My wife and daughter are returning to work and school pretty much at the same time after the three of us being home and together almost every day and pretty much all day over the past 6 months. While I am not sure if my wife is excited about the daily commute, my daughter is thrilled to be back in class… even if it’s different and more restrictive than usual.
Her returning to class in grade 7 has meant another big change that has affected our quality time together but that another story. Read about the shift in daddy-daughter time here.
But my daughter going back to school and my wife returning to the office has meant that it’s been very quiet in my home office lately. That’s the COVID version of empty nest.
Now some of you may be thinking, wow, finally! I’ve got my space back. But some of you might instantly miss having your “people” around all the time. It became routine over the past 6 months, whether you embraced or resisted it. It was a daily way of living that we all had to adjust to. Now that routine is breaking up again. So… another adjustment is needed.
To adjust positively into this fall here two key things to pay attention to…
What is great about this empty nest change?
If you are the one still at home, what do you value most about the new found space, energy, focus?
- Is it fewer distractions like not having your kid pop into your office to video bomb an important meeting?
- How about having greater bandwidth with no one else’s technology constantly on at the same time?
- Is it you getting to choose the music you really want now?
- Something else?
Take a moment and really connect with all that is good about your new work from home situation. The big things are obvious but identify those little things. You know, the ones you likely push aside as no big deal.
Acknowledge and embrace each of those new wins because they will allow you to accelerate your productivity!
If you are the one now leaving home for work or some other reason, what do you value most about getting out of the house when you do?
- Is it the social connection with work mates?
- Having your own office back?
- The quiet commute?
- Something else?
Just like your work from home partner, really connect with each little thing you love about this new change. Acknowledge and embrace each of those new wins and you too will accelerate your productivity!
On the other hand this simple change that often happens at the end of every summer somehow might feel very different this year. It might be a harder adjustment than you think.
What sucks about this empty nest change?
Whether you are the one still at home or the one off to work now, what do you miss already about you and your people not being at home and around each other all the time?
- Is it you or your spouse stepping out to support a local coffee shop and bring back coffee and fresh cinnamon buns as a treat now and then to break up a busy work day?
- Is it a new tradition like end of the afternoon family walks with the dog?
- Is it those energy renewal breaks playing in the backyard with your kid?
- Something else?
Those are just a few for me. What about you? What do you miss already?
In my home, for the most part, one other thing that I miss is the amount and depth of conversations during the day that really increased from before. I loved that and I think we’ve grown even closer as a result. The support we’ve given each other also increased considerably over the months. There was an element of my wife and I both working from home and sharing the office while our daughter had her space for school work that I loved. Our being able to just “be” with one another. I already miss that.
Whatever it is that you miss as you experience this COVID version of the empty nest, acknowledge it. Grieve it. Then find a way to accept that things will be different moving forward.
Love it for what it was and now the challenge is to find a way to keep the essence of each of those things in your life in some other way.
How do you keep the meaningful communication going, the daily dog walks, or the spontaneous coffee and cinnamon bun runs a part of your world. They might look very different in a practical sense but each will feel similar when you do them.
Time passes, things change. Don’t slide back into the pre-COVID ways with your family that maybe did not work very well. Take the opportunity you embraced while home together and make this fall and 2021 even better because of it.
That’s my plan. I hope it can be yours too!