Post # 1
After a lot of discussion and internal debates… I have decided I am done having kids. My son is 18 and off to college in fall. My daughter is turning 12 this summer, and I have her 50% of the time due to shared custody. Same for step daughter who is also turning 12 this summer.
Additionally we’ve had a significant increase in household income due to my career change.
So now I’m in this weird place where I’m trying to imagine my child free future. I know I want to travel, a LOT. I will probably get some kind of volunteer job. Spend time with friends, be there for my kids, etc.
I worry about being bored after being a mom for my whole adult life. I raised my siblings and then I got pregnant at 18 and kicked out. All i knew for years was being a mother, and struggling. This life is not something I have ever known.
How do you spend your free time? Any tips?
Post # 2
I’m not in this position, but I know that my mom really struggled as an empty nester at first. She threw all of herself into myself and my siblings, was a Stay-At-Home Mom and admitted she felt a bit lost. She found several places to volunteer that made her feel really fulfilled, travels a ton (pre-covid, with plans waiting until things open up again) and is really involved in her church. I’m sure that you will find tons of things that make you feel happy and fulfilled! It just might take some time. Try to give yourself some grace -it’ll be a big life change!
Post # 3
- Wedding: January 1999 - Tacoma, WA
I can relate with you. I was my own mother by the time I was 5, raised my little brother,, moved out at 18, and was pregnant with my first child a few months later. I was a Stay-At-Home Mom until my kids were in high school. Being a mom was what I did.
Being an empty nester is AMAZING. I work full-time now, and my downtime is spent doing a ton of traveling, dating my husband (movies, lunches, dinners, weekends away), going to the gym, cooking, thrift-store shopping. I’m only 41, so when we retire in 10 years, I will probably volunteer at a library.
Post # 4
It helps to understand that you will eventually be in this position, no matter when you choose (or are forced to) stop having kids. I read a recent post from you about TTC for another one, and I guess you decided against it. If you successfully had another kid, this moment would’ve been delayed another 18-24 years, but the time would ultimately come.
I’m single and childless, but I’ve watched my family members transition to empty nests (my uncles and aunts). What they’ve done (at least pre-COVID) is lots of traveling, going to Broadway shows and other leisure pursuits, and they’ve kept up a very close relationship with my cousins. Just because they are no longer minors or live full time (if at all) with my uncles and aunts, they still go on trips and do other things together. This may not be the norm for everybody, but none of them feel lonely or bored.
Here’s the best advice I can give: you’ve sacrificed a lot of time for your kids. Now you will be able to do the kinds of things you’ve wanted to do and couldn’t do (or couldn’t do as much as you wanted).
Post # 5
I run or hike most days. I volunteer at an animal shelter. I read approx two books per week. I like hitting up breweries and wineries and will often plan weekend trips based on this. We play sand volleyball 2 to 3 nights a week between May and October.
Find a couple hobbies you enjoy and you’ll fill your time! Since you say you have really only known being a mother, give yourself time to figure out what you do enjoy.
Post # 6
My husband and I are CFBC. We sleep in on the weekends, maintain lists of books we want to read, and plan a weekend away every month. There are tons of places just outside our back door to explore. This weekend, we’re going to a botanical garden. We have four dogs who keep us entertained and happy. We spend time with family and friends. We walk three miles every weekday evening. I get four Home Chef meals per week and enjoy cooking for two. During dinner, we watch an episode of whatever TV show we’ve been enjoying.
We just… do what we want. Haha
Post # 7
Try classes you like the sound of- calligraphy, yoga, pottery, art, knitting etc. Look up events for the future and book them in advance. Get a club membership to your local swimming club or cinema group. Join a book club. If you want to meet people in a similar life stage as yourself you could try meetup.com and do activities you like the sound of. You could go back to school and get a degree in a subject you have always been interested in. You could do distance learning. You could start a business if you have an idea you’ve always thought would be a good business venture.
Post # 8
I don’t have kids and these are the main things I do aside from work:
- photography (I used to exhibit a lot, but I’m not interested in that anymore, now I just make work for me)
- stuff with my dog
- stuff with my horses
- going to concerts, plays, art shows
- going to nice dinners
- hanging out with my husband, talking for hours
Also – please do not be offended by this comparison! – when I lost my 14 year-old-dog last year, I was completely devastated. My heart felt crushed in a way I had never known. And I think part of it was that not only did I lose her, who I loved so much, I lost the life I had had for 14 years. My daily routine was no longer necessary. So many of the things I did that made me feel a sense of purpose, that gave me structure, that reliably brought me joy, were gone. It was *so* hard. It seemed like there was endless time to fill and I had no idea how to fill it. But eventually it filled up naturally and now I’m struggling to fit a puppy into my life again. So I think you will figure it out. As humans, we are typically wonderful at adapting without making a plan for it. It’s just how we are. But remember that it is okay to feel that loss of your former life – don’t pressure yourself.
Post # 9
I’m childless, but in a kind-of similar situation in that, due to a number of different changes in my life, I now have a lot more free time than I used to. This isn’t going to last long-term, but while it does, I’m taking the opportunity to learn some new skills/hobbies. I had been wanting to learn to paint for some time, but never had enough free moments, so this is what I am doing now
So if I were in your place, I’d start thinking about things that you’ve always wanted to try but never got round to. If nothing jumps out at you, then browse round to see what online options are available to you – and also check with any local libraries & community centres what courses they might offer once restrictions lift. Painting, drawing, photography, music, language learning…the list is pretty much endless!
I’d also think about volunteering – there are so many different things to volunteer for, something is bound to be a good fit with your interests.
Just be careful not to overcommit – pick things you can try out short-term, or add things in slowly, one at a time. I know loads of empty nesters and retirees who rushed round madly signing up for everything and then ended up far busier than before!