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preparing yourself for an empty nest...coping

Posted by on Jul. 4, 2013 at 2:07 AM
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I have a question for all you ladies out there....what I thought would never enventually happen...has happened..my kids are no longer little and I can actually have a life again!  However, I think that I may have forgotten just how to do that!  Do any of you feel a little lost as to what you will do with yourselves once you have an empty nest?  

I am 52 years old, and my baby will be entering high school this coming August...I have 2 teens, a daughter, 16 years old, and she only has 2 years left of high school before she goes away to college...my son only has 4 years left until he goes to college.  

I used to be an elementary teacher, but I became a stay-at-home mom since my son had learning disabilties and needed to go to counselors, tutors, adhd coaches, neurologists, etc., and my husband also traveled quite a bit for his work, so we felt that our family needed one parent at home.

It seemed like a good thing at the time, although I missed teaching terribly, as my son really needed me physically at home to focus on him getting his homework done, driving him to his many appointments (which were oftentimes directly afterschool) which made even substitute teaching nearly impossible.

However, now, I find that  the teaching market here (Ohio) is terrible, and very few jobs fulltime here.

I have managed to return to substitute teaching, and I love it, and there seems to be a need for subs as well.

The pay isn't anywhere as good as a fulltime teaching job would be, and my husband has mentioned to me about returning to teaching fulltime, as though I can just easily jump back in, and secure a teaching contract, just like that!  I have no idea what else I would ever want to do other than work with kids....I love it.

As many others are going through employment wise with this crazy economy, my long laid plans to work and eventually retire as a veteran teacher (not a sub) have flew out the window.

I was just wondering, have any of you started thinking about what you will do with your time once you have an empty nest?

On the bright side, my husband does plan to retire in about 6 years, and plans to buy an rv and travel the states together.  Also, because of all the help my son recieved from professionals and myself academically he is getting almost straight A's in school and his thriving and doing great socially, and emotionally and academically.  As a teacher, I witnessed a lot of kids with adhd fail...and fall between the cracks.

However, my daughter (straight A's in school) just told us that she wants to be a lawyer....lol...I tell ya, it sure would have been nice to be able to teach fulltime at this point!   We will have college money for the kids...but it will tough to pay for all of their college, especially law school!

Our daughter was adopted from Vietnam, and between years of paying for infertility treatments, and then paying over $27,000 for an international adoption, and then paying for my son's adhd meds, and counselors, coaches, tutors, etc...it is tough to have money for law school and 2 kids' college expenses.

I was just wondering...how do you ladies plan to pay for college expenses for your kids?

What do you plan to do with your time once you have an empty nest?   The economy has kind of tanked my dream to go back to work fulltime as a teacher until retirement to help pay for my kids' collleges expenses.

If my kids get college loans, and the economy continues as it is, how do our college grad kids find a job to pay back the college loans that they will inherit?   

I just get really depressed when I consider all of this....my husband has a great paying job, but like many of us, his work/income has been affected by the economy....and he now says that he wishes that I could get a fulltime teaching job..

I would appreciate any advice, feedback.  Thanks!

by on Jul. 4, 2013 at 2:07 AM
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Replies (1-10):
atlmom2
by Susie on Jul. 4, 2013 at 9:58 AM
I am 52 and we became empty nesters quickly last year. DD 22 moved out in July and DD 19 went to college 7 hours away.
We always did things without the kids so that wasn't hard to transition.
First month was lonely then we looked at each other and said "hey, this is not so bad". Lol
Going to the grocery and cooking alone was hard because dd 19 and I did that a lot. DD 22 was always gone and not around much. She does come over at least once a week to do her laundry. She calls a lot too. DD 19 rarely calls and texts here and there.
I volunteer with 2 non profits and have friends, and also scrapbook weekly with friends.
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Not_A_Native
by Bronze Member on Jul. 4, 2013 at 11:19 AM

We will be (mostly) empty nesters in August (2 in college, 2 fully grown on their own).  We paid (and are paying) for college, my husband makes enough that although it's a big expense, it's not too terrible.  Because of the hours he works (very long and erratic) for all of our married life, I have handled everything - which I still do.  Our kids are scattered all across the US, so even visiting them takes time - not to mention that I'm not helping to care for my husbands elderly aunt who has no one else (3000 miles away) and his sister in law who I just got back from taking her to have back surgery - she is permanently disabled.

I keep plenty busy.  And our next plan is to buy a "vacation home" which we will eventually retire to.  In a warmer place!  So once the youngest is off to college, I'm going to start traveling around and looking for something - then after we buy it, it will be the work of making it a home.

atlmom2
by Susie on Jul. 4, 2013 at 11:23 AM
We just bought a vacation/retirement home 2 weeks ago.


Quoting Not_A_Native:

We will be (mostly) empty nesters in August (2 in college, 2 fully grown on their own).  We paid (and are paying) for college, my husband makes enough that although it's a big expense, it's not too terrible.  Because of the hours he works (very long and erratic) for all of our married life, I have handled everything - which I still do.  Our kids are scattered all across the US, so even visiting them takes time - not to mention that I'm not helping to care for my husbands elderly aunt who has no one else (3000 miles away) and his sister in law who I just got back from taking her to have back surgery - she is permanently disabled.


I keep plenty busy.  And our next plan is to buy a "vacation home" which we will eventually retire to.  In a warmer place!  So once the youngest is off to college, I'm going to start traveling around and looking for something - then after we buy it, it will be the work of making it a home.


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boys2men2soon
by Kimberly on Jul. 4, 2013 at 12:00 PM

I went back to work, part time when our youngest was in middle school.   I have a small portion of my check put into college savings accounts for my sons.     We have had college accounts for them since childhood.   They both chose an in state school, they live at home to cut expenses.   They both also received grants....as a teacher, you are more aware than most that the trick is to research and apply for any available grants...so many parents are convinced they make too much $ to receive grants, and many are wrong.       You don't know unless you try!   The worst that can happen is you are told No.

We agreed to pay for 4 yrs of college.  Between the college funds & grants, it was/is doable.   Our oldest graduated last year with his BA.   He worked part time since age 16...  he managed to work an average of 16 hours per week all four years of college.     He graduated debt free.   He plans on getting his masters....  which he will have to pay for.       

It was tough to find a job (for him) after graduating.   It took him 6 months.  He accepted a part time position at a good company.    He hopes to get on full time in a few months, which is a good possibility.  If and when he gets on full time, the company offers great benefits, including 50% tuition for advanced education... he hopes to use that to help with his masters.    At that time, I will share with him that I have some $$ saved (from my checks) to help him, as well.





jojo_star
by on Jul. 4, 2013 at 2:42 PM

I'm 25, but I have an usual home situation, my children are 12, 14, 15, and 17. My oldest will be a senior this year and be going off to college next year. My husband and I had planned to have an empty nest in about 6 years, but, we recently found out that I am pregnant, so all our plans are changing. Our original plan was for me to return to school for my doctorate in nursing, and for me to be a nurse practitioner. I am also a full time working mom, I refused to take a chance that I would have any difficulty finding a job. We have been saving for our children's college funds, and have sizable amounts saved for each of them. We hope they will get scholarships, because they won't qualify for any government financial aid. If need be, we will help them with loans. Paying back any loans depends on what field they go into. I was able to pay back all loans within a year, because of career field. Many employers, are least in the medical field, are also helping with loan repayment. There are many programs out there for financial assistance. You just have to spend a lot of time looking. 

metalmomma86
by on Jul. 4, 2013 at 3:21 PM
my girls are still home for a few more years but older daughter wants to go to college in South Carolina or Georgia. Younger daughter wants to move to North Carolina after she graduates high school.

I have been saving for college expenses since they were little and when their Dad passed, I took his life insurance money and put it away for them.

As for dealing with the empty nest, They already have social lives so I just see friends, spendx time with my Dad and Stepmom or brothers and recently started dating (at my girls urging). I do want to travel more once I have a true empty nest tho
gdiamante
by Bronze Member on Jul. 4, 2013 at 3:26 PM

I never stopped working, and I expect I will do the same as I am now.

My mother went back to work when I was 12, and had a couple of job changes AND a big move across state between then and retirement.

drfink
by Emily on Jul. 5, 2013 at 1:20 AM

my youngest will be a sophomore in h.s. My oldest starts law school in Aug.He has received a free ride.My daughter starts her sr year working on her BSN.We have put up money for college from the first.We have been able to pay their way and plan on paying for our teens also.

I am going back to school to take some courses ,see if I love it or not and perhaps finish my Ph.D.Maybe go back to work full time ,maybe not.I don't plan to start full time till my youngest starts college.

sabrtooth1
by on Jul. 5, 2013 at 10:38 AM
I have 2 now ADDults. I worked continuously, but I did change careers and became a Dental Hygienist, so I could work fewer hours, with good pay, and be more flexible. Our kids knew that they were expected to contribute to paying for college, and they did. They had jobs from the time they were 16, which they continued to work all thru college. That way, they had an income, and insurance till they found jobs in their careers.
I'm 61, still work a couple days a week, and watch my granddaughter while her parents work. We decided that a retirement home was a bad idea. We can rent a condo for 3 months cheaper than paying a whole year of mortgage. And go different places each time.
Medusa686
by on Jul. 5, 2013 at 3:36 PM

My son is 12 and can't bear to think about him leaving yet.  His teeth are still growing in !  However I have been saving for his college since he was 6 months old.  Sometimes I was able to put a lot, others not as much. He started track and field in the spring and although he is in middle school his coach is already talking about college scholarships so I am hopeful that if he gets a scholarship coupled with his college savings, that it will be enough. I am paying back my own grad school loan and need to finish before he starts in case I need to help him.  I DO NOT want him to take out a loan.

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