Living Naked and Free as Empty Nesters

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The kids are gone! It’s time to get naked!

I know, it’s been awhile, right? You spent the last couple of decades staying respectably covered in front of your kids, having ridiculously silent sex, and making sure you had a bra on before any of your kids’ friends came over. If you forgot, you would never hear the end of their embarrassment.

We never stop being parents (so that doesn’t go away), but when our kids spring forth from the nest, we have our own chance to spring forth—from whatever is containing us! You can add anything you want to your life (or wardrobe). And walking around with a naked face or naked body is more than acceptable. If it feels good, do it! Plus, I doubt your significant other would mind!

My husband, David, and I have two children who are two years apart in age. So when our oldest, Sarah, left the nest, we still had our son, Jack, at home to keep us busy. But very soon, it was about time for him to leave, too. I spent his whole senior year of high school mourning his impending move out. I kept reminding David of all of the “lasts” in our lives: Our last time having Jack and all his buddies over for enormous quantities of homemade cookies, our last time wishing he would take a shower after shooting hoops for two hours, and our last time going to one of his band’s gigs in a Phoenix coffee house.

Soon no more kids (and their chatter!) would fill our house. And I was accustomed to a lot of both. On almost every Friday night during Jack’s high school years, it seemed he and his friends were at our house: eating, listening to music, and making plans for later in the night. The funny thing was that they never seemed to leave—unless it was to get even more food to bring back to our house. Teenage boys eat enormous amounts of food! What we saved on clothing (our daughter loves clothes just like her Mom) we way outspent on food for our son and his friends. I loved baking for them, though. My specialty was chocolate chip cookies.

The thought of that all being gone seemed lonely—and quiet!

But the date still came. It was time to take Jack to New York University where he would join his sister in building their own lives as adults. We moved him into his freshman dorm and, then, with tears dripping down my face, I kissed him goodbye. I sobbed most of the way back to Phoenix.

Then, it happened: We got home and realized our schedule didn’t need to revolve around anybody but us! Suddenly, it was as if David and I were dating again. We had the most amazing time during that first week as empty nesters. We could be naked when and where we wanted and make love in any room in the house without worrying about someone walking in on us.

By the end of the week, Jack called. “Mom, are you doing OK,” he asked. “Jack, Dad and I are having the time of our lives!,” I immediately chirped back. I sensed his shock. He figured I was sitting in a pool of tears that I started back in his dorm room. But soon he got over that (teenage boys don’t hold grudges for long!) and was so happy that David and I were going to be more than OK without him. We were both starting a new chapter of our lives. And they would be beautiful.

Whether it’s our kids moving out, our husbands losing their hair, or our fertility shutting down, it’s easy to see ends as final. But if we make an effort to look over, under, and around them, we can catch a glimpse of the beginnings that follow in their wake. So when a so-called ending comes your way, remember it’s really just the start of something new… or better yet, naked!

 Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!


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After struggling with her own severe menopause symptoms and doing years of research, Ellen resolved to share what she learned from experts and her own trial and error. Her goal was to replace the confusion, embarrassment, and symptoms millions of women go through–before, during, and after menopause–with the medically sound solutions she discovered. Her passion to become a “sister” and confidant to all women fueled Ellen’s first book, Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness. As a result of the overwhelming response from her burgeoning audiences and followers’ requests for empowering information they could trust, Ellen’s weekly blog, Menopause MondaysTM, was born.

  • My daughter left home in 9th grade to go to a performing arts high school in NC…10 1/2 hours away. I cried every day for days! But the change was absolutely the best for our relationship and I learned to be a whole new me. The change turned out to be a wonderful one and both of us realize it now, 6 years later.

    • It’s funny how looking back now you see it was a great rite of passage in the relationship. Thanks for sharing Shelley!

  • I can’t wait for summer to return and with it NAKED TIME!

    • Ahh! Thanks for sharing Chloe! Summer too is synonymous with freedom when the kids went off to summer camp. Plus the house in general is warmer so it’s more comfortable to be without clothing!

  • Not. Being. Interrupted. Is one of the greatest joys of being an empty nester.

    Since I’m fairly busty, I don’t choose to walk around without a bra, as I am hoping to postpone the day I’m tucking the girls into my waistband for a few more years. But there are times it’s just me and my towel, and if it slips, the world has not ended.

  • Helene Cohen Bludman

    The freedom can be heady at times (no pun intended). It’s OUR time now.

    • Yes! Thanks for the comment Helene. It’s freedom to just be. You’re still “mom”always and forever but on a different mode/setting.

  • marth

    Heck!! I sobbed in my car the morning I drove back home from an early morning walk and passed my 2 kids in the carpool the very first day that they both were in ELEMENTARY school! Never mind waiting for going away to college. I got over it early, what?!

    • I’d like to say each milestone gets easier — it doesn’t. You just have to look at it as a fabulous new chapter in your children’s lives … and yours!

  • Ellen, they do say that ‘re-igniting your relationship with your husband’ is one of the benefits of becoming an empty nester. As for walking around naked and doing it in every room in the house – I’m not sure! I wouldn’t want to scare the neighbours!

  • Kathy, you’re right that finally having that intimate alone time at home that you couldn’t get inside your crowded home brings you back to the days when you first were married with butterflies and no children yet….
    As far as scaring the neighbors, close the blinds and go for it 😉

  • Six more years! You have almost convinced me I won’t be miserable when the last one moves out.

  • Seriously– I thought I was the only one who had discovered the benefits of walking naked around the house after all the kids left. 🙂

    • LOL Caryn. It’s an unspoken reality among all the sisterhood! Glad me speaking up about it has gotten more of us confessing! Thanks so much for visiting and coming out 😉

    • Bodean

      I walk around the house as much as I can naked, at least when I know I’m going to be the only one at home for the night.
      Tonight happens to be one of those nights. So I’m ruling the house as I please. 🙂

      • Ellen Dolgen

        I think it is all about being free to be yourself!