Kids grow up and leave home. And sometimes, this stage of parenthood comes with a stigma of sadness. We often use the term “empty nesters,” but our lives should be anything but empty!
Connie Sokol shares her advice for how to love phase 2 parenting when it comes around.
Find Connie’s challenge on her website, www.conniesokol.com.
Embrace Phase 2 Parenting
Once the kids are gone, many moms think their best days are behind them. This is absolutely not true. You have a lifetime full of knowledge and resources, and now you can put it into this joyful, vibrant second half. After being in the throes of it for so long, the emptiness can feel a little jarring. But it’s a shift, a beautiful next step. It’s not something bad that happened, but an opportunity to nurture in a different way. Many women define themselves by the one role of motherhood. But there are so many other roles we have. We just need to embrace them. Here are three ways to make the transition into phase 2 parenting.
Acknowledge the Shift
Acknowledge that life has shifted, and shift with it. If you can’t do that, you’ll find yourself pushing back. Think of it as after all the years of raising your children, you get the mama paycheck. You are now perfectly poised to give and serve. You’re in a place where you can enjoy the fruits of who you are and of raising your kids.
Verbalize the Shift
Express yourself differently. Be able to say “I am a mature woman now, and I’m going to be more clear about who I am and what I want.” Verbalize this for yourself, and then for other people. They can help you make these transitions. Let them know what you need from them. A good formula for expressing your feelings is:
- I feel…unseen
- Because…I’m not heard when I use my voice.
- I’m willing to…be more specific and ask for what I want.
- I would appreciate…if you would validate that.
You’ve got 20, 30, 40 years ahead of you. What do you want to do with that? This second phase of parenting is not a death of the previous stage. Phase 2 parenting is when you are able to see those beautiful moments now. It’s up to you what you want to make of that. Listen to the nudge. Listen to the things your soul is stirring you to do. You’re going to be afraid, but that’s okay. There are beautiful days ahead. Wendy Nelson said, “You have something only you can do.” If you feel those stirrings, it might be because you’re not doing what you were meant to do.