Thursday, September 18, 2008

Adjusting to the Empty Nest

Here is my first published article on the Blissful Family Channel of Blissfully Domestic. If you click on the large title (this seems to work on our PC but not always on our Mac) you can see how it looks in the online magazine!

September 18th, 2008 by Bonnie

Few people experience the empty nest in quite the same way my husband and I did. Our children are all three years apart in age. In 1997 we had three big weddings in four months; something no parent expects! Not only that but within that year I turned fifty, and had a hysterectomy, so you can imagine the state of my hormones and emotions at that time. I was so unprepared for the immediate empty nest. It was a time of many mixed emotions and I never thought the day would actually come. It was a wonderful time in so many ways and we were so fortunate to get three wonderful new adult children. I just wish we had thought ahead more to that moment in time that most assuredly would and did come.

It didn’t take long to realize how much our roles as their parents changed when they got married. These are some things we did right away to ease into the transition.

We created a mission statement as a couple to clarify our goals and expectations of our new roles:

  • We wanted to maintain the closeness we had and to include their spouses as equals in a real way in the family. We made every effort to make them feel loved and special to us. We got rid of the “in-law” designation.
  • We decided that our role would be one of love and support. We realized how difficult the first years of marriage are and didn’t want to be a part of the problem of their adjustment.
  • We made an effort to know the families of our new adult children and to support their relationships with their own families. We had a desire to be one big family rather than having a his and hers designation, that made them feel like they were being pulled in two directions. This helped so much when the grandchildren started to come along.
  • We made a conscious decision to give advice only when asked. We became good at biting our tongues! We were no longer the directors of their lives but consultants on call.
  • We encouraged good relationships between our married children so they would all want their children to know and love their cousins, aunts and uncles.
  • We have made a concerted effort to be the glue in the family.

A happy Grandpa with 8 of the 10!

These things do not just happen without planning and effort. These few goals have made a big difference in how the last 11 years have gone. It helped lay a foundation for the best thing in life yet…being Grandma and Grandpa to 10 beautiful little kids!

Bonnie will be posting about grandparenting and the parenting of adult children in future posts. She loves blogging and uses it as a tool to keep her family united. She also writes about interior decorating on the Home and Garden Channel. Coming soon~ her redesigned blog.


Laura said...

That is so wonderful and inspiring. What great parents and grandparents you are. Your lucky family!!!

Ralphie said...

Oh, my gosh, I want to be you when I grow up!

Bonnie said...

Missy said, "That is really exciting! You should be excited and we're glad you shared it with us! Keep sharin' them.

We're glad you're back and that you had a safe and memorable trip with Uncle Steve."


Bonnie said...

Jen Said,

"No way! It's awesome!"