It hasn’t been long since my youngest child went off to University. Everyone gave me pitying glances and told me how awful ‘empty nest’ syndrome would be; how difficult it would be to ‘let go’ and so on. Well I have to say I love and adore both my children, but we have our freedom back! We can eat whatever we want, whenever we want; we can go where we like and do what we like; we’ve saved a small fortune in our weekly spend; and there is a lot less housework and washing! That is just a taste of what you can expect, so don’t feel down (or guilty) and start planning and preparing for your ‘empty nest’ in September and make the most of it! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Between now and August start planning treats for you and your partner – you could book into a nice spa hotel, organise a theatre trip with an overnight stay and meal, or arrange to see friends who live in other parts of the country (plan to spend the money you will save in the household budget!).
- Make a plan of all the things you want to do and achieve between September and June. Set yourself small and achievable targets for each month.
- Look at your diet – have you become set in your ways? Are there foods that you used to like but that you gave up because the children didn’t like them? If you have some extra inches to lose, have you thought about trying different diets that would have been difficult to achieve with children to cater for?
- Create weekly menus or just try new recipes for you and your partner to enjoy. What foods have you always wanted to try? Have you always longed to perfect your baking skills, but haven’t had the time – well now you have!
- Plan an activity that you and your partner can do together. It could be as simple as country walks (or even just walking around your local area – or you could try your hand at geocaching), learn to dance, start swimming or going to the gym – the possibilities are endless.
- Arrange to do something you have never done before – this could be a long or short term project. You could organise an inexpensive train-trip around Europe (you can still inter-rail and stay in youth hostels); a family trip to somewhere unusual; a walking holiday in the Cotswolds – the choice is yours, but do something that excites you.
- Lastly, devote as much time as possible to your children when they do come home. Plan into your schedule time to make their favourite food, get in those little extras that they like, prep their room with clean sheets, and arrange time to just be around them (if they’ll let you!) They might not admit it, but you are their comfort blanket and where they will turn to for all of life’s ups and downs, so make them feel extra special when they visit.
How about you? What have you done to prepare for your own ‘empty nest’?