Spending Mother’s Day in an Empty Nest

This Mother’s Day, while some of us wake up to the sound of kids’ footsteps, homemade cards and messy kitchens, others will be missing those very things – maybe for the first time.

My mom wrote me recently: “I miss Mother's Day breakfast in bed with cold toast and your bright smile when you’d bring it in.”

I’m grown with my own kids now, and even though she never gives me the guilt trip, I know she longs for more time together.

A friend whose children are spread out across the country says, “I’ve never had big Mother’s Day expectations; a simple phone call is enough. There’s nothing better than hearing that ‘Hi, Mom!’ on the other end.

Another friend writes: “My kids offered to come home this year, but I need to be with my own mom. It’s hard having to make the choice.”

No matter if your nest has been empty for a day or a decade, Mother’s Day will likely bring both bittersweet and beautiful thoughts of your children.

What will it look like for you this year, and how can you experience the fullness of God’s joy in it?

Here are some ideas for the day:


Begin with Him:

Start your day with worship – whether it’s your regular Sunday gathering, a time of prayer in your favorite chair, or maybe a beautiful outdoor spot with your journal. Lift up your children, your spouse – even your extended family. Pray for those mother-daughter and mother-son relationships. Remember your loved ones who’ve lost a mother; ask the Lord how you might help bring comfort and encouragement into their lives. (See our encouragement section for ideas)


Share your season:

God’s Words reminds us that there’s a season for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1) and there are likely other moms around you in the same season of their lives. Consider planning a get-together to celebrate and encourage one another. Have coffee, recall some fun memories, exchange prayer requests. Sharing the journey can be one of life’s greatest joys.


Pay it forward:

Recall your days as a new (and frazzled-at-times!) mother. Think of the younger moms in your life – maybe your church, neighborhood or work -- who do you know that could use a hand? Offer to keep the little ones for a few hours on Mother’s Day or in the coming weeks. Maybe it’s a single mom or someone whose husband is away a lot. You may remember what a gift it was to have that kind of help when your kids were small. Use your time together to pour into those little ones. Children have a limitless capacity to love and be loved, and mother-love never goes away; it just changes forms. If we offer it to God, it can expand into the world in ways we may never have imagined.


Bless your nest:

An empty nest can be a beautiful, welcoming nest. Besides, it’s never truly empty when it’s filled with God’s love. What about a little creative fun this Mother’s Day? Add a few loving uplifting touches to your home that have been on your list for awhile. Browse our website for some wall décor inspiration and treat yourself to something meaningful.


Take care of you:

Fill the day with your favorite things – you’ve earned it! Enjoy the luxury of sleeping in, brunch at a restaurant you’ve always wanted to try, a double feature movie in the evening…just because you can! Maybe you love to travel: plan a day trip or weekend getaway. While motherhood is a gift we thank God for, so is the gift of knowing we have raised our children well and they’ve spread their own wings. Celebrate that freedom in whatever way means the most to you.

Celebrating Mother’s Day in an empty nest can bring about a range of emotions - from loneliness to gratefulness, loss and worry to accomplishment and maybe even a touch of grief. Whatever you do, be gentle on yourself. Remember that you are a daughter of the one true King. Soak in God’s Word, claim His promises and know that He has a plan for this season of your life.


Know someone celebrating Mother’s Day in an empty nest? Share this article with them through email or simply post it by using the social media icons. Also, be sure to check out our article 4 Scriptures to Help with Big Life Changes.

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