Empty Nest Over 50: How to Build a Fulfilling Life After Mothering Solo
Building a fulfilling life after mothering solo requires a change in mindset and a different set of motivation. It also requires you to take actions that create momentum so you can build a life as an empty nester.
If you become an empty nester while still married, your mindset will be different. You have the time now to do things as a couple. That is if you decide to stay together after the kids are out of the household. Some couples choose to split rather than work through whatever challenges they may have.
But if you are mothering solo, your mindset will be totally different. It may also be a bit of a challenge to switch from focusing on your kids to focusing on yourself. Especially if you hold the belief that your children always come first and you come last.
But what now? You now find yourself alone. Or you anticipate the kids will be out of the house soon.
Now you plan their exit. You decide what you want and start working on it. This exercise will require you to...
Change Your Mindset
Shifting focus from the needs of your children to mostly your needs is going to take a shift in mindset. You now need to be mindful that they are now or are going to be adults, living their own lives.
It doesn't mean you stop caring or loving them. It just means it's time to allow them the space to be adults. You did an amazing job in raising them. They'll remind you of that from time to time.
Now is the time for you to be an independent adult. You earned it!
Your change in mindset might take time so it helps if you can start thinking about your nest being empty while the kids are preparing to go to college or as they are approaching a certain age. The age threshold might be more difficult to ascertain if your child is not going to college or have shown no interest in moving out at 18 or 21.
But that's a discussion for you and your family. The important thing to realize is that one day soon, they will move out. You will have an empty nest. And you will be on your own.
You also have to understand that...
Recognize That Your Motivation Will Change
Once you are on your own, you will be forced to focus on your own needs. While you were mothering solo and up to this point, your primary motivation for doing anything was the needs of your children. You made decisions based on your desires for them.
Now your motivation needs to shift to what's best for you. And don't worry. Anything that's best for you will most likely be what's best for your adult kids. But I will address that in a bit.
What are your dreams and desires for yourself? What have you always wanted to do? Where did you want to travel? What did you want to learn about?
These and other questions you will ask yourself, are what will drive your new motivation.
Once you determine what you want it's time to write them down. Create a plan of action so you can get to my next point. You can use my "Goal Setting Strategy Checklist" to help you with this exercise.
By actively setting goals you will...
Build Momentum by Taking Action
Now that you have a written plan of action, start to act on them. If your goal was to travel to Asia. Start doing some research on the different countries. It's also important to write down your reason for visiting Asia. That will make narrowing down the country you want to visit less of a challenge.
Doing the research not only builds momentum but it also creates excitement and it starts to become possible.
Also, as I mentioned above your actions will benefit your adult kids. Because they will see that you are following your dreams and living your purpose. One of you continuing job as a parent of adult children is to lead by example.
You also want your kids to see mom is okay and there's no need to worry about your welfare.
The alternative to make goals and follow through is to sit around and do nothing. Unfortunately, your idle hands will find something to do. Or your empty mind will tempt you to meddle in your children's lives.
So avoid doing nothing and you may just avoid the prolonged effects of Empty Nest Syndrome.
When the nest is empty after mothering solo, you will need to change your mindset about parenting, refocus your motivation, and work on your goals so you can build momentum.
It might take time to make a full adjustment. Starting to prepare while they are still in high school will help. Small steps. Even just writing down your dreams and goals in a journal is a very useful exercise that can help you navigating being an over 50 empty nester after mother solo.
For more on my thoughts on being an over 50 empty nester after mothering solo, listen to Season 3 | Episode 14 of SoloMoms! Talk podcast.