Got a problem? Search the internet. Need help? Surf the web. Want to know how to cut a pineapple? Check out cyber world. Just out of curiosity, I recently googled “How to cope with empty nest syndrome.”
Some sites could be helpful, some simply amused the giggles out of me. I thought I’d share some ideas I gleaned from http://www.howcast.com/. The site’s suggestions are in quotes. I’ve just inserted my snide little attempts at humor in blue parenthesis.
“Don’t know what to do with yourself now that the kids are gone?” (You too can learn “How to Deal With the Empty Nest” if you just follow these 7 easy steps, said in my best infomercial voice!)
Step 1: “Look at the bright side.” (Okay I can look on the bright side, let me count the ways:
1. No more mounds of dirty laundry morphing into monsters we must contain by trying to shove the laundry room door closed and nailing it shut.
2. No more stinky, smelly athletic gear growing flora and fauna in bedrooms, garage, basement, kitchen floor, car trunks, and anywhere else you look.
3. No more tripping over backpacks, sports bags, nursing bags, lunch bags, and more shoes than Imelda Marcos had.
4. More hours of sleep at night; no more waiting for someone to get home safely in the wee hours of the morning and then hearing, “Why were you worrying about me, it’s only 3 a.m.!”
5. Lower electric and water bills since no one is taking 30 minute showers, running hair dryers, TVs, computers and turning all the lights on in the house all at the same time.
6. Lower grocery bills and cleaner refrigerator, pantry shelves, dishwasher, washing machine, bedrooms, bathrooms, and house in general. The eating machines can devour their own food now and trash up their own house AND clean out their own hair from the shower drain!
7. No more marathon back-to-school shopping/spending trips. No more managing a loaded to the hilt shopping cart with more school supplies and clothes than I used in 10 years when I was a kid around crowded aisles of harried parents and screaming children? Hallelujah, I’m free at last!
8. Lower car insurance and gasoline bills, fewer miles and wear and tear on our cars. No more “Um, I let Tommy drive our car and there’s this little scrape on it now.”
9. Lower cell phone bills. No more frantic “Have you seen my cell phone charger?” searches.
10. No more college tuition bills!!! Looks like the bright side to me because my checkbook balance is definitely brighter already!)
“Look at this as the beginning of a new chapter of your life, one that allows you to be more self-indulgent.” (Be MORE self-indulgent? After 28 years of parenting, what mom has ever BEEN self-indulgent?)
Step 2: “Give your child space. Resist the urge to cope with your feelings by nagging or making them feel guilty about leaving. Don’t take advantage of their potential homesickness by suggesting they move back.” (Excuse me, isn’t it every parents’ job to nag their children and make them feel guilty?? Yeah, I’m gonna stopthat one. [sarcasm])
Step 3: Put yourself first. Make yourself your next project…” (Oh, I’m a PROJECT all right… moving on!) “…those who do, handle the transition better than parents who transfer all their attention to their spouse.” (Um, focus on yourself instead of giving attention to your spouse. Yeah sure, THAT’s a sound path of advice to take and probably the road to divorce court!)
“Tip: Don’t do anything rash in the first few months, like sell your house.” (Isn’t that what everyone expects us to do when they ask, “What are you going to do with that big house now your kids are gone?” The best reply we’ve come up with so far is “Live in it, duh!” If you have a better comeback for us, please feel free to comment.)
Step 4: “Do some soul-searching. Think back to dreams and goals you postponed when you become a parent. Now might be a good time to resurrect some of them.” (Uh-huh, and now might be a good time to resurrect a new BODY capable of physically accomplishing those dreams of sky-diving and goals of running a marathon in record time.)
Step 5: “Get a hobby. Take up a new hobby or sport. If you’re married, consider one you can do with your spouse. (Depends on the hobby or sport I say. The youtube clip below reminds us why taking up a new sport might not be the greatest idea!)
Tip: “Don’t panic if you and your spouse don’t seem to know what to talk about now that the kids are gone. This is extremely common, and most often temporary.” (THAT’S because the majority of our discussions for the last almost 30 years have been about the kids!)
Step 6: “Reach out to family members.” (Good idea if your family members aren’t older than you, retired, and living it up in Vegas!) “Reconnect with family and friends, especially if you are a single parent now living alone.”
Tip: “If you have pets, give them some TLC. Veterinarians say the abrupt absence of a child is difficult on them, too.” (Oh good grief, NOW I not only have to worry about myself being depressed but my cat too? Next you’ll suggest taking her to the kitty psychologist because she’s just not feeling like her “purr-fect” old self.)
Step 7: “Get help. If you are still feeling extreme sadness after six months, consider getting professional help.” (In other words, if you haven’t figured out yet that the money you save after the kids move out can be used for fun, fun, fun, then why not spend that extra money on therapy?)
Thanks, but I think I’ll figure this one out on my own. Just humor me!