About two years ago, while listening to a radio program on empty-nesting, it hit me–my husband and I only had five years before our daughter left for college. Five years to ground her in faith, five years to train responsibility, diligence, and all those other necessary traits she’ll need to succeed as an adult.
Five years to sit with her on the couch listening to her retell her day’s events.
And now we have three. It’s frightening and exciting. I dream of who she might become yet cling to the baby-girl she once was. Oy, no wonder we moms struggle with empty nesting! Parenting is a tough, beyond-full-time job. With all we must do on a daily basis from our child’s birth to college launch, it’s easy to lose sight of who we are. How can we find purpose when our primary role–the one that’s occupied the majority of our time for 18 years–changes?
I’m not there yet, so I can’t really speak with authority on this subject, but my friend, Eileen Rife, author of Second Chance, can. Today, she wants to help moms like me embrace each phase of our lives with hope, purpose, and vigor. (And she’s giving away a free copy of her novel! Woo-hoo! Details included at the end of this post.)
Three Ways to Prepare for Empty-nesting by Eileen Rife
Transitions in life require adjustment. Never is that more true than when the last child leaves home. Often parents, especially moms, wonder, Are my best days over? What’s next for me?
These are good questions that can lead to action steps. So, what can you do to prepare for the empty nest?
Foster a healthy, growing relationship with your husband.
This is vital, so that when you enter the empty nest season, you won’t be sitting across the table from your husband, thinking, Who is this guy? Investing in your marriage now will pay off down the road. I encourage couples to pencil in a weekly date night on the calendar, even if it simply means putting the kids to bed early and sitting on the sofa together with a bowl of popcorn.
My new release Second Chance highlights this throughout the story as Mave moves from suspicion about her husband, Jerry, to determination to love him. This tension plays out in often humorous ways, and one of them involves popcorn!
Develop a friendship with two or three trusted women.
Allow these gals to speak into your life as you grow older. In Second Chance, Mave doesn’t always appreciate what her friend, Trish, has to share. In fact, at times she’s downright jealous of the woman. But when all’s said and done, she respects her and values her input.
Know that God has a purpose for you in every season of life.
Begin now to foster your own interests apart from your family. Mine is writing, and the Lord has used this platform in my life to do what He’s put in my heart: Share His love and forgiveness with others. You may have to search for your purpose, but it’s there—some cause or people group that you’re passionate about. Mave discovers her purpose unexpectedly, but she then takes steps to pursue fulfilling that purpose.
Eileen Rife is the author of Second Chance, the poignant story of middle age, surprising friendships, and unexpected places. She and her husband, Chuck, conduct marriage seminars in the States and overseas. http://www.eileenrife.com, www.eileen-rife.blogspot.com, www.guardyourmarriage.com
Eileen’s giving away a copy of her latest release, Second Chance. There are five ways to be entered into the drawing. Leave a comment, join our discussion on Living by Grace, share this post on FB, tweet this link, or subscribe to this blog. Do all five and you’ll be entered five times. 🙂 But remember to let me know if you FB share or tweet this link.
Let’s talk about this!
Join us at Living by Grace as we talk about finding ourselves beneath our many hats.
Mave wants the life back in her marriage. Dareece just wants a life. Could they be the answer to each other’s dream? Mave Robertson, a recent empty nester, wants the fire back in her marriage, but her husband, Jerry, remains aloof. Is he having an affair? A midlife crisis? When a neighbor suggests she “get a life,” Mave accepts the challenge and volunteers at an inner-city teen ministry where she is thrown into a culture of drugs, gangs, and unwed teen moms. She soon discovers someone she can help, but might he also be the cure for both her stale marriage and her crumbling relationship with her father? Dareece Jackson, a teen from the projects, wants something in Mave’s purse…and he’ll stop at nothing to get it. A poignant story of middle age, surprising friendships, and unexpected places. Includes Bonus Feature: The 21-Day Romance Challenge.
“Gently unfolds the truth that sometimes the best is yet to come, from unexpected people, and places, and hearts.”-Sandra Byrd, author of To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn.
“Transcends race and reaches the extremes-from suburbia to the ghetto, from guilt over a loved one’s murder to a marriage gone dull. With a dash of humor for balance, Second Chance will speak to your heart, no matter your station in life.”-April W. Gardner, author of the Creek Country Saga; Sr. Editor of the literary site, Clash of the Titles.
“Transports readers into the worlds of two very diverse characters. With laughter, tears, and sighs, you’ll enjoy every turn of the page.”-Fay Lamb, author of Because of Me, Treble Heart Books.
“Approaches real-life issues with the gritty realism needed in today’s market. Refreshing and thought-provoking.”-Jennifer Slattery of Novel Reviews and Clash of the Titles.
“Lovingly crafted imagery and dialog will carry you into the lives of two families and show you what forgiveness really looks like.”-Lisa Lickel, author of Meander Scar.
Guideposts: Finding Hope in an Empty Nest
Thanks for hosting me today, Jennifer! My prayer is that no matter our season in life we will discover the Lord’s platform for extending His grace and glory into other lives.
Amen, Eileen! And thank you for the great reminder to keep our eyes focused on God and His will.
You hit on the areas I would suggest. Finding common things both you and your husband enjoy. Find a group of women to do things with. Have a hobby and ministry to keep yourself involved. Encourage your husband in the latter two, while keeping your marriage alive.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com
Very interesting post. Not going to be an empty nester for many years yet, but I can relate as my oldest prepares to leave for college in another year.
The book sounds very interesting.
Oh, one year! How exciting! Blessings to you and your oldest, Patricia.