An Empty Nest, Now What?




An Empty Nest, Now What?

You’ve sent your last child or only child off to college, or they’ve graduated and moved to a new job and for the first time in a very long time you are all alone at home.  This transition is never easy and it’s especially difficult for those of us who homeschooled for many years.  In one fell swoop we’ve lost our children, our community, and our purpose. How do we adapt to a new nest?  One filled with joy, purpose and intention? For me that change involved taking the skills I had gained in the world of Classical Christian Education and putting them to use in a new capacity as principal of a residential facility for troubled teenage girls.  But we all handle the process of change differently and your journey will look much different than mine. Below are some ways I worked to process through the grief I was feeling. Since the majority of our homeschool life was centered around our kitchen table, I knew I need some distraction when I was at home. Here are some of the ways I accomplished that.


#1. Clean out closets and cabinets.


Homeschooling, afternoon sporting activities and music lessons took up much of my days, so cleaning out anything took a back seat. Once I started really cleaning out and organizing, I was surprised at how much pleasure I derived from these tasks. My kids were always amazed by how clean and organized everything was when they would come home. 


#2. Read those books in your TBR pile. 


I started setting aside 1-2 hours a day to read what I wanted to read. Our day to day life was centered on reading all the books I wanted them to know and love before they left our house, so my reading pile kept growing. There was so much delight in sitting down for uninterrupted hours to read for pure pleasure. I also joined a bookclub with ladies from my church.  If I could recommend just one things it is that-join a club of women who share one of your interests and be an active participant! 


#3. Learn a new skill.


I brushed off my Spanish dictionary, downloaded Duolingo and got to work reviving my ability to speak Spanish. I spent 15 years teaching my children Latin and Greek, so learning Spanish seemed pretty easy. Before Covid Duolingo had meets up where we could practice speaking Spanish with others more fluent. Now I’ve added French and Italian to my daily routine and it is a pleasure I never knew I needed!


#4. Take time with friends.


Meet up for coffee and lunches and LINGER. The French are marvelous at long, lingering lunches and I think they are much healthier mentally than we are for it. I also joined a pilates studio and found other empty-nester moms who have since become great friends.


#5. Cook! 


I imagine that as a busy mom, you were probably much like me when it came to meals. You had many mouths to feed and not a lot of time. Since having more time on my hands, I have started to pour over my once neglected cookbooks to find the more challenging recipes. Now I prepare truly delicious meals and am so proud of the skills I’ve gained in the kitchen.  My kids are equally impressed and my son-in-laws always look forward to coming home knowing an amazing meal will be waiting. 


#6. Be kind to yourself.

It’s ok to not be ok for awhile. I cried off and on for at least 6 weeks. Then I started incorporating the ideas above and gradually found my joy again. You will too, eventually. And when your kids return with their friends and one day their future spouse, you will look back on this time and marvel at God was working all things together for your good. 

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.