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This Episode is Brought To You By
💚 Send audio feedback to Coach Christine now: voicemail/text to 920-LIFEWIN (920-543-3946).
What You Will Learn in this Episode
An introduction to Jenn Musselman
The freedom in laughing at your thoughts
How your thoughts may be a bit more unusual than what you are used to
To consider talking about your emotions and thoughts
What Jenn offers as a closet coach
What Jenn is addicted to
Episode Questions for You To Consider
- What is the wildest thought you have had leading up to or going through the empty nest transition?
- Do you think Jenn should do stand-up because I think she’d be great!
Where to Find Jenn
First Time Here? Try This Order of Episodes
- The Your Empty Nest Coach Podcast Trailer
- Series 1: Empty Nest Prep – starts at episode #3
- Series 2: The CEO of Your Life – starts at episode #64
- Series 3: The CEO Toolbox – starts at episode #88
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 37: Laughing Through the Empty Nest Transition With Jenn Musselman. … Well, my listener, today is a real treat. I’m lucky enough to know Jenn in my life. She’s a certified professional life coach, who has a particularly fun niche, or niche, however you say that, which is closet coaching. You may be wondering what exactly that is. I’m going to let Jenn tell you herself, shortly. …
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 37: Laughing Through the Empty Nest Transition With Jenn Musselman. This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that has been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it is freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
Hello, my future empty nest friend. Before I get started, I have a request. My team and I are planning on taking some time off over the holiday season, and rather than going completely silent for that time, we thought we would share listener favorite episodes, or snippets. That means that we are looking for your submissions for one of two things, something you learned from the podcast that has helped you, or you’re favorite episode. For both of these, explain what they mean to you, and tell us what episode number it is from. You may email your recorded submission with your phone audio recorder or type it out. Send your submissions to podcast AT youremptynestcoach.com. We look forward to hearing from you, and thanks for your assistance.
As always, a quick reminder that all of my episodes are brought to you by my free seven-day program, “The Empty Nest: A Guide to Uncovering My Future.” To be clear, we are talking about your future, not mine. Hop on over to my website, youremptynestcoach.com and sign up today. Look for the link that says “Uncover Your Future.”
Well, my listener, today is a real treat. I’m lucky enough to know Jenn in my life. She’s a certified professional life coach, who has a particularly fun niche, or niche, however you say that, which is closet coaching. You may be wondering what exactly that is. I’m going to let Jenn tell you herself, shortly. She also is the manager of Reveal Salon, one of my absolute, most favorite places in the world, and I do not say this lightly, and I don’t say it about many things either. In the last two visits to the salon, Jenn and I have checked in with one another on how we are doing in this empty nest journey. With Jenn’s youngest starting college, she is in it, and the way she tells it, she might just have you laughing as much as she had me laughing.
Look, this empty nest stuff is no joke, or maybe it should be. The emotions we need to go through are no joke. But checking our thoughts about it, as you know, are everything. What if we choose to make it all funny? I hope my short conversation with Jenn will remind you of this. Welcome to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, Jenn.
Jenn: Thank you so much. I’m so excited that you asked me to join you. It’s a big privilege.
Christine: I just saw you on Saturday, and I get to see you again. I’m thrilled to have you here today. Jenn, thanks for being open and honest enough to share your tough times through your current empty nest transition. I know I keep telling you this, but I do think you need to do some stand-up comedy around. I would love it, if for today, you would start by telling us a little bit about yourself, your family and where you are currently on your empty nest journey?
Jenn: Okay. Sure. I have been married for over 26 years. We have two boys, 22 and 18, and both of them, right now, one’s starting grad school, and my youngest started a summer session up at Penn State. So, we are right on the cusp of being complete empty nesters come the fall. It will just be my husband and I. So, growing up, or should I say, going through this life with an entire family of men, or boys, or children, that’s probably where I got my humor, because it was either that or drink heavily, so I decided, you know, go with the humor to try to get through this because no one is very serious in my family. You know, a lot of bodily noises and functions, around the dinner table, still, even at this age. So, that’s kind of where I am with this whole empty nest thing. With my youngest son going, it definitely caught me off-guard. I thought I was seasoned. A seasoned send-your-child-off-to-school, but I still was not prepared for the emotional toll.
Christine: Right. It’s a big deal.
Christine: Yes. So, I’m not going to try to make this sound like a therapy session, which is easy, since I’m not a therapist. But there are at least three stories you’ve shared with me recently, that I believe my listener would enjoy hearing. Are you willing to indulge us?
Jenn: Oh, absolutely. Let’s embarrass me. Yes.
Christine: Okay. Yes. You once shared with me about smelling pillows, which actually I have looked, and there is something on this, on “Psychology Today.” Do you know that?
Jenn: Oh, no. No.
Christine: So, you’re not alone. But please, share.
Jenn: Okay. So, I’m Italian Catholic, so you know, we are very emotional beings, and we worry a lot and we’re filled with guilt, but when my first son went away to college, I’m not even sure how this started, but I just missed him a lot, so every morning and then every evening, I’d go to open his blinds, or close his blinds in the room, for the day, or the night, and then I would end up smelling his pillow on his bed, trying to get some little scent of him. So, don’t change your kids’ sheets. That’s my advice. So, now, I’m doing it in both kids’ rooms. Like my husband said, “Thank God we didn’t have six or seven kids,” because my morning or night routine would take an hour. I feel like I have to do it. It now has become a routine, like having my coffee in the morning. I just smell, and I talk to them, have a nice day, good night. If any of my neighbors are watching, yeah, that’s me.
Christine: Maybe some will be like, “Hey, I do that, too.” I think that’s what we’ll find. Has anyone mistakenly washed them, or do you do all the laundry?
Jenn: No, I do all the laundry. They’ll come home, or I’ll say, “Okay, I’m losing your scent. It’s time for you to come home, because I cannot find your scent on the pillow any more.” Then, they’ll come home and I wash them, and then, you know. I don’t know. It’s just in my head. It makes me feel better.
Christine: It’s nice though. I’m wondering what’s wrong with me, that I have not wanted to smell pillows. Then there was this out-of-body experience that you recently had. Are you willing to share this one, too?
Jenn: Okay. Why not. Okay. My youngest virtually graduated, he went to Senior Week, and we had about a week before, then he was leaving to go to summer session. I don’t know, something with that last week, it’s kind of like the countdown, “Oh, my last Monday. My last Tuesday.” That’s what I tend to do in my head. He had told me him and his girlfriend were going to go out to breakfast. I went to the grocery store. I came home, he was helping me unload groceries, and all of a sudden, I see her vehicle pull up in my driveway. I literally started to hyperventilate, because I thought I had more time with him in the morning. I wear everything on my face, my expressions, you know, as everyone can read me, and she looked at me and she’s like, “Oh, oh. I don’t have to go out to breakfast with him.” I just started sobbing. I felt myself like, out of my body, looking at me, going, “Oh my gosh, you have totally lost it, woman.” It was nothing to do with his girlfriend. I adore her. It was just I thought I had more time, whatever that meant. I clearly felt I was outside my body, watching myself, just shaking my head, going, “Oh, what has this come down to?” Yeah, and she’s hugging me. I had to apologize and assure her it had nothing to do with her. It was completely me, and a little breakdown.
Christine: It is no joke, though. Really. It’s funny that you share this and the out-of-body part, but seriously, it just is.
Jenn: I think it just comes out of nowhere.
Christine: It does.
Jenn: I’m going about my day, it’s fine, and then, all of a sudden.
Christine: Oh, my gosh. Okay. Then, wanting to sleep with your son, but don’t worry my listener, nothing weird here.
Jenn: Yes. As weird as that sounds. I think everyone can relate when our kids were younger that you could cuddle with them, and you could smell their hair, when they did smell good, before they went through puberty, and just that closeness, that as they age, they don’t really want any more. Something’s with the week before they leave for school. I said to my youngest, would it be okay if I just slept with you, like, not in any sexual way, just cuddled with you. It’s okay, with dad. Like I got that, and he looked me, and he’s like, “You have totally lost it.” But I was just like, just cuddle for a couple minutes even. No, I got nothing.
Jenn: Not even two seconds. Yeah. Nothing.
Christine: Not even like a show or a movie?
Jenn: I got a hug. I got tons of hugs, that’s about as — yeah. Lots of hugs, but not anywhere near the bedroom. So, yeah.
Christine: This isn’t limited to you, from what I understand. There’s some things going on with hubby, and do you want to share there?
Jenn: Sure. I didn’t realize, as the boys have gotten older, their relationship with my husband, obviously, has evolved. My husband’s actually digressed in age, and is trying to be more like a fraternity brother when the boys come home. I just realized, literally, the other day, I was doing dishes, and somebody came in, one of the boys, and he just totally changes. He reverts to a college kid, like a 51-year-old trying to act like he’s 18, and I was saying in my head, “Oh, my God, I think he is bipolar.” Nothing wrong with that, but I think we need to address this, and then, I said to him, “When they come home, you’re totally different than when it’s just you and I.” Then, I was like, “Oh my gosh, you’re bi-son. Like, bi-son, and then when you’re with me, you’re bi-me.” He is two totally different people. He can totally relate to them and connect with them, on a very immature basis. When it’s just him and I, I have my husband back.
Christine: He grows up?
Jenn: Yeah. Yeah. Now, it’s a big joke, when they come home, they’re like, “Oh, we’re with our best friend.” You know, and I’m the third, fourth wheel.
Christine: I’m wondering if I do that to my husband.
Jenn: Yeah. Right. Exactly.
Christine: Have no doubts. Sorry, honey, not that you listen, but sorry. What’s interesting is, I know your son headed off early for, is it rugby camp, before?
Jenn: It’s a summer session. Yeah.
Christine: He was recently home, was it for his graduation party?
Jenn: Yep. It was like a dual graduation party for both of our kids.
Christine: Oh, that’s great. What a big year for you. Oh, my goodness.
Christine: How did things change? Did they change at all? Did you feel differently?
Jenn: He’s only been gone three weeks, to me, it’s felt like six months. I was so looking forward to him coming home, and having this ideal little short weekend together. Yeah. Okay. There was more attitude than my house could contain. My name is now Dude. It’s no longer Mom. Everything, even moreso, revolves around him first, and then the rest of us. I love him with all my heart, but I was like, “Oh, gosh, when is it that you’re going back? When is it, that you’re going back, because –?” Yeah. He’s like, “I’m definitely one of the pack,” and he has his new tribe now. It’s a different dynamic. Now, my older son did point out that he said I felt the same way when he first came home.
Christine: Did you?
Jenn: Yeah. He said his language had changed a bit, and he had to kind of find his own way, and that I didn’t have a bunch of patience for it.
Christine: I think it’s this huge transition for all of us, and every time we come together, we’ve all changed in different ways.
Jenn: Right. Absolutely.
Christine: We don’t know what to expect. I know in my house, there’s a lot of it is language. The language my daughter uses at school is not remotely acceptable to my husband. She’s fine, but then, every once in a while, a friend will pop over, and she’ll revert to that and everyone trying to figure out where they are in their new place, and where we all stand, it’s a lot.
Christine: Just when you think you get it, then something else has changed.
Jenn: Right. Just when you think, I guess, I have to stop having any little ideas in my head on how things are going to go, because there’s always something new that comes up, and it’s like, “Okay.” We are a happy family but, yeah, we are all different, trying to survive together.
Christine: It’s tricky, us humans trying to work together, in any dynamic.
Jenn: Right. Exactly.
Christine: It’s a lot more fun to just laugh through it, and notice it, and find it interesting.
Jenn: Right. Right. Exactly.
Christine: Go with that attitude than like, holy heck.
Jenn: Yeah. I just have to laugh.
Christine: I wanted to say more, but I’m going to keep the explicit off. All right. Jenn, what is one piece of advice you would like to give to future empty nest women, like where you are right now?
Jenn: I guess my one piece of advice that I have found amazing through this journey, is that, and this is so wonderful that you have created this podcast, because people don’t talk about it. We talk about what to expect when you’re expecting, or we do, “Oh, you should walk by the time you’re one.”
Jenn: Or you know, like potty training and all this, but all of a sudden, we get to this spot, and no one really talks about it, and even how emotional it is regardless of what your relationship is with your child, because we’re also in a place we’re getting older and even coming to find out what does this mean to us? We’re no longer a full-time mom, knowing every single move that they’re making, or even responsible for that. It’s just talk about it. Find a friend. I might be open because I make a joke out of it, but it’s something I feel like you’re kind of walking along the street and it comes around the corner and just hits you, and no one really talks about it. We’re very proud of them, but there’s also this emotional part of it, that we all have to as women, especially, just learn and grown through together. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to not cry. It’s okay to smell pillows. It’s okay to not know really what you’re role is now, you know, in life.
Christine: Yeah. Yes. It is okay, and it’s a lot. Yes. Talk about it. That’s great. Great advice. Thank you. I was so thrown by how awesome that was, Jenn.
Jenn: What you’re doing is awesome, because no one talks about it, and sometimes you just feel like you’re losing your mind. Like, you don’t know where to put all the emotions.
Christine: It’s true. It does. You’re right. It hits you at the strangest, strangest moment.
Christine: Like you think you have all your stuff together.
Christine: You’re like, “I’ve got this,” and it’s just something dumb. Like you get in the car and you’re used to having a conversation with them in the car, at a certain time.
Christine: Or the first week, I find is traumatic with all these random things because you go home and you think you’re going to talk to them about stuff.
Jenn: Right. Even talking over the phone or texts, I mean, we have great communication, but it’s just still different. I want to see, and smell you, and touch you, and know everything.
Christine: Yes. You don’t have it inherently any more.
Jenn: Right. Right.
Christine: It is tough. Okay. As I mentioned earlier, you are a closet coach, which I love. My empty nest friend, Jenn always, and I mean always, looks like she just stepped out of the pages of a fashion magazine. You do, like 100 percent. Jenn, if I hired you for closet coaching, what is that? What would it look like?
Jenn: Okay. It kind of came organically out of me doing life coaching. One of my life coaching clients just liked the way I dressed and asked if I could help her and then said, “You have got to do this.” It’s just really having you utilize what’s in your closet, but making you look and feel your best. Maybe mixing and matching something, or maybe something that you’ve been kind of hiding behind or holding onto, if you’re not really happy, maybe, with your midsection, but what you’ve been wearing is actually drawing attention to that area, when you’re trying to hide it. It’s just really having you come away with a better sense of your style, not spending a whole bunch of money, because I’m not into that at all, but utilizing what you have, maybe adding a few key pieces and then, when you feel good about yourself, you look a little bit better, you stand taller, you hold your head taller. You don’t have to be out of fashion magazine, but just to be the best you in what you have in your closet.
Christine: Yes. It’s so valuable. At this stage of our life, I think it helps, too. I mean, it helps in any stage.
Christine: Right now, there’s so much going on with our family, I mean, as mom’s we don’t think about ourselves anyway.
Jenn: Right. Exactly.
Christine: But especially like clothes. It’s either your therapy and you have a ton of clothes, and they might not work for you.
Christine: Or you just haven’t thought about clothes in so long.
Jenn: Right. Forever.
Christine: What a valuable gift you’re giving people. That’s great.
Jenn: It’s tons of fun.
Christine: I can imagine. You’re good at it. Is there anything else you would like to share with my amazing future empty nest friend?
Jenn: No, I think that’s all. Just be real. Just be true to yourself, and be ready for those moments where you can’t be ready but know it’s okay. If it comes out of nowhere, that you’re driving to work and all of sudden, you’re crying and you don’t know why, or you know, picking tomatoes or weeds in your garden, and something overcomes you, you’re normal. You’re like the rest of us. I guess, I just can’t stress that enough. If not, hopefully, my stories will make you feel more normal, or you’ll look at me like I’m crazy, so it will put you in a better place.
Christine: I think there’s going to be more people getting it, than not getting it. I really do. Before you go, I have four questions that I ask every guest of mine. First is waffles or pancakes?
Christine: Excellent. Any reason?
Jenn: No. No. No reason. I just like pancakes better.
Christine: What is one item you can’t live without and why?
Jenn: Lip gloss. I can’t live without it. I’m just addicted to lip gloss. I have no idea, but it has been a part of my life. When I was in corporate, I would hide it in my pocket. Hide it behind my mouse. There’s no reason, just I have to have lip gloss.
Christine: You’re doing a stash?
Jenn: Yes. I have a little bit of a lip gloss. Yeah.
Christine: Are you loyal to one?
Jenn: No, absolutely not. No. Nope. No. No. It’s subtle, but yeah.
Christine: Excellent. You’re all time favorite movie and any particular reason?
Jenn: “Sound of Music,” everything, everything about it I feel like I have great memories of watching it with the kids and just singing and everything, the landscape, the story-line.
Christine: That’s a beautiful movie. You have one hour of alone time, no one will bother you, what is your go to thing to do?
Jenn: Read. Just read. Read a novel. Read fiction.
Christine: Excellent. What are you reading now?
Jenn: “Everything is Okay…” I can’t remember the rest of the title.
Christine: I’ll have to look it up. We’ll put it in the show notes. Do you like it?
Jenn: Yes. I really do.
Christine: Okay. Great.
Jenn: It’s very different. Yeah. It’s very different.
Christine: Fun. Awesome. Okay. My empty nest friend, don’t forget to follow Jenn. I will have her contact information in this episodes full show notes on my website, youremptynestcoach.com. She’s on Facebook at Jenn.closet.coaching. Did I get that right?
Jenn: You got it.
Christine: All right. She’s also a life coach, so you can visit her page there, too. Does it link over?
Jenn: Yes. It does.
Christine: I’ll put them both in my show notes so you have them. Jenn, thanks for being brave enough to share your stories and your laughter with us.
Jenn: Thank you.
Christine: I am thrilled you joined me today. Thanks for being here.
Jenn: Thank you, Hon. I appreciated it.
Christine: Psst…my empty nest friend, did you hear? I have an online program, “The Empty Nest: First Steps Towards Success.” I also, now offer GPS Reset Weekend Retreats, and I am available for speaking events. Seriously! What are you waiting for? Visit my website, or see this episodes full show notes.
Please don’t hesitate to fly on over to our Facebook group. Our name is Green Popsicle Sticks. Want to know why? Listen to episode number 17, or head to my website, youremptynestcoach.com/community for links to join our flock. Why should you join our group? The adjustment to not having your kiddos at home full-time isn’t always easy, but it sure can be a ton more fun with a flock of friends. We look forward to seeing you there.
If you are ready to begin the journey to find future you, and use her as your GPS, definitely sign up for my free program, “The Empty Nest: A Guide to Uncovering My Future.” Episode number 13 covers the high-level concepts of that program, if you would like to check it out. To dive deep into the concepts, definitely take my free program, as I provide videos and worksheets to assist you on your journey.
The questions I have for you in this episode are: what is the wildest thought you have had, leading up to, or going through the empty nest transition? This is a very important question, my second question: do you think Jenn should do stand-up? Because I think she’d be great. As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend. My hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life. You’ll find the show notes for this and every episode on my website. My next episode is my final special guest episode, Michele will be with us, and we’ll be covering some serious topics. I hope you find her as inspiring as I do.
Don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast. It is free and you’ll be notified when I post a new episode every Friday. If my show has helped you in any way, please share it with one other person you think it will help, too. You’ll be giving them a free gift. Thanks for your time and energy with that, and thanks so much for listening, my empty nest friend. Remember, you are amazing!
You are preparing for the empty nest ahead as your child(ren) prepares, heads off to, and experiences college.