How do you cheer yourself up when the last kid goes off ?

<p>My D ,18 has just left for 8 weeks abroad .Prior to leaving she was home for a week ,and it was fun running around , getting ready for her trip .I go to the gym 3-4 days a week ,and volunteer at the local ER 3 days a week . I really have no friends ,so I guess I should start there ,but all my kids are 18- 30 and out of the house so I don't see the moms anymore .It seems most women my age ( 57 ) are back at full time work .What options am I missing ?I don't want to work evenings and weekends ,and most part time jobs involve this .I have been home mostly for 25 years ,and substitute teach a few days a week .</p>

<p>My SIL says I need to book a trip to Europe about 2 weeks after final child departs. I suppose I will bring my hubby :stuck_out_tongue: , but a trip with the “girls” would also be fabulous.</p>

<p>My neighbor handles it by volunteering at our flagship university Raptor Center.</p>

<p>^^ I was just about to say that! You need to take a vacation alone. Europe sounds about right to me. Have you read the book, “Eat, Pray, Love”? I would love to experience that life for a while, except I have no need to ditch a great husband ;). Okay, so I haven’t actually been to Europe since 1987, and can’t afford it, but one can dream. Maybe something smaller scale, go to a women’s’ retreat! There’s an excellent place in NY called Kripalu (yoga, meditation, etc.). They have a retreat specifically geared towards the, “what do I do now…?” experience of women over 40. My kids are spaced apart in age like yours as well. My oldest is going to college this fall and my youngest is heading to Kindergarten (I have four). You are way ahead of me, but I already experience the sense that no one is quite living the same life as me. I can’t discuss college topics with my elementary school mom friends, and I can’t talk about picky eating or potty training with the HS moms. I live in two worlds at all times. It sounds to me like your worlds have finally become one actually. You no longer have any kids at home and only have adult children. That’s going to hugely impact the way you view yourself. That’s why I think a retreat, spa experience (with some spiritual aspect), something that allows you some soul searching, will help you make peace with the fact that your focus will now be on you.</p>

<p>Hey Faux–good for you for getting to the gym so often (which is my own particular goal – just can’t seem to get there…). </p>

<p>Have you thought about getting a dog? I think that would do it for me if all the kids were gone. It’s social too – you meet tons of people (with dogs) when you’re out walking them. Plus the unconditional love and affection is nice.</p>

<p>Yes , I am thinking about a dog .We had a Corgi when the kids were little ,but I ended up selling her to a good home as the kids lost interest in her .The problem is boarding when we travel .Many empty nesters get dogs as companions -I see women my age all the time walking dogs .</p>


<p>I tried to encourage my parent’s to get a dog! I was worried that with no kids at home clamoring for dinner they would just stay at work later, and I didn’t want them to be using work stress as a way to compensate for not having kids around. I figured if they had a dog, they would have a reason/need to leave work at a reasonable hour. </p>

<p>I lost the dog argument though because they decided that TRAVEL! was the cure for empty nest. And they didn’t want to workr abotu what to do wtih the dog when they were travelling.</p>

<p>Take classes. Look around and see what’s available. Our local art center offers tons of art classes, plus a yoga class. Our high school offers evening classes in languages, bridge playing, dance aerobics all aimed at adults. Our local Community College has even more offerings. Often the same group takes the same class year after year and becomes very friendly.</p>

<p>Volunteer. There are a million opportunities in every town. My mother works at the library bookstore every time she moves and meets people just like her.</p>

<p>Join a club. Garden Club, Junior League.</p>

<p>Get involved in local politics.</p>

<p>Find something you think needs fixing in your town and see whether you can raise the money to fix it.</p>

<p>Become self centered like your children. Enjoy the freedom to do what you want, when you want this summer. In two months you’ll be bound to her schedule once again, although on a visits home instead of daily routine. I want to get another dog since ours died nearly two years ago but the time isn’t right- we take off so often and kenneling a new dog just isn’t fair.</p>

<p>If you love to sing at all look into Sweet Adelines. Maybe theres a chorus near you. SA has 30,000 members, contests and is just life changing for many. So much fun! I actually joined to make some new friends–it’s been 15 years and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it!</p>

<p>I am not quite an empty nester yet and with just one daughter home who will be a senior next year and definitely doesn’t like me involved in her life, I am in a peculiar situation - too much time but almost always “on call.”</p>

<p>Try to find some things you always wanted to do - pottery, acting, martial arts, knitting, whatever and then look for a class to take.</p>

<p>I’ve started piano lessons (on a keyboard) which is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a child. I find I go up to my room and practice any chance I get, I love it so much. It also hurts my brain as my teacher, who is very fun, is trying to get me to learn theory which is killing me but I persevere.</p>

<p>I also have a few friends who are taking golf lessons. Their kids range from 5th grade to college but most of the conversations are relating to golf. I am trying to join them as well but so far that hasn’t worked out.</p>

<p>If you are going to the gym why not try working with a trainer for a few sessions and I’m sure he or she will know of a few women like you and maybe join group tennis or tae kwon do lessons, you’ll find women there.</p>

<p>I would also try to reconnect with some of the friends you had when your kids were in school - I’m certain there are more out there in your situation than you might think. That’s how I found out about the golf lessons.</p>

<p>It’s all a transition and takes time, don’t try to force it, allow yourself some time to morn and be lost but not too much time. Good luck!</p>

<p>I was supposed to need cheering up? </p>

<p>(I guess I’ll put another checkmark in the “bad mom” column). ;)</p>

<p>DH and I took a trip after dropping our youngest off at university, we needed a bit of time to have some routines just the two of us, before coming back to that empty house in which so many of our routines centered around DDs and their schedules.</p>

<p>Seek a way to create new connections with your spouse.</p>

<p>That doesn’t help you with the hobbies and interests, but it is still important.</p>

<p>What I have found difficult about finding new interests when your kids head to college is that you are budgeting for college so don’t have a a lot of discretionary income available to pursue new interests.</p>

<p>This won’t help you in the immediate few months, but early next year would be a great time to become very involved in someone’s political campaign. It doesn’t have to be national - it can be local - but you will meet some like-minded people.</p>

<p>There are some pretty interesting community college “continuing education” classes that don’t cost much.</p>

<p>In the last year before the nest empties, my wife teamed up with my son to gang up on me in lobbying for a dog last Christmas. Now I understand!</p>

<p>It’s a great dog, though. :)</p>

<p>I tried gardenning but that only keep me busy a few hours in the morning. Going to the gym everyday will occupy a few hours.
This is one reasons why my husband and I are still working. I had to remind him that retirement sounds good the first year but after that he has to put up with me 24/7 with an occasional bathroom break. As much as we like to spend time with each other, it can be too much some times.</p>

<p>Like mrsref, I don’t get the question. We’ve been fortunate to be able to embrace every phase of parenting. This beats the running-around-to-activities-spectating-at-little-league-games-checking-homework-baking-for-the-PTA years hands down. I love having them back, but … gosh.</p>

<p>Learn to play golf. :)</p>

<p>I had no need to cheer myself up. I am very happy with Ds achievements and finding her ways. Why there is a need to cheer up? They are not sick, they go to college, right? What am I missing? We forgot how to be a person with our own interests, jobs, spouse,…and know only how to be a parent? Is that an issue? Well, as busy as I was with my last kid, driving her everywhere after school until she got her license, going to out of town meets, vacations, shopping when she asked me too, I have never forgot that I am also an employee, wife, exercise for at least 1.5 hrs every day, have my own hobbies and various interests that are not always the same as my child’s. I had no need to cheer up, I was not sad, I was very happy for her and hoped that nothing bad happened, but if it does than I am a good listener, I have always offerred to hop in a car and just be there with her if she needed us. She has never went that far, but I heard few sobs here and there…but this is what family is for. </p>

<p>To fill time after work I got great new hobby, but I love to be busy, others are OK just watching TV and there is nothing wrong with that. Yet, third person likes to cook, shop, read, so they even do not need any new activity, better for them!!</p>

<p>I vote for the dog. It can be a pain when you travel, but you can find a good kennel or dog sitter. In the summer we usually find a college student to house sit and take care of our dog. A dog will offer constant companionship and bring life back into your house. Puppies are lot of work, but I think that you’d enjoy a new “baby.”</p>