Think backwards. When you were a student, your passion was an area of study you aspired to build into a career upon graduation. After that, many of us hoped to marry and start a family--redirecting our passions toward that end. Some of us walked away from promising careers or worked part-time instead in order to do so. Then, for many years after that, we lovingly concentrated on raising our children--putting their gifts, talents and dreams above our own. But when the kids begin to leave for college and pursue those dreams, many a stay-at-home mom begins to reassess her life, reviving dreams and passions that once burned brightly in her soul.
Though the sight of a child's vacant room draws raging streams of tears from a mother, an empty nest is confirmation that you've done your job. Think of it that way. Though it is sad to see the family separated, every mother knows in her heart that her children must mature and prosper on their own. A robin doesn't question why her birdies fly away and neither should you. Instead of looking at an empty nest as a gaping hole in your heart, view that empty nest as a gift from God. The block of time you spent nurturing and raising your children can now be used in other ways. Here are some ideas:
- Rediscover your husband! Go on dates and trips together. Have fun!
- Take art classes. Watercolor, oil, mixed media. Sculpting. Pottery making. Or learn something unusual like Italian glass bead making. Get the creative side of your brain working!
- Sign up for creative writing classes and join local writing groups.
- Go back to school and finish your degree or acquire an advanced degree and look for a job. Many people work way beyond the traditional age of retirement (if they are blessed enough to find a job).
- Volunteer at church, a local food pantry--Animal Shelters, Meals On Wheels, Habitat For Humanity etc. There are lots of options and a lot of places need you help.
- Read! All the books you've put off reading because you didn't have time. Well, now you do.
- Learn public speaking. Join a local Toastmasters group and then use your speaking or storytelling abilities in schools, clubs and other organizations and public forums.
- Teach a Bible class in church.
- Take photography classes. Learn to use digital media and editing techniques in PhotoShop. Or transfer and edit all your old videos onto DVDs.
- Reasearch your family ancestry and design a family history book or create a family history website.
- Write and self-publish a family cookbook with all your treasured family recipes for your children.
- Do those scrapbooks for your kids-you know--the projects you started 18 years ago:)
- Clean out the kid's rooms and repurpose them as craft, exercise or media rooms. Just make sure you have enough beds for when the kids and eventually grandkids come to visit. (Murphy beds are a great solution).
These are just a small sample of ideas to get you empty nest moms started. I hope they help. There's a new book and movie out that advises people to "Pray, Eat, Love", but believers know that after you pray, everything else falls into place. Blessings to you!