My husband is having a harder time with empty nest than I am, which is very funny considering the fact that he only recently became a Dad. When I married my husband I had two teenage daughters, one in college already and the other still in high school. As with most kids of their generation, they became boomerang kids – repeatedly moving in and out of the house several times. My husband has been an amazing step-dad to the girls and he loves spending time with them.
Now I will agree that the kids do bring a lot more energy into the house. When they come to visit, and their friends stop by to ‘hang out,’ it is fun. My daughters are wonderful and their friends are really great kids, so we joke, we laugh, we play games or watch movies, and I honestly do enjoy every minute, but I also enjoy our nice relaxed, quiet moments too.
I know that many women complain about their empty nest and the loneliness they feel once their children have moved out, but I am not one of those women. Don’t get me wrong – I loved every single minute when my kids were younger. Tea parties and Barbie dolls, snuggling in bed reading a book together, even driving every night to swim practice or girl scouts or whatever activity they were in at the moment; I loved it all. My children were the center of my world, but I am also enjoying the new adult relationship that I have with my daughters. Maybe it’s the fact that I had more time with them when they were younger, but I am enjoying our empty nest. Midlife is becoming more about me, and what I want in life.
There are other benefits to an empty nest. I am surprised at how much money we are saving on our water and utility bills, not to mention a lot less money spent on groceries. I have never been very good at cooking and cleaning, but I forced myself to keep the house clean, and I made sure to feed my children. Now, I am much more relaxed about household duties. I share the cooking and cleaning duties with my husband, and on nights when he works late, or if we are both too tired to care about cooking, we simply go out to eat or I make do with a plate a cheese and crackers as my dinner. Getting rid of that Mommy-guilt is very freeing.
My daughters are busy creating their own lives, but we still talk, text or visit often. It is not the same as when they were younger, but rather than lament this new change in my life, I am embracing all the new opportunities that it offers.