Lori Robinett: {Creating} My Path

musings of a wife, mother, writer . . .

Archive for the month “May, 2013”

Surviving the Empty Nest

An Empty NestThe empty nest. It looms out there in front of us, from the time our children are born. At first, we are busy changing diapers, timing feedings and worrying about ear infections. Soon, we are talking to the Parents as Teachers representative about milestones, worrying about whether or not our child is on schedule.  We put our children on the school bus for that first day of school, hoping they can find their way and will make new friends. In my case, I fretted and worried, but my little girl put her right foot up on that first step of the bus, turned to look at me and said, “See ya!”

Subaru commercial: first bus ride

And she was gone. The next few years fly by . . . school programs, PTO meetings, school carnivals, sleepovers with friends. Soon they transition to high school and get their permits (my, oh, my . . . those should really come with blood pressure meds for the parents) and start dating. Before you know it, you are sitting in the high school gym watching your baby walk down the aisle in a black gown while Pomp & Circumstance plays in the background. Photos are snapped, tears are shed. But your sadness is tempered by the excitement for your child, knowing that they have so much promise, that so many great experiences lie ahead of them. Whether they choose to attend college or pursue work, you are proud of your baby.

But there’s more. So much more. Your life is getting ready to change. Your nest will soon be empty, whether your child is moving into a dorm or getting an apartment. How do you handle your baby leaving? Here are some tips to help you make the transition, in no particular order:

1. Independence is the Goal. Remember that your goal has always been to raise an independent person who is a happy individual. Parents have a unique job – our job is successful when we are no longer needed. We have to transition from controller to supporter.

2. Be supportive. Your child is still transitioning, and still needs your support, even if he or she is no longer living with you. Be there to offer guidance when requested. And remember – your child may make different decisions than you do. And that’s OK.

3. Let go of responsibility. This is the only way a teenager can learn responsibility. You must let go of responsibility (gradually!) and let your child make decisions on his or her own. The hard part for us parents is that the teenager may not always make the decisions we would make for them. But once again, that is OK. Let your child know that you love him or her, and let them make decisions – and accept the consequences that come with those decisions. I read an Psychology Today blog that really explained this process of “letting go” well. Check it out here.

4. Shift focus. Raising a child is consuming. Many parents find themselves so wrapped up in their children that they lose all sense of self. Personally, one thing that was important to me was teaching my daughter that a woman is capable of pursing interests and being independent, so I tried to maintain some of my interests (writing, scrapbooking) even though I didn’t do nearly as much of either as I would have in a perfect world, I hope I taught her that women are capable of working, being a mother and still being an individual. If you have put your life on hold for your child, start thinking about what interests you want to pursue before your nest is empty. This is a great time to get back into those hobbies that you used to find joy in. Hobbies are also a great way to meet other adults who share a common interest.

I hope this helps. What things did you do to help ease Empty Nest Syndrome? Or if you are not quite there yet, what questions do you have?

TURNING DREAMS INTO REALITY: What if you couldn’t fail?

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Like most writers, I am fairly introspective. I spend time thinking about who I am, what made me this way, and where I’m heading. I have learned that we need to spend time thinking about our dreams, and finding ways to make them a reality. If you find yourself not pursuing your dreams, I encourage you to try working your way through “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. It is a revealing journey. It taught me that I can make my dreams a reality, and I learned a lot about myself in the process.

One thought I have pondered recently is this – What three things would I do if I knew I could not fail?  1) I would quit my job and I would spend more time writing. 2) I would open a scrapbook store (my favorite stores are the Scrapbook Store & More in Mexico, Missouri and Soul Sentiments in Millersburg, Missouri). 3) I would get my pilot’s license.

I am interested in hearing YOUR three things. Email me or post a comment and tell me your three things. I’ll discuss your responses in a future post. But first . . .  now that you’ve decided what three things you would do, it’s time to take action. Take a moment to consider these things. What can you do to incorporate these things into the coming week? You have 7 days, and 24 hours in each day. Surely you can devote one or two hours to one of these things. For instance, I plan to spend an hour today scrapbooking. Sure, I need to bless my house (for those of you who know Flylady, you know exactly what I’m talking about).  And laundry needs to be done. And I need . . . well, you know how it goes. But I can spare one hour to pursue my dream. That’s all I’m asking. One hour. Are you seriously going to tell me that you are so busy this week that you can’t spend ONE measly hour on your dreams?

I didn’t think so. :o)

Plan your week. Make time for your dreams. They deserve your time and attention.

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