These 30 printable affirmations for Empty Nest Moms are for you if you’re feeling panic about your last kid leaving home. Here’s my Empty Nest story…
As my husband and I snuggled in an oversized chair to the flicker of a Netflix movie, I felt a soft arm wrap around my neck. “I love you guys,” my 19-year old daughter whispered over us from behind. I was suddenly overcome with the thought that, just a few months ago, I’d been tempted to walk away from it all.
PRINT THE LIST OF 30 AFFIRMATIONS FOR EMPTY NEST MOMS.
Maybe, like me, you’re reflecting on the end of your first official empty nest year, or perhaps your thoughts have raced ahead to the emotion of saying goodbye to your young adult in just a few, short months.
Had Enough Panic?
Our thoughts about this important transition, like no other parenting milestone, have the power to make or break us as women and as mothers. For many of us the transition is rocky, to say the least.
As if the empty nest transition wasn’t hard enough, my husband and I decided to downsize and list our home for sale. No sooner had I dropped my youngest off at her dorm than I began packing up our family home of 15 years. That process included rifling through old boxes and dusty closet corners.
Some of the “treasures” I found:
- Art deco jewelry inherited from my mother’s flapper-era aunt
- Makeup I should have pitched months ago
- My son’s baby tooth wrapped in a Kleenex and secured with Scotch tape
Then there were my journals… Strong emotion wrapped in pretty, little bindings.
Empty Nest Moms
For years I’ve been an avid journaler, pouring my heart onto the page almost every day of my life. Lately, I’d become aware of a sense of shame about those brightly covered books.
I wasn’t ashamed I’d been journaling all those years. But I was horrified that someone would discover the intensity of my negative thoughts and emotions.
I’d been taught that writing my thoughts onto paper would clear them from my mind and allow me to move forward. As I flipped the tear-stained pages, I realized this practice had only kept me stuck rehearsing the same negative feelings and downward spiral of worst-case scenarios.
The black and white of the words on paper forced me to face a fact I’d been running from for many months. I was struggling with a cycle of negative thinking that was starting to affect everyone around me.
The Courage to Change
Chronicled in the pages before me were my feelings of overwhelm and despair about the changes I was going through:
- The crazy physical changes of perimenopause
- Going back to work full-time
- Not knowing where my kids were or what they were doing
Although I had no firm plan, I had often fantasized about leaving my family and starting over on my own. In my journal-world it all made perfect sense. The answer to my physical and emotional overwhelm: RUN AWAY.
Changing our thoughts is a courageous choice that must be made many times over, but it has great pay-offs for our lives and for those we love. While journaling helped me identify negative thoughts and feelings, what I really needed was a tool to reframe them.
Quote: Happiness is a feeling, but it’s also a decision. It’s a choice we get to make every day, even on our hardest days.Jennifer Dukes Lee, The Happiness Dare
As our role changes from care-giving mom to sideline coach, we must make a very important decision. What will happen if we let our thoughts run wild, giving in to worst-case scenario thinking about our children’s safety, anxiety about filling hours alone, and obsessing about their daily routine?
CLICK HERE TO GET THE LIST OF 30 FREE AFFIRMATIONS.
Vitamins for Your Thoughts
If we choose to let these thoughts have free reign, the very relationships we cherish so dearly will be strangled by negativity and fear. As I looked through my leaning pile of journals, I realized I was leaving my family a legacy of unresolved anxiety.
My core belief that expressing my emotion would instantly resolve it was fundamentally wrong. Rehearsing negative feelings and justifying them ultimately left me vilifying my husband, mistrusting my children, and isolating myself from friends.
I realized that, if I didn’t take quick action, I was headed down a scary road.
Life likes to be taken by the lapel and told, “I’m with you kid. Let’s go!Maya Angelou
While journaling helped me identify what I was thinking, I needed a way to keep those thoughts on track- a point of reference to return to throughout each day that would prevent a downward spiral of negativity.
A specific list of affirmations for Empty Nest Moms.
Affirmations are essentially “thought vitamins”. A daily vitamin helps make up the difference on days we feast on Frito’s instead of fruit. Vitamins keep us from succumbing to every germ that floats our way. We choose to swallow those giant pills on days we feel great and on days we feel a cold coming on.
My Inner Voice
I began a journey of identifying affirmations for Empty Nest Moms like me. Words of encouragement, short mantras I could read and reread. Their purpose was simple: strengthening my inner voice for whatever the day might hold. Over time, I tried many affirmations on for size and distilled them into 30 powerful sentences that did the trick consistently.
“The world needs what only you can give.”
- Even when a customer at work challenges me.
“You have done well.”
- Even when I wonder if my young adult will make good choices.
“When all else fails, I can laugh.”
- Even when I’m sure I have cried a bucket of tears.
These little sayings packed such a powerful emotional punch for me that I printed them out and began carrying them with me everywhere. I sat one on my desk at work and another next to my bathroom mirror.
When I noticed a coworker was having a hard day, I copied an affirmation on a sticky note and left it on her keyboard. I texted affirmations for Empty Nest Moms to friends who were going through graduation week trials with their high school Seniors.
Instead of being received with snarky criticism, as I’d feared, each person cherished the mantra like a special, little gift.
Affirmations for Empty Nest Moms
I still felt the emptiness of coming home to a quiet house in the evening. My longing to know where my kids were, if they’d eaten three square meals, and if their professors were fair didn’t evaporate.
Thoughts are real, physical things that occupy mental real estate.Caroline Leaf, PhD
These simple affirmations for Empty Nest Moms served two functions. They helped me identify where my thoughts had strayed, but they also gave me a positive replacement thought.
The quality of my journaling changed, as well. No longer content to ruminate over all the difficulties of my life, I challenged myself to write about dreams, goals, and plans for my future- all thoughts I’d be proud for my family to discover.
Gradually the tiny changes I was making added up to some big gains. Not only did I have the courage to pursue my dream of writing, I was also able to loosen my emotional grip on my children.
My new focus opened my eyes to their resilience and determination, partly as a result of our good parenting.
Print out the list and find your affirmations. Begin to curate quotes, mentors and examples of resilience, or check out some of my favorites on Pinterest.
Yes, a vital role is coming to an end as you launch your young adult. They will have to forage for their own food, match their own socks, and figure out how to wear earplugs when their roommate snores.
But another, equally important, chapter in your parenting journey is just beginning. You will miss so much if you spend this time weeping in your child’s empty bedroom. Cry your tears, dear Empty Nest Mom. Then dry them, and take your vitamins.
Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional and this post is not intended as mental health treatment. Please talk to your doctor or mental health professional if you are struggling. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help. I have received professional help during my empty nest transition and it has made a huge difference for me.