Empty Nest is a term that has been used to describe the state some parents experience once the last (or sometimes the first) child leaves home.
It is primarily about a big change and when you think about it, the past 16 – 20 years have all been about the children, the family and then you last in all likelihood.
How do you move through and past these feelings that can seem overwhelming? More so if they co-coincide with any other major life events (aging parents, poor health, relationship difficulties, bereavement or redundancy).
1 – Allow Yourself to be
First of all, there is nothing immediately to do about how you are feeling. Sometimes you just have to allow them, it is normal. Yes, you can ignore them, bottle them up, pretend they are not happening, but they are still there. So allow some time to just be with them. A day or two, maybe a few weeks. But know that at some point, you will either be ready or know that it is time to take the next step
What if I am still feeling emotional?
Sometimes though, those pesky feelings hang around!
So it might be time to starting to look at what they are really telling you. Is it really just the children leaving home (and it might be, particularly if you were the primary caregiver or doing it full time, so it is, what it is and it is ok)? Or is there something more? For many parents (mums AND dads) there is a loss of a role, an identity. All this time you have been someone who had a very specific part to play and now that seems to have gone. Who are you now?
- What can you do now?
- How do you move forward?
- Where do you go from here?
And so many other questions.
Why not use this Automatic Writing Exercise to see if you can help work your way through the emotional content of what you are feeling (Anger, Sadness, Fear, loss, guilt, depression, loneliness distress worry etc). Once they have been expressed, you will then be able to begin to move forward, positively, powerfully making good decisions for you and yours.
Once you have released those old feelings, you can realise they were just a rite of passage from you as a full-time parent to whoever new you will be. You can begin to start to carve out a new life for you and your partner. A better one, one that puts you first – I know an alien concept when you have had a family at home, but exciting.
In another blog, I will discuss the opportunities that await you – but for now, if you haven’t got one, make a bucket list of everything you ever wanted to do but had no time or money!
You are welcome