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The early days of empty nesting

Spring cleaning has a completely different meaning this year.  

I have moved out of our family apartment (which means I got rid of a LOT of things).  

As a single mom, the journey of raising my children has been both rewarding and challenging. I’ve watched my kids grow from infants to young adults, and now that they have left the nest, I find myself facing a new challenge: embracing life as a single-parent empty-nester. 

For years, my life has revolved around my children. Every decision I made was based on their needs and well-being. I’ve spent countless hours shuttling them to school, extracurricular activities, and doctor appointments. I’ve been there for the big moments, like graduations and first dates, as well as the everyday ones, like helping with homework and making dinner. 

But now, I’m faced with the reality that my role as a full-time parent has come to an end. While I’m proud of my children’s independence and excited to see them go out on their own, I can’t help but feel sadness and loss. 

The thought of not having them around is daunting. But I know my children will always be a part of my life, even if they’re not living under my roof. 

One of the biggest empty nest challenges is figuring out how to fill the void. I am contemplating hobbies and interests I’ve always wanted to pursue but never had the time. Maybe I’ll take up painting, learn a new language, or start a book club. 

Then there is the adjustment to the quiet and solitude of an empty home. No more noise from video games or arguments between siblings. No more laughter echoing through the halls. It’s just me and my thoughts. While I looked forward to peace and the opportunity to reflect and relax after years of constant activity, the silence has been deafening at times. 

One thing that has helped me prepare for this transition is finding ways to stay connected with my children. We’ve had multiple conversations about their goals for the future. I’ve encouraged them to stay in touch, whether it’s through phone calls, texts, or video chats. I know they’ll be busy with their own lives, but I want them to know that I’m still here for them whenever they need me. 

As a single mom, I’ve always been proud of my ability to juggle multiple roles and responsibilities. Now I’m reminded that it’s okay to take some time for myself—to take a yoga class, a walk, or indulge in a good book. It’s important that I stay healthy so that I can be there for my children, even as they become more independent. 

Being an empty nester is a new chapter in my life. It’s a time to reflect on the past, embrace the present, and look forward to the future. I’m excited to see what the next phase of my life will bring, even as I say goodbye to the daily routines and responsibilities of being a full-time parent. 

And I welcome you on this journey with me.  

Beth Montgomery
Beth Montgomery is a single mom of teens and is a Jill of all trades who lives in the Harrisburg area. While she wasn't born anywhere near here (or even in this country), she calls Central PA home (for now) and writes about her journeys through adulting... with kids. Visit her online at or connect with her on the socials.

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