Making it Through the Transition to Being an Empty Nester

On Friday, Family Rosary Across America® co-host Karen Moran said goodbye to Relevant Radio® and hello to retirement. We are so grateful for Karen’s many years both on the air as co-host of Family Rosary Across America and behind the scenes as a producer for several Relevant Radio programs.

Karen is not only making the transition to retirement, but she also recently made the transition to being an empty nester. Many Relevant Radio listeners have children graduating from high school or college, or are anticipating this in the coming years. Before her departure, Karen stopped by Trending with Timmerie to offer her perspective on making it through all these changes in her life and the life of her family.

Karen noted that she is not an expert on this topic, as this is still fairly new to her, saying, “That’s the disclaimer. I’m going through this and I have some thoughts on it. And I’m happy to share those with you from my limited perspective.”

Karen shared that for her family – herself, her husband, and their 23-year-old twins –  the transition to being an empty nester was not an event but a process.

“When they went off to their freshman year of college, my husband and I were like, ‘Emtpy nest! Woohoo!'” she recalled. “But they didn’t really fly away from the nest.”

Helping her children transition from high school to college, and from college to adult life was a different family dynamic, she said. But there is one constant in this transitional part of parenting.

“I think what we’re doing is helping them cope with change,” she said. “And change is the only thing we know that’s really going to happen in life.”

Sometimes those changes aren’t what you want, the choices aren’t ones you would make, and there can be a lot of bumps and bruises along the way.

“It’s our tendency as parents to go make everything better,” Karen said. “But that doesn’t always help. There’s no handbook tucked in the basket when that baby is born. You are making it up as you go along, but you’re also figuring it out as you go along. Just as your kids are.”

“I compare it to the first time your child gets a boo-boo,” she said. “It breaks your heart. A little brand-new knee gets skinned. That, as a parent, you’ll always feel. You don’t want them to experience that hurt. But you know that through that experience they’re growing and they’re understanding their limits.”

Despite the bumps in the road and the changes that come with being an empty nester, Karen said there are some wonderful parts of this season of life.

“They are adults now, and we have an adult relationship now,” she said of her kids. “And that’s interesting in itself. It’s all change and it’s all good.”


Trending with Timmerie airs weekdays at 6:00 p.m. Central on Relevant Radio® and the Relevant Radio App.

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Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at relevantradio.com and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.