My three daughters have all graduated from college. Two of them are now married – and one of them made me a grandmother this past July! Our other daughter is also now comfortably living on her own. Even though it’s been a few years now, I still remember the painful transition and feeling of loss when my girls were officially out on their own.
It took some time to accept the fact that my husband and I were empty nesters. Unlike my husband, I was not looking forward to being an empty nester. Though my husband was very involved in our girls’ lives, I was the “go-to” person my daughters relied on. For so many years, they depended on me to help and guide them. I wasn’t ready to fully accept that they didn’t need me anymore.
I was a stay-at-home mom for the majority of their childhoods. I spent my whole life caring for our daughters. It started out with providing their more basic needs including food, laundry, clothes and of course, money. This soon evolved into being an events coordinator for extracurricular activities – dance lessons, soccer games, and driving lessons to name a few. One of the most important activities, as their mom, was just being there for them when they needed a shoulder to cry on.
Subsequently, in their absence from home, I quickly learned they do still need me, but in different ways. I am no longer the “momager” (mom + manager) of their lives. However, I have transitioned into the new role of mentor and advisor. I have the distinct honor and privilege of sharing information and advising them on how they can manage their lives for themselves. After all, isn’t this the ultimate goal of parenting anyway??
I came to the conclusion that it has less to do with me and is more about seeing my girls mature and thrive and live happy, successful lives. I admit, I do still get a twinge of satisfaction when they share their thoughts on missing the perks of home. They’ve grown to have a fond appreciation for past amenities such as delicious home-cooked meals, clean bathrooms, and their personal free Uber driver (aka – Me!).
One of the most unexpected, yet welcomed, benefits of my daughters being grown and out of the house is how much better they get along together. Now that they are not living across the hall from one another or sharing a bathroom, conflicts among them have greatly diminished. It does my heart good as a mother to see my daughters loving and supporting one another wholeheartedly.
I was also pleasantly surprised to learn there are many more upsides to this new stage of life for me and my husband. For example, uninterrupted sleep – no doors opening in the wee hours of the morning. I don’t have to cook dinner if I don’t want to. I don’t do nearly as much laundry. Our house stays clean longer. There are no attitudes or eye rolls, unless that comes from me. There is far less trash to take out. And magically, there are no missing brushes, shampoo and/or makeup from my bathroom either.
Undeniably and most noticeably, there is a lot more money in our pockets. Gone are the days of “I need a new outfit for the dance,” or paying expenses for school and sports, or paying tuition or huge family cell phone bills! My husband and I now have additional money and time to ramp up our retirement savings even more.
Even though our daughters are officially out of our house, they will forever be in our hearts. But it feels wonderful that they are no longer in our pockets! As their mom, I truly enjoy my new role of being their life coach, advisor, and friend.
I am also very fortunate to be a financial advisor here at PDS using my life experiences and CFP® certification to help our clients make sound financial decisions. Helping our clients avoid financial pitfalls and creating comprehensive financial plans is a worthwhile and rewarding career choice. Knowing that I can make a difference both personally and professionally is indeed a gift and a pleasure.