I am a very happy empty nester! I have launched my three daughters, they are all three married, successfully employed (or intentionally not!), starting their families, acquiring homes, doing all the wonderful, exciting, joy-filled things that young people do. I have had a few years to revel in this stage and to share time with them and without them and to rediscover who I am as a woman separate from her children and separate from my identity as “Mom”.
The past few weeks have a new reality in my life. A couple of weeks ago I was taking care of three of my grandchildren while their parents were taking a well-deserved break. The last day I was babysitting I received a call from another daughter who was at my parents’ house. She had answered their call for help as my mother was experiencing a health challenge. My parents knew I was not available and had finally thought of calling my daughter who lives relatively close by. It all worked out ok, but I felt a new feeling that day. I felt the squeeze of helping my daughter by caring for her kids and at the same time handling details of the care of my aging parents from a distance. I wanted to be in both places at once, I wanted to support all these very important people in my life, and I did, in one way and another. But there was another truth that hit home after things settled down and that is the truth that I am not a young person anymore and I need to take care of myself also. My resources of energy are not as endless as they seemed to be when I was younger. I was exhausted. BUT I have learned a few tips along the way.
This is the most important tip. Talk to your parents about what they need and what you are available for and then talk with them about resources. Talk to your kids about what you are available for and what you need help with. Allow them to be part of the grandparent support team.
Identify Your Resources –
Who can help? Who will help? Who wants to help? Who can you rely on? What can you delegate to other people?
Make a plan –
After this last medical challenge, my parents and I sat down and developed a plan for what we would do in the future when I am going to be out of town. We have a list of people they will notify when I am going to be gone who have agreed to be available to support them if needed.
DO NOT try to do it all yourself.
I feel like I need to say this a few times in bold letters for all the Moms reading this. DO NOT TRY TO DO IT ALL YOURSELF. BECAUSE you don’t have to. You can be smart about this, and you can communicate, get support and make a plan before it’s needed.
Make Self-Care a priority
In order to care for others, you must first care for yourself. Rest, eat well, do what you need to do to make sure that you are well. Because that’s the best way to be ready and able to support those you love.
The Empty Nest Squeeze may be waiting around the next corner for you, but with some good awareness and intention, you can support all the people in your life and still get to enjoy the benefits and blessings of this third quarter of life.
After 30 plus in the business world Karen Herold considers herself a recovering CPA, finance and executive management business leader. She left her business career to pursue a master’s in transpersonal psychology followed soon thereafter by certification as a psychosynthesis life coach. She brings her wisdom and knowledge as a yoga teacher, creative expression arts facilitator, energy psychologist and a life transition coach to each coaching session. Karen is also a member of the faculty at Sofia University. Karen empowers and encourages her clients to embrace Transition as an Invitation to envision, create and manifest their next stage in life as one that is filled with Purpose, Meaning and Value. Karen is a contributing author to The Call of Self: Psychosynthesis Life Coaching, which is a journey to understanding transpersonally oriented life coaching where she shares her experience of the intersection of life coaching and volleyball coaching.
Karen is the mother of three adult daughters…all of whom she coached in club volleyball at one time or another. She is also grandmother to four young grandchildren and is recently married to her loving husband Chris.
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