Empty nest syndrome
This week the staff and I have been emotional just discussing the topic of empty-nest syndrome. But I want to talk about this because I’ve had the pleasure of working with many empty-nesters who are sorting out their new identities and our sessions are helping them find new sides of themselves. It’s joyous, and also complex.
When our children grow up and out of our homes we can be immensely proud of their independence, but also feel lost at sea. Our entire lives revolved around a job that no longer exists and the loss of identity is distressing. I’ve seen videos of parents high-fiving when the last kid moves out, and that’s cute, but for most of us the change is difficult at best.
Honor the grief
I want to emphasize that part of self-love means accepting our sadness and honoring our grief by addressing it and not pushing it aside. It matters that we’re sad. It matters that we’re experiencing a loss. It matters that we are confused. Allowing space and time to grieve a loss (even a natural and healthy loss) is paramount to moving into a new and healthy life phase.
It is completely normal to feel a lot of grief when our motherhood takes a massive shift, but it’s also normal to experience some excitement. These emotions are not mutually exclusive. Both can be true and present at the same time. Considering this a time of discovery can help soothe the wounds our children’s absence has left behind. Our kids are out having all new life experiences, and we can do the same.
Redefine who you are now
Having an empty nest gives us the opportunity to try on some new roles, explore or revisit old passions and reintroduce ourselves to… ourselves! Instead of being paralyzed by the loss of identity, consider reframing anxious thoughts. For example, instead of saying, “I don’t know who I am anymore.” we might say, “I get to explore who I want to be now.”
What do we want to do? Who do we want to be? This is a great opportunity to break out and explore the world all over again, just like our children are. When my clients book a boudoir shoot, they are choosing to love themselves and explore new aspects of their bodies and personalities. They learn something new every time and it’s an honor to see growth happen right in front of my eyes.
Making the choice to give to yourself, after decades of giving to your children, can feel odd, but I believe it’s essential. Let me and my staff pamper you for an entire day.
You’ve worked hard, momma! You gave your children roots to grow and wings to fly and now it’s your turn to soar.
You can learn more about how to empower yourself in this new season in this blog post HERE.