DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
I have a forum attached to my blog where people from all over the world meet to discuss simple life. There are over 8000 forum members now so we have an enormous amount of good information about growing food, cooking from scratch, family, simple living, routines, budgeting, baking and much more. Please click on the image above to go there. Newcomers will have to register. It's free, friendly and we're waiting for you.

11 January 2011

Empty nest, or is it just another change?

All this talk of being a grandma has brought in a couple of emails from ladies who want me to write about empty nests.  I think this might be connected to being a grandma, so for what it's worth, this is it.


From day one I always believed my job as a mother was to raise my children to be decent people who would work hard and contribute to this great country we live in. Hanno and I worked on that together. I'm proud of our sons and the men they became.  I was a very independent teenager and looked forward to the day when I could leave home and make my own way in the world and I had no doubt Shane and Kerry would do the same.  So I made the most of the time we had together, I knew it would be relatively short and I wanted them to have happy memories to look back on, to know that they were loved unconditionally and encouraged to work to their abilities.  As the teen years came and went, I knew our time was coming to a close.  My boys, were no longer boys and as is the custom nowadays, they moved out when they had jobs, moved back in several times, moved out again and eventually found their true loves. I think it was easier for me because we never knew whether this would be their last time at home.  

When we knew it was, the closed doors to their rooms were stark reminders they were no longer here, but I knew they were doing what they wanted to do and what they had to do, they both had good jobs and my job as caregiver, was over.  The house started changing again.  I didn't lay awake listening for them to come home, the kitchen stayed clean, I stopped listening to the Foo Fighters and Tom Waits through closed doors.  The house that held four for over two decades became a place for two and eventually their doors opened to allow rooms to be used for emerging interests.  The boys grew up and along with that, we, as parents, changed again.

We started doing things we enjoyed.  We stopped planning around them.  We welcomed them as treasured guests when they came home.  Phone calls started, just because they wanted to talk, they asked advice, moved around, changed jobs, went overseas and returned.  Each step of the way we were there, walking invisibly.


Then we met the girls.  What a thrill that was!  And then "we're getting married." and  "we're having a baby."  And now, here we are, waiting for two precious babies to be born. Soon, in addition to daughter, grand daughter, sister, cousin, aunty, wife, mother and friend, I'll add grandmother.  None of those titles explains who I am, I am the total of all of them.  No single stage of life defines you and after your active mothering is over, a wonderful new era opens up, even if you can't see it yet.  So if you're sad about seeing your mothering role come to an end, let me tell you, it never ends.  You'll stop being the caregiver, but you'll always be a mum.  Those closed bedroom doors will stay closed, but before too long they'll open again and start to be used for the many things you'll become interested in.  Nothing will ever replace you as caregiver and role model, but your children aren't children for long and as they grow, you have to as well.  When they leave your next stage will start and that, my friends, is a time for self development, trail blazing and, maybe, if you're lucky, grandchildren.

My job as mother goes on forever, and now that grandchildren are on their way a new opportunity to love babies and help raise them in my new role as grandma is here.  I am really looking forward to seeing my sons hold their own babies for the first time. That day will be the pay off in a way, and I will know we've come full circle.

59 comments:

  1. Rhonda It is so funny you posted this today as I was posting the same subject. You said it so well. It is a change but a very welcome one.
    I am proud of my girls and now I can be proud of myself for moving on and accomplishing my dreams. Everyone is independent and happy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a beautiful outlook on an 'empty-nest' transition. I think: if your nest feels empty, fill it! and that is what you and Hanno seem to have done, by looking around and finding an increasing amount of interesting activities and purposes for yourselves, in your home and community. I really respect that, and I hope to follow the example of your approach when my turn for that transition comes!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    I haven't had a chance to write yet and say congratulations and I'm so happy for you that you have these two precious new lives coming into your life. Babies are always so much fun and incredibly sweet! With babies being a big part of my life the last ten years, I have lots of resources I can flick through to you sometime on the email that I thought you might enjoy or at least have fun exploring.
    Also I really like your approach to life and enjoying the different stages of life, as you've written in this post. I am trying to have this outlook on life too, and embrace each stage. I find the stage I'm in at the moment incredibly busy and tiring, but I know it won't last very long with the way the days and years are speeding by. I love your gentle reminder about that this morning and will try to be more patient with my children today. :o)

    ReplyDelete
  4. "I am really looking forward to seeing my sons hold their own babies for the first time. That day will be the pay off in a way, and I will know we've come full circle."

    Beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  5. WHAT?!?

    Do you mean the day will come when I won't have to queue for the computer; listen to a son killing nazi zombies in his room and have to congratulate him on his high scores; use the biggest saucepans to cook for every meal or hear the Foo Fighters blaring from the back bedroom and Muse from the 2nd bedroom? Things will stay where I put them and won't go mysteriously missing? That the concept of leftovers will become a reality and not just an urban myth?

    I love my 4 boys and they'll be with me for a good while yet, seeing as the oldest is in his second year of uni and the youngest is in year 9 this year. I'm so used to lots of noise, colour and movement with such a large family, yet the quiet life waiting for me in about a decade or so sounds very nice...

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a lovely post! I just wrote one about my daughter having her first sleepover this weekend and I already feel the time passing too quickly. I can't imagine the teen days or leaving home yet... I will be a mess! LOL Have a great week.
    Blessings,
    Jill

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow Rhonda. That post made me cry!

    Donna

    ReplyDelete
  8. Rhonda, what a beautiful blog you wrote today! I am still in the fase of being a mother of a five year old and pregnant of our second love, but hope to remember these words on the rest of my (our) journey. Thank you!

    Love from Holland.

    ReplyDelete
  9. You are an inspiration in that you see the positive in everything.

    Think of those rooms of your sons not as empty, but as waiting. Waiting for those little grandchildren to come visit. And then they will no longer be silent.

    Take Care,
    Primrose.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Rhonda,
    what a beautiful post. I am from Hungary. I want to improve my English, and I have come to read your posts receantly. I enjoy reading them, I feel that they are very useful. Your style is magical, and topics are very interesting and I am happy because I found your blog.
    Take care Éva

    ReplyDelete
  11. An empty nest doesn't automatically mean grandchildren are going to be on the way. Have you considered some of us might not be able to have grandchildren?
    Please..not more grandmother stuff, it's getting boring now.
    I look in here for ideas on self sufficiency not to read about forthcoming grandchildren on nearly every post.
    Adele

    ReplyDelete
  12. Adele, I don't care if you find it boring. I'll write what I want to write. If you don't like it, don't come here.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love your posts Rhonda as I became a Grandma last year at age 44! I had my dgtr at 21 and now she's had her dgtr at 23 and it's just the most wonderful thing to happen to us!! Apart from having our own 4 babies of course! They rang us at 5 in the morning, when bubs was only about 2 hrs old and my exhausted but relieved warrior dgtr said in the meekest voice .."she's here', and I cried. Keep knitting and talking about it, I for one and hanging on every word, it gives me peace in a very turbulent day.xxJen

    ReplyDelete
  14. Just been meandering through your past week of posts- so glad to hear you and Hanno are ok. I was a bit worried when I heard about all the flooding.
    I think you will make a wonderful grandma. I love my grandmother- she taught me many things that I'll always treasure- knitting, gardening, cooking, etc. Her house wasn't spotless, and she didn't have a computer or take me to the mall, but she was always smiling, content, and ever ready for hugs. You remind me of her in a way.
    Congratulations on becoming a grandma!
    The Girl in the Pink Dress

    ReplyDelete
  15. Rhonda
    A beautiful post today. Rhonda most of us come here to read what you write. Your blog you get to write what ever you want. I don't think you have to consider what other people can become or not.
    People are free to read what they want. Consideration and repsect should be given to you as the author.
    Love your blog and I am so very excited for Hanno and you with your grandparent news.

    Lors

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi!

    I love reading this today. My son is only 1 1/2... but sometimes I already think of when he is a man, and how my life will change. It's wonderful for me to read about this fantastic part of your life, knowing that some day I'll share your experiences.

    And - on the nappy front. I wish I had more time and I'd love to make some for you and your grandkids. But I would be SO HAPPY to answer any questions you might have. I made so many, have made some to donate, have used tons of different types on my son to see what works best.

    Quickly - I'd say bought prefolds to start. I could never find material cheaper than just buying, and the fabric that the birdseye indian prefolds are made of is wonderful. (using a "snappy" helps)

    Don't underestimate FLAT DIAPERS... that's what I use when my son is between sizes.

    Once he became mobile I used fitteds that I made, which have an unattached soaker I lay inside for easy care.

    For covers... dappi pull on pants are fantastic and SO affordable. We use those, a few PUL covers I made, and "recycled shorties and longies"... these are made out of recycled wool sweaters. Knit or crochet ones are sometimes cuter, but in my experience don't work as well. If you have any questions or need someone to help through the sea of cloth nappy info - don't hesitate to contact me through my linky. E-mail's at the bottom of the page.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Well said! I love all the phases of life, and I'm glad to see you are enjoying them, too! I've been visiting here for a couple of months, and I've yet to be disappointed, not that I say if I were. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dear Rhonda, Lors said it very nicely and I couldn't agree more. Stick to your guns, gal :)

    I just finished knitting a hat and leg warmers set for our most recent grandchild #15( or #19 if counting the steps... which we do)! I can send you the link if you like. I haven't been to PA to see this new arival yet but stay caught up with pictures and email.
    There are 21 yrs between our first child and last one, and the oldest grand is same age as last child. "We" have been on our own since 2005 :) and our lives have had to change as well, but I am enjoying pursuing my hobbies again, and dear hubby is starting to as well.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Rhonda
    I may never be a grandmother, but I love reading about it. I loved becoming an aunty, and as I read I am reliving those happy moments of anticipating my nephew's arrival. Everyone can relate to being excited about new life and also being changed by life's different stages.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I wish you lived next door. I chose not to have children for lots of reasons, but my sister did and now my eldest niece is days away from her first baby being born. A Great Aunty (although I hope I was always a great auntie)! I've made lots of handmade gifts in the past for friend's babies, but there is something quite wonderful making toys, little baskets and a first quilt for my soon to be great niece or nephew. Although this is my first comment, I have been following your blog for some time and love the reality check.

    ReplyDelete
  21. It's something that's been in my head as my girls get closer to leaving home. It has become very hard to find work here, in fact impossible (I am unable to do continuous heavy duty/manual work) as most of the jobs are going to family and friends within businesses. I am concerned for myself because I don't know what I am going to do with my time (both my girls are very active in many areas which has resulted in much driving/running around by me) my husband works long hours and I can't see that changing until he drops dead so it will just be me on my own. I have started to get a grip on my garden now (I have the time, it needs to be done) it's nothing exciting by from reading your blog regularly I can see what you are talking about, I can see that there is much to be done here, to be done for me, to make things happier for me.
    Oh and I just wanted to say, yes it is your blog and its your choice what you write about, if I'm not interested in a particular post I just skim over it, no biggie - keep writing I LOVE IT!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I am a recent "empty~nester"....I am now looking for things to fill the nest.However I can't seem to get use to the quiet after having such a full house with the three children being close together in age.It seems high school and such just flew by and now the SILENCE....This is going to be quit an adjustment for me, my babies were my life for so many years.I am now enjoying grandkids,inlaws and all, but will always miss having children and young adults under my feet!Great post.Really enjoyed it....

    ReplyDelete
  23. Beautifully said, Rhonda. My boys are only 6, 9, & 10 but I am so aware of how little time I have left with them and how quickly it will go. I admit, it really terrifies me, as I can't imagine my life without little ones to care for. What would I possible do with myself? But after reading your post today, I feel like just maybe I will get through it okay, and maybe it won't be all that bad!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Rhonda, I know that this has nothing to do with today's topic, however I have just come across this website and thought it might be suitable info, re nappies that you were seeking.

    http://nappynetwork.org.au

    Bye
    Deb

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm not a mom or a grandmother so I have no "empty nest" as such. But I enjoyed your post and explanation so much and it fits with what I think the role of a mother is...to raise her children to flourish on their own. To give them wings as such and it sounds like you have really done that :-)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Oh I meant to also convey my congratulations on the grandchildren you will soon celebrate. I pray they are born healthy and that they bring much joy to parents and grandparents alike. That is what babies do so well.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I love reading your blog. In fact I have just copie/collé your post into a word document so that I can read it again in a few years. My elsedst son left for a few months to go to uni and is now back home. I look forward to the days you are in now but will be sorry to lose the days I have now
    Sue

    ReplyDelete
  28. Your post is so inspiring for us all at any stage of life. Reminds me of Rosamund Stone Zander & Benjamin Zander's "The Art of Possibility" book. Finding ways of seeing the glass half full and not half empty. If someone is used to knitting, cooking & reading for family at home, and they have left the nest--why not knit for Aids orphans, cook for Meals on Wheels or read for taped books for the blind? I hope to volunteer more often to help build homes with Habitat for Humanity or help with "Feeding men by the side of the road" (who are looking for casual labour) as my son leaves in a wk's time for 1st yr at univ. I still have my paid work, and will cook & freeze meals for him to take back to varsity when he visits, but I can think of so many valuable things I'd love to do with my 'extra time'. And I haven't even mentioned all of the friends to have a cup of tea with.....

    ReplyDelete
  29. Those worried about empty nests have nothing to fear. You, yourself, can fill your life with happiness and joy and creative pursuits whether you have children or not, or if your children are in your house or have grown up and moved on. I salute and congratulate Rhonda for her life choices because they allowed her to be the person she wanted to be and to fulfill her potential. I'm not a mother, nor ever will be, a choice I made quite happily a long time ago, and I've found that also is a fulfilling path.

    AM of the bread

    ReplyDelete
  30. Just as my eldest daughter and her boyfriend are moving out again, this is a very timely post. It reminds me that nothing is forever and that in the next few years when our two younger children have made their own way in life, my husband and I will have a whole new routine and perhaps, freedom to be us, again . . .

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi Rhonda I came across this blog/shop about nappies while looking for something else...she's a Melbourne lass.

    http://amygrantsblog.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  32. Re my previous post...I had a look at her shop, Weepants, but it doesn't exist anymore, and when I checked her blog again, last entry is 2009, so perhaps she's not doing nappies anymore. Sorry :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Your reply to adele made me laugh, that's you throwing your toys out of the pram!
    (In case you've not heard the expression before it means having a tantrum, stamping your foot, being annoyed because someone has done something you don't like)
    Sometimes the comments can be more interesting than the post!
    Donna

    ReplyDelete
  34. beautifully (and very sensibly) written

    ReplyDelete
  35. A new phase .. and a lovely one at that.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Rhonda, I have always loved your blog but I find it even better now that you 'revealed' you 'true' picture (hopefully you know what I mean) in the article about getting older. That post was very revealing. Also your recent articles about becoming a grandma are excellent. As a mother of 2 children - 8 and 3, I have often been thinking about what life will be like when they leave home. And the idea doesn't seem so scary any more. Thank you for posting these!!! Kamila

    ReplyDelete
  37. Also, I forgot - nappies. I used these for my boy: http://www.onelifeworld.com/hom.stm
    and they were excellent (one size shaped nappy , that fits baby from newborn to toddler + sized covers). I live in London and used to help at events organised by a nappy network in our area: http://www.realnappiesforlondon.org.uk/nappytypes/ - this website is a great resource.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Thank you....I have raised 2 generations of children, my son and my daughter and my granddaughter who is now 22. She still lives with me and goes to college, but my time is now my own. After many, many years of having to care for a child or a teen, I am now finding my horizons widened and my eyes open to what life has to offer me now. Life is different, yet beautiful still!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Such a beautiful post, Rhonda. I especially love the section where you talk about how we never stop parenting, the way in which we parent just changes. LOL, I wish that I had read this before my oldest daughter married 4 years ago. Now, I've got one daughter married with 3 children (so cute!) and my almost 20 yo son is at the university studying pre-vet medicine. I still have 6 in the nest, but I see 2 more of them maturing into young adults who will be likely to spread their wings and fly in the next couple of years.

    I pray that I can adopt your lovely attitude toward this process rather than feeling bereft because my young ones have moved on. Thank you so much for how you share your heart and wisdom with us.

    ReplyDelete
  40. The reminder that our roles don't always end, but simply change their nature, is so timely. This business of raising children is not so easy as opening and closing books. At least in my case, where it seems more like a long transition. In a way, it makes it harder and easier both, to have our oldest child's plans encompass several years. Easier because we can adapt to the idea of our child one day not living with us; harder because all the moments seem fewer and more precious and poignant.

    It's nice to be reminded that, barring great misfortune, there will always be future moments to look forward to.

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Our nest is empty also..but no Grand-babies yet. The sad thing is, my Son does not want children.
    We do have a "Grand-puppy though, and he visits us often.
    So, instead of buying toys for kids, we buy dog treats and dog toys. This puppy is spoiled by us..even knows where the cookie..er..treat jar is.

    ReplyDelete
  42. With two children under age three, I struggle daily to keep my eye on the long view. Every day, every game, every temper tantrum is a moment to help my children become adults I will proud to know.

    Thank you for the reminder.

    ReplyDelete
  43. hoping you are safe from all of the flooding in Australia.

    ReplyDelete
  44. After our last (of 4) daughters left for university last September, I considered myself and my husband empty nesters. And it was hard at first, especially sincer we homeschooled before that and were used to our daughter being home much of the time. I went back to work for a time after 15 years and found that the workplace is not the same as it used to be for me. I'm now back home and finding that being an empty nester is just another change in our lives. It's different but can also be just as fulfilling. We welcomed 2 more grandchildren into our family in 2010 and our 18-month-old grand daughter is a joy, too. My husband and I have lots more time to just enjoy each other's company and talk and work together.

    Rhonda-I'm so happy for you as you become a grandma. You get a double blessing with two new grandbabies coming! I'm always inspired and encouraged by your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Rhonda, loved reading your post today. I too have enjoyed all phases of life. My eldest is completing college this spring & talking of moving out. While I know it's time it will still be an adjustment when it happens. I look forward to watching her enter this new exciting phase of her life. My son is 13 so I will still have a child at home but I don't think I was really ready this past year when he grew taller than me (lol) & the voice deepened. It was a reminder of just how fast time is marching.
    Please continue to write whatever YOU want. Your blog is my favorite. Shows that you have a very full, well rounded life. When we have a conversation with a friend do we stick to talking about only one topic? How boring if that is true.
    On another note, glad that you are not in the heavily flooded area. Was watching the coverage on our nightly news & my heart & prayers go out to those who are flooded.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Such a beautiful post Rhonda and it brought a lump to my throat. My grandson arrived on 4 July and he is enchanting - it's wonderful to see my son holding his son.

    His photo is on my blog if you have time for a quick look! (Sorry - a grandmotherly habit!)

    ReplyDelete
  47. I love your post Rhonda!! I'm also a grandma x 7 and 1 more granddaughter to make her appearance in April! I'm also still a Mom with 1 daughter at home! I appreciate your self-sufficiency blogs, but also your life blogs. We all go through many stages of life,work and relationships.This is the stage of your life and how you handle it ! I think you are doing a GREAT job!! Best Wishes in ALL you do, Elly from WV,USA

    ReplyDelete
  48. Ooh i love being granny...bit different for me though..my older girls left home and the house was quiet..i had my son who was 11 at the time so i had someone to fuss over...thinking my baby days were over i started to work again..but then i found out that not only was one of my daughters expecting..shock horror so was i...stunned silence all round when i announced the baby...so i ahd to start all over again..but it helped me and girl become very close..then 2 yrs later me and another daughter found out we were expecting..our babies were born 8 wks apart...i might be a granny but i'm a mummy again..my house is all pinked out and my nest won't be empty for years but then i will definately be too old for anymore surprises....i love it its soo nice to be a gran and have them all here to play and when one says"mummy" you can bet 3 of us say "yes"....confusing but fun...
    sara,fern,iris

    ReplyDelete
  49. Sorry got carried away there..eant to say congratulations on the new arrival..its lovely being a granny..best thing next to be a mummy...
    sara,fern,iris

    ReplyDelete
  50. Hi there Rhonda Jean! Hope you are staying dry, with so much of QLD under water. Horrible news.
    I don't know if anyone has passed this link on to you, but this is how I made all my cloth nappies for my younger set. http://fernandfaerie.com/frugaldiapering.html

    I just know you won't be able to resist recycling some old clothes into free cloth nappies. Easy peasy, works great.

    I have six children and dread the day any of them fly the nest. My oldest is thirteen, but she is one of my best friends, and I will miss having her around. Even the hard days are good days. Thank you for your post.

    I love hearing about the joy coming into your life through your children and grandchildren, and I hope you post a bit about them every day.

    Love
    Moey

    ReplyDelete
  51. Gorgeous blog.
    My little man starts school this year, so I'm a while away from being an empty nest but your blog hit many chords with me. Time is precious hey!

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  52. What a beautiful post. Glad you and Hanno are safe and well.

    ReplyDelete
  53. That was beautiful! That's how i've always felt about my boys (i've 2 also, although they are still young ones). I hope to keep this in my heart as they continue to grow into their own.

    Thanks so much for your wisdom and perspective,

    Jessica in CA, US (first time commenter)

    ReplyDelete
  54. Rhonda, thank you so much for this post. I believe, as you do, that as mother's it is our job to shape our children into the people they are meant to be! I have been dreading the day when that is over, when they move on and my life moves into the next stage. My oldest is a sophomore in high school, nearing the time he will leave. It makes me sad to think of, even though I am proud of the young man he is becoming. Your post has given me reason to hope that what you have, I can also achieve. Thank you for that!

    ReplyDelete
  55. thank you for this post. My oldest is getting ready to graduate high school and can't wait to move out on her own. I'm sad, but excited, and your blog on this helped.

    ReplyDelete
  56. A lovely post Rhonda and, yes, it's been wonderful watching our children become caring and responsible adults. Still hate saying our goodbyes after visits (as Buttons so beautifully posted), but, then we all get on with our lives ... and that's how it should be.

    ReplyDelete
  57. I have three successful adult children and eight amazing grandchildren. There are times (occasionally) that I long for the days that all are young and back home again...but then it dawns on me that I'd be giving up those grandbabies for that moment in time. Wouldn't trade my role as grandmother for absolutely anything! I love it!

    Blessings,

    Dianne
    www.mysouthernheart.com

    ReplyDelete
  58. Thank you for your wonderful blog. I stumbled accross it when looking for some answers to how I am feeling. I am a mother of four wonderful daughters aged 26 to 16 and have been divorced and single for 13 of these years.

    My eldest two daughters have moved out both doing amazingly, my 21 year old lives with me with her daughter and my youngest (baby) just had a baby of her own, and is living with me with her partner.

    I know I am not an "Empty Nester" as such but I am feeling very alone right now. The young couple are amazing parents and looking after their beautiful baby boy with joy and instincts that beligh their tender age. I feel I am no longer needed, and I know kids will always need their mums sometimes, but my main job has been to care and protect my girls. They dont need this anymore. I know I am being silly and a little dramatic. It will maybe help to get this out.

    Thanks for reading this.

    Gaye
    Australia

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comment today. I love reading your opinions and thoughts. We have built up a wonderfully diverse community here that I'm very proud to be a part of.

A link to your blog will be automatically added to your comment. Please don't add another link to your blog in your comment. Those comments will not be published.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...