tried to tell you, really I did. Back when you couldn’t get together with your
girlfriends for the hundred-and-tenth time because you had to do the soccer
carpool and take Emma to jiu-jitsu. And afterwards, to her ballet classes. And
you had to get Elliot to his violin lesson, after you picked him up from his
Little League coaching session and math tutoring. I tried to tell you that you
needed a little more balance in your life. That whether or not you enrolled your
preschooler in 19 different enrichment classes would have little
to do with whether he ends up at Harvard. I tried to tell you that kids
need to be bored sometimes (a lot) so they can use their own imaginations to
entertain themselves. I really, really tried to tell you to keep enjoying your
own life with your own friends, to keep your spousal relationship fed and
watered, to make sure you don’t center your entire life around your children.
you’re one of those moms who have spent the last 18 years or so
scheduling, orchestrating or otherwise supervising your child’s every waking
moment, you may be in for a shock when the reason for your very existence is
suddenly absent. Welcome to your newly empty nest! Now, it’s time to get
yourself a Life, in case you haven’t taken care of that little bit of business
I'm not saying you'll be absent of feelings when you realize there’s an empty room
free of stinky socks on the floor. And it’s
true, you will no longer be able to watch the Twilight movies and pretend
that it’s really your daughter who forced you into it.
Cry, wring your hands, keen, whimper. Then you might start getting busy remaking your child’s old room into a yoga studio, or a crafts-and-napping den.
a transition. You’re beginning your next chapter. I’m not saying it should be
an emotion-free transition—of course you should indulge whatever emotions that may arise. Cry, wring
your hands, keen, whimper. Then you might start getting busy remaking your
child’s old room into a yoga studio, or a crafts-and-napping den. That should
cheer you right up!
are trips to plan, books to read, puttering to do. Or maybe you want to go back
to school yourself (preferably not the same one your child is attending), or
take some cooking classes, or finally write that novel, or learn how to sail a
boat. You might have time to reacquaint yourself with some old friends, or make
some new ones. Find work you love, or volunteer. Rediscover your spouse, just
in case he got left by the wayside while you were busy scheduling playdates. Rediscover yourself, while you’re at it. Throw out the
mom jeans. Take some hula lessons.
good thing it’ll be for your kids to come home on a college break and find that
their mom is busy and engaged. And by the way, they will be back, and before
you know it. For winter break, summer break and possibly for good, once they
graduate. So enjoy these next few years. Do your best to suppress the urge to
rent an apartment near your child’s dorm. A house free of children does not
mean a house free of fun. Now, go have some.