Today, the questions from all the seasons of my mothering life meet and dance in a circle around this emptying nest.

What Will You Do with Yourself? (And Other Questions of the Emptying Nest)

Site plans and scholarship applications litter my dining room table these days, and the talk around dinner is all about the future. Life as I know it is about to undergo a drastic change here on this country hill. Having homeschooled a brood of four sons for the past twenty-one years, I’ve seen our story trending in this direction, felt the current of life rushing toward the door. I have not missed the significance of the unpredictable number of place settings at dinner, the unexpected date nights when my good husband and I realize we’re going to be home alone—Again!

I have become an object of concern to some, hearing that the “baby” has turned 18 and is poised to graduate in the spring. They ask, tentatively, kindly, as if, perhaps, it might be a tender subject for me, “What on earth are you going to do with yourself?”

What in the world will I do with myself now that my boys have become young men and my mothering in the flesh will soon be, primarily, a mothering of the spirit? The answer, I believe, will be another question, because it has been the question all along…


I’m grateful today to be sharing that horizon-filling question along with my thoughts on this particular season of mothering at the Kindred Mom website. You can read the entire post there, AND they recorded me actually reading the post, followed by a great conversation with their founder, Emily Sue Allen. I’m pretty sure we’re kindred spirits as well as Kindred Moms, so head on over to read or listen, and (spoiler alert!):
I’m gonna be okay. 🙂

Blessings to you in whatever season of mothering today finds you,

michele signature rose[1]




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30 thoughts on “What Will You Do with Yourself? (And Other Questions of the Emptying Nest)”

  1. Michele, I loved this post as I was often asked this as well. And some days, I still get the question. The truth I am finding is the mothering goes on. I still pray for my children, their spouses, and my granddaughters faithfully every day. The visits are precious times of hopefully depositing into their lives something of lasting value for when I am long gone. And yes, I am grateful for the stories which we are writing every single step of the way. May God bless you and your writing and continue to birth new stories for you to share with us all!


  2. My kids are 14 and 11 and a homeschooler as well. I am starting to ponder this question! It’s an exciting time to consider. Something tells me you will find worthy and blessed endeavors!


  3. I can see this is our not so distant future and my husband assumes I’m going to find a job. I haven’t had the heart to tell him that it’s not in MY game plan! LOL.


  4. We became empty nesters last August, when our oldest 2 went to North Dakota. My son, for flight school, my daughter, for a change of pace. Our youngest met a young lady from Missouri, got married & lives with her there. We live in New Hampshire. Whatever happened to my plans that when my children grow up, they would live in the same town? At least the same state! We just continue to pray for them, stay connected as much as possible & hope that the gap in distance closes sooner rather than later.


  5. My baby is 19 and I find that I am still a mom. I still cook supper, feed people, and offer advice. Sometimes things change, yet still remain the same. I enjoy talking to my children as adult to adult and helping them figure things out in life. Life is a constant change. Thanks for linking up and have a great weekend.


  6. I teared up reading your beautiful post! I’m just barely beginning my motherhood journey…. currently my eight-month old is asleep on my chest, so it seems far off that I have to think about him graduating, and yet, I know there will be plenty of upcoming seasons as he grows into a toddler and older when I’ll experience a bit of shock and the changes in my mothering. As much as I miss a full night of sleep, I love cradling him in my arms in the dead of night when no one else is stirring and I can kiss his chubby little fingers and take in this infant stage, bleary-eyes and all. Soon he will want to be more independent and not need me in the same way, which will be both a relief (less multi-tasking while carrying him!) but also bittersweet. Every season of motherhood is important, whether the physical needs are more prominently needing to be met. as with a baby, or spiritual and emotional needs are guided and their growth is cultivated into maturity.


  7. This is a way off for us but I can’t imagine what a big deal it will be – I could barely cope with mine starting school haha! #anythinggoes


  8. Exciting times ahead for you and your family. You must be so happy to know that graduation is around the corner and that you’ve raised an intelligent, content brood. Change can be a little daunting, but I imagine that the new joys it will bring you will be marvelous and rewarding. No matter how old they get, their mother is their mother. Thank you for joining us for the #DreamTeamLinky


  9. Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am counting on grandchildren to keep me occupied! I needed my parents even more as I got older so I am hoping my kids will still see me often and be able to turn to me whenever they need someone. Thanks for linking up with #dreamteamlinky


  11. Empty nest days seems a long way away right now. My eldest is particularly reluctant to consdier being anywhere away from home but I will have failed as a parent if he doesn’t achieve independence and confidene. Thanks for lining up with #globalblogging


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