We Are Not Empty Nesters, We Are Free Birds
Written By: Laurie Jabbar
The Next Chapter For These Midlife Mamas
Many of us midlife mamas face the emotionally daunting task of dropping our kids off at college and saying goodbye to the lives we have known. Couple that with the scenario of this being either your only child or the youngest of your brood, and the change is more significant. Whether we like it or not, the cadence and dynamics of our households will never be the same.
Like many of you reading this, we “She’s a 10 Times 5” mamas recently faced the milestone of dropping our youngest off at college. As such, we have spent many hours discussing what our new paradigm of motherhood will feel like, and what this new phase of life will become. Change is never easy, but completely altering who we are as moms is next level.
According to traditions and social constructs, we are now deemed “Empty Nesters.” (Insert scratching head emoji please.) Yes, we no longer have our kids at home on the regular. Yes, our kids are now adults and carving their own lanes in life. But empty nesters? We aren’t here for that new label. Anything starting with “empty” doesn’t sound or feel like a club we women of purpose should want to be a member of. It has an undertone of negativity and alludes to a phase of loneliness, even darkness.
When we drop our youngest off at college, we are anything but empty. On the contrary, our hearts are FULL. Full of memories, promise, sadness, happiness, hope, pride and LOVE. We are now part of an intricate dance of push and pull, and it’s not meant for the unprepared or weak of heart. We parents want to pull our kids close. We wish to protect them and continue to help them navigate, as we have a road of success, mistakes and experience behind us. We unsuccessfully try to explain that we see the forest through the trees.
Our kids, however, push. Push us ever so slightly, and, sometimes overtly, away. They want space to make their own paths and their own mistakes. They want to celebrate their individuality and purpose. So, we wait for the calls, FaceTimes, visits and any sign that indicates they are pulling us back in. Although it feels different, they eventually all do.
We “She’s a 10 Times 5” mamas have decided we aren’t empty nesters…We are full and free! Full of possibilities, hope, and promise. Free to try new things, spend more time on our personal passions, make new relationships, and experience new things. We are entering a new lane of life where we can focus more on our individual selves. JUST. LIKE. OUR. KIDS.
This is our next chapter, and we have earned our wings to fly and create our own separate flight patterns. We should harbor no guilt, as our kids are watching and wanting us to have our independence and self identities. They don’t want us shackling our happiness and purpose to them—they want us to show them what it means to fully live. We aren’t Empty Nesters, we are “Free Birds,” and our nests are merely our collective landing strips, and the roots and homes our adult kids always find their way back to.
As we say in every episode…”Let’s Do This!”
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