So, as I was complaining about all the “family” blogs being about children, I started to think about all the great things about “not” having children. When you are a parent, your whole life is built around your kids, from where you live to what you wear to what you eat. Your children affect every single decision you make. There is very little you do just for yourself. I’m not suggesting we wish our children’s childhoods away, but for you parents of young children, here’s what you can look forward to when they leave the nest. (These are not really in any particular order.)
#10 – You can make and eat whatever you want for dinner. That’s right, folks. You don’t have to find another interesting way to cook chicken or incorporate mac and cheese into your meal. In fact, you can eat only vegi’s for dinner or no vegi’s at all. It’s your call. And if you don’t want to cook dinner, you don’t have to. You can eat out if you want, or order take out, whatever floats your boat. And you don’t have to eat at any set time. No worrying about soccer practice or homework. Nope! Eat what you want, where you want, when you want.
#9 – Trade in the mini-van for a sports car. A convertible even. You don’t have to make sure there are child locks or outlandish safety features. And it doesn’t even have to have a backseat!
#8 – No more school shopping! No back to school specials, no notebooks, pens, papers, rulers, or backpacks. And you don’t have to buy school clothes, either.
#7 – And with all that money you just saved by not having to buy school supplies you can take a vacation…anywhere! An adult only resort perhaps?
#6 – Relocate – Move out of my children’s childhood home? You ask. That’s right. While my kids were still in high school my company offered me the opportunity to relocate. The thought of moving an entire family of four to another state (and they couldn’t confirm which state they would send me to) was just too daunting. But if that offer came along today, I would seriously consider it, especially if it were someplace warm.
#5 – And you don’t have to worry about the school district. Even if you are not relocating for work, was there ever a pretty little town you always wanted to live in, but the school system just wasn’t up to par? Well, now you don’t have to worry. When researching a new place to live, all you need to worry about is where you want to go.
#4 – The remote is yours! No more Nickelodeon, Disney Channel or MTV. You can watch all the sassy detective series or Hallmark specials you want. HGTV anyone? Now, if you are still married at this point, you may have to share with your spouse…or…get two TV’s! Problem solved. (Oh and this works with the music stations, too.)
#3 – Walk around the house naked. I know what you are thinking, but it’s really cool. Just think about it. No more finding that bathrobe in the middle of the night just to go to the bathroom or head to the frig for something to drink.
#2 – Reduced clutter. Okay, I can say in my house at least we still have ‘some’ clutter. But, no more dirty dishes showing up in the sink from out of no where, no dirty socks left on the stairs, or shoes left right in front of the door. No coats hanging over the kitchen chairs, no toys on the floor. The only person you have to pick up after is yourself…oh, and the aforementioned spouse.
#1 – Hang out with your friends. That’s right, people. Remember when you had friends and you would meet up at a club for drinks or to watch a local band? But don’t stop there, go dancing, see an R rated movie, or head out for a ski weekend. This not only is one of the best things about being an empty nester, it is essential. Having a good social network and staying busy is the best thing you can do for yourself, your spouse and your children.
So there you have it. My top ten list of great things about being an empty nester. I am sure I could add a lot more to the list. Oh, I miss my kids, but right now they are at that stage where they are off enjoying not living with mom. I know it works both ways. I also know that in a few years, they will start to miss what they had as kids (home cooked meals comes to mind) and they will start to make their way back into my life. And with luck, sometime in the future, I will have a brood of wonderful grandkids to play with.
For now, I figure I did my job as mom pretty well and I can now reap the benefits of having emotionally stable children who are happy on their own enjoying their own lives as single adults. And now I can enjoy mine.
What’s your favorite thing about being an empty nester or if you still have kids at home, what are some of the things you look forward to doing when they have moved out?