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I’m Supposed to Be Sad, But I Can’t Wait For My Empty Nest

By Anonymous

I think I might be a horrible mom. Why? Because I’m looking forward to my nest emptying this fall when my third son goes off to college. I know I’m supposed to be crying and depressed. My duties as “Mom-in-Chief,” problem-solver, clothes washer, chef (short order and gourmet) are winding down. Yet somehow, I’m not. I’m a little (okay a lot!) excited that the mommy guilt I’ve felt all of these years will magically be removed. Poof. The weight will disappear, and I won’t have skipped a single meal!

My Empty Nest

No longer will I feel stressed when I have an upcoming business trip. Not when the meeting appears on my calendar. Or when the travels plans are made. I won’t miss the back and forth in my mind. Should I take the 6 a.m. flight so I don’t have to be away an extra night? If I do that, I know it means a 18+ hour day that will likely end with me struggling not to fall asleep in my soup after a full day of travel, meetings and trying be witty and smart through dinner. And then there’s the option that I never chose. I could take the flight the day before so I can be rested and at my best, with some bonus “me” time to relax. Imagine that! I will now—with pleasure.

I certainly won’t miss spending my Sundays before a week of travel food shopping, preparing meals, doing laundry and generally squeezing my week’s worth of “home” work into a single day. Nor will I miss the tug at my heart when I can’t attend an event that is important to my son—or on the flip side, the guilt I feel towards my colleagues when I leave a meeting early to make sure I make it home in time for the really special ones. Not fun, and nothing I’ll long for.

No More Mommy Guilt

Go out during the week? Come fall, the answer will always be “Yes!” I won’t feel the need to be at home in the evening, ready with a healthy, home cooked meal—trying to make up for the nights when I’m away. Okay… so my son was only home for an hour between activities, but I wanted to be there when he was, so he knew how important he is to me.

Yes, I will deeply miss my boy, as I have when his brothers went off to school too. In fact, I cried nearly every week of my oldest’ s senior year, knowing that our family would never be the same once the dinner table had its first empty chair. But now I know better.

Yes, things are never the same. But they are equally as good, just in a different way. I’ll remind myself of that as I figure out what my “never the same but equally good in a different way” life looks like now—with glee!