to explore new horizons. Trying to hold back the tears, it starts to sink in that you are beginning a new chapter in your own life too.

As those “off and on” tears catch you off guard, you wonder how you will adapt to this big empty house, how you’ll navigate this new stage of life, and how you’ll begin to build a new meaningful life without your child.

On one hand, you’re filled with pride for their job well done, their growth and their independence. But on the other hand, an overwhelming sense of loss creeps in as you are now challenged to adjust to the quiet house and the absence of their daily presence.

FYI, the roller coaster of emotions you are experiencing is perfectly normal as it is with any other life change and transition.

You are not alone. In fact, over 25% of parents experience some form of empty nest syndrome: Here are a few of the symptoms.

Navigating a New Chapter with Your Partner

  • Loss of meaning: Suddenly, you’re not needed as much as you once were… at least not in the same way.
  • Loss of identity: Your child has been your primary focus for many years. You fed them, you drove them to school and to after-school activities. You formed friendships with their friends and their friends’ families.

You’ll miss that connection because it’s been a critical part of your life, and it became part of who you are. That’s now gone too. It’s time to move on. Your child is now launched. They’re on their own, making their own decisions, some good, some bad, and that scares you. You’re no longer in control of any of that like you once were. So you worry.

Suddenly alone together: In addition to the emotions and stress related to launching your adult child, you now find that you are suddenly alone together with your spouse. This puts a new kind of stress on your relationship because your life has revolved around the kids and their schedules for so long.

It’s now time to shift your focus on each other, rebuilding your relationship as a couple.

While you might be excited about this new opportunity to reconnect with your partner and build a new life together, your heart also longs for the good old days when the kids filled the house and your heart.

Rediscovering Yourself and Embracing New Opportunities

Finally, it’s time for you! You might also be excited about finally having time to focus on yourself, your health, well-being, and happiness. After all, when was the last time you had any “me time”? You’ve been so busy raising kids, caring for their needs, putting yours on the back burner.

It’s starting to sink in that as an empty nester, there’s now time for you!

Should we think about downsizing?

The thought had crossed your mind many times. You even said to your spouse, “When the kids leave home, maybe we should downsize.”

And now that you have your house back, you’ll have empty, unused rooms. Do you really want to take care of them, waste money on the upkeep, or do you want to use that time and money to travel more, go visit old friends, and make new ones?

It’s really starting to sink in now!

As empty nesters, you will have more time and freedom to do the things you’ve been wanting to do but didn’t have time to do with the kids’ busy schedules.

And having more time also means…

  • More time to exercise and get fit. Maybe even take up golf, pickleball, or tennis.
  • More time to go back to school or start that new business you’ve been thinking about.
  • More time to declutter the house, let go of things that you never use and are just taking up space.

So the more you think about it, you kind of like being an empty nester after all!

Sure, you will miss your child, but they were ready to start their new life… And guess what, so are you!

You can now look forward to new opportunities to live, learn, grow, and develop a different kind of relationship with your child. You know they’re going to be just fine… And so will you!

If you are a new empty nester, let me know how it’s going and what your biggest challenges are in the comment section below.

If you have already experienced the ups and downs of being an empty nester, please share your best tips with those who might need a little wisdom and encouragement.

Share your story!

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