Having an Empty Nest ~ The Good, the Bad, & the Weird


Today I’m going to talk about my new life {so to say} as an empty nester.  My son left for college about 7 weeks ago, which you may have heard me mention a time or two!  It’s a strange new world & I thought I’d share a little about my {limited} experience in having an empty nest.  Maybe it will help someone in the same boat, but mostly it’s just therapeutic for me to write about it!  : )

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Senior Year

I always thought I would be okay with my son leaving & it wouldn’t affect me too much.  I’m a very independent person & I raised my son to be that way.  How hard could it be to watch him move on when that was the goal all along?  Harder than I expected!  Almost as soon as he was registered for his senior year in high school, I start crying.  It just got worse the closer it came to graduation.

I would just be going about the normal routine & realize things that would be different once he was gone.  I mean when you take care of someone for 18 years, it’s hard to let that go!

The end of a long , hot graduation night!

Graduation night I was a mess!  It didn’t help that his last name put him at almost the end of over 200 graduates.  Once it was finally over, I was so proud & happy.  It seemed I just needed to get past that point.  Wrong again!

Move Out Day

My son decided to stay home for the summer as many do.  He looked for a part time job which didn’t come about until a month before he would leave.  Since I teach, I had the summer off as well.

I really enjoyed being able to spend that time with him.  At one point I worried that he wouldn’t be leaving.  He still hadn’t registered for college or started any paper work.  As much as I would miss him, I knew I had to push him a little.

He finally got the ball rolling at the beginning of September.  This required several emails, trips, & phone calls between here and Atlanta, which is 3 hours away.  Move in day was September 27th.

We spent the week before packing & sorting & crying {me}.  Early that morning we {husband, son, & me} all packed into the vehicle which just had room for us to sit by that point.  I held it together during the drive up, through orientation {so long!}, & moving him into the apartment.

Then the flood gates opened!

The day was stressful & my son moved into an apartment with already established students.  They were still out on break, so he was alone.  It was really hard to leave him there by himself, but I did.

Then I cried for the first 45 minutes of the ride back.  Big, heart wrenching tears & gulps.  Such a mess!

Finally I texted him to check on him & one of the roommates had shown up.  That made me feel marginally better.  We texted almost daily until he started classes.  It slowed a little & there have been some phone calls.

Not daily, but that’s because he’s doing well & that’s great & I’m happy for him.

I’m still struggling a little!

As I try to find my new “normal” I’ve realized it’s not all bad.  There’s some good & some weird things that come along with being an empty nester.  Maybe their only weird to me, but maybe some can relate!

The Good, the Bad, & the Weird

Okay, let’s get the bad out of the way first!  And these things are not necessarily bad, just hard.

  • We used to watch shows on TV together.  We’d climb on my bed, grab a snack, & discuss as we watched.  My husband doesn’t like talking when he’s watching TV!  Boo!
  • The conversations.  My son would just come in and tell me all about whatever he was into at the moment.  I miss that.
  • Riding home or anywhere alone.  My son rode home with me from school because I taught at his school.  He would ride with me to the store & help with groceries.  Now it’s lots of lonely riding.
  • No help with taking out the trash & walking the dogs!  Those were my son’s duties.  All I had to do was remind him to do them.  Now, they are my duties!  Well, my husband & I are learning to split them.  We just have to remember to take out the trash! ; )
  • I miss my son’s experiments.  He was always wanting to try some experiment he saw on YouTube & I had to be sure of the safety of these experiments.  Sometimes it was just finding a new recipe to try out.

Cupcakes for my son’s class one year.

The Good

These are just things I’ve noticed & thought, hey, that’s a plus to having an empty nest!

  • Less trash.  Even though I have to remember to take it out, there seems to be a lot less of it!
  • Less dishes to wash.  My son had a thing about not using a glass or dish for a different type of food or drink because it would be mixed up.  Yeah, he’s kind of over that now since he has to wash his own things!
  • Less clothes to wash.  This is really only one less load & he was doing it himself before he left.  My husband’s work clothes take up most of the washing!
  • No getting up at 5:30 a.m. to take my son to the bus stop.  It was only at the end of the drive, but it was dark & there was no shelter.  So I drove him – mom’s prerogative!
  • Food lasts longer!  Anyone with more than one teenager – I feel for you!  Constant eating!

Ice cream lasts longer!

The Weird

These are things that I didn’t expect & I may be the only one that thinks they’re weird! ; )

  • I feel free.  It’s a really weird feeling to realize you don’t have to be responsible for your child anymore.  I mean, I’m still here when he needs me, but now I can choose not to be!  Not that I would ever do that, but it’s a choice I have now.  ; )
  • I feel like I’m forgetting something constantly.  Sometimes I’m really forgetting something, but usually it’s just because my son’s not with me.
  • The fact that I feel free & like I’m forgetting something at the same time is a weird feeling all around!

All in all, it’s a new phase in my life.  I’m learning to live life without a kid in the house & how to cook for only two normal bellies!  It’s a new adventure & I’m just getting started!  : D

By the way, don’t miss out on this awesome crafting giveaway from Ultimate Bundles!  I’m so jealous that I can’t enter!


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  1. Guida says:

    Oh Kristie that does sound good and sad and exciting at the same time. We still have our kids 26 and 15 (this one is too young to move out), and as my husband says they will probably still be here in another 10 years. There are times I wish I was alone and then there are times I cant imagine being alone. Enjoy your new adventure and take care.

    • Kristie Cook says:

      It is exactly that feeling! It’s a strange feeling to want them there but want them to go make their own place in the world. I think that’s mostly a mom thing! 🙂

  2. Skye B says:

    I feel similar when I’m out at the shops or somewhere on my own (which isn’t often), that I’ve lost something (my baby 😂). I do feel for you xxx I’ve known people who have been upset with their kids starting school, I think it will hit me later when my kids finish high school, I’ve always thought of them staying at home xxx

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