Waving goodbye as your youngest backs out of the driveway and into her future is probably the hardest thing you've ever done. Well, it’s right up there with deciding just how exactly you’ll repurpose her room. Yeah, once you start visualizing a big desk in place of your kid’s bed, you know you’re officially an empty nester. Here, 20 realizations you have once the chicks leave the nest.

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empty nester homeoffice
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1. You can’t stop thinking about how much more useful your kid’s room would be as a home office. 

2. Or maybe that painting studio you always wanted.

3. Or a gym.

4. Oh, wait. Never mind. Your kids are still using their bedrooms as storage units. No room for the elliptical.

empty nester cooking
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5. It’s amazing how you just miraculously have more money. 

6. Maybe that’s because you’re not buying groceries for three picky eaters.

7. Or paying a water bill for a family of varsity athletes.

8. Oh, and definitely because your youngest isn’t around to casually ask for a 20.

empty nesters fridge
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9. Whoa. You never realized how awesome it is to get to use things you buy for yourself…like food…and razors.

10. And what a novel feeling it is to walk into the TV room and not find half-crusted cereal bowls teetering on the couch cushions.

11. Ditto: Mysterious dings on the back of your station wagon.

empty nester dog
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12. While you miss the happy chaos of your children, it’s strange how easily replaceable it is with a dog.

13. Now that you think about it, your own blood never greeted you at the door, jumping on you with pure, unadulterated joy just became you came back to grab your keys.

14. And even better: The Saint Bernard never asks you for a 20.

empty nesters dinner
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15. But nagging the kids about moving back home is a sport that never gets old. 

16. Especially because you’ve basically become a professional nagger over the past 17 to 25 years.

17. And you haven’t been able to figure out which remote turns on the TV since Saturday.

18. Yep, it’s time to offer a homemade dinner in exchange for IT help. You’ll even pack them the leftovers…

19. ...and drive them to their office if they forget them.

20. What? They may be adults, but they still need to eat.

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