When the children are little, it is all consuming. Every day is a new adventure, a new challenge, a core experience that you will take with you forever in your heart and mind. But this time sure does go quickly, and the day will arrive when it is time for them to move out of the family home and start their own adventure in the world. Naturally, this is an emotional time, and it may leave you struggling with your sense of identity, a unique feeling of grief, and a renewed energy to find a new path. Here are some things you can do with your newfound time when your nest becomes empty once more.
Read the Book
All parents have the book, you know the one. The book that you buy with all the good intentions in the world of reading, but you may only see a page here and there, and nothing more. It is soon lying forgotten under the sofa, or in the vast sea of pages on the bookshelf. Now is your time to shine! Pick that book up and read it from start to finish without any interruptions. Take the time to enjoy every page, every inference, every plot twist and turn. The sense of satisfaction when you come to the end will be a long-waited feeling, and much deserved.
Find a New Hobby
Alternatively, pick up an old one that has long been abandoned. Have you always wanted to learn a new instrument? Go for it! Take a look at the community social media page, or local bulletin board and see what activities are on nearby. It is never too late to pick up a new skill and it is a guaranteed way to instil some much-needed independence, keep the brain busy and engage with your story once more.
Rekindle Your Social Life
When the children are small, it is hard to maintain a thriving social life. Priorities shift, and rightly so, but that doesn’t have to be forever. They have grown up and it is time to get back out there and reconnect with your friends. Whether this is friends who are fellow parents going through a similar experience or close people from back in the pre-kids days, pick up the phone or get online and send that message. It will take time to get back into the swing of things, but there is value in socialising.
Revisit Your Career
Did you stop working to be a parent? Lots of people do, as it is a perfectly normal thing for one parent to step back and take on the lead carer mantle. This is an admirable thing, and a job in its own right but when the role naturally concludes (in the most immediate sense anyway), it may be the time to rediscover your passion in the world of work.
There is always a call to action for new foster carers, and it is a beyond admirable thing to pursue. The impact you could have on a child in need will be something they will take with them forever, as will you. You can get lots of information about different placement types and various options, here at orangegrovefostercare.co.uk.
Volunteer Your Time
If you don’t fancy working, there is always volunteering to try out. Acts of benevolence are always welcomed far and wide. There might be a charity or cause that is close to your heart that you want to give back to. Well, you can do this by offering up your time and services. Not only will you be making a real difference in the lives of those in need, but it is also a wonderful avenue for meeting new people, gaining insight, and acquiring skills too.
You’ve earned it, now go and relax. Book that spa day in, or kick back with a movie marathon. Some parents have not spent a whole day and night focusing on self-care in many years, and this is the perfect opportunity to re-establish some self-care.
Everyone has a story in them or a poem. Even if you have never written a story before, and you never do it again it is fun to sit down at the computer and see what happens. You never have to show another soul, it can be a project just for you but there is something extremely cathartic about writing.
Focus on Your Partner
It is easy to tell people to make time for one another when their relationship suffers because of a lack of time and resources. Yet, that which is easily said is not always so easily done. Finding time for your partner while trying to navigate the care needs of one or multiple children is a difficult task that many people struggle with. Your relationship matters, though. This person has been with you through the worst of times and the best of times, and now you have the space to re-explore what it was that brought you to each other in the first place. Go on a date, relive those beautiful core memories and nurture the love that brought your family to life.
Go Back to Education
Returning to education is a popular choice for post empty nesters. Sometimes this is finishing up a degree that was left in stasis, chasing that master’s, or even learning something entirely new.
Find a Pet
A pet can never replace a child, but it provides companionship on an unparalleled level. A dog in particular is a wonderful way to re-find gentle exercise, and they are fiercely loyal if you pick the right breed. They will help curb the empty loneliness that may have crept in, and it opens up a whole new world of adventures to grab.
Being a parent is a tough gig, but it is also mind blowing. Children teach us, shape us, and provide us with a love we never knew existed. When they grow up, it is natural to feel that in your chest, but life is not over and there is more to be found.