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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Changing Up the Routine As An Empty Nest Parent

It's been three years, one month, four days, three hours and  forty-seven minutes since my youngest child left the house, but who's counting? I hardly even noticed that all three children have left the nest with apartments of their own...they now call 'home'................................

Some things may have altered just a tiny bit, though.  I cannot remember the last time I bought the industrial-sized Bagel Bites that required pinching the corners to be able to fit into my freezer or the milk carton container of goldfish snacks.  I no longer think I should own stock in the Gatorade company.  I do all my laundry on off-peak hours now; there are no more emergency laundry requests.  Curfews have no place in our house anymore.  We go back to bed at 9 pm and sleep as long as our bodies allow us to.

If I was totally honest with you (and why would I be any other way?!), I would tell you the house has a morgue-like atmosphere most of the time.  Music isn't blaring and there is no yelling anymore except on the occasions when Wrigley is whining and disturbing the deafening silent of the household! No giggles or out right laughter is heard like when my boys would be quizzing their sister and finding her answers to be hysterical.  I have finally heard a whole song been played on the car radio before someone has switched the channel. 

I don't ever push or shove my husband around like my sons would do to settle an argument.  No, the only sounds that resonant through the house are the occasional UTube video being shared on the computer or the constant drone of the television reporters reporting about one chaos after another in the world.

Life hasn't stopped since the kids up and left their nurturing nest.  In fact, we have never been busier, at least in our work situations.  It's just very different.  And sometimes I enjoy the changes and sometimes I hate the changes. 

My advise to new parents experiencing the empty nest arrangement is to every once and awhile, try to recreate the atmosphere you had with the children, at least the good parts.  Put some goldfish in a big bowl on the coffee table and turn on the stereo full blast instead of falling into the evening's "regular routine".  Be playful with your partner. Call the kids and talk over the loud music.  Tell them that you are thinking of them and that you love them.  

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Anonymous Bonnie Anderson said...

You share wonderfully and I feel your pain. Even though I have one child at home - he's 24 and lives in the garage. We see him but it's not like it was when all four of them were running crazy through the house. My oldest two have been married 10 years and the third 5. You adjust. Grandchildren are a reminder that sometimes I romanticize the raising kids years, but that's okay. I loved them.

October 4, 2011 at 1:54 PM  
Anonymous lisa said...

LOL This post is too cute! I have many, many moons to go before this happens (my daughter is only 4), but the thing that stuck out most to me is that you get to sleep as much as you want to. That is something that I miss...a lot! LOL


October 4, 2011 at 3:05 PM  
Anonymous Lori Ferguson said...

It IS so different being in the place where they've 'flown the coop'.

I totally relate to the oddness of grocery shopping. Yup. No more 'family' size packages... it just doesn't fit anymore.

Like Bonnie said: we'll adjust.

Thanks for the moment of solidarity!

October 4, 2011 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger EmptyNester said...

We've been in our empty nest for three years now too. And I still miss the lovelies. But the youngest still comes over to do her laundry and to eat. Her sisters still call and ask for last minute things- money or advice or recipes, etc. So, empty though it is, I still do get to do some 'mom' stuff. And I still love it! How in the world did you learn to cook and buy for two? I'm still learning that one! LOL

Nicely written post!

October 4, 2011 at 6:43 PM  
Blogger Michele Scism said...

Great post Beth! My kids are almost to that age when they are going to be leaving - 20 and 18 so thanks for the heads up. :))

October 4, 2011 at 7:28 PM  
Anonymous Kacey said...

Wow...empty nester. It seems so far away for me, but I know it'll be here sooner than I'd like. Enjoyed reading your perspective about life without the kids.

October 4, 2011 at 10:12 PM  

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