You stare at the empty room. Tears run down your cheeks like little streams of sadness. Your heart beats faster and you say to yourself, “When did all this time pass?” You can’t help but wish that you could slow time down, or even better, rewind it for a year or two. And yet, you realize that your little cherubins are all grown up now. They’ve left the nest and there’s no turning back.
Sooner or later, most parents have a similar experience. If that’s what you’re going through right now, know that you’re not alone. The empty nest syndrome is a common and normal reaction to your children leaving home.
The good news is, you can learn a lot from this experience. You will grow as a person. More importantly, you can use this opportunity to become a better parent. Here are seven lessons to help you get through this period.
#1 – Your Family Matters More Than Anything Else
Looking at your empty nest puts everything else in perspective. You suddenly see that a lot of things that you worry about have almost no meaning. Everything pales next to having the people you love the most around you. As painful as it is, this experience can also be liberating.
#2 – You’re the Only Person Who’s Always There
When you take care of other people, including your children, you tend to forget to look after yourself. It’s in times like this that you finally see the person looking back at you in the mirror. Show yourself some love and treat yourself to something nice. Life goes on and you’re the only one who stays no matter what happens.
#3 – You’ve Succeeded at the Hardest Job in the World
Raising children into responsible, mature adults is the hardest job in the world. You have to not only give love and protection but teach them how to take care of themselves. Yes, it does lead to them leaving eventually, but that’s also a sign that you’ve done your part. Congratulate yourself for being a successful parent!
#4 – You’re Stronger Than You Thought You Were
With your children moving out, you can’t avoid facing a strong mixture of feelings. Emotions may take over at random times, sometimes even bring you to your knees. But, as you get through it, you will see that you have more inner strength that you’ve been aware of. This can help you have more drive towards your personal life goals.
#5 – You Need to Bring Out Your Inner Artist
The empty space doesn’t have to stay that way. This is a perfect opportunity to practice your ideas for room design. Come on, admit it – you’ve probably had a thought or two about what you’re going to do with the space. That’s a good thing; you’re using a big change in your life to create something positive.
#6 – You Can Strengthen All Your Relationships
Another lesson here is that in life, you can’t take anything for granted. If you still have other children, this would be the time to get closer. If not, you should still look at how you can improve all your relationships. It’s very possible that you’ll naturally start showing more care to the people you’ve got in your life.
#7 – You Will Always be Their Parent!
No matter what happens, you’re still the parent. You have played the central role in your children’s lives and you will continue to do so. In fact, there will probably turn to you in times of trouble. Who knows, you might actually start experiencing the opposite reaction. At some point, you will see that once your children are ready, it’s best that they focus on building their own nest.