My Emptying Nest

I’ve heard about the empty nest. That time in your parenting journey when you have your home to yourself. Your children are off, flying on their own, living their lives and you and maybe your partner can pat yourselves on the backs, toast your children’s successes, enjoy the freedom.

No one, however, told me about the phase of parenting I’m calling “The Emptying Nest”. That time in your life when slowly, one by one, your children become young adults, need you less and less or at least in different ways, and then…leave.

No one told me how much I would parent through text message.

No one told me how I would put out too many plates for dinner and how heavy my heart would feel when I needed to put one or two back.

No one told me how the sleepless nights would return. How I would lay awake many weekend nights listening for one daughter’s car to finally pull into the driveway while not knowing if my other daughter was safely back to her dorm room.

No one told me how quiet my house would suddenly be and how loud that silence would become.

I’ve heard about the benefits of having an empty nest. I would have more freedom and more time to do things for me again. But no one told me about the time just before that. When I would have one in college, one in high school and one still in elementary and how I would have to find a way to fit into all three of those worlds.

No one told me how lonely my youngest would become as her sisters had less and less time for her.

I knew parenting teens would be a challenge. Teaching them to drive, letting them push the limits of curfews, giving them permission to go to parties and other unsupervised social activities would be hard. I knew that. But no one told me how scared I would be.

I want my teens to have friends and to have fun. I want them to experiment with relationships and learn how to successfully problem solve and live independently. But I want them to be safe. I never want them hurt or worse. And no one told me how little control over their safety I would eventually have.

My nest is emptying. This is the goal we set as parents. We want our children to have happy successful lives and we want them to need us less and less. This is the goal.


No one told me how much I would miss them.

So I’m telling you.

2 thoughts on “My Emptying Nest

  1. How beautifully stated and cannot be overstated. Our roles change so much and it’s difficult to get used to.. thank you for sharing what your heart and so many others feel.. ❤️ I know I do. Time together is the most precious thing we have.


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