Mom, dad… you’ve done your job. The kids are finally off to college. You’ve help them every step along the way. You got them ready for dorm life. You taught them right from wrong and given them a strong moral compass. The rest is up to them. Now what? Well, you could be facing empty nest syndrome. This is where you wander into your teen’s room and start to cry because you miss them. Totally understandable. However, you can’t let that empty nest define you. It’s time to get up and get focused. Here’s how you can cope with empty nest syndrome.
Step 1: Let Them Stand On Their Own
The first reports from college could paint a dreary picture. Your kid could be having a rough transition and that is completely understandable. However, that doesn’t mean you should suggest they hurry home. Just because you’re missing them doesn’t mean your emotions should interfere with their journey. Give them support but guide them towards working it out instead of surrendering.
Step 2: Set Up the Communication
There was a time when the only way to talk to someone was to call them over the phone. You had to rush that call, too because long distance conversations used to cost a lot. Nowadays, long distance is nothing. Plus, there are plenty of other ways to keep in touch. You’ve got texting, FaceBook, Skype and FaceTime. Just try not to go crazy with all of that. It might help to set up a schedule Skype chat like on a Sunday morning. Remember, you might not have a lot going on but your college student certainly does!
Step 3: Embrace the Empty Nest
It is one of life’s nasty tricks that empty nest syndrome often happens around the same time as menopause or retirement. In other words, everything seems to be happening all at once. Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Also, this transition will take an adjustment period. Some psychologists suggest it might take an active mom up to two years to settle into her new role as independent woman. Understand that all of what you’re feeling is normal but it is not something you should be dwelling on to the detriment of the rest of your life.
Step 4: Start Exploring
Coping with empty nest syndrome could mean finding a way to fill up your day. Gone are the car pools, the lunch making, the clothes washing and the homework monitoring. You’ve got some time on your hand to start exploring. Remember all the things you liked to do before the kids came into your life? Get back to those. Go see a movie in the middle of the day. Reconnect with old friends. Start a blog or a home business. This is your chance to shine. Of course, it is also your chance to relax. Nothing wrong with celebrating your kid going to college by taking a cruise. You earned it!
If you have a partner or spouse who is going through the same upheaval, then you can lean on each other for support. In many ways, this is also a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with that special someone. When you get right down to it, the empty nest is something to celebrate! Are you ready to start the next exciting chapter in your life?