Parenting: Staying Sane When You Fill Up Your Empty Nest

Keeping it together when your kids move back home after college, or move back after living on their own for a time is hard. There are so many things to consider. Like, who will stay where, and what places they shouldn’t hang out. This is the first and foremost issue that must be dealt with. If you don’t have any separation between you and them, set some up. Like some sliding doors and some locks. Sounds crazy? I know. But, you’ll thank yourself over and over if you can do this right away before or when they move in.

If you share rooms like the kitchen and the laundry room you’ll have to make some rules so that each room functions as it did before. Keep these rules. If your kids don’t follow them right away give them a little time and gently tell them how important they are for a smooth running home. As strange as it sounds, you don’t want to step on any toes. The main reason is that you don’t want them stepping in the areas you’ve sectioned off for yourself.

After you get the placement and rules out of the way, you have to think about what they’re going to be doing while they’re there. Like get a job so they can get their own place. It’s up to them, but if they need a nudge give it to them. I feel lucky because my son who moved back home after getting his degree in architecture has had two jobs and his wife has one as well. I don’t need to tell him anything. He knows what he has to do.

And, in all of this I know what I want to do too. I was a stay-at-home mom until my son went off to school.I have always planned to pick up my career at this time. I already had my B.A. in Communication Arts and I wanted to build on that. I have managed to finish a Master’s program since my son’s been home. Now I’m getting ready to embark on another avenue in my career. I’m not going to let anything get in my way. I’ve waited 18 years for this. Now is my time.

I say all of this with the knowledge that my new daughter is getting a job and seeking my help with watching the baby. The only thing I know to do is to set up my own schedule. You know, stay with my granddaughter when it’s right for me. So that I can function like the career woman that I am.

When you’re doing something out of love it’s hard to say no. To stay sane though, when your kids move back in setting rules and boundaries is key. Having them achieve their goals is important. And, maintaining your personal plans will make you feel like you have a life too.

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