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Preparing for the Empty Nest



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"The Day Go Slow But The Years Go Fast"- Luke Bryan

August is just around the corner, and for many people they are beginning to prepare to take their children off to college. This often creates bittersweet feelings that encompass the joy of their impending journey along side grief about the quick passage of time.


The journey of parenthood may begin slowly, but the time passes quickly. Milestones and memories have been created... some wonderful and some challenging. Feeling and acknowledging this part of the journey ending can create internal ripples and awareness of transitioning through our own personal developmental stage.


Often times well meaning people who recognize your complicated feelings may try to help you rationalize your way out of your emotions. When you express your trepidation or sadness you may hear people say "oh, but aren't you so excited for their journey" or "but you raised an independent person, be proud". What is not taken into consideration is the ability to have many conflicting feelings at the same time. Pride and the grief can coexist in emotionally mature adults.

Allowing both of these experiences is actually quite powerful.


Below are some ways to begin to emotionally prepare for your children to leave home:

  1. Feel. Allow for and Express the wide range of emotions that may emerge. Use a journal to document the journey and allow the feelings a place for expression.

  2. Allow and Honor Transitions. Create space for Goodbyes. Taking time to sit in your child's bedroom and allowing the memories to be held and honored can be very healing. Recognizing this time, this transition as sacred. The ending and the beginning.

  3. Routine. Create a NEW routine for yourself. If much of your days revolved around your child and their needs, begin to re-imagine consciously a new self-chosen routine.

  4. Dream List. What are some hopes and dreams you have for this time now that your child is no longer at home or needing the same level of attention?

  5. Connect with Friends. Considering getting regular connections on your calendar for the initial few months at times when the quiet of the home may be more overwhelming.

  6. Re-design. Make plans to change your home around. Rearranging a bedroom or even your living space can recreate the energy to feel fresh symbolizing something new.

  7. New Hobby or Vocation- taking a class locally or online where you explore something new can mirror their own journey as they embark on this quest. In addition, it will allow you to anchor in this extra time in a way that is productive and inspiring.

Letting our children go off into the world is both bitter and sweet. We may feel many different emotions and allowing those to have space in our lives is vital. When we allow and hold the feelings with honor, they tend to move through us-widening space for something new and beautiful to emerge.