No-Longer-Empty Nest: Making the Transition

My husband and I were empty-nesters for about a year. I was used to cooking smaller meals. I was enjoying the freedom to be more spontaneous with scheduling. Now, one of our flock, our youngest, is back for a few months. We have a no-longer-empty nest, and the transition was a bit of a challenge. Here are some things that helped me make the adjustment.

3 Essential tips for no longer empty nesters empty nest hearts

Treasure the Time in Your No-Longer-Empty Nest

First of all, we knew this was part of our son’s long-term plan. The way his military training for the Air National Guard worked out, this academic year of college was pretty much shot. If everything else works out as we hope, this might be the last time we have our son with us for an extended period of time. The larger meals and additional groceries are minor issues when I realize that it may be our last chance to have our son with us for an extended period of time. I keep telling myself that. He has a date of departure on the calendar, so this arrangement is not open-ended or indefinite.

Let Go of Some Old Routines

I have a tendency to hang on too long to some family routines that should have gone by the wayside. Here’s an example. Up until our youngest left for college, we had prayer together before bedtime. Am I the only mom who kept that up through the high school years? Of course, there were nights when he was too late arriving home to follow through with that, but we did pray before going to bed pretty consistently. When he arrived back home after basic training a couple of months ago, my husband gently asked me to allow our son to do his own thing before bed, rather than having family prayer. I was sad, but as I write this, I am cringing, wondering if everyone else will think I was weird for hanging on to that routine for so long.

no-longer-empty nest

Encourage Productivity

One thing I worried about before our son arrived back home was whether or not he would have enough to do to fill his schedule. Most of his friends are away from home, either in the military or in college. Would our son be bored out of his mind hanging around with old mom and dad? How would he use his time? Would he find ways to help around our property or get a job? Would we have to push him to help around the house or help with yardwork? Well, as it turned out, our son had a lot of plans for his time. Soon after he arrived home, we spent some time in no-pressure discussions, just getting a feel for the direction he wanted to go. We were greatly relieved to find that he had already thought of a way to earn extra cash and take some online classes through the university he had been attending. Thank you, Lord! My husband and I just encouraged him in his plans, offering suggestions if asked. Also, we prayed for wisdom!

What About You?

I feel as though my our family is still feeling our way through this new, temporary situation. We are making some fun memories and enjoying our time together, for the most part. It’s still been an adjustment, though. Do any of you have advice for me? What has worked well for you? I’d sure appreciate any wise words you might care to share. We can use all of the help we can get, and I value your input immensely. If this post has been helpful and you like what you have read today, please consider subscribing. Have a super week, and may you be able to treasure the time in your not-so-empty nest, if that is your situation.

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8 thoughts on “No-Longer-Empty Nest: Making the Transition”

  1. We call this the “boomerang” phenomenon. Both of our boys came back – a few times – and needed more than a gentle nudge to get back out there. In fact, we had to just about evict our younger son the second time he returned. I’m almost 50 and I LOVE being an empty nester…but I have nieces and nephews who are more than welcome to live with us while they’re in college!

    • Hannah,

      I love your phrase “boomerang phenomenon”! Thanks for taking the time to share your story. If I ever need to give any of our kids the nudge to get back out there, I will contact you for advice!


  2. I just love your positive approach..Thank you for sharing some great advice!

    • Holly,

      Thank you for your positive comment. I certainly don’t have all of the answers, but I’m happy to share my life situations with others if it helps anyone. Have a super week!


  3. I think you’re doing a great job! We had a similar situation. Our son finished 4 years in the Air Force and our daughter fulfilled her last 1 1/2 years of college living at home. We were blessed in that the kids enjoyed spending time with us, even with tasks like grocery shopping, they tagged along. For us, the rules remained the same. They were expected to help, and work. However, we would foot the bill to allow them to save their money. I am just a happier mom with my kids with me. Our experience was a great success. I wish you the same. Enjoy him while you have him.
    PS, Kudos to you for keeping up the nighttime prayer ritual.

    • Wendy,

      Thanks so much for your positive affirmations! I appreciate you taking the time to share your story. Thanks for the encouragement!


  4. My first and only child is putting pre-chewed bigs of apple in my mouth as I’m reading this. She hasn’t reached the age of 2 yet, and the idea of having her leave home one day is unimaginable… Maybe even a little unsettling! I should get back to you when she does 😉

    I can imagine that having one of your children back at home does change the dynamic… I think it’s really interesting how you described that hanging on to old traditions might be something to reconsider too! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Best, Nathalie

    • Nathalie,

      Oh, I remember those days when my kids were smaller. What is the saying? The days are long but the years are short. I never thought it would go by so quickly. Thanks for your positive comments, and have fun with your little one!



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