5 BENEFITS OF THE EMPTY NEST

5 benefits of the empty nest - it's not all doom and gloom

WHAT DO WE DO WITH OUR EMPTY NEST?

The empty nest is a strange time of adjustment - we go from having a house full of kids who are coming and going, eating, sleeping, talking, driving, socialising, arguing, and generally driving us crazy.....to a house that is just the two of us with all those demands gone and an uncanny amount of space and time suddenly available. 

What do we do about it? Do we mourn the fact that the noise and action have departed and wait for the occasional visits? Do we look at each other and wonder who we are and how we got here? Or do we stop and appreciate all that is returning to us and start building afresh on that foundation? 

For me, it's a matter of letting go constantly and reminding myself of the benefits that come from having our house and lives returned to us. Today I'm sharing five blessings that the empty nest brings.

1. PEACE AND QUIET

5 benefits of the empty nest - it's not all doom and gloom - peace and quiet

One of the biggest changes for us is the quiet that comes from two people and two cats sharing a largish house. No one shouts, no one has the TV going at mega-decibels, no one is calling out for something, all is calm, all is pleasant. 

I love the peace and the sense of serentity that just being the two of us brings. It's lovely when it's interrupted for periods of time when we have visitors, but the return to our tranquil way of life is always so relaxing and stress-free.

2. GAINING EXTRA FAMILY

5 benefits of the empty nest - it's not all doom and gloom - gaining extra family

We only have two children - a boy and a girl. We thought about having four at the beginning, but realized our limitations and coping ability and called it quits at two. When the kids left the nest and made their own way in the world, they met the loves of their lives and settled down and got married.

Bonus for us was gaining two new family members - young people who love our kids and who extend our family perimeters. It's not always easy - there are adjustments for everyone to make and the way can be a little bumpy at times. But, that's life and the benefits far outweigh the tweaks needed to make our larger family work.

3. GRANDBABIES

5 benefits of the empty nest - it's not all doom and gloom - grandbabies

Nothing beats grandbabies! The nest might be empty, but those grown and flown children are building nests of their own. Part of that whole process means starting their own families and producing lovely little people who we are related to, love beyond measure, and get to share special moments with.

There is a completely different feeling with grandchildren than there is when you were a parent with  your own kids. You get the joys without the responsibilities. You get to have baby snuggles, and baby giggles, and playtime and even a nappy change or two, but then you leave them in the care of their parents and go home with a smile - bliss!

4. FINDING YOUR PARTNER AGAIN

5 benefits of the empty nest - it's not all doom and gloom - finding your partner again

It's a bit scary when the kids leave the nest and you turn around and look at the person you've been married to for 30 years and think "now what?" My husband and I hit a real snag part way through the process, trying to figure out who we were as a couple, and what we had left that connected us. You don't notice that you've drifted over the years until it's time to re-establish the relationship and launch off as just a couple again.

Fortunately for us, we found each other before we made the mistake of walking away. We re-discovered time together, talking, just being in each other's company. We remembered that we actually really like each other and what we each bring to the relationship. The empty nest gave us the time and space to do that without the intrusion of others, and now it's where we share our life together.

5. FINDING YOURSELF AGAIN

5 benefits of the empty nest - it's not all doom and gloom - finding yourself again

I've said it many times on this blog - Midlife and the empty nest have been the places where I've started to find myself again. It's where there has been the time and space to think about what I actually want out of life and to figure out how I'm going to get there. I am a work in progress - sometimes I think I've worked it out, then I find I'm back a few steps and re-jigging things.

There is time, lots of time to find myself. I don't think I've ever really understood who I was separate to all the people in my life - now is the time to find that person. You can't be interesting and engaging if you don't know what interests you and how to invest and share that with others. I don't want to be a sad echo of my younger self, I want to be alive and vibrant and looking at the years ahead with anticipation - the empty nest is my place to nurture the process.

5 benefits of the empty nest - it's not all doom and gloom

What do you love about the empty nest? Did you down-size, up-size, follow the kids, move further away? It's different for everyone, but there is still joy in the midst of the changes that the empty nest brings isn't there?





This post was shared at some of these great link parties
To keep up to date with my posts, feel free to add your email into the spot especially for it on my sidebar and I'd love you to follow me on Facebook

Five things Friday ~ www.crestingthehill.com.au

43 comments

  1. When we first reached the empty nest stage in life I remember standing in the lounge saying to my husband, "Let's go out to flicks and come home late." He looked at me in astonishment? "Why?" "Because we can!"
    We didn't have to make sure there was food in the fridge, or that everyone was safe in the home before we left. Nor did we have to explain why we were late home! (We had a very protective youngster of 20 who would look at his watch and ask where we'd been. Cute! But most annoying. :-) ) Cancer is a war. Bring in the Artillery.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does make you feel a bit like a teenager sometimes doesn't it Shirley - no one to worry about and plenty of freedom to do what you want when you want :)

      Delete
  2. I was dreading the empty nest, I am getting to terms with my first going off to Uni. How did time fly? Thanks for sharing with us at the Pit Stop

    Pit Stop Crew!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The empty nest is what you make it Julie - it's all about being prepared and remembering what it was like to only have to worry about yourself - liberating!

      Delete
  3. Hey Leanne... my "nest" has never included kids so I don't have that perspective. Instead, I have relished in most of the experiences you mention. While there are no grandbabies... nieces and nephews are equally wonderful to cuddle and then send home with their parents. But no matter how you get to the point where you can rediscover who you "really are" the better. Congratulations for finding the silver lining! ~Kathy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it comes with reaching an age and stage where it's not all about establishing yourself and maintaining things isn't it Kathy - you reach a point where you can start doing things for yourself and enjoying all the little pleasures that come with that.

      Delete
  4. Hi Leanne! What a positive way to look at being an 'empty nester'. I know some women can be quite devastated by the experience but really don't we raise our children to be wonderful adults who fly off to experience their own lives? I totally agree with your 5 points and just because you children don't live with you doesn't mean you have lost them. This is also a wonderful time of life to rediscover yourself. Have a beautiful weekend!
    Sue
    www.sizzlingtowardssixty.com.au

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Sue - and you are absolutely right - we can't sit at home mourning the departure of our kids forever. They go on to make lives for themselves, and we need to as well. Re-discovering life on your own terms is such a great part of this stage of life isn't it?

      Delete
  5. Hi Leanne, having been in an empty nest for 10 months now is just like you say. No grandbabies yet though! This is Terri Webster Schrandt (google keeps announcing me as Terri Matal). We added a puppy to the household this year and THAT has been trying!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahhh yes - the fur baby stage - we did that with cats! I think it's nice to have something to lavish a bit of the left over affection on Terri - puppies certainly remind you of the "joys" of toilet training and obedience training don't they?

      Delete
  6. I especially love the freedom we have - if we want cereal for supper, we have it. If we want to stay up until 3 in the morning binge watching TV episodes, we do it. If we want to jump in the car and head to the nearby wildlife refuge for a hike, we grab water bottles and go! It's wonderful to have the freedom to do things without a plan whenever we get the notion!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't agree more Melody - we have slack dinner nights where we make a toasted sandwich and we can buy delicious things for afternoon tea for just the two of us - so many little delights aren't there?

      Delete
  7. My nest was truly 'empty' for eight years and then I volunteered to take care of my grandson. It is still empty at night though. I still live in the house I bought 45 years ago and since is is not overly huge, it works for one person. The yard is large and I often wonder how longer I can maintain it on my own. I love being alone and having the freedom to do what I please.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd love to be able to care for our granddaughter Denise but they live too far away - I think you are very blessed to have a littlie in your life to brighten your days. I think the freedom is such a bonus for empty nesters - not having to take others into consideration for every decision is so freeing!

      Delete
  8. Miss 20 moved back home recently for all of 2 weeks (we all thought it would be several months but she found a flatmate and apartment and that was that). I have to say it's a lot less stressful when they have their own place, even though I miss her! She's also moved further away, closer to the city (good half hour drive) so will be seeing less of her :-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a see-saw isn't it Janet? You are happy they're launched and independent, but you miss the closeness of when they're at home. The consolation is that she would have gotten harder to live with as time went by - this way you part on a happy note and get to visit regularly x

      Delete
  9. Our youngest is just getting ready to move out and I find myself in his doorway imagining the guest room we will have, in the kitchen thinking how much easier it will be to keep clean, and in what will be the "guest" bathroom ...
    Love my kids to the moon and back, and thankfully they will both be less than an hour away and visit often - but really looking forward to fewer material things in the house and naked hot tub nights again!
    Diane @ ThisScatteredLife

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love your attitude Diane! If more empty nesters let go so easily it would be a really happy stage of life to be in. To have spare rooms, less "stuff" and more freedom as a pay off for the kids leaving and starting their own lives is a win/win for everyone.

      Delete
  10. I haven't come to the stage yet as my daughter is just 3 years..but yes one day she would really go out there to achieve her dreams

    http://www.simpleindianmom.in/nose-pins-a-tradition-that-enhances-the-beauty-of-indian-women/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's all about preparing them to be independent one day, and then giving them their freedom when the time comes - tricky to do but so worthwhile :)

      Delete
  11. It's so hard letting go of the kids! It has been for me. Our son just joined the Army at 28 and just thinking of how little control I have takes my breath away. There are so many blessings at this stage though and I'm happy to be here. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's always hard when they leave to do something that we don't see as safe isn't it Stacey? Shame he's not snugly tucked away somewhere being an accountant! But you must be so proud of him and that you've parented him so well.

      Delete
  12. #5. Definitely #5. But #3 does run a really close second.
    :) gwingal

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grandbabies are just so unbelievably delightful - I'm just wishing we had more and that they lived closer, but at the same time #5 makes up for it - using our time well is what counts.

      Delete
  13. I was looking forward to being an empty nester earlier this year but when the youngest left for college about 3 hours away and came home 3 days later, our seemingly new fun life was out the window. Glad she's still here but looking forward to it. Loved the post. Looking forward to getting to know you better!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cindy - the blog hop has been great hasn't it? And I'm sorry your nest isn't as empty as you expected, but also happy you get that extra bit of time with your daughter before she flies permanently.

      Delete
  14. Leanne I think this is one of the reasons many of us started blogging. I can't imagine having small kids and doing this. I am now looking forward to the grandkid phase, it is still a ways off but we are inching there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know how the mommy bloggers do it either Mary - they must use nap time or have kids that are good at occupying themselves, or never get any sleep!

      Delete
  15. Not sure if I commented on this! But being an empty nester was hard for me, but it made me find my independence again so I am grateful to that. This is a lovely post! Glad you wrote about it. Maria

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was the same Maria - missed my kids, but then realized that this was my time to focus on re-discovering myself and what I actually enjoyed doing.

      Delete
  16. Enjoyed Your post Leanne! I didn't have kids unfortunately, so I missed out on that joy. I lost my first husband at a young age, and married an older man 3 yrs later. We make a life together that is fun. Bumps along the road, of course. All that to say, I never experienced the empty nest syndrome, but my friends have. I'm at an age now where I try to savor what life brings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's interesting how life takes us on unexpected paths isn't it? I'm so glad that you still found contentment and you have the benefit of skipping the teenage dramas and the empty nest ups and downs (there are still plenty of those!)

      Delete
  17. This blog post is a great reminder of how to make the best of the empty nest season. Though my nest isn't empty, I see it looming...I hope I can really focus on #5 ! I want to thrive and not merely survive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How the empty nest affects us is all to do with how we prepare for it and how we use the free time we gain. I've seen some who are miserable and can't move forward, but the majority of us are thriving and loving our freedom - hope you find that too.

      Delete
  18. I was enjoying our empty nest until my daughter moved back home lol. Actually, I do love having her here again. I wish my son would move back home too but I doubt his wife would appreciate that lol. I have a granddaughter now and would love have her around more for sure. Love this post, Leanne. I always give so much credit to mom's with kids at home that blog full time. I don't know how they do it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have a little 18mth old granddaughter that I would LOVE to spend more time with Caroline, but it is what it is, and we make the most of every visit and then get on with enjoying life in between. Not sure how thrilled I'd be if either of mine needed to return to the nest!

      Delete
  19. We aren't quite empty nesters yet, as both our girls still live at home while the save for down payments on their own homes, so I am still waiting for the peace and quiet to kick in! Actually they do their own thing so we often find ourselves enjoying a quite dinner for two, so being able to reconnect and follow our own passions without the need to be managing the entire families needs and requests is such a blessing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's nice to have a gradual slide into the empty nest Maureen - it gives you time to reconnect with your partner and to find ways to fill the pieces of time that get freed up along the way. And I'm sure your girls appreciate you supporting them in the quest of eventually buying their own homes.

      Delete
  20. Hi Leanne, great thoughts in your post here! I know I really missed having my kids around but after a while it was nice to just have my husband home every evening, sans kids. :) Now we have date night Fridays and meet for dinner, we go to the movies, he will suffer and go with me to visit gardens and shopping {never his favorite thing but he knows I need to get out on the weekends}. :) Looking forward to future grandchildren but happy with our sweet daughter-in-law and two granddogs while our son and she start their married lives. The cycle begins again... ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You sound like you have just the right balance Barbara - it does take a bit of adjustment initially but once you get into a new routine it's actually a very relaxing and rewarding stage of life - and you will LOVE grandchildren when they come!

      Delete
  21. Leanne, I loved this blog post, great list! I never had issues with having an empty nest because it really happened little by little and moving back home and moving out and then home...lol. Now all three are married and we have three grandchildren, but everyone is so spread out. I wish we all lived closer, but I don't think that will ever happen. Long story short, I really love our life now because we can come and go as we please and I've gotten use to the quietness and love it!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I didn't experience the Empty Nest syndrome as I aged but you laid it out so I realized what my friends are going through who had children. It sounds like it is a great new adventure to be explored with your husband.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Leanne, what a lovely post. A reminder that life doesn't end when the kids leave home. It's a beginning. You can recreate who you are, what you want, your goals and dreams. A second chance. But this time you've already had the babies and raised them. Paid for school and all that goes with kids. Now it's your turn. Time to enjoy yourself, your partner and new experiences. I still have both kids home, but they are so busy. When they are here I am consumed with them, when they're gone it's so quiet. Bruce and I have been working on who we are as a couple, not parents. It's so different. But interesting at the same time.

    ReplyDelete