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Preparing for an Empty Nest

While I can’t stop time from passing (who really wants to anyway?) I do know certain life occasions are inevitable – both celebrations and sadness. As a mom of 6 wonderful children, I know that a time is approaching that will watch my fledglings venture off on their own.  So, all you veteran empty-nesters, I have a question for you. Is there such a thing as preparing for an empty nest?

Empty Nest | from a Mama's Heart | prodigalpieces.com

While that is a rhetorical question of sorts, I thought it might be a good time for us to support one another in advice, lessons learned, and the celebrate the joys of parenthood. I’ll be the first to say my kids are my life. I have not been without them on daily basis since they were born. With homeschooling comes the joys of seeing them grow and myself growing with them. To be honest, I don’t understand how parents look forward to school starting to be rid of their children. Frankly, I’m quite the opposite. I love being around my crew!

BABY STEPS

First, I wholeheartedly look forward to what God has in store for each of my younguns. However, I also know the blunt reality that they won’t be with me everyday. In jest, I often tell them I’ll replace each one of them with an animal. They’ve went from toddlin’ cuties to being my best friends. So, you can imagine how I sort of dread the day they’re gone. Many of you, I know, can relate, and that’s why I’m writing.

Prodigal Pieces Family Sledding | Planning on an Empty Nest | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Over the years, I told each of my older boy and girl that I’ve never been a mother of boy (or girl) before, so bear with me as I’m learning too – that I’ll make mistakes and hopefully be a better mother because of it. Inevitably, I never stop learning about being a mother until the day I die. When my children were young, I read a line of thinking that went like this…”Picture yourself guiding them on a balance beam while holding your hand. Their trust forms when they choose to let go of your hand. Holding onto them holds them back, and letting go to soon is can cause them to stumble. They know when to let go.”

GROWING UP

Obviously, I’m already learning what it feels like for them to trickle out of my nest. My oldest two are done with school and are gone most of the day with work. I read a book a few years back by Joel Salatin called “Folks, This Ain’t Normal” that I highly recommend (do purchase from local or borrow from the library – skip the giants, k?). While Joel owns a wonderful farm and knows oodles that blows the mind, he also impressed me that his children were able to save about $20K before they were 20 years old. That is amazing!

As a person who is animate about getting completely out of debt and staying that way, I’m trying to teach my children the same. Amazingly enough, they’ve already beat that record Joel ‘s kids achieved and are learning so many life lessons along the way. That alone makes letting go easier. I am reassured they’ll be taken care of and they know how to work hard. while at the same time be fulfilled by following God’s plan for their lives.

Fall Sunrise in Ohio | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

SAVORING

What is more, I aim to savor and embrace my personal motto, “no regrets”. When I rise in the early hours of the morning, I can hear my family sleeping as I stand outside their doors. In that moment I’m preparing for an empty nest. I stop to say a praise and lift a prayer for them. Then, I begin my day a couple hours early so I can be with them for breakfast and Bible study when they rise. It’s these times I tuck in my heart for I know the time is limited.

With each passing year, my time with them has went from wiping pudgy cheeks to enjoying conversation on daily topics or upcoming events. What a joy to see them blooming and changing. And, it’s ever amazing how each of my children are their own person. Yes, they show favoritism in behavior like my husband and I, but they are definitely someone God placed in my life for a reason.

In addition, I am blessed beyond words to be able to work at home amidst our homeschooling time. That also affords me the time to drop what I’m doing to embrace a teachable moment or head off on a long walk.

Daughter's Learning to Crochet | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

However, honestly I  find myself caught up in the daily grind at times that I don’t make enough time. Then, I wake up and realize a day just passed by and I missed out. When we open our eyes each morning that is a gift, as well as when our family is healthy and happy. Embrace them, tell them you love them, and most of all, make time.

UNPLUG

Moreover, in our digital world, it’s so easy to let an hour slip by with screens begging for our attention. We are not ones to spend hours in from of a TV, but we do watch occasional videos that are either on DVD or stored places. It’s great for a cabin fever break for sure. However, we cut out several days a week to unplug. That allows time for game time and we love it! My littlest whispered into my ear one night as I was putting her to bed after a long sigh, “we need more family game nights”. Nuff said.

Prodigal Pieces Family Gathered Around the Dining Table | Planning for an Empty Nest | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

In addition, to the kids being gone, it also allows part of the preparing for an empty nest to include more time for other adventures. In the last couple of years, I’ve taught myself to play the ukulele. While I already know how to play piano and teach my kids the same, I’ve always wanted to learn many more instruments, including a string instrument that is portable. Back a few years ago I practiced guitar, but just never had enough time. So, this time I went little. I must admit that I play pretty good for someone who is in mid-forties having fun. {{wink, wink}} Maybe one day I’ll show you. Plus, my husband, JC, and I have more time for each other. That alone is a prize after devoting soooo many years to our focus on raising our children.

LET’S DISH

Enough about my little flock. I’m sure there is sage advice out there. You folks have either have already run this race or are in it yourselves. Or, maybe you’re still in young family mode and are hoping to glean too. Either way, I’m eager to have a chat that embraces the joys of parenting children. Likewise, invite your spouse chime in or even your elders.

Easterm Morning Sunrise in Ohio Farmland by Prodigal Pieces | Planning for an Empty Nest | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

God gave use one another to lift each other in spirit, to build each other up. Additionally, let’s share this post so that others can glean too.

Raising Children is a Blessing that Leaves us Preparing for an Empty Nest | Join our discussion to lift each other up at Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Up next, it’s time to clean house and dig into my stash. Head HERE TO SEE. In order for you to be in the know, make sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. Until next time!

Reclaimed Hardwood Pallets Before | prodigalpieces.com

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Comments

  1. Rebecca - NC says

    You are such an amazing Mom!! I was never blessed with children, but have been given four amazing nephews. I’ve watched and agonized as the first two left the nest, but know they’ve got that invisible tether (God’s and their parent’s love) that will help balance them through life. You are so wise and loving…. What an amazing foundation you’ve built for them to stand on!!!! 💕🥰💕

    • Larissa says

      You would have made an amazing mama, Rebecca. And no doubt you are an amazing aunt. Yes, God sure knows the best.

  2. Noelle says

    I’m with you, I never understood how parents could be happy to be without their kiddos when school time came around again. I wanted to be with my babies all the time! For awhile I had to work outside the home when my son was little, and I cried every day when I dropped him off at the “Latchkey” daycare in the school gym. Thankfully when he was in high school I got to stay home and was happy to be with him all the time (too happy for him sometimes, as I would often burst into his room with some idea while he was in the middle of playing his guitar or watching a video!) When he was 19 he went off to do wildland firefighting, and then a year later he moved to North Dakota to work in the oil industry with his friends. That was hard for a mama, but I knew it was good for him. Now he is back here in town living on his own. We were only empty-nesters for a little while as my oldest stepdaughter moved in with us shortly after Ben moved out. Emily was able to pay off her student loans over the last couple of years while living with us. I don’t know if you can prepare to be an empty-nester (no matter how much you think you’ve prepared, it’s still a bit of a shock not to see them everyday), but having strong, independent children who work hard is a great reward. <3 🙂

    • Larissa says

      What an awesome testimony to love, Noelle. Yes, I don’t think I’ll ever be ready, but I know God has plans for me at that time same as you. Sending mama hugs!

  3. Debbie says

    (37 years married and 3 children/6 grandchildren) The best way I have found to prepare for an empty nest is to make sure you still have a connection/relationship with the other person that will be sharing that empty nest. It seems that you and your husband enjoy each other’s company, but so many parents fail to continue to foster and protect their marriage that they struggle to reconnect once the children and their activities are gone. I once had an older friend tell me how she had cried and been sad for awhile after her children left, and I didn’t think I would feel that way, but I did at first. Later she said, we are enjoying it now…. and I also reached that point. I think there are stages in the empty nest syndrome. My husband and I say “Well, just you and me like it was in the beginning”. LOL

    • Larissa says

      I wholeheartedly agree. My marriage has been under attack and we are constantly working on it and re-learning how to be with each other. It’s definitely an uncharted road for us and we are focusing on fighting for every step. Thank you for your words of wisdom, Debbie.

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