My Nest Emptying Experience

A few years ago, my daughter was heading off to university where she would live in a dorm. We had moved into a new home. I had a son to get settled into a new high school and a house to set up, so I had a lot of new goals in front of me. 

I'd put a couple of my coaching clients on hold while we made our cross-country move and picked up with them, proving life coaching by phone is a transferable career. 

Fear of the Empty Nest 

For years prior to this, I feared the empty nest. Mothering had been the most meaningful calling I could ever have. I loved and still love my "babies."  Though at that time my babies were still under my roof, I had days where I used energy worrying about the unknown future.

One Child Off 

Once my daughter left, for the first time in 18 years there was no secondary female presence. The house lacked zeal and squeal. I realized just how noisy my daughter had been. My shopping buddy and the girl-talk was missing and that is what I missed most.

But I adjusted and brought her home every three weeks or so for a weekend, and of course on holiday breaks.

My son, more or less, lived as an only child for the next 3 years.

In the Empty Nest 

Time sped by, and before I knew it my son had finished grade 12 and made plans to fly the coup as well.  He chose a different university, but also chose to live on his own. 

So finally, the empty nest arrived. 

For the most part, I enjoyed a new sense of freedom. There was no teen to drive around or to make lunch or dinner for (although both my kids cook).  My husband and I started a few new routines including eating at the breakfast bar instead of at a set table as we'd done with the kids. To enter into my husband's world, we chose a few TV shows we both liked and around 7:30 or 8:30 we'd watch them together.

Later, I began working on art while he did his thing with his Xbox. 

In my empty nest, I worried less about my children than when they were under my roof. That was a good thing. I released them to God. I embraced and enjoyed the new rhythm. 

God gave me an unexpected measure of grace to weather the transition and it was easier than I expected. I hope the same for you.


  1. I wish empty nesting was as easy for me as it was for you. I have three daughters that have left the nest, and it hasn't been easy for me. It all happened at once. All three left last year around the same time. I have shed many tears this year, praying, and releasing. My husband is ecstatic however. He's been waiting a long time for this season, but I can't feel the same excitement. My girls have been my number one passion, and I think my husband wants to be #1 now. I love my husband, but how much do I have to let go? He doesn't even want them spending a whole day here in our new apartment.

  2. Friend, I just noticed your message. My experience hasn't been always been easy. I've had my up days and my down days. Thank you for sharing where you're at. First, I want to urge you to give yourself grace. That means go easy on yourself. Yes, you will shed tears. That's how God built us to be able to handle grief so we can eventually move forward. Try to have an end time for your grieving--don't carry on for days if possible. Change your thoughts after an hour or so. Go for a walk--do something different.

    You built the life you have over a long time, so give yourself time to get used to the new place you find yourself. Give yourself time to rebuild your midlife.

    In a Christian marriage, a husband should always be number one. Sometimes we lose sight of that. But I know what you mean about your girls being your passion because it's just a different chemistry. They're like girlfriends. Rekindling a relationship with a spouse can be hard, but I challenge you to find things you have in common. Go into his world of interests and invite him into yours.

    Just as your parents released you, you need to release your girls. You will always be a mom, just in a different way. That doesn't mean you cut them off, but you also don't build your new life around them.
    You will need to take steps to build a new life with new connections.

    There comes a time to revisit who you are, and as you do you will start to enjoy the new space of developing new interests as your husband seems to be enjoying his new space. It isn't a race or a contest. Everyone's empty nest is different. We all process life differently. Just because your husband is already "there" doens't mean you have to be yet. But you can get there.

    I suggest you look through my eBook listed on the side on "What's Next?" It has several exercises designed to help you see your hidden passions. I hope it will help. When you narrow down your top five passions, develop them. Make working on them your job. That means take courses, put them into practice, learn online, join groups, experiment. Again, it's not a contest. See where God leads with them.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. May God bless you as you look to him for help.