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10 Fun Things A Single Parent Transitioning To The Empty Nest Can Do

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I mentioned in a previous post that in a few years, I will be going through my empty nest years.  I’ve been divorced 12 years and never thought I’d be going through those years on my own. While I love my daughter with everything in me, I know that it’s inevitable that she will be moving out and starting to live her own life. Which, that makes me happy, knowing that she will be happy with whatever she chooses to do in life.

I know that I am not the only single parent who feels this way. Most of all, parents in general, single or married, what their children happy. But, with single parents, we go from a home with children, to a home by ourselves. Since I only have a few more years, I started thinking, what ways can I keep myself interested in doing things and not getting sucked into the abyss of home and letting life slip by me even further.

Here are 10 fun things that I’ve found for us single parents can do when we’re “all by myseeellfff”:

  • Redecorate or Downsize – If you own your home, or rent an apartment, but plan to stay there forever or a longer undetermined time, either redecorate, or start the process of becoming a minimalist. When it’s just you, home decor can remind you of the ghosts of Christmas pasts. Your home is filled with things that you may not need anymore. When it’s just you, this will be the best time to decide what you want to keep, going forward. While you may entertain friends or family for a dinner party, do you really need those two or three huge crock-pots?

  • Nights out/in – Most of all, it’s important to keep up with your friends and family. Plan nights out with your friends or family either weekly or bi-weekly. Dinner, drinks out, happy hour after work. For nights in, do alternate weeks at a different home. Each friend or family hosting that nights festivities.
  • Get a pet – If you are a natural caretaker and you love animals, get a pet.  But, one thing to keep in mind, if you’re not always home, it’s not in an animals best interest to have a home with someone who isn’t around much. If you want to travel more, a pet is not in their best interest either. But, you can volunteer at a pet shelter. Walk dogs for a few hours each week, cuddle pets, or find a location near you and cuddle babies that have been abandoned or put up for adoption.

  • Join a local meet-up group – These groups are great!  There are groups for all interests. Outdoor meetups for hiking. Book clubs, investor groups and many more. You get to meet new people and have nights out.
  • Music and Movies – With most of this post promoting time away from home, it is okay to have nights home. Listen to music and dance around in your underwear. I’m not talking Risky Business with a room full of people. Well, unless y’all are into that. No judgments here! LOL. Watch Netflix all weekend. You can get a good 16 – 18 hours of non-stop movies on Saturday and Sunday. Depending on how much sleep you need :).

  • Take a class – Something you wanted to learn? Dancing, Karate, Kick Boxing?  Go for it! This is another activity where you can meet new people too. Never a bad thing!
  • Take a vacation – You raised a child. You spent the last 18 – 25 years getting your kiddo ready for the real world, seems like you deserve to take time and go somewhere.  So, either go with friends or family, or if they can’t join you, you may be able to join a travel tour group and go with them.  I will stipulate, find a  REPUTABLE travel tour group.  Safety first. Isn’t that what we taught our kids?

  • Host a weekend sleepover – Have a few friends over for the weekend. Make up a room for them. Provide guest room supplies for them for their showers and anything else to make them comfortable. They may be friends, but this is a great way to enhance your hosting skills.
  • Start or complete your bucket list – If you haven’t started a bucket list yet, you must do this!  List all the things you have wanted to do. Check out my Bucket List.
  • Volunteer – There are many volunteer opportunities everywhere. Find one that speaks to you.

I’m not saying it’s going to be an easy transition. It will be hard. How many of us remember what our lives were before kids? I don’t! Going into the empty nest years is actually a little daunting.

And don’t be afraid your kids will feel some kind of way that you’re having a great time without them there.  In the end, they want the same thing for you, that you want for them. They want you to be happy. And any of the list above? Feel free to ask your kids to join you! They are at a new phase in their lives too. Get to know the new them starting out and with you in your empty nest years, they can see the non-parent side. May be able to view you as a friend. They know you on the one level, due to the need to survive their childhood and teen years, you couldn’t be their friend.

If you’ve already started your empty nest years, what suggestions or tips would you share?

Disclaimer: I am an Amazon Affiliate and this post contains links with my affiliate id.

67 Comments

  1. robin masshole mommy

    Once our kids are gone, my hubby and I plan on relocating to San Diego. I think at least one of the kids will be joining us, too 😉

    Reply
  2. Nikka Shae

    My goodness you have some great topics listed. My last three are in high school and come 2020 that’s it. My husband and I will downsize and travel more. We have a plan!!
    Nikka Shae recently posted…You’ve Gotta Try BurgerFi’s Limited-Time Grilled Cheese Burger Melt… Like, Now!My Profile

    Reply
  3. Heidi Dee

    This evening are some great tips! My son is 3, so I have a bit before I will have to plan for this!

    Reply
  4. candy

    My dear friend is going through this. She threw herself into doing service for other people. Volunteering and giving back keeps her busy and feeling good.

    Reply
  5. Alli Smith

    My husband and I became empty nesters this year. It was a little weird at first, but we are slowly getting in the groove. I’m in the process of downsizing and getting rid of all the things I don’t use.

    Reply
  6. Angelic Sinova

    These are great tips for parents who will have an empty nest too! When my sister and I went to college, my mom turned our rooms into storage rooms and now that we’ve both graduated college those rooms store a lot of our college/dorm stuff.

    Reply
  7. Christy Maurer

    I’m not looking forward to those days, though I spend a lot of my days empty nesting now. Both kids are in college though they do commute. I love these ideas you shared. One thing I am looking forward to is the downsizing. They’ve accumulated SO much!
    Christy Maurer recently posted…4 Ways To Live In The Moment In 2017My Profile

    Reply
  8. Pam Wattenbarger

    Becoming an empty-nester is really emotional. However, it has definitely got me started on my bucket list and let me travel more.

    Reply
  9. Claudia Krusch

    Redecorating is a great way to change things up. My friend is just becoming an empty nester and she has been purging the closets.

    Reply
  10. Agnes

    My parent recently became empty nesters. Not sure what they are planning to do with all the house for just 2 people, probably moving in the works.

    Reply
  11. Andera Broom

    Loved this post. Nights in with friends AWESOME. Oh and joining local groups. I’m gonna have to apply this now when I move next week. Thanks.

    Reply
  12. ricci

    These are all great tips for after going through a life change. I am single and love being able to do whatever to my space. Great post

    Reply
  13. Annemarie LeBlanc

    Me and my husband are in our peri-empty nest stage. The children are all grown, one is married and the two younger ones are gainfully employed but still living with us. I know soon the time will come when they will want to spread their wings. Our first step would probably to downsize and move to a smaller, more functional, low maintenance house.

    Reply
  14. michele d

    I have many years left before I’m an empty nester. Downsizing would be the first thing I do. These are great tips. Thank you for sharing them.

    Reply
  15. Rebecca Swenor

    These are great tips for a single partent transitioning to the empty nest. It is so hard when the kids leave and you are a single partent after taking care of them for so long. A pet is a great idea along with downsizing. Thanks for sharing the tips.

    Reply
  16. Jenn @ EngineerMommy

    These are great tips for parents about to become empty nesters. Iwill share this post with a friend who will be an empty nester in a few months!

    Reply
  17. Chubskulit Rose

    These are great tips! I have two tweens and it won’t be long till my husband and I will wake up in an empty nest someday. Gladly, we have two dogs and hopefully they live longer.
    Chubskulit Rose recently posted…Birthday and a Travel PlanMy Profile

    Reply
  18. Kita Bryant

    These are a lot of really good ideas! I never even thought about taking a class of some sort, Very nice!

    Reply
  19. Mimi Green

    This list is a great start for sure. I say I can’t wait until the kids are gone but the truth is they give our home that warm and fuzzy feeling that I adore. I wouldn’t even know what to do with myself.

    Reply
    1. Jacqui (Post author)

      That’s how I feel too! LOL. Right now my daughter is with me every other week, so I have that week “off”. But, miss her like crazy!

      Reply
  20. Marielle Altenor

    I don’t know if I will ever be ready to be an empty nester. I’ve never been along before, so I’m hoping that when I do transition, that I’m with my partner.
    Marielle Altenor recently posted…Declutter Your Space With Me: Join The Facebook GroupMy Profile

    Reply
  21. Ana De- Jesus

    I agree, I am not a parent but I am single and it is nice to be able to do things on a whim and not have to check in with anyone. A well thought out post xx

    Reply
  22. karen

    A pet is a good idea for any day- any time, in my opinion! But redecorating is also a nice way to update the space and feel the new vibe in the home.

    Reply
  23. Lydia Monson

    Love love love all these tips! I’m not the mom, but the kid in this case. I’ll be moving out next year with my lab and my parents will finally be in the empty nest stages (I’m the youngest of 4, who have all moved out). They’re thinking of getting another lab to keep them company 🙂

    xo, Lydia | wheretheprettythingsare.co

    Reply
    1. Jacqui (Post author)

      I’m glad you responded to this! The latter part of my post, I say, don’t worry about the kids, they want you to be happy… As you are the last of the kids leaving the nest, how would you feel about your parents taking vacations they may not necessarily have taken with you and your siblings? Alaskan Cruise, Trip to Paris as an example? Or, turning your rooms into a fitness room or craft room?

      Reply
  24. CoCo

    My parents need this! My younger brother will be going to college towards the end of the year and have already asked what they are going to do without any kids in the house!

    Reply
  25. Adrienne Carter

    I need to pass this along to my mom!!! She has been an empty nester for a couple years but still I think these are great ideas for her! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  26. Jessi

    I am no where close to having an empty nest yet. My baby is 4 months and oldest is almost 4. My mother was a single parent for a very long time and I have the most respect in the world for single moms.

    Reply
  27. Nicola

    Just one addition…be ready for your kids to move back in! I moved out of home three times before I eventually left for good! I have a funny feeling my kids will want to stay at home forever (arghh!). Enjoy your ‘you time’ you have earned it!

    Reply
    1. Jacqui (Post author)

      Nicola, that’s funny you say that! My daughter and I were shopping one day. She wanted to buy Christmas lights for her bedroom. Then she was like, “Well, I REALLY want those lights that you just click a button and they change color. See? What do you think?” So, I told her that while they were cute and it would be nice to change the color to suit what you want, they were $18 more than the 50% off lights at Walmart… She looks at me and replies, “And THIS is why I am NEVER moving out. I’ll be broke and won’t be able to afford my bills!” LOL. I just rolled my eyes and laughed at her. Then told her when she gets a job, my rule is, she has to put 20% of her paycheck into savings for just that reason. Because she’s not coming home! LOL. She knows I kid 🙂

      Reply
  28. Heather L.

    While I’m not a single parent, I am getting ready to enter the empty nest phase of life with my husband. It’s definitely going to be a huge transition. Dogs make wonderful traveling companions depending on the type of traveling that you are doing. I’m glad they will be around to keep me company.

    Reply
    1. Jacqui (Post author)

      In the beginning, I want to just travel the country and work from the road. Find one RV Park or boondocking location to the the next every few weeks or a month. I have my cat, so I’m not entirely sure how she’s going to cope. She’s a temperamental little thing!

      Reply
  29. Rose Sahetapy

    Keep busy doing activities are great ways to deal with this empty nest period. I’m not at this stage, but I understand the feeling separate far from our love ones based from my own experience, so I agree these tips are a great way to fill this empty nest period.
    Rose Sahetapy recently posted…Valentine fruit affairMy Profile

    Reply
  30. Alyssa Ruane

    My mom definitely got hit hard with being an empty nester! I think it’s definitely smart to downsize and travel more, especially since you’ll have less expenses!

    Reply
  31. Janel Berchielli

    I can totally relate. My kids are 21 and 13, both live at home though. I sometimes feel empty nest syndrome with no littles anymore.

    Reply
    1. Jacqui (Post author)

      I can understand that! The older they get, the less they need you. My daughters best friend just got her driver’s license. I may as well have an empty nest now! LOL

      Reply
  32. Joanna @ Everyday Made Fresh

    All great tips! I don’t even want to think about this. My oldest daughter starts college next year, luckily in the same town, and will continue to live with us. My youngest daughter is only 11 so we have a ways to go, thankfully.

    Reply
  33. Jalisa Harris

    I’m a long way from this but I kind of started lol. I have joined some local groups. My husband and I moved back to his hometown and I know no one other than has family. So I decided to join meetup. They offer online groups for virtually anything.

    Reply
  34. Lindsey Paris

    I agree with a pet. I’m not myself if I don’t have four paws around the house. My latest addition, who has been with us for nearly 5 years now, was a rescue kitty!

    Reply
  35. Tara

    Oh man I am dreading these days and they will get here much sooner than I expect. Great ideas for helping the transition though!

    Reply
  36. Catherine

    I still have a long time before I’ll have an empty nest but I love this list! I love the idea of redecorating, meeting new friends and discovering new places and faces and not letting the “empty nest” get them down.

    Reply
  37. Maureen @Scoops of Joy

    These are all great tips! From one single mom to another, thank you for putting up this list. While my son is only 10 years old, I can’t imagine when the time comes when he’s off to college. But I plan to enjoy every moments we have and I will definitely fill the empty nest times with these fun things you have listed.

    Reply
  38. Debra

    I am transitions right now from kids at home all day to kids at school and I don’t love it. I try to stay busy though, then it keeps my mind off of it. I’m not a empty nester yet but I can imagine it will be much the same then, I just will have to stay busy a lot longer!

    Reply
  39. Michelle Mink

    These are great suggestions. I know how heartbreaking it can be when our loved ones move out. But what I love about this list is that it encourages activities that give you something to look forward to.

    Reply
  40. Brandi with Big Fit Fam

    My empty nest is far away but i still fear that day and how my brain will wrap around it! It seems like you have a pretty good handle on where to start!
    Brandi with Big Fit Fam recently posted…A Glimpse Into Our Child’s SurgeryMy Profile

    Reply
  41. Tereza

    This is such an interesting read – my parents got totally excited when I left when I was 18. My room turned into a library way too quick for my liking hahah bless them! x

    Reply
  42. Cara(@StylishGeek)

    Love your post! I will be an empty nester a few years from now, but even now when my daughter is in her teen years I see my weekends a lot more open because she is spending more time with her friends. My hubby and I often talk about what happens when she goes off to college. I think we will definitely do some of the ideas you suggested.

    Reply
  43. Rachel @ Kitchen Cents

    This was an interesting post for me. I’m a parent of young kids and can’t even imagine a quiet house right now. LOL

    Reply
  44. Charlotte

    Some fantastic ideas! isn’t it funny, we encourage the kids to be independant and lead their own lives and then we forget about how we are going to feel! haha.
    Charlotte recently posted…Tips For Studying with a ToddlerMy Profile

    Reply
  45. Reesa Lewandowski

    I should send this to my mom. With all of us gone and my dad at work all day she is very bored!

    Reply
  46. Krystel @ Planning The Magic

    These are super great ideas. This is an important journey that a lot of people don’t think about. These are great tips

    Reply
  47. Amber Nelson

    I’m not a single parent, however i really am not looking forward to empty nesting. Our three kids keep us so busy so it will be hard to imagine life without them at home.
    Amber Nelson recently posted…Best Finance Apps of 2016My Profile

    Reply
  48. Jennifer (JenuineMom)

    These all sound like great ideas! I particularly like the suggestion to get a pet. They can bring such joy into our lives!!

    Reply
  49. Amanda Love

    It’s going to be a few years before I experience this but it’s good to have some ideas on what to do next when the kids are all gone, building lives of their own. I think it would be nice to downsize and live in a smaller home that’s easier to maintain. Getting pets are awesome too!

    Reply
  50. Courteney Noonan

    These are such lovely tips! I’m going to pass this on to my friends who I think could use it 🙂 great post x

    Reply
  51. Kecia

    Having an empty nest is something I don’t have to look forward to for several years. My kids are still little but I’m sure they will grow and out before I know it!

    Reply
  52. Rachel Catherine

    I can’t imagine how different this transition is. I think these are wonderful tips though for a time that a lot of people struggle with.

    Reply
  53. Angela Ricardo

    As a military wife who could barely handle her busy schedule I am truly glad I came across your helpful post. Those tips were very incredible. Make the most out if it and let them feel that you are still there on their new phase of their life. Instead of being alone and lonely, be productive!

    Reply
  54. HilLesha

    These are good ideas! It will be years before I have an empty nest, but I’m not sure if it’s something I’m really looking forward to. 🙁

    Reply
  55. Brittany

    I love the idea of redecorating. You can throw out your old stuff and start fresh. It would feel so refreshing to make your new house something for you.

    Reply
  56. Chelsea Damon

    I would love to redecorate after my kids leave the house! While they’re young it seems I only have time for damage control haha.

    Reply
    1. Jacqui (Post author)

      So true! LOL

      Reply
  57. katriza

    I love the idea of getting an animal! i also would volunteer as well, it’s always good to feel helpful! these are some great suggestions and although this is a long time from now for me, i feel the same way about having my boys leave me. it will be a bitter sweet moment!

    Reply
  58. Tabitha Shakespeare

    These are great tips! My daughter is only 1 so I have quite a bit of time before Ill need to use them but it’s always good to read!

    Reply
  59. Robin Rue

    I don’t know what I am going to do when the time finally comes for an empty nest. Getting a pet sounds like a great idea!

    Reply
  60. Krystle Cook

    These are all really great ideas! There are so many things that you could do. I think I would definitely redecorate and make the space my own.

    Reply
  61. Tasha

    I have a while to go before I start my empty nest stage but I absolutely dread it! I can’t imagine my babies no longer living with me, LOL!

    Reply

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