Calling All Empty Nesters and Parents of Older Children

Updated on August 09, 2010
K.M. asks from Orlando, FL
31 answers

Hi. I have a question to all the empty nesters and those who have teenage children. This year my youngest daughter is in high school as a freshman and my oldest is a senior. My oldest drives my youngest to school now and they are very close. I am finding this year especailly that they are very independent and call upon eachother for samll things they use to call on me for. I welcome and encourage this independence as I feel it is a natural next step in their development. The problem is I have been a stay at home mom for the past 18 years and my husband works long hours so I find myself with alot of time on my hands. I want to get a full time job but am having trouble finding one. I would like to know what other things I could do to occupy my time that dont involve solitude and house cleaning... the story of my life :)Up until now my activites and friends have all been school related but its finally ME Time"... I just dont know what to do with it! I also I also miss the little kid actiivtes like going to the park and Holidays just dont seem the same. Thank you for any thoughts on the matter.

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B.B.

answers from Fort Walton Beach on

I understand what you are going through! My children are 15, 18 & 20 years old! If you are missing the "little kid" activities, I suggest you contact any elementery school. They would LOVE to have volunteers come in & do anything! This is what I do! I spend most of my day listening to first graders read! I love it!
Hope this helps!

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M.H.

answers from Melbourne on

Since jobs are scarce now how about volunteer work? I have worked with a local Hospice and found it very rewarding. The training is very beneficial!

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W.P.

answers from Tampa on

Find a great organization (or a few) that you really believe in and volinteer. Food pantries, women's centers, little leagues, etc. are always looking for help. It would be great for you and them.

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T.F.

answers from Orlando on

Sign up as a dividend (volunteer) at a local elementary school. They love having someone willing to sit one-on-one and read with kids. You never know- it may lead to a full time job. You didn't say what type of job you were looking for or what you're qualified to do.

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A.

answers from Tampa on

Hi, I see you have gotten some great responses. Just thought I would add a few... When I went looking for work last year, I chose to try substitute teaching. The pay is not great; however you have absolute freedom to set your own schedule - what days you work, what schools/age levels/parts of town, etc. I found that if I made friends with the secretary in charge of subs at the schools I most wanted to work at, that they would hold jobs for me, or offer them to me first. If you have questions about it feel free to email me.
Do you like to read? You could join a book discussion group.
Do you like to play games? You could join a bunco, poker, bridge, mah jongg, or bowling team.
Do you like to help people? You could train to be a post partum doula; a woman who helps new moms out when they get home from the hospital, with light chores, help with the baby and/or older children; what services you offer is up to you, as long as they fall within the guidelines of the organization you are certified with.
You mentioned the holidays, which are fast approaching; I know that Metropolitan Ministries always needs help, especially around the holidays.
I am glad to see that you are not stuck in a depression about it; it sounds like you have done a great job!

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A.K.

answers from Davenport on

Hello
I just ran across your inquiry from Oct 6th, 2009 as I googled nearly the same information you have written. If you would be willing to share, I would love to know what you learned from this or if you have found a satisfying answer/solution to how you would fulfill your free time.
Our youngest of four leaves for college in August and I, too, will be have too much free time.
My wish is for a brilliant idea to land into my lap or across my brain but I'm quite sure it doesn't happen that easily.
Thanks!
A.

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T.O.

answers from Jacksonville on

what about voluntering. Take a few classes for fun.

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S.W.

answers from Miami on

I am an almost "empty nester", with my two eldest in college and youngest in 10th grade...As an artist, I find the "me" time a bonus; but also want to find income to pay the bills. It's really rough right now, with downsizing and lay-offs; and when I have had the opportunity to interview, I find myself in the waiting room with dozens of young out-of-college kids. The competition is harsh.
Forget the on-line "work at home" jobs, they are 99% scams.
Do you have any skills to promote? Do you bake, make baskets...?
Lots of volunteer positions are available through church, hospitals, community centers, etc.; but they don't pay the bills. Other businesses that require alot of discipline are Avon, Arbonne, and other products that require that you keep an inventory ready for delivery.
Best to you in your search for happiness...

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C.V.

answers from Sarasota on

take some classes in what interests you. Maybe a class to get a better job that is hiring. There's yoga,painting,cooking,dancing,crafts....You will find the kids may be interested in what Mom is doing now. ; ) Good Luck and have fun!

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S.D.

answers from Fort Myers on

Hi K.; I am an empty nester and have been for a long time. However, my grandchildren were with me a lot so that kept me busy. They are now teenagers and grandma is not as important as friends so I don't see them as often. I was looking for a job to occupy my time and I found Herbalife 3 years ago. Because of their wonderful products I am in much better health than ever before plus the added benifit of having extra income. If you think you would be interested send me your e-mail address and I will send you more information. My e-mail address is [email protected]____.com. I look forward to hearing from you. S.

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E.P.

answers from Orlando on

I worked for 20 years before my 2nd career as a SAHM. My kids are in elementary school but I still need to be involved with something. If money is not a major issue, volunteering is an amazing opportunity to keep or improve work skills and gives you something on that resume to show you're a worker/doer. I volunteer in the elementary school 2 days, at Life for Kids/ A Center for Women 2 days and sign up for miscellaneous outreach activities at my church. You'd be surprised how many job opportunities come your way when people see you're a committed, hard worker with a great attitude. They're are many opportunities - pick something you're passionate about and best wishes to you!

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M.C.

answers from Daytona Beach on

Hi K.!

I just started this myself. There are loads of things available it depends on where you are. Check for groups in your area on meetup.com. You can volunteer at the grade school - they LOVE it, the library, or hospital. Part-time jobs should be pretty easy to get around this time. Shoot me an email if you are in the Daytona - St. Augustine area.

M.

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S.M.

answers from Miami on

Hi, K.. First of all, I want to congratulate you on raising two strong, independent, responsible girls! It's refreshing to hear how successful they are, when so many kids are going astray and not taking care of themselves or each other. KUDOS!

Well, one thing that they tell us folks who have been out of the job market for a while is to try to volunteer somewhere in the area that we're trying to find a job. For instance, I had worked as a secretary and customer service person for many years before I quit working due to a chronic illness, and I was advised to volunteer in a non-profit office and help staff the donation phone bank for organizations like PBS (public television). Sometimes, the best volunteers get scooped up for real jobs, and sometimes, volunteering opens doors for applying for a real job at that institution.

I ended up not having to volunteer to get a job after being out of the job market for more than 5 years, but that was my next strategy before I finally landed a customer service job. In your case, it would at least get you out of the house and into the sunshine ( : even if it didn't give you a foot in the door for a job.

What kind of job are you looking for? That can help you find what kind of organization you might want to volunteer for. You can also find volunteering opportunities at churches or synagogues. Some daycare centers use volunteers, too. Again, not knowing what kind of job you want, I don't know what else to suggest, but I do hope you find something that is challenging and rewarding.

Oh! something just occurred to me. Colleges and universities need people to volunteer to assist disabled students in classrooms. When I was going to college, I used to work part-time as a notetaker, reader, and test proctor for disabled student services. Nowadays, with cutbacks in funding, they are eliminating these services as paid positions and giving students service learning credit for helping out instead. I don't know if people who aren't students can volunteer to do this; I know that there is a great need at the college where I work for such volunteers. If this interests you, you might want to call a nearby college or university and ask for the Access office or disabled student services and see if they take volunteers from outside the student body.

Peace,
Syl

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C.O.

answers from Miami on

Hi K., you should look into a good church near you. Many children and young women could benefit from another woman with life experience and a loving heart. I know you said it "me time" but I find the more I do for others and get involved in their life it benefits my own and gives me a higher purpose.
God bless you

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A.G.

answers from Punta Gorda on

My girls are 12 & 14 and I am a SAHM. I started volunteering one day a week at our church. I also got a small part time job. You could always try retail. I would like to volunteer for big brothers and big sisters, but have not, yet. The hardest thing for me is that they do not drive yet so I still have the parent pick up line, middle school and high school. I really do understand how you feel. Expecially when people say your kids are out of Elementary School and you do not work. It is hard to relate to people or have the confidance to look for a job. What do you love? What did you always say you would do if you had the time? Volunteer somewhere that maybe you woyuld have an interest in working. THis is a gerat way to open doors.

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S.G.

answers from Miami on

How about volunteering? Find something you're passionate about and offer your time for free. And, if you choose correctly, you can also use the skills you develop while volunteering towards finding a full time job.

For example, maybe you could volunteer at your local park to help lead baby classes or activity time. This could then lead to a job either in something park-related or in child care once the economy strengthens.

Hope this helps!
S.

M.F.

answers from Tallahassee on

Hi K. - Well I am not there YET, but I have 3 children 14 and 15 months apart. I was able to be a stay at home mom up until my husband left us 6 years ago. Then I had to get a job. However, have you thought about substitute teaching or volunteering at an elementary school? Take some recreational classes at your local tech or college. Visiting at a retirement home - those poor folks always welcome a new face, read to them, paint finger nails lots of things. My job has been cut due to the economy and I worry about being able to find another one. (I am 48).
Do you know other Moms from school in your situation maybe?
Good luck, you will always be their Mom and they will still need you.
M. F

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D.G.

answers from Boca Raton on

Just a thought, K.. You seem to have done a great job with the two you have and God knows those of us out there with young ones could use a good loving person to watch our kids. Maybe you could baby sit part time for the money and it will help in the transition until you find other ways to fill that time. Although my kids are very young, I am not. I have found the best way to get into new things is make new friends with common interests. Take a class in something you always wanted to (jewelry making, art, sewing, whatever). Make some friends and then arrange a night out with your new friends. Start there and see where it takes you. Good luck.

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Y.F.

answers from Orlando on

Im not part of this group right now. My children are small. I have often found myself thinking of those later years and one of the things I would do is to do ALL the things I wanted to but never had the time. Volunteer time at my church, finish the scrapbooking, take piano lessons, go back to school, maybe get a small part time job so I can still have time to be there for my husband, kids and house when they need me, find a group of ladies in my same predicament and so forth. Look back and remember the things you always wanted to do but could not due to your lack of time and tackle them. Have FUN!!!

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E.P.

answers from Jacksonville on

Hi K.!
I admire you! That's awesome that you dedicated all those years to your kids! My mom did the same for 5 of us and it made so much of a difference! I have been advised already that as the kids get older, many moms go back to work full time thinking the kids no longer need them there. But really, its the opposite! they need us in their junior high and high school years too! This is when they think they are completely ready for independence but can start experimenting with dangerous and even life threatening or life changing things. When there is a parent home for them to come to after school and they still have to get permission to do things, it helps them stay more accountable and know that their parents are very aware of where they are. I am not saying you should not go to work, I am just saying, don't feel that it is the only solution. Another idea is to volunteer your time to charities and/or church. These are not paid services but can be very gratifying and fulfilling. I have no idea if you are a Christian or not, but my life is so fulfilled having a relationship with God. A "relationship" not just going through the motions of going to church. But I did learn how to have the relationship through church. I keep so busy serving at the church in all types of things and am still able to stay home with the kids. There is no better payback than the one God gives when you serve like that from your heart! And with all the experience you have staying home raising your kids! Awesome! Just a suggestion! I hope all goes well!

L.W.

answers from Pensacola on

Hi K.!

Well, I'm far from being an empty nester, but would love to have some free time on my hands to do what I enjoy doing. Do you have any interests or hobbies?

It's easy to lose ourselves while raising children, but I try to remember I was a total woman before I became a wife and mother (lol).

Before you jump into finding a job, try finding yourself again and pouring into YOU. If you don't have any hobbies or things you enjoy doing, try some different things.
Scrapbooking, ceramics, writing, etc...

By the way, I have a freshman this year also.

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T.F.

answers from Tampa on

My youngest graduated high school in May. When my son was a senior I went back to school at PHCC. I love it. I get to be with adults & Im learning which is something I never thought I would enjoy. Good luck

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L.W.

answers from Miami on

Hi K.,

I also have two daughters, ages 15 and 18 (plus a 23 year old stepdaughter who doesn't live with us). Our 18 year old is off at college this year (FSU)-and I understand what you're going through. I'm enjoying one on one time with our youngest- but the older they get the more independent they are, and that's a good thing.
You need to look at this period of time as a trasition to YOU time. Time to do some self-exploring and find out what makes you tick.. what makes you happy.
Getting a job- at least part time- in a area that you're interested in will expand your horizons and you might even make new friends too. Volunteering is also a good way to get yourself out there. I work full time- and being so busy has helped me with the "one out of the nest" blues. For me- it's made all the difference.
Good luck!!!

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F.R.

answers from Pensacola on

Find out what your local YMCA offers and sign up for a class. You'll meet people with your same interests or a new interest and open the door to more opportunities.
Local homeless shelters always need volunteers.
Check out your local community college. Possibilities are endless.
Good luck!!

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E.T.

answers from Tampa on

K.,
Reading this brought tears to my eyes. I am going thru the same thing! My kids are 18 (boy) and 15 (girl). Although my son is now in college, last year he started driving her around also. As well they are close. My husband works from home. In fact his computer is in the living room or else we would never see him! I can feel the kids getting ready to be out there and I encourage them to be involved, but I miss them too. I have been lucky enough to work with my husband and our business as well as stay home with the kids. Now I find myself needing to fill my time more and more. This year I started getting involved with the school PTSA. I also joined the Chorus Boosters.I am meeting new people (a new concept after being home for so long!) and helping the school. My daughter likes that I am available to her and likes the fact I am involved with her school as well. The hardest part is I don't live near the school. But the activities keep me in touch with other people and get me out a couple times a week. The funny part is now hubby is finding stuff for me to do...seems he misses me being home with him! Good thing I am a Super Mom! I keep myself so busy my family jokes that "Everyone should have an E.!" I also volunteer at a local museum once in a while. Look around your neighbor hood and see if there is something you would be interested in getting involved with. Good Luck!
E.

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J.S.

answers from New York on

I'm in a very similar boat. I would love to go back to work but not only is it hard in this economy to find a job but its hard to imagine being in "just a job". There is a certain amount of autonomy you get used to when you're the mom. I'm thinking about finding someplace to volunteer that seems like someplace where I could a) do something meaningful and b0 where a job might grow out of the volunteering. In the meantime there is some isolation that is hard to deal with and I don't really know what to suggest for that. Love to hear what you have to say about that issue.

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K.D.

answers from Fort Myers on

Hey, K.. I'm right there with you. My youngest turns 20 this Dec. and she has her own life now. It's been harder than I thought it would be. Thankfully, we have good friends and I have more freedom now to do things I've been putting off. I am catching up on my scrapbooking, etc. I've also been very concerned with the direction our country has been heading in as of late and have been educating myself on our Constitution and the intent of our Founding Fathers. Along with that, I have been contacting my Congressmen and Senators about the current issues. I just found a group of moms who are on fire to see that their children and grandchildren have a legacy of freedom and self-direction left to them. They are already 40,000 strong and you might be interested in checking out what part in it you could play. Check out www.AsAMom.org. I know there's a lot you could do that would really make a difference in your children's lives...

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L.S.

answers from Boca Raton on

Have you tried going to work at a child care center? It will fill that gap and will offer you that experience which you have had for the past couple of years. They have 40 hour class that you will be required to take at PBCC which is easy and you can even continue your education.

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K.G.

answers from Miami on

hey K.....you and i are very similar! My kids are a junior and a freshman, and she drives him everywhere. Also, my husband passed away last year. But somehow, my days are always full! I guess it's because I get involved in a lot of things. Do you belong to a church where you can volunteer? If you enjoy working with kids, you might look into volunteering or working at a school, or preschool. If there is always something you were interested in, you can take a course or two at a local college, or adult education program offered at some high schools. (Look for the flyer that comes in the mail). I spent 7 years doing an intensive bible study and graduated this past May....now a friend and I are about to start our own study. Do you like animals? Adopting a puppy will keep you busy! It's also a good excuse to go to the park!! Also, maybe you have a friend who just needs help...I have actually put my friends to work for me because I have so much to do! I have friends that garden, fix computers, help me with home improvements, etc. You could take up a craft...like learn scrapbooking and do something with all those pictures of your kids! Or learn to play the piano...there is so much i would do if i had more time in my day. If you want a paying job, your years of experience as a mom might make you a good nanny...my husband and I both worked when the kids were little, and we had a nanny who lived at home, but came to our house during the day to watch the kids. We hired her thru an agency.....so you could contact a domestic help agency to see what they are looking for.

Well there are some ideas....but please don't feel that your kids have outgrown you! They still need you (as mine need me!) now more than ever. They will be doing fine until some crisis comes along....and while we encourage their independence, we are still there to support them. I've heard from friends with adult kids that their kids still need them! The needs are different....more emotional than physical....but they are still there.

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C.S.

answers from Sarasota on

Hi K.,
Since you have done such a marvelous job with your daughters maybe you could consider volunteering (until a paid job comes along) at a place that works with disadvantaged girls (help with english, help with grammar, help with math, help balancing a checkbook). I will be getting info. on this subject soon and thought it might be something you would consider. Somehow, I just feel that if we can get these girls back on the right track everyone will benefit. Children growing up without much are always so greatful for even the littlest things. Good luck and let us know how it goes. C.

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S.B.

answers from Miami on

Hi K. - My congratulations also for raising two independent, self-sufficient young people. Our "job" as parents in to raise them so that they do not "need" us and are sulf-sufficient, productive members of society and from what you have said, it appears you have done a great job so far!

I can see that many have responded with suggestions of volunteering or taking up a hobby, which are great ideas. Have you ever considered starting a part-time business from home? I have happily and successfully worked from home for the past six years with a 37 year old, NYSE Company and I LOVE it! I am 52 with an 8 year old daughter and even after she is grown, I plan on continuing what I do because, not only does it pay VERY well, but, I am involved in something that truly helps people and makes a difference in their lives. We call it "Making a Living, while Making a Difference".

If you would like additional information I would be happy to provide it. All the best! - S. -

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