Hacks for Empty Nesters

Today’s episode is all about empty nesters and how to deal with the transition of children leaving home! Don’t worry though … even if becoming an empty nester seems like a faraway reality, you’ll still be able to glean some takeaways for the here and now.

After our recent episode on Toddler Hacks for Weary Moms, I heard from listener Cathy in the Girlfriends facebook group (join the group here!). Cathy writes:

“Danielle – I just listened to the podcast on Toddler Hacks. You had a lot of good suggestions. I used to do the reading and the quiet time with my kids. We read about 30-45 min twice a day. They loved me reading to them. So I have a podcast idea for the other end of the spectrum. I am an empty nester now. I have been for a while (my children are 29, 31 and 33). Sometimes I get this empty feeling. As hard as it was raising them there was a structure to it. I knew where I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to be doing. It was preset for me. Now sometimes I feel a little lost. I have a full life. I work full time, exercise, play golf, teach religious formation, spend time with my kids and Mom. Yet I still miss the comfort of the schedule when all the kids were home. So any thoughts?”

I can really relate to Cathy’s question as my “emptying nest” is something I have given a lot of thought to recently, as I have an upcoming book with Ave Maria Press on the topic: Giving Thanks and Letting Go: Reflections on the Gift of Motherhood.


1) It’s OK to feel sad or lost.

This is a time of change, and none of us will ever find perfect happiness here on earth. It’s OK to feel sad and acknowledge some of the negative feelings you have.

2) Give yourself some structure. 

Perhaps you might consider adding some work or other activities to your days, but maybe you simply would benefit from being more structured in the things you are already doing. Think of giving yourself a daily or weekly schedule that you stick to.

3) Offer it up.

Suffering and feeling loss at this stage in your life can have great value and meaning, especially if you offer it up for others. You might consider offering up the pain of your kids moving away FOR your kids and their intentions. 

4) Find new ways to “mother.”

Might God be calling you to nurture your marriage or be a “mother” to people in your workplace in need of love and caring. Where can you practice your feminine gifts of compassion, sensitivity, and generosity in your life these days?

5) Think of this time as an opportunity.

Though some discomfort is normal, think of this time as an invitation from God to grow closer to him and perhaps accomplish some “deep digging” in your spiritual life. It’s an opportunity to grow.


I recently recorded an audio version of my newest book, You Are Enough: What Women of the Bible Teach You About Your Mission and Worth. More to come!

Have feedback or an idea to share? I would love to hear from you!

My newest book, You Are Enough: What Women of the Bible Teach You About Your Mission and Worth, is available for order! Use the code, GIRLFRIENDS to receive ten percent off your order. Don’t miss out on this special available exclusively to listeners of the Girlfriends podcast. I can’t wait to share this book with you!

  • Saturday, November 16, 2019: You Are Enough Retreat at Holy Family Catholic Church in Orlando, FL
  • Saturday, January 11, 2020: You’re Worth It Retreat, St. Michael Church, Exeter, NH
  • Saturday, March 7, 2020: You’re Worth It Retreat at Precious Blood Parish in Jasper, IN
  • Saturday, March 28, 2020: Women’s Conference in Norwich, CT
  • Want me to come to your community to speak or give my retreat, You Are Enough, based on the themes in my newest book? Get all the information here!

Would you like to have me come to your community to speak or give my retreat, You Are Enough, based on the themes in my newest book? Get all the information here!



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