Dear Margo: Joyous Empty Nesters!

We are enjoying our time together while the kids are away at school; does this make us odd? Margo Howard’s advice

Joyous Empty Nesters!

Dear Margo: We are empty-nest parents. We’re having a great time while our two daughters are in college. Finally, we have the freedom to do some adult activities without worrying about boring or embarrassing the kids. For example, the art museum instead of a soccer game every Saturday. Sleeping in vs. getting up and getting them off to school. No more PTA meetings. No waiting up for them to come home from dates. (We didn’t tell them that we couldn’t sleep while they were out with some of those yahoos they dated.) Weekends at a nearby resort hotel come to mind. Then, of course, there’s the sex on the living room couch, which was impossible when they were home, for fear they would get up and wander around the house at an inopportune time.

We love our daughters dearly, but it’s time for them to spread their wings and fly. We only hope they will not show up unexpectedly on a Sunday afternoon lest their mother die of embarrassment. We have friends who seem bereft when their kids are out of the house. Are we the oddballs? — Empty Nest Dad

Dear Emp: I’m with you. I think by the time kids are grown up enough to be out of the house, parents have earned the right to say goodbye to PTA meetings and have sex on the couch. I never did get it with the Velcro parents who had no life outside of their children. Your attitude to your kids being off to college sounds very healthy to me, and I’m so happy you’re enjoying yourselves. Sounds like a job well done. — Margo, approvingly

House Rules

Dear Margo: I’m a mom with four children under the age of 7. I am also a part-time student in a rigorous science program that takes up a lot of my time. While school is in session, my husband and I do not entertain guests, nor do we travel. We have found that in order to keep our house livable, the kids happy and healthy, and my schoolwork on track, we need to limit distractions. Most of our friends and family are aware of this and have no problem scheduling time to see us during my breaks from school. The problem is my mother-in-law.

She is upset that we won’t let her visit while I am in school. My mother-in-law technically does not have a home of her own (she has a boyfriend she stays with sometimes), so she spends her time traveling between my husband’s siblings’ homes. We don’t live in the same state, so she has mostly left us alone. Unfortunately, she has all but worn out her welcome with one sister-in-law due to her trying to take over. She likes to redecorate, cook and mother the children without anyone’s permission.

She is now talking about coming to stay with us for “a little while.” I am sure this would turn into an extended stay. I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but I cannot compromise my educational program — and our financial future — to suit this woman. How do I explain to her that we cannot have company while school is in session? — Doing It All

Dear Do: You don’t. Your husband does. (Happily, it sounds as though he concurs with the program you are living by.) He has to explain to his mother the system you’ve worked out, and from which you do not deviate, so that you can meet the primary responsibilities in your lives. Suggest a visit during one of your “open” times. (Too bad you can’t use the cook, decorator and nanny services.) — Margo, resolutely

* * *

Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at www.creators.com/dear-margo.html. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.

COPYRIGHT 2011 MARGO HOWARD
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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39 comments so far.

  1. avatar Linda says:

    #1 Enjoy yourself! :-) I have read the stories about parents who follow the lives of thier cihldren into college as if they were still in middle school with seemingly no life outside of the children that bond them together. Daily I also see couples who are 40 something with young familes just starting out wondering how they will have th energy to keep up with them when by the time they are grown, the parents will already be social security eliglble. 60 something might be the new 40 something, though personally even at 40 something I still was looking forward to the quiet time. If butt naked keeps you young and your only worry is replacing a couch – go for it!

    #2 Maybe your husband needs to have a talk with mom about settling down and establishing roots as an adult and letting her know that bouncing from home to home like a young adult is not the answer.

    • avatar Lila says:

      Hi Linda! The LW did not say, but I kind of wonder if the MIL has no significant income and maybe that’s why she bounces from one house to another as a sort of migrating guest.

      • avatar Linda says:

        True! The MIL though needs a focus to her own life and maybe some assistance either finding or attaining desires she has also. In essence she is providing hundreds of dollars of service to these families unappreciated at the same time. Basically working for her keep and the mention of any boundaries being set between MIL and parents is not mentioned.

        She coudl be an asset in helping with 4 small children if open dialouge setting limitations and expectations was set before visiting also, or possibly helping her find a job with a family as a nanny which would provide her housing and allow her to continue mothering small chlidren. There are options for everyone if they would step outside the box and break the cycle.

      • avatar dcarpend says:

        Or, very possibly more accurately, MIL has no interest in doing what’s needed to act like an adult and support herself, and simply assumes her children will support her for the rest of her life. That does not make it her children’s — nor her children-in-laws’ — responsibility to do so.

  2. avatar JCF4612 says:

    LW#1: Go for it … more parents should strive for your style.

    LW#2: Stick to your resolve. The freeloading MIL sounds like major trouble, whether school is in session or not. Don’t let her cross your threshold unless it’s at a convenient time for you, … and make sure she understands that she’ll be checking out on your schedule, not hers. If hubby can’t handle it with her, then you need to state it plain and simple, as in “No Way until we say so.”

    P.S. Uh, four children under seven?   

  3. avatar Violet says:

    The problem is my mother in law. There’s an original. Haha.

  4. avatar lisakitty says:

    LW1: Right there with ya and oh so glorious it is!

    Tonight a young woman told me she was going to wait until she was in her 40s to have a child so that she could “live a little first”.  I told her that living a little now (while I’m IN my 40s) knowing that the diapers, the day care worries, the stress of constantly working my schedule and career choices around school schedules, sports, music programs, etc etc, is over and done with is fantastic!

    I have friends my same age with kids still in diapers.  That’s all good and fine, but I’m happy that my daughter is an independant, successful and happy adult now.  She still comes to me to ask advice, but I trust her judgement.  And PS?  she’s proud of ME taking on my life with renewed purpose and finally doing things for myself.

    I’ll bet if the LW were to ask his daughters if they are happy for their parents (and proud of them) they would tell their parents the same thing.

    LOVE Margo’s answer!        

    • avatar bright eyes says:

      I’m like you – I had my son young and by the time he leaves for college, I will be barely 40! I plan on having a good time when he’s gone. Yes I will miss him and his company, but (I hope!) I’ll be glad that he’s out living his own life while I am out living mine.
      On the other hand my older sister has young children. I mentioned I only have 4 more years of public school/daycare while she still has 16 years to go (3 daycare -13 school), so when my son is out of the house, hers will just be starting Elementary school. I never planned on having a child that early – but looking back, I’m glad I did!

    • avatar Lym BO says:

      It’s all about perspective. I planned to marry at 22 then have fun post-kids. Alas, I waited until 28 to marry, adopted twins at 32 after 4 years of infertility then had two bios (4 under 5 if anyone is judging). Anyhoo, we had lots of fun between 26-32. Now we wait for the little darlings to be on their own so we can have more fun. We’re just hoping we’ll still be good to go at, ahem, 56. As a medical professional, ones realizes fairly quickly that after 50 is a complete crap shoot for health & longevity. Take what life gives you & make the best of it. There are definitely positives to both waiting to marry/procreate and doing it early. The biggest pro to doing it later if one’s health is good is hopefully there is more money in the pot.

  5. avatar John Lee says:

    I usually don’t like to be such as smart ass, but jeez, really LW#1?

    I think you do have a problem if you actually can’t figure out that it’s perfectly healthy to want and enjoy your empty nest after raising TWO daughters to seemingly successful lives in college.

    You really needed Margo’s advice or validation for such an obvious question?

  6. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    LW#1:  I’m happy for you but yes, you are probably oddballs.  There should be more oddballs like you, but alas my experience is that there are too many *velcro parents* (that is such a good description) who either cannot let go or who lack the backbone to  allow  or force their college age and beyond children to fly from the nest.   Being childless, I cannot relate to that and find their preoccupation in their adult children’s lives inexplicable and tiring and wonder, in some cases, if the children are secretlly wishing their parents were oddballs like you. 

    LW#2:  I think it is pretty obvious your mother-in-law lacks financial resources but I suspect that her plight is related to poor decisions she has made throughout her life and continues to make.   I hope your husband can avoid being stuck to his velcro mother and be firm with her. 

  7. avatar Amy says:

    LW#2: Under NO circumstances should you allow your MIL to even set foot within your home. With no place to go home to, guess what? You’re “it”! She sounds like a manipulator and a meddler, and your life will be hell if you let her take over. For the sake of you and your gargantuan family, hold firm and do not let her visit, even on school break!

  8. avatar Katrina Volkert says:

    RE: #1. I am very saddened by the lack of respect most in America have for their parents. I hope one or more of your 4 children, when grown, end up having more care, love and respect for you than you are showing your MIL. It’s a good thing for your husband that your MIL didn’t think more about herself than he during all those years raising him, but nothing was ever really mentioned about that. Now that he’s grown, moved on, and his mother needs HIM, she’s a throw away commodity.

    I, for one, would be thrilled and honored to take my mother or MIL in if the need arose. And if she wanted to “take over” (some might say “generously help”) that would be OK too. I wouldn’t mind another woman in the house to help me with the cooking, cleaning and raising of 4 children under 7. Maybe if you opened your heart and mind to this woman, it could end up being a blessing.

    Just my opinion.

    • avatar KarrinCooper says:

      Whoa! REALLY?! This MIL bounces about from kids house to kids house – I think that right there should tell you there is an issue. For you to be SO judgemental when they have a set routine in order to keep things flowing smoothly is rather toward, don’t you think?

      Just my opinion

      Kar’rin

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      Katrina, not all mothers, or mothers-in-law, deserve respect, attention and care. Adult children do not owe their parents anything.

      I was raised in a very European family (I am only the second generation born in the US on my father’s side, and the third on my mother’s), but I was also badly emotionally and verbally abused by my mother, denied medical care and psychological care, and even disbelieved when I was repeatedly, brutally sexually assaulted by a family friend. There were absolutely no financial problems in our family, and my parents were married. I had no support, and little affection, despite being a quiet child and teen who caused no trouble at home or in school was at the top of my class, and spent the majority of my time reading.

      My mother has never been an asset when she visited, only a complaining, sloppy, argument-provoking, irritable presence who couldn’t even be bothered to not smoke or drink in my home (I am a dry alcoholic and clean addict, she was a very wet alcoholic at the time) in the presence of my newborn son, and who whined bitterly because my children made noise when they got up for school too early for her taste. Even so, we bit our tongues as much as possible, because both of our sons wanted to know her (they are her only grandchildren), made her as comfortable as possible, said nothing about the constant messes, altercations with our friends, disparaging remarks about Texas (mostly remarkably specious) and my weight.

      The result? She refuses to visit, even though her grandsons have repeatedly asked to see her (we cannot afford trips to see her frequently, as her house is a mouse and spider infested, smoke-polluted, dust and grease filmed health hazard with only one working toilet, and one barely functional shower…and no, this is NOT a money issue…and we have to pay for a hotel, drive 1300 miles, necessitating a longer vacation time, and pay for all of our meals, as mom has a habit of literally making people ill with her cooking. O, and once again, no, we do not take vacations to Disney World, Atlantis, or cruises, or even any short trips, because we have very different priorities), we have offered to pay for her trip, pay and provide for assistance to and from the gate, and on the plane, pay for a limo to bring her from her house to the airport (probably not necessary, as my sister is completely willing to do so), prepare a private room in our home with a very nice bed, desk, reading lamp, complete, unlimited access to our master bath any time she wants to use it (this is a challenge, as mom takes two hours, minimum, to “get ready”. This is a relatively short time compared to when I was a child, we had one bath, and my parents occupied it about 80% of the time. My two sisters and I developed excellent control), not “force” her to go anywhere, make meals that suit her, watch shows that she likes…anything but let her smoke in our house. Ergo, she won’t visit. Of course.

      She’s seen her older grandson about eight times (I brought him up to Chicago a few times before her house became too foul to stay in), and her younger grandson only four. She still tries to find small ways to twist her special knife…but, unfortunately for her, and very fortunately for me…I have managed to evolve past the point that she can do any significant damage. And, once again, no, the above wasn’t a rant, or a tantrum, it was an anecdotal expression of why some parents just aren’t worth it.

      I talk to my mom once a week. It isn’t torture anymore. She knows the boundaries, and if she insists on crossing them, I say good-bye. I send her books to try and keep her mind, which is beginning to fail, I think (she is 80, but an “old” 80, as they say. Yes, “they” talk a lot) sharp. I send her peculiar, absurd cards, which she for some obscure reason seems to like, and pictures of my younger son. I try to get an idea of her health (I know that she has difficulty on her stairs, and with walking, and refuses to have a rail out in, or use a cane). I also know that she lies to me, and to her doctor, but, ah, the wonders of HIPAA that won’t allow us to warn doctors of the vagaries and prevarications of the completely irresponsible.

      Why? Not to get a warm fuzzy feeling (I am not a warm, fuzzy person), or because I’m a martyr, or because I’m avariciously awaiting her death, and hoping that “mom will like me best” (I don’t want a single thing of hers…in fact, I wish she’d sell all of her valuables right now, and use the money to replace her water softener, or rotting pipes, or the damage the “cute raccoons” did to her attic space, or commodes, or water-logged ceiling [see "rotting pipes" and "failed water softener"] and clean out her filth, junk and mouse infested basement. If there is anything left after she dies, I’m inclined to give it to charity). No, it’s because someone in the family has to be rational, and my sisters are actually hopeless (one knows what the reality is, and won’t face it because she doesn’t want to be responsible for our mother’s care…and the other lives in England…and well, she cares about, herself. Period), and thinking of anyone falling down the stairs and lying there for days, helpless and in pain…or having nowhere to go and no one to care for them and suffering from a mental and physical deterioration…or living in filth, and not taking care of themselves, and dying of heart failure and being found weeks later is horrible to me. So I check up on her when I know she’s doing poorly, and ask questions, and try to understand what’s happening. When I know it’s bad enough, I’ll get on a plane, and see what needs to be done. I may not like it, and I know she’ll hate me for it, but, what the hell, mom never liked me anyway.

      I will never do this to my children. I’ve already told them I am not their responsibility. The younger one told me that when I’m 125, he’s going to get me a Harley-Davidson muu-muu with flames, a walker with neon tennis balls, and zebra-striped Reeboks and try to discourage me from chasing the young, good-looking orderlies around the rest home and gumming them in fits of rutabaga-like affection. They don’t owe me a thing. That he still laughs with me, and tells me about his life, and his dreams (and sometimes scowls, and shouts that I am mean and don’t understand) at fourteen, means the world to me.

      • avatar Katrina Volkert says:

        Briana –

        Thank you for your well thought out, heartfelt response.  I do forget sometimes that although I was raised in a very good home, not rich, not poor, but lots of love, respect and laughter… not everyone was.

        I do stand by my idea, though, that MILs especially get a bum rap.  I am the mother of two wonderful young men.  We are very close. They are not “mama’s boys”, I do not hover or smother, but we are very close.  And I fear the day they find a young woman who is so insecure or selfish or whatever, that her goal is to make sure she comes FIRST (which she should) at the expense of the relationship I have spent 20 plus years making sure was healthy (which she shouldn’t.)

        I look forward to adding a daughter to my family, but fear (rightly so, from the comments I read in this and other forums) that the woman who marries in will come with preconcieved notions that I am the enemy.  It’s sad.

      • avatar scorpione13 says:

        Personally, I would be happy to take in my husband’s mother if it should ever come to that. We have a lot in common personality-wise and have always gotten along pretty well. My own mother is a different story; my history with her is similar in many ways to Briana’s experience, along with the fact that she has no sense of boundaries and has always been disrespectful toward my husband. I think as long as you make an effort to connect with your future DILs (and it sounds like you want to), and treat them the way you treat your sons, you should be just fine. :)

      • avatar Mandy says:

        There’s nothing to fear if you remember that those future DILs aren’t the enemy as well. Just treat your sons’ sweeties with kindness and you’ll be fine. I love my mother-in-law. I’d take her into my home if she needed in a heartbeat. She treats me with respect, kindness, and keeps an open mind. I do the same. We don’t have much in common, but we do just fine. Heck! We’ve even managed to get beyond the bad xmas gift phase to the point where now we know each others tastes enough to get gifts they actually *like*! ;D

        The fact that you worry about it tells me that you’ll probably do just fine when the time comes. :)

      • avatar Katrina Volkert says:

        Thanks.  So far I’ve done OK… many of the young women who have come and gone, I miss terribly, and they make a point to call and see me, and luckily most have remained friends with my sons, as well. 

        One even calls me her “other” mother.  :D

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        Katrina, I adore my mother-in-law, she is exactly like an older sister to me. I would gladly take her in, help her in any way I could, and hope that she knows that I will always be there for her. We come from completely different backgrounds…I was born and raised in Chicago, to an Italian-American father whose parents had emigrated from Italy, and Polish-American mother whose grandparents were immigrants from Poland. My parents were upper middle class, my dad white collar, both were college educated, and they only had three children.There wasn’t much caring or attention in my family…only criticism, deception, disrespect and resentment. My MIL was born in West Texas, in the town of Big Spring…the last of eleven children and the only one born in a hospital, and was the daughter of farmers. They were dirt poor, and didn’t even know it, took loving care of each other, helped raise each other’s children, and are among the warmest, most decent, caring, honest people I’ve ever known.

        My MIL and I have long visits during which we can, and do, talk about everything, laugh, sometimes cry, and share our lives with each other. She is precious to me. I hope I can be as good a MIL when it comes time for my son to bring home that woman who has captured his heart and soul. I am not a helicopter mother either, and I have tried to be a parent, not just a friend. I think it says something that my boys (I doubt the oldest will ever marry, for a number of very good reasons) both still come to me with their questions, worries and stories about their lives, and that the younger one’s friends consider us to be a second family, and our house a second home.

  9. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #1: No. It means you’re both emotionally mature as well, and not codependent upon your children. Some people, it seems, can’t stop clinging to the kiddies; that clinginess is compensation for an unsatisfactory marriage and/or social retardation. Congrats on being normal and healthy empty nesters!

    L #2: I would keep my foot down, and hopefully your husband is entirely on the same page with you. Her presence would be the proverbial “monkey wrench in the works.” If she’s bored and lonely, it’s her problem; apparently she has little trouble obtaining “men friends.”

  10. avatar Anais P says:

    LW1: You are so NOT weird! Welcome to the club of joyous empty nesters! My husband and I are also recent members and are really enjoying our time without the kids. It’s nice to pick a movie or television show without a child complaining and to do the other cultural things that WE like to do. You’ve earned your time to relax and reconnect with your husband. Enjoy!
    LW2: Margo is as always spot on, which of course is why she’s the one giving advice. But thanks to her for letting readers comment, too. I really feel for you, LW. I was blessed with a wonderful mother-in-law whom I miss greatly. She never was a bad guest and was always diplomatic. I vowed to be a good mother-in-law in turn when my children married. I hope your husband stands up for you, but most of all, I want to say kudos to you for your valiant efforts to better yourself and your family situation by working on that valuable asset, an education! 

  11. avatar D C says:

    NestDad – you are not the only one.  We have 1 out of college but still living and working in her college town, 1 in college, and 1 left at home, and my husband is pretty much ready to make the youngest graduate early to get him out the door.

    Sometimes I think that the people who focus so completely on their children that they are bereft when they leave, are avoiding whatever issues may be bothering them in their marriage. 

  12. avatar Barbara says:

    LW#1 – Not weird at all. I am puzzled by some of the responses knocking people having children in their 40′s. I had my second when I was 42. I’m 61 now. She’s in college. My husband and I are having the time of our lives. Don’t get me wrong, we love having our kids around when they come home, but we have a lot of fun together when the kids are not here. Not necessarily sex on the couch but sex when we want, flexible schedules, time to do the things we want and glorious weekends free of kid schedules. The helicopter parent syndrome seems to be alive and well with most parents, who have defined themselves through their children. My sister-in-law says she cries every day because her daughter is a senior in high school and she is so sad school days are almost over. She is planning to “ugly cry” through graduation. I was delighted by my kids’ graduations (high school and one thru college already). Isn’t that what we’ve brought them up to do — become successful and independent?

  13. avatar R Scott says:

    LW1 – Nothing to worry or write to Margo about. You’re doing it right and not feeling guilty about it. Good for you!  One thing though. The couch is great and all but I might recommend the dining room table. Oh yeah. Just the right height and you can get great leverage. Grab a pillow and give it a go.
    LW2 – Does your husband worry about the fact that his mom is homeless? Anyway, he needs to lay out the schedule for her and by the bus tickets or whatever…..especially the departing one.
     

  14. avatar Maggie Tenser says:

    @LW2

    The one thing that gives me pause about your letter is the fact that you and your husband have apparently allowed his siblings to take responsibility for the care of this woman to accommodate your own needs. Presumably, they also have lives to live.

    Perhaps I’m coming from a different perspective. My dad’s mother was ensconced at my parents’ house for over a year and a half because she needed some care (she was still independent enough not to need constant medical care, but needed someone to cook for her and manage her medical appointments). My dad’s siblings were all oh-so-busy that they couldn’t take their mother in for even a single week to allow my parents to have a break. I have little sympathy with “busy” people. Everyone is busy – that’s not a reason to ignore one’s family’s needs or to take advantage others.

    • avatar Rita@ Goldivas says:

      “Everyone is busy” – good point.

    • avatar D L says:

      There’s a difference between your situation and the LW’s situation. LW#2 is not saying her MIL is sick and is in need of care. She is also not saying that her MIL can never visit. If you reread the letter, you’ll see that the MIL is perfectly capable of taking care of her basic needs (if she can cook, clean and babysit for the rest of the siblings – not to mention galavanting all over the country for a new place to stay – I’m quite sure she can take care of herself). In addition, the LW#2 very clearly states that she does not want her MIL to visit while she’s in school. While she may not particularly care for her MIL, she didn’t say that her MIL was never welcome in her home.

      The issue is that the MIL seems to be doing all this at HER convenience, not anyone else’s. Simply b/c the MIL feels that her family owes her something does not mean that the family does. I don’t care who you are. It is extremely rude to invite yourself into someone’s home and expect to be a long-term guest. LW#2′s husband needs to talk to his mother and explain the reasons why visiting at such and such a time would not work for them. They can set up another time for her to visit with very clear guidelines as to when she should be on her way.

  15. avatar flyonthewall says:

    Empty nester dad no you and your wife are not an odd balls. That is the way it should be. That is wonderful that you and your wife are having the time of your lives. Enjoy! Let’s just cross our fingers that the economy improves so that when college is over, your baby birds can stay out on their own and not have to return to the nest.

    As for l#2, I don’t know what to say other than you know the situation better than anyone else. I’m really curious as to why your MIL is homeless. Does she suffer from some sort of mental illness that renders her hard to get along with? What is the story there? From what you say in your letter, I would be hesitant to take her in given that you have a pretty busy, stressed out life that you don’t want to complicate. I could see this person possibly bringing a lot of unneeded drama into the household. Put your foot down if you have to, I suppose, even if hubby assigns you the task of being the bad guy. I do agree with Margo that this task should go to him as this is his mother, though.

  16. avatar mmht says:

    LW#1: Although I am not a parent yet, I had always thought the point of parenthood was to raise active members of society. To me, it sounds like you did. I say kuddos to you for not allowing your children to define who you are and to recognize that its the natural circle of life for children to leave the home. I hope when my husband and I have children we are more like you and your wife then your friends.

  17. avatar Socks284 says:

    Re: LW1
    Some parents have children and try to teach them to be independent and self-sufficient.  Some parents have children to meet their own emotional needs.  Children are not an extension of nor do they belong to their parents.

  18. avatar A R says:

    LW2: I guess it all depends on whether your husband loves his mom a lot and delights in her company; he may want her there for a change. Perhaps he finds your restrictive school schedule to be a little unfair to him and the kids.

    I say this from the perspective of being full-time enrolled in a PhD program, having a full-time job, and a child and spouse myself. I understand how much time you have to dedicate to being on-task with your schoolwork. However, I’ve found that even schoolwork has to flex a bit to keep your sanity and be fair to others who are NOT in a program.

    If you don’t want his mom there for very long, say so. Don’t blame it on school and your extensive brood of kids. Just tell him you don’t want your MIL as a live in guest.

    There’s compromise to be had, however, if he truly wants the woman to visit. Setting an agreed upon limit to her visit, insisting that he will provide extra help if more help is needed, and understanding that when you shut the door to the bedroom to study that’s not social time is the place to start.

    Otherwise, it could be years until you finish your program, and his mom is “allowed” to visit.

  19. avatar Annie H says:

    LW #1 The best advice I ever received was from my Grandfather in law.  He said to always have a life outside of your family.  Your kids leave and you still have to have a life.  He was so right!  You should enjoy the empty nest and have fun!  Just make sure to lock the front door so you don’t get embarrassed. 

      

  20. avatar shortstuffswb says:

    LW1: I totally agree with everything you said. What a healthy attitude. I was so happy when my kids moved out and were on their own. I absolutely adore all three of our children and am very close to all of them. My primary goal had always been to raise my children to be happy, healthy adults and successful in however they close to live their lives. When they all eventually moved out, I was able to stand back and see that my husband and I had done our jobs well. We have 3 adult children who are good human beings and able to stand on their own two feet and happy with where they are in life. We are so proud of all of them. And as icing on the cake, we had our couple time back. We started dating each again and fell in love with each other all over again. What a wonderful experience. Date night, private time without interruptions, sex whenever and where ever we wanted it without the fear of any of the kids hearing and saying “Ewwwwww. You still do that?!” LOL! Then……our adult daughter moved back in with us with our adorable 2 year old grandson while going through a rough divorce (bad choice of marriage partners). It was only temporary. Six months tops. Well, 3 years later, we are still sharing the house with our daughter and 5 year old grandson. We are so fortunate to have this time with our grandson and to have such a strong influence on his development.  He’s truly a wonderful little boy and we love him to pieces and treasure our time with him. And we are fortunate to be able to strengthen our bond with our daughter. At 28 she’s turned into a beautiful woman full of life and love. BUT, I sure do miss our private time! And we are back to the “Ewwwwww. You still do that?!” Talk about putting a damper on things! Is anybody else dealing with a similar situation? I would love some tips on how to maintain my sanity. At 51 I thought I was finished raising children; and at 62 I know my husband thought he was finished, too.

  21. avatar Kate Olsen says:

    LW1 – My friends used to laugh because if asked at the ages of 4 and 5 what would happen when they graduated high school, my kids would reply – “go to college or get a job and get out”.  LOL – this was because I had twobrothers in law who were still iving at home with their parents in their 20′s.  One would take any odd job he could get and give his parents at least half of what he earned.  The other was a spoiled rotten brat who demanded special food, wouldnot lifet a finger to help, etc.  I brought my 2 boys up to know that when they got done with high school, I would do everything I could to help them if they went to college.  If they chose not to then they needed to find work and move on with their lives.  They knew that at the age of 18 – they were considered adults and would need to make adult decisions.  One went to college for a year and then became a MP in the Army for 5 years doing tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The younger one actually quit school, much to my chagrine, but has a very good job – making more money than I do and is a wonderful father to my granddaughter.  At the age of 40 – they were both out of the house.  It was my time to live my life.  We spend 18 years raising, shaping and making our kids ready for the “real world”.  I love that at 40, I was still young enough to enjoy myself and had learned valuable life lessons along the way.  I had already made my mistakes so now I reap the benefits.  I do nto have to answer to anyone.  I need not worry if I decide to stay out late.  I can go away for a weekend without worrying who will look after the kids, etc.  It is my time to shine.  And my children approve.  My younges tells me – “Go and have fun Mom.  You earned it after putting up with us all these years”.  So enjoy your time with no regrets and no remorse.   WHOOOO – LIFE IS GREAT IN YOUR 40′S

  22. avatar ablkbtrfly says:

    #1 The day my son went to college was one of the happiest days of my life. I was a committed parent and felt my job was done when he reached adulthood. When he came home because he wasn’t “feeling college” I was more angry that he was disrupting my new life than I was about him leaving college. I told him I raised you to leave me, not to stay forever. You are in good company. The helicopter, Velcro parents live vicariously through their children which is healthy for no one. You are definitely not oddballs. Have fun on the sofa (walk on the wildside…try the kitchen too) :)

    • avatar ablkbtrfly says:

      BTW my fabulous son is now happily in the navy. I’m selling the 3600 square foot house on the corner lot (don’t need all the space without the child and all of his friends) and moving to a condo in the city…life without kids at home is GRAND!

  23. avatar Brooke Schubert says:

    LW#1-I still remember leaving for my first year of college.  I was in the house taking one last look at things and contemplating the uncertainty of my future, and my mom was in the driveway honking the horn and yelling, “Come ON!  Let’s get GOING!”  LOL, you’ve raised two daughters, you’ve earned your newfound freedom!  Enjoy it.

    LW#2-I agree with Margo wholeheartedly.  It’s up to your MIL’s child, your husband, to say that an extended visit simply won’t work and she’ll have to visit another time.

  24. avatar Elizabeth L says:

    LW#1 You are not odd or crazy I to waited to be an empty nester and than the better half became chronically ill and I became more of a nurse than anything else so enjoy your life to the fullest!