After the Kids Leave, What Next?
Remember your senior year of high school and the prospect of going off to college in the fall? Remember how exciting and special it felt to be leaving home and embarking on a new and amazing adventure?
You’re at that stage of your life when it is now your children’s turn to be experiencing this milestone, and as happy as you are for them, it is still sad that they will be leaving. You’ve done a great job getting them ready for adulthood these past eighteen years and now can breathe a sigh of relief. However, the sense of loss and the fear of change can be overwhelming.
A common concern I hear from many of my clients is, “What do I do now that the kids are out of the house and on their own?” But I find that the real question is not how to adjust to a quiet home, but rather, “What do my husband and I do now?” The problem is that you and your spouse will be alone, together, and this transition in your life may bring up some deep-seeded questions that have not surfaced until now.
Some couples have stayed together for the sake of the kids and may not be as close as they used to be, when they were dealing with daily parenting issues. Others may find this time to finally enjoy a second honeymoon. Single parents may view this phase as an opportunity to date without worrying about what the kids think.
For all parents, this is a great time to put your focus on you, taking care of your wants and desires. Therefore, examine your many options by exploring your financial situation and emotional and social needs.
Here are some things you can do to help get you through this transition time:
- Keep your relationship with the kids open and positive. When you see them, enjoy your time together as adults. Your daily parenting is over, but your children still need you for guidance and encouragement.
- Support your spouse in whatever new endeavor he/she may embark upon. After all, you finally have more time to be creative and innovative.
- Make a list of things you’d like to do in the next 10-15 years and then go for it!
- Celebrate the freedom you now have and do what you want, including traveling, seeing shows and starting new hobbies.
- Discuss any health, financial or emotional concerns with your spouse, a friend or professional. This will help you make necessary changes that lead to enhancing your overall well-being. Be sure to keep moving in a positive direction.
- Explore having fun with your partner by sharing common interests or by learning something new together.
- De-clutter your home. Making space means you are allowing something new and exciting to come into your life.
If you work on changing your sad, negative thoughts and focus on your new life with expectation and excitement, you will be rekindling your spirit and renewing your sense of adventure. With new discoveries and new beginnings ahead of you, you can treat yourself to little luxuries that will add to your enjoyment of life. When you adjust yourself to your new lifestyle, you will see that a little pampering boosts the spirit and rejuvenates the soul – just what you need when the kids are no longer around.
Written by: Amy Sherman, Transformational Coach
About the Author
Amy Sherman, LHMC, is a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Florida and a relationship transformational coach. She is the founder of the Baby Boomers’ Network and the author of the ebook’s Distress-Free Aging: A Boomer’s Guide to Creating a Fulfilled and Purposeful Life. Visit www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com.