Anticipate the Empty Nest

The sand in my youngest’s daughter’s homeschool hourglass is swiftly running through the hole as she is busy preparing for her final year of homeschooling and I know that my years as a homeschool mom are fast coming to an end.  I pray that we will end it properly, for her, but more importantly, well for me.

Because she has studied independently for several years now, she freed me up to start to follow my own interests, hobbies and work while I am still available in the study with her while she works.

Steven Lambert wrote in Life After Homeschool on Five In A Row Facebook page,

These days are long, but the years are short. The homeschool years go by so quickly. Empty nesting is a challenge for EVERY mother. 

As each child leaves, they take with them their special and unique personalities and life in the home shifts and changes.   I hope that I will transition into my new season of child-free-home motherhood without the distress that I experienced when my older two daughters graduated and moved out and started their own lives.

When they both left home straight after their respective graduations, I recognized that much of my identity and purpose was wrapped up in my role as their homeschool mom and I floundered emotionally for a while.

But if I had paid attention, the shift into not being “needed” or “wanted” had started much earlier.  In episodes where my first teenager pushed away from me and my “help”, my idealistic motherhood ideals and expectations were shattered.  I  lost perspective and I cried before the Lord and eventually surrendered my ideals and began to trust Him for an upgrade in my relationship with my daughters.  I learnt to remain open and available in grace toward them.  I began to focus on their teenage loves, passions, interests and hobbies, and to champion and support them in their early entrepreneur endeavours. This subtle shift made it possible for my graduate daughters to move out into their independence without a huge wrench in my heart.  It felt right and natural, and I have always believed that to be a successful mother, I must work myself out of my job as a mom.

High school moms, may I encourage you to prepare your exit strategy as time and opportunities begin to present themselves in these final homeschool years.  Are there dreams you never took time to pursue? Did you love to paint? Sew? Write? Do you have a skill or passion? Take a class.  Share what you have learnt with others. Teach a class.  Mentor younger moms stuck deep in their trenches.  Be a Titus 2 woman.  Keep on learning, discovering, growing.

More importantly, work on your marriage and your relationship with your husband.  When I poured myself into my early years of homeschooling, I gave most of my energy to my young kids rather than into my marriage. My life pretty much revolved around my kids.  Now that the children are older and more independent, I started to rediscover and revitalize my relationship with my hubby and find renewed purpose and intimacy, especially as we both transition into the next phase and season of our lives.

It helps to shift one’s perspective, to anticipate the new open, free and quiet days as a wonderful blank canvas for new opportunities!  I may have an empty and quiet nest someday soon, but my days can be full of interests and activities that fulfil me and allow me to live out my gifting and passions in a new way.

My hope is the joy of ending well — to launch our last child into independent adulthood, freely— instead of mourning the stage of parenthood that is ending.  That is my prayer as I prepare my exit from my many years of homeschooling.

You can read another good article on having an exit strategy here.

Blessings to each of you in whatever transition you may find yourself, Nadene.

8 thoughts on “Anticipate the Empty Nest

    • Thanks, @Leanne. I remember watching and listening to those moms ahead of me in their homeschooling journey, thinking about how it would be for me when I approached those years. It really helps to have a “heads up” for some of those big transitions. Blessings!

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    • @Simple Days Making for Exciting Adventures, Isn’t it wonderful that we can sense the changes ahead and can start to think and pray, ponder and plan? I think that for many homeschool moms who have invested extremely heavily in their role as teacher, the empty nest change can be quite drastic. It helps to spend some time quietly considering one’s identity and role in this new season. Blessings to you in this time.

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  1. I am not quite at this stage yet, but have friends who are going through this now. It is such a comfort to me to have the advice and wisdom of those that have been through this stage of life and yes I am dreading it slightly when the time comes. Thank you for your lovely comment about my blog, I have posted my first post in three years today and am hoping that my life is such that I can do so more regularly than once every three years!

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    • @sustainablemum, I agree that it helps to observe those who are ahead of us in their journey to better anticipate and prepare for our own lives when we reach that point. Our motherhood and homeschooling seem to move through seasons and are often defined by our children’s ages and stages. It helps to ease the pressure off ourselves and to learn to love and accept our (and our children’s) current season. May you find joy in your blog writing and find ways to include time for this in the rhythm of your days. Blessings!

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