Having experienced and subsequently left behind a 20-year successful corporate career, coupled with the sudden death of my husband on Super Bowl Sunday more than a decade ago, I unconsciously immersed myself entirely in motherhood.
Several weeks before my son was to leave for his first year of college, I walked past a mirror, and the reflection frightened me.
Just who was this stranger in the mirror, because I did not appear to be the woman whom I have always known? It was at that moment that I realized that I was lost in the wilderness of life.
Up until then, I had done what so many Moms do – I lost sight of myself. We forget about the woman we are and the dreams we had before we became Moms,
It was in that moment that I realized that I had not genuinely planned for my next phase of life. I had not thoroughly examined what being an empty nester would be like, the pros and cons. Before this time, I had rarely taken the time to make Jacqueline a priority because I allowed guilt to keep me from exploring and identifying my purpose outside of motherhood. The phrase “LOL” for me, as it does for so many other Moms meant “Last on List.”
Without realizing it, I had taken a detour from my goals and often self-care. A detour that would require me to re-program my personal GPS. I had to take time to map out a plan that would redirect me to the road to recapturing my inner me.
If you are an empty nester or are soon to be, consider these tips to minimize the negative impact of the empty nest syndrome:
Reconnect With Your Pre-Mom Self
One of my hashtags on social media is #RecaptureYourYOU. Working with my clients I empower them to do just that. Women are notorious for serving the world, ultimately running on empty; however, we cannot serve anyone from an empty cup, being consumed by guilt.. #RecaptureYourYOU begins with Saying YES To You! Self-care is not selfish.
Who or What’s In Charge?
The empty nest syndrome, while not a medical diagnosis is real. Handle it, or it will handle you. In most cases, we skim over and sometimes glorify what being an empty nester will mean for our lives, good or bad, rather than prepare, identify, and accept it for what it is. Rather than only viewing it from a negative vantage point, consider writing a list of some of the positives. You might be pleasantly surprised by what ends up on that list.
Keep It Grown & Sexy by Staying Datable
Children shouldn’t be the only glue keeping a marriage together. However, currently there is a 53% divorce rate in America, and a significant number of them involve baby boomers or couples who are now empty nesters. That’s not where you want to see your life headed; therefore communication must be a priority maybe now more than ever. In a recent episode of ABC’s comedy black-ish, Anthony Anderson’s and Tracee Ellis- Ross’ characters potentially face divorce and ask the question, ” How did we get here?”
They are the parents of a newborn, a college freshman who has flown the coop and three children sandwiched between them. One can only think that at some point they may have lost sight of their happy, dateable, pre-children experiences until the pressures of career and family life took its toll on their marriage. We’ll be staying tuned in to see how this all plays out on television. Unfortunately, many real-life stories are happening across the country.
Empty Nest? You Are Not Alone
Millions of baby birds will fly the coop each year. Yours will likely be one of them. Accept that this is happening! You’ve raised them to be independent, to grow wings and to fly. You’ve prayed for this day, and now your prayers have been answered. As difficult as it may be during this time, do not put your struggle on your children. While they know how much you love them, watching you fall apart during this transition can be confusing for them.
Take this time to get your life, Mom! Your baby bird certainly deserves to have his or hers. Begin your journey back to you. Now, sounds like a pretty good time
Congratulations and good luck!
Follow Jacqueline Miller on Instagram @mogulmomdujour
Originally published at www.jacquelinedujour.com