About to be an Empty Nester? Advice from HERdacity Members on How They Handled the Transition

The empty nest. As the summer days dwindle down and grown children begin to leave for new adventures, many families are facing a life-shaping transition in their households. The empty nest is actually regarded as a syndrome: “a feeling of loneliness or sadness that occurs among parents after children grow up and leave home.” 

While coping with the transition is undeniably difficult, creating a new identity can also be considered a daring new challenge. 

We asked our very own daring community of HERdacity women about their experience with ’empty nesting’ and received some inspiring wisdom. Here are some highlights from our campfire discussion and our other social media platforms:

From HERdacity Member Bfierce

“I am living this as we speak.  My oldest is going to be a senior in HS next year, and my youngest is entering high school.  Compounding the sense of loss and confusion for me is the fact that for the past twelve years my “job” was homeschooling them (not the denim jumper type… more the free-thinking hippy type LOL), so not only am I letting go of my role as primary caregiver in many ways, I’ve also lost my “career.”   I’m floundering trying to figure out what to do next.  It’s somewhat terrifying to not have a plan in place because, while I did know this was coming, homeschooling (and teaching at a local private middle school) took all of my cognitive capacity… I just didn’t have anything left to formulate a PLAN.  Now I have loads of cognitive space and I don’t know what to do with it.  My therapist tells me that I need the down time to change gears and to stop being so hard on myself.  But I am someone who really needs a purpose in life.  I need something to throw myself into wholeheartedly.  I just don’t know what that is yet.”

From HERdacity Member PeopleNatureConnection

“Your children are a reflection of you. If you express confidence, they will too. Feel fear? They will sense it.

My children are 25 and 23 (as of Wednesday) and they are both very successful human beings. I live 2 1/2 hours away from them and they visit once a month. I look forward to those visits, but honor their new life as independent, capable adults too.

I guess it could be best said through this article by M.J. Ross that talks about relationships. Pay particular attention to the quote.”

From HERdacity Member Sgurr

“This is a transition that you KNOW is coming. You even know when. Don’t wait until it happens to address the transition. Before the kids leave, start focusing on yourself more. Connect with organizations or opportunities and get started with activities you will continue later. Creating a sense of continuity will help minimize the shock of such a big change.“


“PLAN YOUR OWN VACATION! If you have the means, plan a vacation for right after you drop your son/daughter off at school. Or plan something to look forward to that can happen right after you drop them off. I think having your own identity secured is important and essential… but also having something fun planned to look forward to!”

Want to be featured in a HERdacity article? Check out the Campfire Discussions for a topic that interests you. 

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