The past few months have been a time of real transition for me. Why? Because when Justin went off to college this past September we became empty nesters.
The summer following Justin’s graduation was a whirlwind of activity full of graduation parties and preparing for the college sendoff. I was a little worried about how I would handle him being away.
Tip #1 – Prepare in advance. Add something new to your routine. My girlfriends and I get together every Thursday night to watch Scandal and every few weeks Mark and I have a date night on a Tuesday night. Why Tuesday? Because we can!!! You also might want to look into becoming a season ticket holder at your local theater or doing some volunteer work. That worked really well for me. My sister-in-law and I became season ticket holders at Proctors, our local theater, which brings in lots of shows and having more time allowed me to do more volunteer work with Capital District Community Gardens. Think about what you might like to do and GO DO IT!
Before I knew it, the car was packed and we were making the five hour drive to drop off our baby.
Tip #2 – Let your child set the pace when it comes to communication. It was really hard to not robo dial the kid the first week. Trust me, your child will let you know how, and when, they want to communicate with you. Texting is a great way to keep in touch. This allows them to communicate with you on their schedule. Don’t freak out if they don’t respond right away. Just be consistent. They appreciate it more than they’ll let on.
Tip #3 – Send a care package or a note every so often.
Tip #4– If your child is able to come home for breaks, don’t treat them like they’re babies. By now your child has been living on their own schedule and making their own daily decisions. Trust me – their schedule is likely going to be very, very different from yours. Talk with your child so that you both know what the expectations are.
Tip #5– Adjust your perspective. Our job is to raise our kids to be independent and to take care of themselves. Embrace the change in your relationship and do your best to provide guidance while respecting that they are becoming adults. This can be a really wonderful time in your relationship with your child.
Are you an empty nester? What worked for you? Leave your comments below. I’d love to hear from you.