It might seem crazy to look ahead to when you will be cleaning an empty nest; but it’s not.
My nest isn’t empty yet with 5 people currently living in our home. There has been a month here and there when our home empties out and resonates with a quietness that rattles my walls and stirs emotions.
We sold a home we had lived in for over 20 years just going on seven summers ago. We had nine at home at the time we were looking for a new home. It didn’t seem possible that life would ever be different. Weren’t we caught in a time-warp where children stay the same age and life doesn’t march on?
There will come a day when you will clean your entire house without help!!
If you are like me, you are preparing your children for adulthood by teaching them life skills along guiding them in the things of the Lord.
In the chaos of the moment, I never looked past my nose. It was as if I thought that particular day would never end. I was stuck in time . . . but time marched on regardless of my faulty mindset. Our children grew up and our nest has been rapidly emptying out during the past 3 years.
There will come a day when you will clean your entire home without help. Or, are you like me and that day has already arrived? Although there are five living in our home, I am “it” when it comes to housecleaning as my husband and son are working and the other two are too little to help.
After years of my children helping to clean house, the temptation is great to begrudge the lack of help. It didn’t seem like the whole job was mine anymore, so why wasn’t I getting help?!
I desperately needed an attitude check!!
When your home is bursting at the seams
Get creative with your living space don’t necessarily go bigger.
Like I said, we were looking for a home seven summers ago (where did THAT time GO?!) while we still had 9 living at home. The tendency is to think bigger because you need more space, more bedrooms, more bathrooms.
One of the homes we looked at was incredibly big. It had five bedrooms, a beautiful laundry room next to the bedrooms, a walk-in pantry right next to the kitchen, a living room, two family rooms upstairs and another two downstairs. It was the homeschooling family’s dream!!
BUT . . . WHO is going to clean all those bathrooms? HOW will you have family togetherness when there are rooms galore for children to scatter into?
We ended up buying a much smaller home that was even smaller than our previous home. The basement wasn’t finished at all, the boys didn’t have a room, and it just had two bathrooms.
I’ll be honest, those weren’t easy years for our family. They were more distressful than what I have known any family to go through. My husband and I often thought back to that huge home with thankful hearts that we hadn’t chosen it. God directed us to this home and He knew it was a perfect fit for our needs at the time.
Too soon everyone is out-on-their own and I am thankful that we were bursting at the seams for a few years or I would be cleaning a much bigger and emptier home.
Staying involved with your children and chores
Never completely stop doing housework just because your children are the prime age for chores. It is good for your children to have chores but it is also good for a mama to demonstrate diligence and come along-side her children during chores.
I always worked along side of my children during chore time but if I were to do it over, I would not delegate as many tasks. The adjustment to cleaning the whole home has been a challenge for me.
It has been overwhelming, exhausting, and sometimes felt like I was doing things that would have been easier when I was younger.
Joyfully housecleaning an empty nest
Just like the advice I am always passing along to younger women, joyfully doing the tasks God has set out for you to do each day is a bonus. Being joyful ought to always be our goal.
I am so thankful for how God has worked in my heart as our nest has been emptying out. He is so ready to deal with the issues we harbor in our hearts so that He can transform us into joyful homemakers. Believe me, few of us are there naturally.
Though I will likely always struggle with feelings of being overwhelmed, I am not nearly as exhausted when cleaning our home alone. I don’t struggle as often over all the things that I must now do. I see these things as strengthening me both physically and spiritually.
Once the reality hits and your house echoes the quiet memories
I have always known couples and widows whose children are grown but it is hard to imagine them ever being a younger mother. I have them in a time-warp too.
We will survive the years raising our children and will someday miss the blessings that they brought. The reality will hit and our home will echo the quiet memories of the past.
When that time comes, clean away and prepare your home to reflect a new season. You WILL eventually ‘get over’ the sorrowful feelings of the empty nest and can transition into this time of your life joyfully.
Repurpose the bedrooms for a guest room (to include visits from grandchildren someday) and make an office you never had, or a craft room that can double for company. This can be a joyful time where grandchildren bring a new season some fun and a new purpose for cleaning your home.
Are you looking ahead or stuck in a time-warp with tunnel-vision for the future, OR are you already experiencing an empty nest?
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