It is that time of year when the kids go off to college, join the military, start work, or an adventure.
Empty nest syndrome is a feeling of grief and loneliness. This is not an actual clinical condition. It is completely normal.
For 17 or 18 years you have wrapped your world around your children. You have driven them to all their activities, activities, parties, and school. Now that you have all of this extra time. You may even have to reconnect with your partner. You may begin to worry about the child's safety, miss the daily involvement in your child's life.
Not to worry, research shows that your empty nest might actually reduce work and family conflict along with many other benefits. The parents can reconnect with each other, friends, and hobbies that have gone to the side-lines in that past due to no time.
How to cope:
1. accept the timing, focus on how you can help your child succeed instead of comparing your child's time table to your own.
2. keep in touch!. keep in regular contact with your child. email, visit, text, skype, or talk on the phone with them.
3. seek support: if you are having a difficult time you can contact me lean on family or friends.
4. Stay positive: Think about all that time that you can spend with your partner, on a new or lost hobby. Read or write a book, go to the grocery store and buy what ever YOU actually want to eat!
Now that we are nearing the end of summer you may realize that all of the household chores have been, let's just say, neglected. This may cause you to want to move out and start over or even move to the beach permanently. This 30 minute clean-up will help lesson those worries. You could even do this before your coffee is done (assuming you are using an old fashioned coffee maker). Good luck and have a great summer!
Clear out and wipe down the sink (5 minutes).
No piles of dirty dishes, not even in the sink or oven :-)! Move them into the dishwasher, and wipe the sink. Don't forget to start the dishwasher!
Wipe down counter-tops and stove (1 minute).
Clean splatters and spills with a damp cloth and an all-purpose cleanser. This may require some elbow grease if this is the first time you have done this since summer began (not that I have any experience with this).
Wipe problem spots on the floor (2 minutes).
You can save a full-floor mop for the weekend, but use the same cloth (once you’ve finished with the counter-tops) to quickly clean any spills or sticky spots, which will attract dirt and get more noticeable if left alone. If you have a steam mop you can probably mop in the same time that it takes to clean up the spots.
Fold or hang dish towels (30 seconds).
Even if they’re clean, a jumble of dish towels on the counter can look messy. Take a few moments to fold or hang them.
Wipe out the sink (30 seconds).
If you use a pre-moistened cloth to wipe your face, swipe the sink bowl and faucet handles with it too. Or use a washcloth, paper towel, or a product like Windex Glass and Surface Wipes, which don’t leave streaks on chrome or mirror. I like to use paper towels everywhere (bit of a germ-a-phob) so after I brush my teeth and clean my face I use that towel to clean the sink and the pesky glass shelf.
Clean splatters off the mirror (15 seconds).
Got foamy toothpaste spray on the mirror? Do a quick swipe with the same cloth you used on the sink.
Wipe the toilet seat and rim (15 seconds).
Same cloth! Just do the toilet last.
Swoosh the toilet bowl with a brush (15 seconds).
If you see a ring, give it a quick scrub.
Squeegee the shower door (30 seconds).
Wipe down glass doors to remove water droplets that can cause spotting. No squeegee? Use a dry towel.
Spray the shower and curtain liner with a shower mist (15 seconds).
A quick spray with a daily cleanser will reduce buildup of mildew and soap scum.
Make your bed (2 minutes).
Even a fluffy down comforter pulled up over messy sheets will look polished.
Fold or hang clothes and put away jewelry (4 minutes).
Even better: Resist the urge to toss them somewhere in the first place! Put them away as you take them off.
Straighten out the night-table surface (30 seconds).
Take last night’s water glass to the kitchen, stow your reading glasses in a drawer, and straighten books or magazines.
Tidy the sofa (2 minutes).
It’s likely the focus of the room, so neaten it. Fluff the pillows and fold the throws.
Pick up crumbs with a handheld vacuum (1 minute).
Concentrate on surfaces in plain sight: sofa cushions, coffee table, and rugs in the middle of the room. Look for dust bunnies, too.
Wipe tables and spot-clean cabinets where you see fingerprints (1 minute).
Use a microfiber cloth to pick up dust. If the surfaces are streaked or sticky, use a moist cloth.
Straighten coffee table books and magazines (2 minutes).
Toss old newspapers and corral the remote controls into one place (a drawer, if possible).
Clear major clutter (5 minutes).
Stash video games, toys, and anything else you might trip over.
Remember that all things require changing habits. So try to recruit the family to help with this process. A cleaner house will help you sleep better and enjoy family time.
Shannon Shadman, LPC, MSMHC, NCC, M.Ed.