Having children is one of the most rewarding things we do in life. The instant we become a Mom or Dad we become like an omniscient being (at least until the kid hits teen years!) and assure our reach into the future, past our own lifetime.
What also happens the instant we become a Mom or Dad is that we start training our children to leave the nest. It seems to take forever when the kids are growing up but, eventually, you do reach a point in life where the kids leave home for a life of their own.
I dreaded having that ‘empty nest’. My boys had been my ever ready companions to take off and explore the world. They brought life and vitality into the house. I feared their absence would leave us bored and boring.
Empty nests have benefits.
Yes, the kids leave home. Yes, you will miss them. The empty nest syndrome some call it, is when parents feel grief, loneliness and/or depression when their children move out.
My spouse always used to declare that he couldn’t wait until the kids moved out. For him, it was a mark of passage to more freedom. I can’t imagine how the boys felt when they heard him proclaim this.
I always dreaded the day when each would move on to their next phase of life, and I did get a bit lonely and depressed.
However, we were both in the prime years of our career and soon started pursuing long delayed hobbies and interests. Here are the benefits we found in our empty nest.
Expenses went down.
Children are expensive. Our expenses went way down once they were no longer draining the household income. We spent less on groceries, travel, car insurance, schooling, clothing, entertainment – pretty much everything across the board.
Income went up.
We had more time to work and make progress in our careers. We didn’t have to use up vacation days to tend to sick children or children out of school. We saved up those days and got paid for them if we didn’t use them. We had more time to work on finances and do investments as well.
We have more room in the house.
Even though we (still) have some of their stuff, most of it has been properly distributed to their new households. We’ve taken over their old rooms and their old closets. We no longer have their cars cluttering up the driveway and we can sit where ever we want in the living room.
We can travel whenever we want.
Teachers really frown on parents taking kids out of school for vacations. With no children to worry about, we can travel in off season for cheaper prices and less traffic. We can plan our trips around our own interest, not what the kids will tolerate. This is one perk of an empty nest I really enjoy.
We had more time for ourselves.
We have gotten to know each other a lot better since the kids left home. With no one to interrupt conversations, ask for money or to borrow the car and with no kids fighting with each other we can really focus on us.
We’ve pursued our own hobbies and professions, instead of having to fund the kid’s activities. I’ve dabbled in owning an antique booth, obtained professional certification, and started whole new business ventures. Hubby has started collecting and landscaping.
What you can do without the kids.
- Watch what YOU want on TV.
- Eat what YOU want, not what they will eat.
- Go to bed whenever you want instead of waiting up for a kid.
- Reduce coverage and increase the deductible on your car insurance.
- Leave home whenever you feel like it.
- Be clothing optional anywhere in the house.
- Call them up and bug them about something on your time schedule.
- Go visit them at their house and get in their way.
- Let them take YOU out to dinner (and pay for yours!).
- Move without worrying about school districts.
- Stop behaving as if you have to be a good example for everything (go ahead and cuss when you hit your finger with that hammer!).
What do you plan to accomplish once your children fly the coop?