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Tell us a little bit about yourself (age, # of children and ages, marital status, how long ago you became an empty nester, and anything about you that you think is relevant.
53, married, one daughter (20) – I became an instant empty nester 2 months ago.
What were the circumstances of your last child leaving home and what were your initial emotions?
She got free room and board at a local university, still driving distance from our home. Initial emotions: sadness/worry/happiness/pride
Did you make any changes in your lifestyle or living arrangements after you became an empty nester?
Not yet, I go out to restaurants more with my husband and I’ve started working out more frequently.
What has been the biggest change in your relationship since becoming an empty nester?
The sense of freedom and guilt at the same time.
What do you think is the most difficult thing about becoming an empty nester?
Redefining who I am outside of being a mom. Luckily, I have a job that I love and that helps me define who I am.
What do you wish you might have known about life as an empty nester?
Nothing really, I think I had a pretty good sense of what it would feel like.
What advice would you give someone whose last child is about to leave home?
Stay in touch with your child and they will set the pace for which they want to talk to you. Reassuring them that they will always have a place at home. Don’t start rearranging their room. I know some parents who have done that, they switched their child’s room into an office, very disturbing for a child.
What do you think are the advantages of being an empty nester?
Enjoying our home looking more tidy. Rediscovering who I am as a married being.
How has your life changed since your children left home?
Quieter (I don’t like it). Feeling not as useful.
Any additional thoughts, comments or advice?
This is, without a doubt for me, the most challenging stage of my life as a mom.