April 24, 2014

Empty nest? Not all parents are sad about it

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Empty nest? Not all parents are sad about it – CBS News.

Parenting is a tough and thankless and endless job and there’s reason for empty nesters to be excited. You can take it from me. Travel, extra income, naps, dating your spouse rather than forming a partnership for child-rearing… all things that are worth celebrating, whether for a week,  a lifetime, or when the nest is empty. Empty nesters may be excited to rad about childfree retreats on WhyNoKids.com or look into peaceful travel opportunities at Childfree Travel

 

No twinges of sorrow in Bentonville, Ark, for mom of five Pamela Haven and her husband, Jeff. She has a recurring thought about life after the last of the brood — 17-year-old twin boys — graduate high school in June: “Thank God they weren’t triplets!”

Up next? “We’re booked on a cruise right after school ends, just the two of us. We’re purchasing a travel trailer, and we can’t wait to strip down the upstairs and repaint, carpet and make two guest rooms.”

Also looking forward to life after children is Jeanette Simpson, an interior designer in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. She has six kids (no boomerangers in the bunch) and the last is a high school senior.

“After 27 years of dealing with school schedules, and 33 years of kids at home, I’ll be an empty nester in less than a year,” she said. “With the last one, I feel almost guilty about not being overly saddened. I have a feeling of ‘job well done.’”

What’s she looking forward to the most? Traveling with her hubby without worry about school breaks and, “Time for myself, something that’s been rare since the first one came along.”

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  • http://brianwnk.wordpress.com brianwnk

    Parenting is a tough and thankless and endless job and there’s reason for empty nesters to be excited. You can take it from me. Travel, extra income, naps, dating your spouse rather than forming a partnership for child-rearing… all things that are worth celebrating, whether for a week, a lifetime, or when the nest is empty. Empty nesters may be excited to rad about childfree retreats on WhyNoKids.com or look into peaceful travel opportunities at Childfree Travel (http://www.childfreetravel.blogspot.com/)

  • http://brianwnk.wordpress.com brianwnk

    Are you an empty nester? We’d like to interview you and get thoughts on how your life turned out compared to what your dreams were when you had your first baby? I’d love to share advice you may have for people considering the pros and cons of choosing to have kids and the challenges and rewards of child-rearing and parenting. Also curious about how you expect you will change individually and in your relationship once the nest is empty. Check us out and drop a note if you are interested in talking. WhyNoKids.com

    • ktyms

      Parenting is tough and expensive and at times I guess it does seem thankless. But at other times not so much. My years spent childrearing are priceless to me. When they move out you do get to do all those other things talked about on this site. It’s really great to do those things again. At first you almost get heady from all that newfound free money and time. But after awhile that simmers down to a normal pace and you do miss your kids a lot.We try to have a family dinner night a few times a month and its nice if they can all attend but it’s not always possible. I am proud of how all my children turned out and it’s nice to see the generations continue. I had kids because I had become bored with just taking care of myself and my husband and I still think having them was the best thing we have done. But, you do have to be willing to put yourself second. When they grow up sometimes they still need some help too. Someday when you are real old you might need them to help you. The circle of life thing is natural and true. Reproduction is a natural thing. I have one friend who opted to never have kids. She is now an old, lonely, self indulgent alchoholic. Not saying all childess people are though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ana.june Ana June

    Tough, thankless, and endless??! Though I am definitely excited about my next incarnation as an empty nester, I have to say (to all the parents out there) that if parenting has become a tough, thankless, and endless job then it’s time to reassess. It simply doesn’t have to be. :)

    • http://brianwnk.wordpress.com brianwnk

      Well said Ana June. And thank you. I would say that the job appears to be tough and I’ve observed and heard from many that parenting does not end when a child turns 18 or moves out of the house (especially with this “boomerang” thing)… that it is a lifelong job. “Thankless” I regret as a word choice but observe among many. Even if the thankless parts or feelings or resentment or exhaustion are temporary, I know many moms and dads that don’t feel someone in their lives values what they do correctly.

      Isn’t now always a good time to reassess? And shouldn’t we? The costs and benefits of bringing children into one’s world are always changing. Would you argue that there is any single choice or event more life changing or risky?

      When we started this site, I thought the primary goal was to answer all the questions we get about about our choice not to have children. But I realize now that WNK is here because I/we have plenty of questions for parents about why they do. I know that everyone has their own reasons either way. I know that this site has attempted to address a lot of the “why not”.

      So I’d love to hear some original expression of the joys of parenting. I’d love to know if and when you (and others) weighed the risks and rewards of conceiving, and what convinced you to make your choice. I’d love to know if it was a choice at all, something you planned, or something you just assumed you should do. I want to know if parents can really sell what they’re buying, as opposed to simply justifying the cost and risk for paving the one way street of parenting. Because while people say it is so rewarding and fulfilling, I don’t SEE what they are saying. Furthermore, they all seem to be saying the same things, which is suspicious to me. I’m serious and sincerely curious, because I see struggle, stress, and exhaustion. I see duty trumping dreams, and feel the denial of how difficult parenting can be is something that potentially alienates people who do not always feel the way that the culture tells them they should feel when they have babies: HAPPY. HAPPY. HAPPY.

      Please tell me. Please help us all reassess. Please tell me about parents whose relationships got better as a result of having children. Tell me about the ones that became more interesting, less stressed or financially strapped? I can’t deny the joy that children bring to my life, the hope, potential and purity they bring, and I don’t mean this to be an argument. It is a plea. I want young people that are contemplating such an enormous choice to come hear and see a variety of cliche-less stories. In return, i promise to be as honest as possible about my own fears, shortcomings, misgivings and certainties.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ana.june Ana June

    Thanks Brian, I’m delighted to have this discussion. I’ll think about it this morning, after I run the kids to school. :)

  • LadyLuck

    I’m 36 and a female. It’s not that I would not want to be a mom in the right situation and with the right man, but in spite of the many male admirers I have, I just don’t have my life set up to where it would work out right now! I guess I would fall into the category of ‘too bad, in spite of having all it takes to attract any hot blooded male from age 17 to 70, I never found the right one to start a family with!’ Does this happen a lot?

  • http://www.facebook.com/shantel.cassity Shantel Cassity

    For the rest of their lives, each of those parents will regret the loss of two decades that could have been spent pampering themselves and their partner.