If you’re a parent, you’ve likely heard the adage that “the days are long, but the years are short”. As the parent of an adult child and two teenagers who are growing up quickly, I can attest that this has felt true in my own life. Much of our parental world centers around our children when they’re young, and that’s why so many parents struggle with the transition from a full house and a busy schedule of kid-related activities to an empty nest and lots of free time. In truth, it can be an incredibly emotional time for parents. While you might feel happy and proud to have successfully launched young adults out into the world, you might simultaneously feel sadness at the prospect of a quieter house and a diminished role in your children’s lives. If you’re fast approaching an empty nest, below you’ll find five empty nester tips to help you focus on the positive aspects, and remember that this can be a rich and rewarding time in your life.
Tip #1: Celebrate This Milestone
Raising children in today’s world requires a lot of work from parents, and it is certainly not without challenges and struggles. So, when you spent decades navigating it all and raising your kids to one day become self-sufficient, hardworking adults and then successfully launch them into their adult lives, it’s time to celebrate! All your hard work has paid off, culminating in kids who are ready to enter the world on their own and make their mark. Even if you’re feeling a mix of emotions, one of them is undoubtedly pride – and that’s where these first empty-nester tips come in! Pat yourself on the back, pop open that bottle of wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion, or treat yourself to a night out. A new and exciting part of your life is about to begin, with a foundation laid by your hard work, many sacrifices, and thoughtful parenting.
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Tip #2: Reclaim Your Space
Your family home likely evolved over the years to accommodate the needs of your growing family. It’s common for this to mean that you have relinquished space that could have been used for your own hobbies or interests over time. Now is the opportunity to take your space back! Redecorate a room or two, invest in your hobbies by giving them their own space, or get rid of the clutter that previously plagued your high-traffic areas. If you feel you have more space than you need in this new season of life, consider downsizing – it may lead to financial benefits.
Tip #3: Reconnect with Your Significant Other
The busyness of day-to-day childrearing often means a lack of one-on-one time with your spouse or partner, sometimes for years on end. When you have an empty nest, however, you’ll have more time to reconnect and begin spending time together doing the things you both enjoy. Think back to your time together before children – did you enjoy cooking dinner together? Did you play golf every Saturday? Now is the time to get back to the things that always brought you together in the past, though you can certainly tackle new experiences together, too. This could mean taking the vacation you’ve been putting off for years, planting the seasonal garden you’ve both always wanted, or volunteering together for a cause you believe in. This phase of your relationship can be incredibly rewarding if you invest time and effort in one another.
These particular empty-nester tips may not apply if you’re a single parent, but an empty nest also means an opportunity to reconnect with yourself. You no longer have to give all your time, attention, and resources to your kids, so take some time for introspection and think about how you can rediscover the passions and interests you enjoyed before having children.
Tip #4: Enjoy a Readjusted Budget
I don’t have to tell you this – raising children is expensive! From food and clothing to activity fees and tuition, monthly expenses add up quickly when you have kids. Once they’re out of your house – and depending upon whether you’re assisting in their transition to adulthood – you might find yourself with quite a bit more disposable income. That’s where this set of empty nester tips comes into play. Take this time to create a new monthly budget to see what you have to work with. You may be able to contribute more to your retirement accounts, take the trip you’ve been dreaming of, or buy the new car you’ve always wanted. (If you aren’t sure where to start and you’d like professional guidance from the Flourish Wealth Management team, let’s begin a conversation today to sort through the financial implications of this new phase of life.)
Tip #5: Communicate Openly and Honestly
Major life transitions are challenging, and your kids moving out certainly qualifies. Many empty nesters find themselves feeling overwhelmed or even aimless. This can come from feeling that an important part of life has ended, that your calendar lacks commitments or connections, or even from the sheer multitude of new opportunities well-meaning family and friends might suggest. In all cases, it’s best to talk it out with your spouse or partner and share what you’re both feeling. While celebrating successful parenting, enjoying more cash on hand, reclaiming space in your home, and reinvesting in your relationship are all helpful empty-nester tips, it’s normal to still feel some sadness and loneliness as you adjust to life with an empty nest. Talking about it openly and honestly with your loved ones is a sound path forward.
Are You Soon to Be in Need of These Empty Nester Tips?
If your empty nest phase has just begun or it is fast approaching, you may be feeling excitement, trepidation, or something in between. Regardless, you can thrive during this time in your life. Use the above empty nester tips to create a rich and rewarding phase of your life after your children are grown, knowing that you have successfully fulfilled your parenting responsibilities.
At Flourish Wealth Management, we help our clients make thoughtful financial decisions through life’s many transitions. To learn more about our services, reach out today. We look forward to hearing from you!