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:
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.
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!