Thursday, December 5, 2013

10 Good Things About Being An Empty Nester

 
    There was a time when I took pride in the fact that my house was one of the busiest (and noisiest) on the street. I had four children of my own, took care of five others during the after school hours, and maintained a revolving door for all the neighborhood kids to come over whenever they chose.
     On one particular rainy afternoon, I counted seventeen kids (ranging in age from 10-17) in my matchbox-sized home. I'm convinced that this is when my love for margaritas began.
     My house was always LOUD. Music blasting, televisions blaring, giggling, squealing and raucous games of basketball in the driveway---this was the norm. The chaos never bothered me. I loved my role as the entertaining "cool" mom, and was happy to provide enough calorie-ladened snacks to feed an army brigade.
     I was also ten years younger with an endless supply of energy that could rival the stamina of the Energizer bunny.
     Three of my four children have grown and flown the coop. The last one still at home is eighteen and he'd rather have a root canal than spend an evening at home with dear old Mom and Dad. This allows us quite a bit of wiggle room for privacy and a glimpse of what life will be like when the last one packs his bags and heads off to college (hopefully to a school on the other side of the continent). This is why I know I'm going to LOVE being an empty nester:

* A lower grocery bill. My supermarket expenses will finally be lower than my monthly mortgage payment. I will no longer need to buy stock in toilet paper, milk or Axe Body Spray.

* My car insurance rates will drop….but so will my tax deductions. Perhaps the I.R.S. will count fostering male dogs with bathroom handicaps as a tax deduction.


* My house will stay clean. No more hazardous waste piles of laundry or a bathroom requiring a
Hazmat team to scrub it clean.

* We can travel spontaneously anywhere in the world---or maybe just to Walmart---without needing to hire a babysitter.

* No more math homework (Y=mx+b... HUH?), erupting volcanoes in the kitchen (science experiment) or thirty page term papers on the Civil War that create tears of frustration (and several shots of tequila for mom).

* My husband and I can finally have a REAL adult conversation instead of the usual, "Has he pooped today?", Did she eat her greens?", "Make sure he brushes his teeth before bed", "Does she want fries with that?"

* No more detailed school supplies lists from teachers (what do you mean you need a specific brand of environmentally safe markers made in China by three-fingered panda bears?). And no more expensive school uniforms (Honey, you're NOT wearing a plaid mini skirt and heels to school in a reckless  attempt to imitate Jenna Jameson in an adult movie!).

* I don't have to cook for a crowd every night. The Hubs and I will be perfectly content to snarf down a bowl of Cocoa Puffs for dinner while watching an episode of Hoarders.

* No more part time job as a taxi driver chauffeuring kids in a beat-up mini van to choir, gymnastics, karate, dance, soccer, cheerleading or band. It also signifies the end of chaperoning school field trips to the zoo and getting parrot poop on my head.

* Sex 24/7. Every night can be a date night, and every moment is a Cialis moment. The only thing that's missing is matching bathtubs in a wildly inappropriate place, like the tool aisle at Sears.

     As I revel in my thoughts of newfound freedom, my eighteen-year-old son informs me has picked the college he'd like to attend….and it's only ten minutes from our home. Looks like my empty nester plans will have to be put on hold a little bit longer. But I can still dream, can't I?      

***My weekly feature over at In The Powder Room is a funny spin on aging. You can read all about it here:  http://www.inthepowderroom.com/read/me-time/2013-12-truth-about-aging.html


***Want MORE Meno Mama? I am also featured on Better After 50 this week talking about my colonoscopy with The Hubs. I'm also featured again on the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop---my holiday from hell story--- if you would like to check that out as well. Here are the links to both sites:
http://betterafter50.com/2013/12/i-got-a-colonoscopy-with-my-husband/  and  http://humorwriters.org/2013/12/07/holiday-from-hell.html

52 comments:

  1. I love the one about the grocery bill dropping... it really can be more than mortgage/rent ... I can only imagine trying to feed 4. :-/ ;-)

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    1. Seriously--we are BIG eaters here--my bill has always been out of control. It's the largest bill of the month, I'm embarrassed to say…..

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  2. lol. with 8 and 10 year olds, I know those school lists too well. It's not enough to buy colored pens but it has to be a brand name…..sorry I haven't been around in a while. Been overwhelmed. And my escape has been martinis.

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  3. This had me cracking up. My grocery bill is also pretty close to what my mortgage is... and we only have two kids! But with one of them ADHD, the organic eating is what sends us over the edge.

    I admire you big-time for allowing all that mayhem in your home. Our neighbor kids always want to come in and play and although I let them in frequently, I also kick their asses out as frequently. There's one kid who always ends up hitting or scratching someone and I just can't deal with it. Maybe it will be better when they're slightly older? (hahahaha)

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    1. There's always one in every group…I had one who always ended up breaking something in the house. And yes, the organic stuff is SOOO expensive!!!

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  4. It gets a LOT easier once they start college, they come and go as adults for the most part. The grocery bill sure doesn't get any smaller though :)

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    1. Oh no! Don't tell me that or else my house will never be paid off!

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  5. I KNEW we had a lot in common! You've perfectly described my home/demolition area. The thing is, how did you get them to move away? Ours all married and settled down mere blocks from me. Now I have them AND their kids here. Not complaining, but I'm still waiting for my food bill to drop below the national deficit. :)

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    1. Oh YES! Two of the older ones live nearby and then the other is three hours away. But the teenager at home eats more food than an entire football team! I have a feeling my grocery bill will be high for awhile….

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  6. This sounds like my home! Although I have one out of it, and one who will be out in two and a half years, I still have three little ones after that. At this point in time, I think I'm going to run away. By next week I will probably be loving the chaos again. Motherhood makes you a bit mixed up I think. ;) Great piece!

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  7. Hi Marcia! Giggling furiously as usual. I loved the comment about the Cialis commercial. Good Lord, a bathtub? On a beach? Really??? It makes your Sears observation seem almost normal in comparison.

    I remember when my son left for college. He couldn't wait, he was packed a week before move-in day. I guess that took a lot of the sentiment out of it! It certainly cut back on the volume around here, with only his sister left.

    Wish I could have lived on your block! Your house sounds like it was the place to be! And kids don't need a lot of room, just fun and food. You had both :)
    Happy Friday!
    Ceil

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    1. They really were fun days, but I look back on them now and wonder how on earth I survived them. I was ridiculously busy back then. Now I am so tired most days by the afternoon and all I want to do is nap…in a QUIET house.

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  8. Super post. I can identify with most of these. As you point out, there are many advantages once the kids leave the nest - but every now and again (not often) you might get those moments of weakness when you would give anything just to have a bit more of that childhood mayhem pulsing through your home?

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    1. ohhhh well…I get quite a bit of that during the holidays. And believe it or not--all their friends--who are now young adults--STILL pop in on us on a regular basis! Warms my heart for sure to see them come back again and again.

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  9. Sounds like MY house!! I'm in the place you used to be, except I bow down to you doing it with FOUR kids + all the neighborhood friends! I have two boys + am the neighborhood "cool" house and am always hosting everyone else's kids, and LOVE that, although there are some days when they decide to do the "experiment" with toothpaste in MY bathroom, or are rounding the house for the 100th time on roller blades, I do sort of wish they'd take just one turn at someone else's house!!!

    Your almost-empty nest days sounds.....luxurious, wonderful, beautiful. Ahhh, to be able to go to the store on a whim.....

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    1. Toothpaste paint in the bathroom…ahh yes, I remember those days. And I am very grateful they are over….unless my toddler granddaughter starts getting some wild ideas about what she considers fun.

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  10. I hope that works out better for you than it has for me. My son who's in college pops in at . . . ahem . . . inopportune times, raids the panty and the supply closet, brings his school supply list home. . . IDK, this isn't turning out quite like I thought.

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    1. Oh No! That's my biggest fear with my youngest--I have a feeling he will NEVER leave!

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  11. I have a sneaking suspicion that when the youngest one finally flies the coop, the oldest one will return, with kids in tow.

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    1. No No No don't curse me like that, Penny!!! If that happens, then I will have to move out. Preferably to a place that serves pina coladas 24/7

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  12. I can relate to so much of this; yet I'm on the other side getting ready to let the eldest fly. I think I mostly look forward to eating Captain Crunch with my man. The Cialis tubs? With my luck they'll be parked in front of the computers at Best Buy. <3

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    1. HAHAHA I love that, Michele! Watch out--we'll be in the tubs parked next to you! Happy to see you here today! XO

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  13. I know what to get you for a celebratory present-bathtubs! LOL! :-)

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    1. As long as no kids are around to bother me while I'm soaking, I'll go of that!

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  14. Keep dreamin...one of mine just moved back in!

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  15. I still have three kids plus a girlfriend in residence but can't wait to be an empty-nester. Although, more sex?? Really?
    Now that I'm older the body is falling apart big time :( A good book and a glass of wine maybe...

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    1. Turn off all the lights and use some REALLY dim candles…..

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  16. So, let me know how that sex 24/7 works out for you? and groceries, hardest habit not to cook for an army. I've been an empty nester for 12 years and still over cook, I just need a bigger freezer for all the leftovers. The one thing I do enjoy is dinner out JUST GROWN UPS !! and the bathroom... ahhhhh... no talking through the door anymore !

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    1. Don't you LOVE those dinner dates again? I think that was my favorite part. Oh yeah--I forgot about the yelling through the bathroom door…gawd, I hated that!

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  17. Both my boys have moved out on their own...it's been 5 years of bliss.
    Once a year the chaos erupts with Christmas. Both boys come back home (with wives and grandson) and it sheer, utterly divine madness for a few days.
    And then I remember why I was never a depressed empty nester.

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    1. I am SO with you on this! I love it when they visit but I breath a sigh of relief when they leave and order is restored in my home!

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  18. HHmmm...now I know why my parents were happy when we finally left the house! Yet, I do not want to think about them having sex all around the house.

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    1. My kids get totally grossed out even when they see The Hubs and I kiss, haha!

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  19. With 2 kids out the house, I'm beginning to appreciate the freedom of having ore time to myself. Can;t wait for the other 2 to grow up!. Yeah, I love them to bits regardless and wouldn't swop them for the anything in the world. But it is certainly nice to have some me time

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  20. I always so enjoy your posts. I am not yet married and still get tired with my niece who feels I am the super aunt! I get what you mean by math homework and the supplies.
    After my sis got married 7 years ago, my parents get paranoid at times at the thought of me going away. I wish I could make them read this post.

    Good to have a preview of the life to come. I wish every one had positive attitude like yours.

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    1. That is so sweet of you to say--thank you! I think we all have to keep a positive attitude…after all, what the alternative?

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  21. I am sending a friend of mine suffering from Empty Nest Syndrome over here tout de suite!! :)

    Speaking as a single gal living alone, it occurred to me tonight how quiet it is around here...when I was with my ex he had the TV going at all times...just like my parents back in the day. Maybe that's why I don't have a cable/satellite hookup...or a man around. :)

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    1. I despise the sound of the TV on 24/7. My Hubs does that the minute he comes home…which is why I retreat to the quiet paradise of my home office!

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  22. NO, don't let him stay Mama. Don't allow the youth to cramp your romantic future plans. I'll tell you what to do. You'll need:

    1. A4 paper, pen and printer
    2. Type a nice letter to your son's college informing them he no longer want a place there and sign it just like your son would. Copy and paste it if your desperate for some peace.
    3. Bring it to the college 10 mins away with tears in your eyes and hand it to the Head. That way you know they received it.
    3. Fill out a new college application to a place far far away, where he needs to get on a plane, then a boat the a car. This way, it's harder for him to pop over when he's hungry or to dump the laundry on you.
    4. Send him off to his brand new college with a nice party, then change the locks, close the curtains and enjoy.

    You see how simple it is for your Empty Nester dream to come alive very quickly?
    Think about mate whilst you enjoy the rest of your week :)

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    1. I think you're right, RPD! Desperate times call for desperate measures!

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  23. We're in Michigan and my oldest joined the military and lives w/his wife and my grandbaby in D.C., the 2nd oldest moved to Florida where we lived most of our lives, the 3rd says she's going to Fl. at the 1st opportunity....I don't want 'em all over the place. I want them 20 minutes from their mama, tops. Thank goodness we opted for baby #4, he's in Kindergarten so he'll be home awhile still, and I'm glad. I'm going to be a terrible empty nester, I think!!

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    1. Oh my! you DO have a long tine before you will be an empty nester! I like having my kids "nearby", just not living under the same roof. :-)

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  24. Marcia, I loved so many things about this post. Growing up, our house was the one on the block with the revolving door. My parents were awesome about always letting us have friends over, and nobody ever knocked. I remember once when my best friend, the neighbor boy who lived next door, walked into our house to find me. Instead, he ran straight into my mom--walking naked down the hall. The poor thing knew none of us kids were home (We had gone somewhere with Dad, I guess) and had figured she could grab something she had forgotten when she stepped out of the shower--probably a towel, which was kept in the hall closet. Anyway, my poor best friend RAN from the house because he felt so bad, and then he wouldn't come over for a week after that. HA! But it was always a fun (and crazy) house, and I think it's awesome that you did the same for your kids. But the best part of this was the ending--10 minutes away! Too funny. :)

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    1. OMG the poor kid! I have been spared this experience, thankfully! I loved having all the extra kids around when I was younger. The cool thing is they still stop by for visits--even if my own kids aren't here! They all say I'm like a mom to them and that just warms my heart!

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  25. Ha... I'm (we're) already there. All I can say is: You will love it. lol Slu

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    1. Judging by all the awesome pics you post on your blog of you and Donna, I believe it!

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  26. This is such a sweet post, Marcia, b/c I love thinking about your house both then and now. The best of both worlds, really. It's so clear that you are experiencing and loving it all! As it should be!

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    1. These really are turning out to be some pretty fine years! Thanks, Rachel!

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