How to Process Being an Empty Nester

Episode Overview

In this heartfelt episode, Deanna processes being an empty nester, the role of mothering adult children, and preparing herself as her youngest son makes a big move across the country to start a new beginning with his wife.


Questions Answered

  • What are some strategies to use in the transition of being an empty nester?
  • What grounds Deanna when she’s grieving the changes of motherhood?
  • Is it ok to have boundaries with adult children after they’ve left home?
  • What are the key steps to moving through the empty nest season with grace?

Action Items

Key Moments in the Conversation

[4:45] The beautiful and hard truth is we raise our children to go off and live on their own and have their own lives.

[9:11] The job of being a mom never ends and there are many feelings we have along the way. As they leave home it’s like this emptiness all at once. The good news is I know it passes.

[9:55] One of the best things I have found is to get out in nature and go for a walk when the emotions get strong.

[11:54]  We’re supposed to raise these kids to go off on their own and have a great life. And that’s all I want for my sons.

[19:26]  It’s never too late to explore anything you want to explore and try new things.


Welcome to the Well and Worthy Life podcast. I’m your host, Deanna Pizitz a certified integrative nutrition health coach. This podcast is designed to inspire and motivate you to become a better you through sharing solutions, to your biggest struggles and concerns. In this second half of life, let’s change how we age by focusing on creating a positive mindset that allows us to flourish.

Nourishing our bodies for longevity, optimizing our hormone health for better balance movement that keeps us feeling young and active, and managing our stress to improve our mental health. Things are different now in our second half, and we have to do things differently. Welcome back to another episode of well and worthy life. Y’all. I’ve been wanting to do a solo podcast for a while, but I just haven’t had the chance because I’ve had so many great guests. So I’ve got a little break right now from guests and I’m going to do a couple at least two solo podcasts.

So these will be a little bit shorter probably because it’s just me talking. And I hope I don’t ramble too much, but what is on my mind right now? I just, so it is the week of July 4th, July 4th just happened. And so you’re listening to this probably the end of July, maybe you’re listening to this another time, but this is what is really on my mind.

And I really wanted to share this with you. So, my children are 34, almost 32. By the time of this record by the time this airs, my son will be 32 and my youngest son is 29. So I’m really talking to all of you that have children because you know what? Okay, you kind of know the feeling at least. I think you do.

And especially to those of you who are sending a child off to college or packing them off on their new adventures, whatever that might be. And I just want to tell you it never ever gets easier, even after holidays and everybody’s at home. And then they leave once they’re grown. And one of the things I’ve experienced lately, even with my children, their age, the biggest thing that I’ve experienced actually.

And if you’ve been following me along on Instagram, you’ve heard me talk about it, or you get my newsletter, you’ve heard me talk about this, but my youngest son Cole. He got married last October. And so he and his wife decided they wanted to move to Seattle. I mean, could you get any further away from me?

Right. But this was a dream and actually it was something Cole wanted to do. Even before he met his wife, Laura, he had talked about wanting to move to Seattle. And the three of us went last year, last June to visit Seattle and Cole had been one other time because he’d had an interview up there, but it was , mine and Laura’s first time to be to Seattle.

I think it was her first time. It was definitely my first time to be in Seattle, but my niece got married in Seattle last year. And so the three of us went and it’s beautiful. But I mean, I wouldn’t want to live there. I’ve always lived in the South. I can’t imagine living anywhere else, but I think that really sparked them even more and they had some friends already living there.

So they came back to Birmingham and started working on a plan of how they could move to Seattle. And luckily they both have jobs where they can work remotely. So they can live anywhere. I choose Seattle. And at first I was like, I think I thought it wouldn’t happen, and then, the next thing I know, they bought a house.

A brand new house, their first time house owners, which I’m so proud of them. And they’re moving to Seattle come July. And I was like, well, that’s a lot, but I was so excited for them because I was so excited for this adventure for them. Right. I mean, you know, we, we raise our children to go off and live on their own and have their own lives and everything.

But we don’t think about moving that far away. Anyway, I was so excited for them and my husband said to me, he’s like, aren’t you sad that they’re moving that far away? I’m like, no, it’s going to be great. I’ll go visit. And you know, this is a great adventure for them. Well, as it got closer and closer, I went and I mean, they don’t live.

They didn’t live far from me. They lived 15, 20 minutes from me. So I, I tried to spend more time with them, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to just drive over to their house once they moved and. So last week was my last day to see them in person until I go out there, which I’m already planning a trip.

Cause you know, that’s what we moms do, right? So now my hope is to go sometime in August. So I’m not going to go very long. I need to see where he lives. But anyway, that day I felt so bad after I went to see them for the last time. In fact, I felt so sad that I recorded something for you to watch and listen to if you’re just listening, you might just want, so we’re going to take a pause here and switch over to this recording that I made, because I want you to know that.

It never ends, but there are some things that we can do. Okay, so go. So like I said, it’ll it’s gonna switch over and And then I’ll come back on here and finish up the episode

I’m out for a walk and I thought I would try to record a podcast. As I’m walking, maybe this will help somebody process some information. So so I am feeling, so today is the day that was my last day to see my youngest son, who will be 29 in a couple of days. So today is June 26, 27th. I’m not something like that.

I shouldn’t have a date. That’s awful. But anyway, so this is going to air in July. But. But I, today I went to see my son, my youngest son for the last time for a while because he is headed off. He’s moving to Seattle, Washington, he and his wife. And like I said, he’s about to be 29 years old and he’s my baby.

And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve experienced this feeling that I’m feeling right this moment, that feeling of, Oh, kind of like an emptiness. Maybe I don’t know. I can’t. really describe it, but kind of like a sadness. But in my head, I’m so happy for him. So excited for him. I mean, he’s got such a new adventure to look forward to.

But for me it’s that feeling that I experienced When the kids went off to college, when they would come home, be like ready to send them off again, and, you know, just all those things, it’s just to say that it never, ever ends, does it? It never ends. Like, wait, it will get better at some point, but I’m thinking about all those women who you’re sending your kids off to kindergarten for the first time in the fall, or maybe your kids are shut it off too. College or maybe they’ve just finished college and they are headed off to their first career. It’s a, ah, like as a mom, our jobs never ever end, right?

But it’s just this feeling that we have. It’s like this emptiness all at once. And, you know, the good news is I know it passes and I know I’m going to go visit him. But from Birmingham, Alabama to Washington, it’s a long, long way. And I’ve done this once with him. He, after college, he moved to Kansas city but I went with him out there to get settled.

Well, now he’s married. I’m not getting going out there to help him get settled. But I still feel like I’m like still launching him out. You know what I’m talking about. So anyway, so what do I do? with all of these feelings Well, I could go in my kitchen and eat them away, right and I’ve done that before But I don’t want to do that.

So one of the best things that I have found is to get out in nature And go for a walk. It just helps me. I don’t want to sit at home and scroll on social media because that’s, oof, that is really not good for my mind. Being out in nature helps my mind and my heart so much. Terry, as I’m talking about this, but and my arm is getting tired.

If you’re watching this on YouTube, I’m like, I tried to hold my phone up so you could see me while I’m walking. But I. I just feel like that we all have these different emotions as moms. We go through so many different times. And then, and then I’ll tell you, those kids come home, like you get like, okay, I got this now.

And then you get in your routine. And then they come home and you’re like, you’ve disrupted my routine. Okay, for you to go again. But I think when they were launching so far, anyway, it’s kind of just kind of hurts your heart, right? Because I wonder to myself, will he, will he ever come back to the South?

Will he ever be that close to me again? I mean, he’s my baby. So it does hurt my heart. But I am so, so very excited. For him and his wife and their new adventure. And that’s what we’re supposed to do, right? We’re supposed to raise these kids. To go off on their own and have a great life. And that’s all I want for him.

And for my daughter in law. But it’s still, as a mom, you just like go through these moments. And it’s okay, it’s okay to sit in those moments. I used to try to brush through those moments. And not feel, but that doesn’t help any. Feeling it and being okay and knowing that they’re going to be great. Like we only have them for a short amount of time.

And then hopefully we have grandchildren. You’ve been following me. You know, I’ve got a beautiful granddaughter and I get to spend time with her. I’m anyway, it’s funny because I will tell you, my son lives maybe 20 minutes, Cole, the one I’m talking about that’s moved to Seattle, he lives maybe 20 minutes from my house. And so I may go a month without seeing him. I have, I have gone a month without seeing him, but you know, I talked to him two, three times a week and the last few days.

I’ve driven out to his house and seen him and spent time with him and his wife because I know it’s like, oh my gosh, if that time is about to end that I could just drive to him. So, because I’m not driving to Seattle, I will fly, but I’m not driving to Seattle. But anyway, I just really wanted to share with you guys that as you are experiencing this, maybe it’s this fall, maybe it’s a year from now, That it’s normal, but you’re not alone.

We all go through those moments, but the good news is these moments pass and everything’s going to be okay. I promise everything will be okay. And we just have to trust that we’ve done a good job and stay close the best we can. And the good news is, I mean, let’s face it a few years ago, there wasn’t even.

I don’t know how many years ago now. It wasn’t even FaceTime. Now we can FaceTime, we can zoom. Pandemic has taught us so many ways that we can connect with people, but there’s just nothing like being in person. So all that to say, I’ll be headed out to Seattle at least once a year, hopefully twice a year, and hopefully he’ll come home at least once a year.

He says he’ll come home twice a year, but you and I both know we all have great intentions and. We think that we’re going to do something and then it doesn’t always end up that way. And also I have to think about, he’s probably going to start a family in the next few years and then it’s harder to travel.

And will my grandchildren be all the way that far away? So anyway, like I said, I just really felt led to share this with you, this day with you so that maybe if you’re going through this, you will know that this will pass. And it will be okay. And you’re not alone.


So you heard how I was feeling and I was so sad that day and I Couldn’t get that feeling it was just awful, but I knew I had to do something and movement, especially out of nature. It really helps. It didn’t cure everything. That feeling didn’t go away. But I got distracted. The 4th came. I knew they were on the road.

They left on July the 1st and it was the 1st and they arrived. Just yesterday on the 5th and those first couple of days when they were traveling he was so sweet. My son Cole was so sweet. , he did this Google Maps thing where I could see exactly where he was on the road. And that, that helps me a lot just because I knew they were traveling so far, but that feeling got better.

And now I’m better. I don’t feel that so empty, sad feeling. I’m so excited for them. They arrived at their house yesterday. They love their house. Like they have a lot to do. They have arrived there. A mattress. And so that’s it for a while. They’re going to be shopping and getting new furniture and they’ve got their washer and dryer that’s being delivered and all that stuff that happens when you move across the country with no furniture.

So anyway, but I’m so excited for them and this new adventure and I am going to go visit. So. It does pass that horrible feeling and we get back into our lives and I can’t help but think of all of the people that are about to be empty nesters or their children are going off on their own and creating their, their new life and how you feel at this point and So, but I’m, I want you to know, number one, you’re not alone, you’re not alone.

We all go through those feelings at different times, but those feelings will pass. And the best thing you can do is when you’re feeling that sad anxiety. I don’t know how to explain it. You just need to either get out and move in nature, which for me, that is my thing. Otherwise, I might sit and eat myself through the pantry.

Or you know, call a friend find a new hobby. And it’s, it’s not always easy to find a new hobby. Right. A lot of times we’re like, Oh my gosh, what’s my purpose now that I’m an empty nester? What do I spend my time doing? And I’ve, I’ve had some podcasts on empty nesting. But the best thing to do is really try to think of something that you’ve been wanting to do.

Now you have time to do it. And so there are so many opportunities and it, it’s okay to feel sad and it’s okay to feel lonely all of a sudden. And and gosh knows we have a lot of hormones going on in these perimenopause menopause years, right? Which can add to that anxiety. So, and so, Instead of drowning it out with medication and sometimes we do need to get on medication I’m not going to say that we don’t but for the most part we can heal ourselves and We need connection, right?

We need connection with other like minded women. We need a purpose. So finding what that purpose might be, and it’s experimenting with different things. Again, I’ve had very, a lot of different people on here on this podcast, sharing about reinventing themselves. I mean, I personally have reinvented myself so many times.

So. It’s all to say that, you know, it’s never too late to explore anything that you want to explore, and try things, and know that Your children are still your children and that feeling never, it just doesn’t even, I experience it on holidays when everybody comes in on the holidays and then, you know, I get into it all and it’s so fun and then they all leave and that.

Immediate reaction is this sadness and this void all of a sudden, right? I mean, it’s like, wait, where’d everybody go? But it doesn’t take me long to get back into my life. And and that’s a healthy thing. You know, I used to think when my children were younger and we would go visit my mother, I wouldn’t want her to stop her whole life and, and devote it to us.

And now I see how unreasonable that was. And so I don’t think that when our children come back home, we need to stop everything. There may be a time that we take a break, you know, and really focus on our children. But, you know, it depends on how long they come home for. And it depends on what else we’ve got going on.

Should we stop going to our exercise class just because everybody’s in town? A lot of times I used to do that. I would go, well, I won’t work out today because everybody’s here. This last July 4th, I had my granddaughter, my son, daughter in law here and my other son, and I still went to my workout class early in the morning and got it done before really everybody got up.

So really staying to what Fulfills me so that when everybody leaves, I have something to focus on and I haven’t given up everything. For everybody else. It also helps us to be able to continue to give, you know, as moms, we are givers and we are constantly taking care of everybody, especially when everybody’s there to visit and it is important to take some time by ourselves and, and really focus on ourselves a little bit, a little self care.

That’s, that’s not being selfish enough. I’ve talked about that a lot. So, thank you. Again, this is a short little episode, but I really wanted you to think about it’s okay as you become an empty nester or as those kids leave And you never know You never know when they might come back and be boomerang children.

I never would have thought but to be honest with you after all three of my children left for college They each one of them boomeranged back home after college for a little bit Not very long and then even Cole my youngest one that just went to Seattle he after college Move to Kansas City for a couple of years, had a great job and boomerang back home.

In fact, I did a blog post on it along with he did a blog post on it. And when we did an update, so we’ll share all those blog posts in the show notes because if it is, it was a difficult time in my life when he was a boomerang child. I’ll be honest with you. It was very, very hard because we get in our you know, Get in our own groove, right?

And then when they come back home and we make judgments of how they’re doing things and how they should do things. And so that’s really tough. So you might want to take a listen to that. Anyway, just know you’re not alone when you feel that sad, that anxiety, but. You can handle this. You’ve got this and to reach out, reach out to a friend, go for a walk, take some deep breaths, find something that you want to do, find an opportunity because there are so many opportunities.

I hope this helps you and I hope you’ve enjoyed this short solo episode of Well and Worthy Life Podcast.

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About the Host

I too, struggled in my late 40s when I hit peri-menopause! I was experiencing all those not-so-fun physical changes in my body, as well as mental and emotional fatigue. What worked for me before was not working anymore. 

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