The best mentors have an interesting story.
Finding a mentor you’ll love will be your crowning achievement.

Feeling lost in empty nest transition?  Here’s how to find an empty nest mentor relationship you’ll love and get inspiration for the most common challenges women face after kids are gone.

This post is part three of a five part series.  Read

Missing Your Kid?  Watch This Powerful Video


The Ultimate Solution to Empty Nest Panic


First Time in Years

She looks down on me, even as I write this:  my patron saint of awkward situations.  It took me years to find her, but once I did, I started noticing a payoff immediately.

As a kid, I looked up to many women- quite literally.  Since I’m the youngest of 5 girls (no brothers- you were about to ask), I found role models of every shape and ambition. 

In the awkward middle, I searched in vain for that one magical mentor relationship that would “click” and provide perfect direction for my mixed up emotions and dreams.

As an adult and Empty Nest Mom, I’ve come to realize finding an empty nest mentor is about as likely as riding a unicorn through a candy forest.  To be honest, I’m relieved I can stop searching (for the mentor, not the candy forest.)

Finding a mentor can be as tough as saddling up a unicorn.
Picture the trees as lollipops…

If I’m honest, I’ve known this truth all along:  no one can walk this path but me.  But having Grace Kelly by my side sure helps.

A Mentor You’ll Love

You see, Grace is my idea of the perfect mentor.  Because I’ll never meet her, I have the luxury of imagining her as the ideal conglomeration of “must have” mentor traits.

  • Flawless style
  • Poise in tricky situations
  • Witty banter
  • A great personal story

That’s why her framed picture sits on my office shelf.  She looks down at me, offering support and inspiration to rise above the petty problems of my everyday and conduct myself like both a movie star AND queen!

Grace Kelly is one of my favorite mentors, even though I'll never meet her.
My classy mentor.

“If I were really, really ridiculously wealthy, I wouldn’t buy a mansion, just tiny apartments in every city I love.”

Mara Wilson

Make Your Own Mentor

In the end, finding an empty nest mentor is less about a relationship with one other human and more about taking the best and most inspiring qualities from many people.  Because navigating the Empty Nest means different things for each of us.

For some, it will mean pursuing an education or career, for others, a much needed vacation. The Empty Nest looks different for a mom with kids living out of town than it does for the mom who sees her young adults each weekend.

That’s why I’ve included two blank cards in the Thought Vitamins printable.  By the way, if you haven’t already, download it here:

These two blank cards are yours to do with as you choose.  List a favorite quote, ask someone to write a special encouragement, or paste a picture of someone you admire.

My Mistake

No matter what, don’t make the mistake I did for so many years.  You see, I had the crazy notion that I needed a formal arrangement to find a mentor.  In the rare instance I found someone I admired, I would chicken out and lose the nerve to ask them.

“We sometimes place too high of expectations on mentoring.  We want to give it a name, because it gives us a sense of status and importance.  But really it’s just a relationship.”

Jeff Goins

One of my favorite resources in the Empty Nest Mom’s Survival Guide is the Life Inventory Checklist.  I made this list because I was desperate for practical direction and accountability in taking care of myself.

After all, I knew I needed to start a regular walking routine, throw out raggedy clothes, and visit the library, but in the end these tasks seemed overwhelming.  Even worse, I simply had no motivation or energy when my kids first left.

More days than I like to admit, I frittered the time away binge-watching Netflix and surfing the Internet instead of making progess on my goals.

Unexpected Mentors

Finding a mentor can be as simple as noticing a neighbor.
Once you start looking, you’ll find mentors in the most unexpected places.

Once I decided to start writing again, I knew I needed some external motivation to keep me focused.  I’d tried before, only to have my resolve evaporate like water on an August sidewalk.

This time, I’ve found a community where mentors abound.  Some are younger than me, but have inspired me to master technology.  Others have more life experience and the wisdom to pace themselves.

The neighbor who’s name I don’t know mentors me to keep active, even though she needs a cane to take her evening stroll.  My hairstylist gives me great advice about choosing a current look and has the skill to move me forward.

Even if you’ve abandoned the idea of finding a mentor years ago, now is the time to reconsider. Start by downloading the Empty Nest Mom’s Survival Guide. Look for the Life Inventory Checklist in your email (make sure your service recognizes my address), then start thinking about an area that needs attention.

Seems like everyone could use a patron saint of awkward situations in the Empty Nest years. When my daughter runs out of swipes on her dining hall card, or my son ends up in Urgent Care, all I have to do is ask myself “What would Grace do?” The answer comes to me like a unicorn in a candy forest and I’m back on track.

Share your mentoring stories below or on the Skip to My Life Facebook page!

And be sure to come back tomorrow, when we’ll talk about

5 Silly Secrets That Will Help You Find Your Tribe!

Look for a mentor or guide through the Empty Nest years to have a more postive experience.
You may not have thought about it in years, but having a mentor is the secret to a smooth Empty Nest transition.
You may already know the truth about having a mentor to guide you through the Empty Nest.