You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream. C. S. Lewis
Are you new to notherhood or have you been here a while? I’m not talking about the blog but the season. So much of our lives has been focused on raising our children and caring for our families. One thing I’ve noticed, now having three adult children and a very empty nest, is that I have to be purposeful about how I spend my days. And honestly, I don’t always do it well.
There are benefits that come along with the freedom of not having to plan around naps, school runs, dinner prep and doing mounds of laundry every day but I have found that some days I get lost in that freedom and flounder about like a fish out of water. I’ve spent most of my life being someone else’s someone. It’s been a bit of a challenge to re-learn how to be me.
I thought I’d share a few things that could possibly help us successfully navigate the empty nest season. I know these six things are not a conclusive list so I hope you’ll join in the conversation. I’ll tell you how at the end.
Be Kind to Yourself
*Take a gap year. Our youngest daughter is taking a gap year between high school and college. Her last several years have been riddled with transition and she needed some time to regroup. I feel like we, as nothers, should incorporate a gap year of sorts into our own lives. A year of grace. A year of taking the time to rest and regroup. No apologies. No shame. Raising our children was exhausting. We are going to need to find a new normal and that will take some time.
*Focus on your health. You kept the kids healthy all those years. Now it’s your turn!
Focusing on yourself may be uncomfortable but you can love others better when you love yourself well. Give yourself space for grace.
Revisit a Childhood Dream
I bought a mug recently that says, “Never quit your daydream.” Are there any other “ings” that you loved once upon a time that was placed on the sidebar of your life? Revisit it. See if it takes you somewhere.
Get to Know Yourself Again
I’ve moved a lot in my lifetime. When I was younger, each time we moved I remember thinking that in my new school or my new job I could be different. I would become who I always wanted to be. That would work for about 2 days and then my true self would resurface every time. When my head and heart hit the brick wall one too many times I came to the conclusion that I am who I am. I just needed to dig up the best version of me. When we invest so much of our lives into raising our children, we put much of who we are sort of on hold. It’s what moms do. This is a very good season to find yourself again. Start digging to find the new best version of you. She’s in there and I bet she’s wonderful!
Do Something Meaningful
“It’s been wonderful because it gives me something to do that has meaning to it. ~David Deutchman
Have you seen the video of the NICU Grandpa?
In a version of the video from Humankind, David Deutchman said as he leaned over a tiny baby’s crib, “And all of the sudden the world is good.”
*Volunteer – Serving others is one of the best ways I know to add meaning to my life.
*Get up early to watch the sunrise.
*Go about your day committed to make eye contact with people and offer a smile.
What can you do that would bring meaning to your days? What would make your world good?
Have Fun WITHOUT Your Children
*Plan a girl’s trip with other nothers.
*Learn a new language.
*Plan something – anything. As an introvert and having a very strong lean to being a homebody, I need to plan to get out of my house at least once a week. Plan something and don’t cancel. If you’re like me, you’ll be tempted to but don’t.
You raised your kids to live a life of their own. They will love seeing you live yours too. They might even be a little bit jealous.
Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and the fingertips. ~Dawson Trotman
Writing down our thoughts, our goals, dreams, our prayers, ideas, visions, what we’re grateful for and even our losses that this season brings can be very cheap and beneficial therapy.
Let’s talk here in the comments or over on Facebook. What do you do to successfully navigate notherhood? I know you’ve got some great ideas to share!
Photo credit: Pixabay StockSnap, no attribution required