10 Things That Excite Me about my Empty Nest

Today we take our youngest child to college. We move him in and drive home to an empty house. While I will miss having kids around on a daily basis, there are things that excite me about the Empty Nest stage of life. Here are my top ten:

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10. Experimenting with Pinterest recipes without a huge audience for my failure. 

I keep thinking I’ll try some of the Pinterest recipes, but experimenting in the kitchen with a house full of hungry kids isn’t always such a good idea. My mistakes become much more costly when they involve taking growing boys out of dinner instead of just hubby and I.

9. No more ordering my schedule to the school day or the school calendar. 

This doesn’t just mean the free evenings, it means not stopping work at 3 or 5 or whatever the kids are expected home. We’ll still have a little bit of this in that the kids will come home during school breaks like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring Break. But then again, sometimes they won’t. All in all, it really frees me up to schedule my days the way that works best for me.

8. Less time spent on household chores–like dishes!

I can’t tell you how happy I am at the thought of only having to run the dishwasher every 2 or 3 days instead of the sometimes twice a day I run it when everyone is in the house! And cleaning 1 bathroom as opposed to 3? Bliss! And did I mention grocery shopping? Can’t wait to go less often and buy fewer items!

7. No more being the “keeper of the details.” 

I learned when my first left for college that I got pieces of my brain back–those pieces dedicated to keeping up with the details of her life, even the ones she kept up with herself. Because as mom, you just have to know what’s going on, be the back up reminder, have that “just in case” knowledge. I got a bit more back when #2 went away to school. But now–now I should have my full faculties back! I only have to keep up with me, with my responsibilities in our home and outside of it. Oh, the thoughts I can think!

6. Getting to take charge of the tv remote (sometimes). 

Yes, hubby still tends to do this when he’s home, but generally he and I enjoy the same types of programs. Things found on PBS or the History channel or Turner Classic Movies. Things our kids had little interest in.

5.  Quiet, uninterrupted reading time. 

Since hubby and I are both readers, this is a huge benefit of the empty nest! We tried to keep ourselves available to interact with our children when they were home, which often meant putting down the book, even when we didn’t want to. Now we can talk when we want to talk and read when we want to read.

4. Sleep. 

I thought I’d finished with sleep deprivation when my babies (and toddlers!) finally slept through the night. And I had. For a few years. Then we had teenagers. Even though we didn’t “wait up” for our kids to get home from their social or school activities, I never slept deeply until I knew they were home. And of course lack of sleep is harder when you’re older!

3. A social life. 

Yes, a social life. Not visiting during ball games. Not trying to squeeze something in on a busy weekend. But time with friends, who we want, when we want. The possibilities are endless!

2. Date night every night!

Twenty-six years of marriage, twenty-three of which we’ve had kids in the house. I’m excited to get to actually talk to my husband in the evenings. To go out to dinner, to the movies, to other events without consulting our kids’ calendars’ first. We could even decide on that day! Imagine that!

1. The joy of welcoming them home again. 

One of the wonderful things I’ve learned about having the older two gone for a few years is that when they do come back home, for a vacation or a summer, I look forward to it. Enjoy it. Savor it. It isn’t an everyday occurrence anymore. It is special. It warms my mama heart in a different way. A wonderful way. Letting them go means I the joy of welcoming them home again.

Is there anything I’ve missed? I’d love to hear from those of you already enjoying your Empty Nest!


22 comments on “10 Things That Excite Me about my Empty Nest

  1. Lovely post, Anne. Welcome to the next stage of life! It’s great, and yes, the joy of having the kids come home is unknowable until you experience it!

  2. I have been an “empty nester” for 4 years now. My life had always revolved around my three children. I had always put them first, putting my desires and interests on the back burner. Now, I am a Mary Kay consultant, I do a lot of sewing (which I absolutely love!), I do a lot of fishing with my husband, I love plants and flowers, and I also have six grandchildren now. I stay very busy, and I make my own schedule and do what I want to do. Empty nesting is actually very satisfying to my husband and I.

    • I love hearing that, Molly! We are still kind of trying to find our “new normal” but it’s good–and i have a feeling it will only get better! Thanks for stopping by and giving your perspective!

  3. Anne,
    Love your positive outlook on this momentous occasion. Enjoy your new freedom while you can. They have a way of coming back and staying too long!

    • I know. Sigh. Our nest will only be truly empty for a few months. Our daughter comes home in December to work and figure out her graduate school plans.

  4. I’ve loved less hot water usage with less laundry, fewer hot showers, running the dishwasher less–our monthly bill dropped 40$ a month! I also love the quiet and the ability to reconnect with other friends and do empty nest type fun stuff like camping, biking, cruising, etc. Our youngest is a senior this year, but he’s frequently gone!

    • That sounds great, Anne! With three in college now we could use even a little bit more change in our pocket. 🙂

      And yes, by that senior year they help you transition because they are gone a lot.

  5. I’m looking forward to writing a post like this of my own three years from now. One thing I’m really looking forward to is not having to nag. My youngest can’t seem to get anything done or get anywhere on time without being nagged. It goes against my personality, and I hate it! I’ll enjoy him much more when I don’t feel responsible to be sure he gets things done.
    The recipes, though—can’t identify with that. I’m looking forward to being able to eat out more because the bill will be smaller!

    • Lol! Mostly I know I need to cook more since we are paying for 3 in college, but I also know my track record in the kitchen, which likely means more nights eating out! 🙂

      Hang in there!

  6. I loved this post, Anne! I’m not even close to an empty-nester… my nest is still full, and I’ve yet to push the youngest one out to all-day school. But you can bet that I’m looking forward to EIGHT UNINTERRUPTED WORK HOURS during the day. I won’t have to stop and run back to pick up the little one from preschool… and then do the same thing in the afternoon as well. Ahh, freedom. Kinda. 🙂

    Baby steps! Enjoy!

    • Lol! I so remember those days! Don’t wish them away too quickly because before you know it, they are gone! 🙂

  7. I have a yr before my first goes off to college. I already miss her and she’s not even gone. I find myself questioning if I’ve or am preparing her enough to be on her own. My husband does look forward to the empty nest and so a certain extent so am I.

    • It is nice to think of time to focus on the two of us. Today was hard and I’m sure there will still be hard moments, but even now, back at the house, I can feel the change and it is good.

  8. Well, I’m currently an empty nester in that I don’t have kids at all, yet. Haha! So a lot of the things on your list apply to me right now. Although, sleep has been elusive lately and I can’t say I go on dates every night. Haha!

    My parents are new empty nesters as of May. They just got back from a two-week camping trip. I’d say they’re enjoying their new season quite a bit. 🙂

    • You are a hoot, Melissa, dear! I hope we enjoy our time as much as your parents are enjoying theirs!

  9. Anne, I love your list of things referring to an empty nest. I remember when our last child was leaving. My husband caught be crying a couple of weeks before. He asked what was wrong and I told him that I was just concerned because we had lived our lives around our children, and he and I could drive 100 miles and back in a car and never say a word to each other. I just didn’t know what the two of us were going to do. He looked at me and with no hesitation at all he smiled and said, “WE Are Going To Have The Time Of Our Lives!!!!!” And we have!

    • That is an awesome story, Melanie! Thank you! We are looking forward to time for us, it will just seem strange for a little while, I imagine!

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