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The day you had your first child, it was inevitable that this day would come. No child stays home forever, hopefully. You were destined to be an empty-nester-mom the day your first child came into the world. But now the day has finally arrived and you’re looking for answers on how to deal with empty nest syndrome.
“People make a lot of jokes about the empty nest. Let me tell you, it is no laughing matter. It is really hard.” – Michelle Pfeiffer
You may have spent pretty much your entire adult life so far raising your kids. If you’re over 50, you may even be fostering the notion that your life is nearly over. You suddenly feel a double whammy of empty-nest plus mid-life crises – all at the same time.
How to Deal With Empty Nest Syndrome
So, what now?
What are you going to do? The main focus of your life is gone. The primary buffer in your marriage is gone. You’re likely to have greatly reduced contact with all the other moms once your children no longer share classes and high school activities.
You’re likely to have more money, time, and freedom than you’ve had in a very long time, but what are going to do with them? How are you going to deal with the fact that you’re not going to see or speak to your child each day?
How will you manage your relationship with your spouse? Kids are a lot to have in common, and that commonality is greatly reduced now. What does the future hold for you and your significant other?
You spent all those years dreaming of the time when you’d finally be free of kids and have the house to yourself. Well, that time has finally arrived, but perhaps you’re not enjoying your new life as much as you thought you would. You might be suffering from Empty Nest Syndrome!
In the past, your kids were a huge part of your life. Now, you’re going to have to find something else to do with that time!
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to transform that void in your life and build an exciting and fulfilling future!
Top Tips for Moms Over 50 Dealing with Empty Nest
- Schedule time to speak with your children. It’s not too difficult to stay in touch these days. Between the phone and a multitude of phone apps and online services, it’s easy to both speak and see your child frequently. Set a time to talk at least once a week.
- Reconnect with your spouse. There’s a good chance your spouse and you have lost touch with each other to some extent over the last couple of decades. Kids can do that to a marriage. There’s only so much time and energy to go around. You now have the time to rediscover each other again.
- Plan your free time. Part of the reason for Empty Nest Syndrome is free time without a purpose. Make some plans to use that free time. In the past, you could just plant yourself in front of the TV and enjoy a little break. You have too much free time for that now. Do something useful or enjoyable with it.
- Get a hobby. It’s the perfect time to pursue a hobby. You have the time to explore an interest you’ve been neglecting. What have you always wanted to do, but lacked the time? Here’s your chance to do something about it.
- Focus your attention on something meaningful. A hobby is something fun, but it might not be that meaningful in the grand scheme of things. Raising kids is meaningful. You might need to find a suitable replacement. Maybe you’re passionate about helping the homeless or saving the whales. A few hours a week doing something important might help to fill the void you’re feeling.
More Tips To Make the Most of Your Post-Child Years
- Set a few goals. A couple of exciting goals can be an effective way to focus your mind on something other than the fact that your children are gone. What would you like to accomplish over the next two months? How about the next five years? You’d better get started!
- Join a support group. If you’re really struggling, there are support groups that can help. It might be worth your time to check one out.
- Rediscover yourself. You’ve probably spent most of the last 20-plus years worrying about work, your kids, and taking care of your home. You’ve barely had any time for yourself. It’s time to rediscover yourself.
- Keep a daily journal.
- Think about your values.
- What else would you like to accomplish in your life?
- What is important to you?
4. Give yourself time. It can take some time to deal with the fact that your children are gone. Be patient with yourself and realize that it’s a process. Give yourself enough time to reconstruct your life.
5. Reach out to your friends. There’s a chance you’ve been neglecting your friends. Pick up the phone and ask someone out to dinner. Begin the process of rebuilding your social network.
Learning how to deal with empty nest syndrome is a common challenge for parents whose last child has recently left home. But empty nest syndrome can be a positive sign. It’s a sign that you’re at a point in your life where you have the free time and financial resources to enjoy yourself and create a new life.
This can be a new beginning for you. Be sure to take full advantage of it!
Transform Your Empty Nest Marriage
Marriage after your last child has left the nest can be especially challenging. On the other hand, you also have the opportunity to grow closer than you’ve been in a long time.
Let’s look at this scenario and see how you can transform your relationship!
Marriage always has the potential to be challenging, but this new stage in life can be especially difficult. Much of your life has revolved around your kids. Your children provided a distraction and a buffer.
Now, you and your spouse are left with each other and fewer distractions hide any weaknesses in your marriage.
Children are a huge thing to have in common. Now, it will be necessary to find new ways to reconnect.
Otherwise, it’s likely that any hidden marital challenges will bubble to the surface. Keep in mind that 1 in 4 divorces involve couples over the age of 50!
Prevent Empty Nest Divorce & Rediscover Your Marriage
- Have a chat. Ideally, have a chat prior to the children leaving the home. Discuss what you both want for the future. Discover the apprehensions you both have about the future. Think about what you want your life to look like going forward.
You might be excited about finally having the house to yourselves. There’s also a grieving process that you can both share and help each other through.
2. Make plans. Together and separately. It’s important to create a shared future. However, you must also create separate plans for the road ahead. A positive, healthy relationship involves some separate activities, instead of your lives revolving around each other.
You’re two people that have differing interests and goals. Plus, now that you’re a bit more mature, your interests may have changed from what they were in the past. Perhaps you’d like to go back to school, and your spouse would like to take up woodworking.
Create a common vision for the future with enough flexibility to pursue your own interests.
3. Find common interests and spend time doing them. You can’t just sit around holding hands with your spouse every free moment. Explore common interests.
A great way to rediscover your marriage is to share time together doing something enjoyable.
Tips to Turn Empty Nest Syndrome into a blessing for your relationship
- Spend time together with others. Be social. It’s necessary to have individual activities, shared activities, and activities you do with other couples or groups of people.
Go out to dinner, attend church, volunteer together, or join a softball team. Do something at least once a week that involves spending time with other folks.
- Plan a getaway. Once your youngest child leaves the house, have something to look forward to. Move them out and then take a trip! It can be a great way to kick off your new lives together. Find someplace you’ve always wanted to go and make the arrangements.
- Get help. Maybe you need some professional outside assistance for help with your marriage. Sometimes, an outside opinion can point out a few things you’re not able to see as a couple.
Many couples eventually split up after the children are no longer part of their daily lives. However, it’s not a forgone conclusion. Many marriages survive and even thrive during the empty nest years.
Prepare as well as you can and adapt to each other. This might be the best thing that could happen for your marriage!
Over 50 Empty Nest Syndrome – A Blessing And a Curse
An empty nest is both a blessing and a curse for mothers, especially if you’re over 50. It’s a wonderful opportunity to make your life about your interests and goals. You can put yourself first for a change! However, there are also many challenges that occur when the last child leaves the home.
Learn how to deal with empty nest syndrome effectively, so that you can take full advantage of the potential that this stage in your life provides!