If you’re like me than you’re heading towards fifty, at a sprint, and your youngest child, children in my case, are moving out, going to college, etc. I am super proud of my daughters. They are nineteen and moving into a place that I probably couldn’t afford on my own well into my 20’s. It’s in a nice neighborhood, close to their school, and they made sure that they wouldn’t have to come to me for money if something unexpected happens. Basically they made a great plan and have taken the necessary steps so they can stick to it. You’re probably wondering why I’m even writing this blog if I am so happy for my daughters, the problem is I think my wife and I, especially my wife, are having trouble letting go. Here are a few ideas that you can do to try to cut the ties and open up a new chapter in your life:
1. Get to know your spouse again- I’m not sure about you but I know I haven’t had a moment of quiet time with my wife since 1987 and our son was born. Since then it’s been what do the kids want, where do the kids want to go, am I spending enough time with the kids. Oh and of course work, if it wasn’t work it was kids and if it wasn’t kids it was work. I recommend a date night. My wife and I have found another couple that is also in our situation, their youngest is a senior in high school this year, and we have a double-date every few weeks with them and when we’re not with them we try to have a one-on-one date.
2. Spend time with the child before they go- I have spent so much time with my daughters for the past few months I am considering picking them both up and carrying them to their apartment today. We’ve been so close that everything they do is starting to bother me. This seems like a good place to be before they move. Maybe you shouldn’t be as extreme as me but the last thing you want is to regret not spending those last few weeks/months with your child before they leave.
3. Get involved with their decision-making- On a side note, I am not recommending that you make the decisions for them, instead I am saying to help, steer, observe, etc. If you know that your kid is in a great spot and is making great decisions for themselves it is a lot easier to let them go. When my son moved out he moved into this cheap-dingy looking place that got broken into after a month. Obviously, the break-in did not put my wife’s mind at ease, and she made smothering him a full and part time job.
4. Do things you normally wouldn’t do when you had the kids at home- We all know that no matter how old the child is, 18 or 25, if they still live at home and even when they're not, you are still giving up certain things to take care of them. As soon as my daughter’s leave I am turning one of their rooms into a man cave and the other into a guest bedroom. I also plan on golfing whenever I want, I love golfing but with the price of 2 prom dresses, 2 graduation gowns, 2 senior trips, their insurance, the extremely high electric bill because Tatiana doesn’t like sleeping in the dark, etc. a new set of golf clubs wasn’t exactly in my budget, now they will be.
These are the tips I am and will use when my daughters leave home. I hope a couple of these will help you adjust to your empty nest.