There was a time when I took pride in the fact that my house was one of the busiest (and noisiest) on the street. I had four children of my own, took care of five others during the after-school hours and maintained a revolving door for all the neighborhood kids to come over whenever they chose.
On one particular rainy afternoon, I counted 17 kids (ranging in age from 10 to 17) in my matchbox-sized home. I’m convinced that this is when my love for margaritas began.
My house was always LOUD. Music blasting, televisions blaring, giggling, squealing and raucous games of basketball in the driveway — this was the norm. The chaos never bothered me. I loved my role as the entertaining “cool” mom and was happy to provide enough calorie-ladened snacks to feed an army brigade.
I was also 10 years younger with an endless supply of energy that could rival the stamina of the Energizer bunny.
Three of my four children have grown and flown the coop. The last one still at home is 18 and he’d rather have a root canal than spend an evening at home with dear old Mom and Dad. This allows us quite a bit of wiggle room for privacy and a glimpse of what life will be like when the last one packs his bags and heads off to college (hopefully to a school on the other side of the continent). This is why I know I’m going to LOVE being an empty nester:
* A lower grocery bill. My supermarket expenses will finally be lower than my monthly mortgage payment. I will no longer need to buy stock in toilet paper, milk or Axe body spray.
* My car insurance rates will drop, but so will my tax deductions. Perhaps the IRS will count fostering male dogs with bathroom handicaps as a tax deduction.
* My house will stay clean. No more hazardous waste piles of laundry or a bathroom requiring a Hazmat team to scrub it clean.
* We can travel spontaneously anywhere in the world — or maybe just to Walmart — without needing to hire a babysitter.
* No more math homework (Y=mx+b… HUH?), erupting volcanoes in the kitchen (science experiment) or 30-page term papers on the Civil War that create tears of frustration (and several shots of tequila for mom).
* My husband and I can finally have a REAL adult conversation instead of the usual: “Has he pooped today? “Did she eat her greens?” “Make sure he brushes his teeth before bed.” “Does she want fries with that?”
* No more detailed school supply lists from teachers (what do you mean you need a specific brand of environmentally safe markers made in China by three-fingered panda bears?). And no more expensive school uniforms (Honey, you’re NOT wearing a plaid mini skirt and heels to school in a reckless attempt to imitate Jenna Jameson in an adult movie!).
* I don’t have to cook for a crowd every night. The Hubs and I will be perfectly content to snarf down a bowl of Cocoa Puffs for dinner while watching an episode of “Hoarders.”
* No more part-time job as a taxi driver chauffeuring kids in a beat-up mini van to choir, gymnastics, karate, dance, soccer, cheerleading or band. It also signifies the end of chaperoning school field trips to the zoo and getting parrot poop on my head.
* Sex 24/7. Every night can be a date night, and every moment is a Cialis moment. The only thing that’s missing is matching bathtubs in a wildly inappropriate place, like the tool aisle at Sears.
As I revel in my thoughts of newfound freedom, my 18-year-old son informs me he has picked the college he’d like to attend — and it’s only 10 minutes from our home. Looks like my empty-nester plans will have to be put on hold a little bit longer. But I can still dream, can’t I?
— Marcia Kester Doyle
Marcia Kester Doyle is the author of the humorous blog “Menopausal Mother,” where she muses on the good, the bad and the ugly side of menopausal mayhem. She is a staff writer for In The Powder Room and HumorOutcasts.com and a contributing writer for What the Flicka. Her work recently captured first place in VoiceBoks Top Hilarious Parent Bloggers 2014, and her first book will be released in the spring through Blue Lobster Publishing. Marcia’s work has appeared on Scary Mommy, Mamapedia, Bloggy Moms, Messy Mom’s Radio, The Woven Press, the Life Well Blogged series and was voted Top 25 in the Circle Of Mom’s Contest 2013.