Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today

Jean Pollack Ph.D.

Will Your Empty Nest Be Boomeranged?

"Will your child boomerang back?"

The term empty nest trivializes the painful passage for many women. The nest is our life, our memories of our lives with our children. We nurtured them and nudged them out to fly. Who is here to nurture us and nudge us toward a new life? It is a very hard time but there are ways to cope and eventually enjoy the process.

There was a silent voice inside of me screaming to be cared for, listened to, acknowledged and loved. During my daily walks I learned to breathe and connect to my body, the body that had carried three children, given birth, washed, fed and cared for, laughed with, tied their shoes, comforted their hurts for so many years.

My children are living their lives in a different time zone now. They share their worlds with me when we visit each other. The best times for me are when we are all together and I refer to this as having "all of my chicks in the nest." It is comforting for me to see them together, safe and happy.
Living life creatively during the empty nest phase can be a wonderful experience. New research in psychobiology indicates that creativity is connected to living in the flow of daily rhythms which affects our energy levels, moods, sense of stress, and addictions. Living with the flow instead of resisting helps us to move through one transition after another. I teach this concept of creative living and have adapted it to my daily life.

When at home I enjoy naps in the afternoon which are a new pleasure, sleeping late in the morning is divine especially when I crawl back into bed with my French pressed cup of coffee so that I can read my favorite book with no interruptions. I can read what I want, eat what I want and sleep when I want. This is freedom I hadn't known for many years.

I am finding pleasure in "being" instead of "doing". There is a world of difference between the two. Our culture's expectation has been that women give to others. I was taught to care for others and that self indulgence was selfish-maybe even a sin. It took me many years to rebirth my passion through journaling. I taught an Artist Way course at a local art gallery. I learned to nurture myself by spending time alone writing, and listening to my inner voice, a part that had become silent during the last busy twenty years.

 Living creatively and savoring empty nest time is the best thing we can do for ourselves. I have developed a seven step plan for creative living that I share with my life coaching clients. I encourage and help them to enjoy the empty nest transition because I tell them "You never know when your children may return".

"Boomerang kids" are young adults who return to the nest either upon finishing college or after a stint of independent living. Their numbers are increasing. According to the 2010 US Census Bureau, 16.4 percent of men and 10.5 percent of women were living with one or both of their parents. See more about creative living and my seven step life coaching plan to get you through the empty nest period.

*Copyright (Jean Pollack)