Stay-at-home-mom or not, being an empty nester can be challenging for any mom. Take a friend of mine, for instance, who just kissed her eighteen-year-old son goodbye as he settled into his new life as a college student. This working momma wrote a compelling list of things she had to grow accustomed to now that her only child has left the nest. Having food last longer in the house definitely made the list, as did walking by his clean bedroom every day, and pumping her own gas (gosh, I love this list, lol). But, the most difficult thing to get used to was the empty nest itself. The quietness, loneliness, and sadness of walking into an empty house after work—without being greeted by her son. And this was where she got me shedding some tears. I don’t care what motherhood path you’ve chosen in life, empty nesting is hard!
I don’t know if it’s just me, but people tend to ask me this question indirectly: “What are you going to do once your children leave the nest?” In reality, it sounds a little something like this: “I could never be a stay-at-home-mom. I know my kids will leave me one day, but at least I know my career never will.” Oh, the shade of this comment (*side-eye), but it does allow me an opportunity to educate others. Just because someone is a stay-at-home-mom doesn’t mean they don’t have a career, hobby, or passion “that will never leave them.” In fact being a stay-at-home mom would be unbearable without such outlets.
Nevertheless, when I am hit with this question, my reply looks a little something like this…
Five Things I Will Do Once My Children Leave the Nest?
1. Continue to pursue and reach my goals.
If you’re a stay-at-home mom and you don’t have any personal goals, I suggest you start developing some. One of the biggest disservices we can do to our family is to lose our identity in them. It’s important to know who you are—outside of being a wife and mother—and what you want out of life. I spent quite a few years fleshing this out for myself after I started a family. My personal goals just fell by the wayside as I became completely enamored by the precious little faces that were my children. That was all fine and dandy, but I also encountered some serious identity issues because I lost my sense of self. It wasn’t until God reminded me of my aspirations that I remembered that I had so much more work to do on this earth outside of being a wife and mom. You do, too!
2. Continue to learn.
Part of my vision for homeschool is to encourage my boys to have a love for learning so deep that it becomes a lifestyle. Of course, this happens naturally because I, myself, love to learn. But there’s so much more to learn outside of academics—things only time and experience can teach us. As a mom to a three-year-old and a seven-year-old, I’ve learned invaluable lessons on infancy, toddlerhood, and early childhood. Some of these lessons parallel other facets of life in splendid ways. You’d be amazed how parenting can mirror running a business! As my boys grow into adulthood, I will continue to learn. As they evolve, so will my knowledge of them. That is the beauty of parenting! I look forward to learning more about my children even as they learn to fly out of the nest.
3. Continue to enjoy my season.
Life is full of seasons, and in each season we develop—mature a little, if you will. There’s a time for a full house of children, and a time for an empty nest. I’m thoroughly enjoying these moments where my home is full of my giggling, delightful, and—sometimes rambunctious—little humans. A fellow mom said this to me: “If my kids went back to being small like yours, I would play with them more. Take long walks and crunch the leaves with them. I would steal more kisses, more hugs. I spent their childhood waiting for them to get older, be more independent. Now that they are, I realize they are never going to be small again.” This statement inspired me even more to enjoy the season I am in. But I’m also looking forward to a season that yields a neater home, more traveling opportunities, and more hubby time! (*wink, wink).
4. Continue to use my talents.
Most stay-at-home moms I know also wear many hats. In this new era of stay-at-home mom bosses, I am no exception. These days there are clever ways to make a living, contribute to society, and be a stay-at-home mom (technically a work-from-home-mom!). Whether it’s owning your own business, helping your husband run his business, or serving your community, these are great ways to sharpen skills, build your credentials, and exercise your many talents. Yes, I know managing an entire household sharpens a boatload of skills in, and of, itself. But I haven’t met one mom yet who didn’t say having an outlet made her a better wife and mom. Likewise, I know women who’ve nurtured their talent while raising their children. Once their children left the nest, these moms harvested new businesses, new outreach programs, and even published a few books!
5. Continue to uphold the value of my commitment.
Let’s face it, people don’t value stay-at-home moms like they used to. My prayer is once my children are grown and leave the nest, I will continue to uphold the value of stay-at-home moms. One way I do this now is by supporting other moms who’ve been called to this challenging, yet rewarding, commitment. You may or may not have a “career” when your children start adulting, but you will have invaluable experience that’ll serve as great advice for moms just starting out on their journey. Don’t keep your experience to yourself! Share it with others and empower fellow stay-at-home moms!
If your children have left the nest already, let us know some ways you’ve learned to adjust to this new season in your life!