with Natalie caine


Dispatches from the Not-So-Empty-Nest

July 2, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | One Comment

chronogramNatalie was recently interviewed for an article that appeared at Chronogram. You can read the article in its entirety at Chronogram.com.

Below is an excerpt:

In the wake of her own daughter’s departure for college a decade ago, therapist Natalie Caine, MA, recognized strife among her circle of fellow parents. Many, like her, were transitioning to childless households, and struggling in various ways. Depression, resentment, and regret abounded, and Caine wanted to help. She started Empty Nest Support Services, and has been counseling parents ever since. This July 4-6, she’ll be co-conducting the workshop “Beyond the Empty Nest” at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck.

“The emptiness after a child leaves can actually be a wake-up call,” Caine says. “There’s a fabulous opportunity to find out who you are, and who you are not. From there, parents can begin to build inner resources, like courage, and outer resources, like travel, or a new career, or reconnecting with friends. I help parents make that new path happen. People use the workshop to get out of patterns, or find parts of themselves that are dormant, parts they didn’t even know they had; we get those to rise up. And everyone gets to tell their stories in a supportive group, which is great, because people feel isolated. In fact, the most common question I get is: ‘Is this normal?’”

Nine Things to Consider Before Moving Into a Smaller Home

June 27, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments

ninethingsAs one of the Wall Street Journal Experts, Natalie’s blog was originally published at blogs.wsj.com.

What advice would you give to couples who are downsizing?

NATALIE CAINE: We downsized after I spent six days at my friend’s 500-square-foot apartment in Manhattan. I didn’t go to my friend’s to practice living smaller; it just popped in as a wonderful new choice. We had many discussions about moving, and the living small just turned talks into action.

I returned to Los Angeles feeling invigorated to move forward. Our home of 15 years sold in 14 days. We put our furniture in storage and lived in a furnished Airbnb home in the area we thought would make us happy. Turned out to be true.

We bought a home (that process is another story) and are happy living smaller in a community that allows us to hike, walk the beach, and be in the city for a longer list of accessible fun. Change is a good thing. Change is not perfect.

Tips for you:

  1. Check in with yourself about what really matters at this stage of your life—wellness, creativity, living closer to family, spirituality, intellectual stimulation, fun, new community living, reduced financial pressures, etc.
  2. Are you wanting to reduce money fears more than you are afraid you won’t make new friends?
  3. Are you ready for a change that will give you a healthier lifestyle more than the work it takes to grieve, sort, donate, save, and clean before the goodbye party?
  4. Are you feeling stuck with the life you have and ready to take a trust leap a bit into the unknown? Trust meaning you can handle the results without hurting yourself or others, well define hurting others (sorry children, you won’t get the house you grew up in).
  5. Are you good at running the financial numbers? Consult with experts in finance and real-estate markets.
  6. Be open. I know that sounds obvious, but on weekends when I would head into the city and look at areas, which was time consuming for sure , as well as, discouraging at times, I didn’t think I would end up where we are. We ended up buying in an area that I didn’t think was possible. Two Sundays out of the month, over the years of living in the house, I use to drive to this area to their farmer’s market, even though we had a fantastic one. I did the drive because it felt like a vacation, every 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. No traffic, in nature, small community, walking city, clean air, and friendly people of all ages, as well as, the mountains and the beach. Also, be open to your experts. I didn’t think I needed to stage our home since I love decorating but the broker was correct. We staged and it was profitable.
  7. We thought we didn’t want stairs. We have steps and it is not a deal breaker.
  8. Go through your list of what you think you can’t live without and what you are willing to let go of in order to meet the top priorities of why you are downsizing. It helps to look at properties rather than sit at home and chat about the change. Your priorities get clearer when you spend the night in a hotel in that area and know what the night and day gives you, which is more of a reality check than going in and out of open houses. Chat with yourself about , “Am I in fantasy or reality about this choice?”
  9. No one wants to move, again. We told ourselves this does not have to be the last home we buy. Change will happen. We can hold both realities that we hope we don’t have to move, again, and we can handle it if change arrives, like needing more space for grandchildren, although that too can be creatively lived. After all, children know they are going to change and be different. Why do adults think they are done changing and being different than who they are today? You will be different as time moves forward and therefore your choices might be different.

In the end, choose what matters to you at this stage of life by knowing more about who you are and who you are not. If you hope to never move again, then walk that direction. Talk with yourself and your partner about what roles you will play in making this downsize happen. Pull up those new resources you need to enjoy the life you are heading towards. You will be grumpy. You will doubt your choice. You know yourself better than anyone, so listen to you and take pauses for this big decision.

What To Do When You Feel Unhappy?

June 23, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | One Comment

Purple_Blossoms_P1090666 “A Course in Miracles”, book by Marianne Williamson, suggests to ask, as a practice daily, “Where would you have me go, what would you have me do, what would you have me say and to whom?”

Whether preparing for a change (empty nest, divorce, career, illness, loss) or sitting in it, people always ask what helps me? Sometimes weeping or simply stopping and resting, and sometimes nothing seems to help and then it does.

One tool I use throughout a day, is a daily practice. I like change so I don’t always do same same.  Sometimes it is a silent walk in nature, a prayer like the words above from Marianne Williamson, or closing my eyes and getting the chatter to quiet while breathing with awareness, reading poetry, short meditation to my imaginary favorite place in nature, writing whatever arrives in front of an empty page, maybe with the starter line, “today I need, today I love…”

The key is to begin something that comforts you and connects you beyond what you know or feel…opening to the moment and getting relaxed.   I don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel agitated or uncertain at times. I use to light a candle and simply look at the flame, noticing what thoughts are in my head, how I lose focus of the flame, and when I hear nothing within.

I take out my pastels or black drawing pen and begin, I listen to a song and lie on the floor. I ask for help from within, “help me…”  I say what I am grateful for.  You will find choices for your daily practice.

Eventually, they will become integrated into your day, like brushing your teeth. No big deal.  One of the benefits is that you become your own best friend/guide, and you become better at holding opposites, like, “yes this is so terrible for me AND it could be worse AND this won’t last forever.”

We don’t always have a friend to call in the moment. We are simply trial and error when it comes to comfort, decisions, and change.  Reach out before or when you are at your breaking point.  You know you better than you think you do.

Color_Waves_P1090813Take good care,

Natalie Caine M.A.

Life In Transition, What’s Next?
Empty Nest Support Services
(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454-0040
Los Angeles

Featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, Maria Shriver .com, Better Homes and Gardens, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, Sirius, Associated Press, Miami Herald, and many more.

Change is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.


- Private Telephone Consultations
- Speaking engagements
- Support groups
- Workshops
- Mentoring
- Facebook, Linked In, Twitter

Empty Nest, Now What?

June 18, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments

Sunburst_Petals_5283Congratulations, parents. Shoulders down. Your child is on their way to college.
I have sat where you now sit.  Proud and excited.  It is bittersweet.

Your children are packing up for their dreams. You are viewing an empty chair at the kitchen table.  Now what?

How do you walk this major life transition?

I remember that flight back home from the New York dorm, where my daughter began college, 3,000 miles from home.  I was alone in a plane, wheels up and my tears falling uncontrollably down.

The flight attendant came over, “Are you alright? Can I get you something?”  I didn’t want to speak. I motioned with my hand over my heart and a nod.  She got that I was ok.  I didn’t get that, yet.  I leaned my head against the tiny airplane window, Kleenex in hand.
I just needed a deep grieving cry.  I let myself have it. I was surprised by the depth of my sadness.  I knew I would be sad, but didn’t know I would sob.

My daughter and I are close.  She wasn’t home much junior and senior high school year.  That is not the same as no more school days, no more day to day with her, her friends, or even parents and teachers you have known for years.

Your parenting role changes.  Community changes.  Changes to what?   Who are you beyond parenting?

Welcome to the UNKNOWN, to your next joyous and challenging chapter of life?  Whether you work, stayed at home, or volunteered,  all parents, married or solo, that I have spoken with across the country, at some time, go through a grieving for what was and is now, instantly different

Everyone grieves differently. Some parents don’t miss their children because high school was challenging and exhausting.  They were ready to hug goodbye.   They aren’t clear what comes next for them now that their children don’t need them in the same way.

Five tips to a new roadmap:

  1. Be gentle with yourself daily.  Delete the need to compare yourself with your neighbor.   Some people jump into being busy.  Others need time unplanned.  Ask yourself, “What do I need today and how can that happen?”
  2. Practice checking in with yourself.  Empty nest is a time to learn more about who you are and who you are not. From there, you begin to pull up inner and outer resources. Both are needed during changes.   What are you thinking about?  What feelings are popping up?  How are you spending your days and nights?  What needs more attention and what needs less?   Open time to explore who you are today.
  3. Make a list of compliments people have given you over the years, “You are so organized.  You always have creative solutions.  Love the way you dress. What a great cook you are.  Wish I had your discipline to work out.”
  4. What did you use to do for fun before marriage and children?  What did you do after school?  The arts, ride your bike, sports, social organizer, and ?
  5. Write yourself a love letter. “Dear Kate… I love how you listen to your kids and then ask them questions so they can come up with ideas for themselves.  I love how you rest and shut the door with a do not disturb sign.  I love that you said to them that you were wrong.  What a great role model.  Kate, your kids know you believe in them.”  Write this kind of letter to yourself and then read it out loud to YOU.  Tuck it in your drawer to read, again, any time.

Flower_Buds_P10190713People always ask me, “How long will I feel sad and unmotivated? Did your life get happier? Did you find something to do that mattered?”

Some people heal in a month, others a year.  I had a parent call for a telephone session. She shared that she was fine until her daughter graduated college.  Then she felt depressed and confused.  She wept.   Each of us grieves on our own time and in our own ways. Parents ask me how to build a more adult to adult relationship with their children? One answer is to notice unrealistic expectations with them.  ”Call me at eight every Sunday?”

I had no idea the day I walked off the airplane and opened the door to my daughter’s empty, messy room, that the aching would end to be her everyday mom. Married, career woman, friendships, and creativity didn’t erase missing my daughter. What did land on the page were new parts of myself that had to go dormant while parenting.  Photography, writing, a new career, and more.

No one wants to go through changes alone. That is why I built empty nest support services in order to help parents through this joyous and challenging transition, finding what’s next for them and how to build an adult to adult relationship with their children.

Natalie Caine, M.A. is owner of Empty Nest Support Services, which provides one-on- one sessions, on or off the telephone, speaking engagements for your community, workshops, support groups, and mentoring. She recently moved to Pacific Palisades, CA.

Call for support and further information.

Take good care,

Natalie Caine M.A.
Life In Transition, What’s Next?
Empty Nest Support Services
(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454 0040
Los Angeles

Featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Maria Shriver .com, Better Homes and Gardens, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, Sirius, Associated Press, Miami Herald, and many more.
Change is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.


- Private Telephone Consultations
- Speaking engagements
- Support groups
- Workshops
- Mentoring
- Facebook, Linked In, Twitter

Father’s Day

June 12, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments


A dad shared with me, on the telephone, about his daughter leaving for college, “I don’t know if I have prepared her for catastrophes? Does she know how to take cover, to run fast, to scream?”

He was feeling anxious about this major change around the corner. He felt the clock of connection ticking down and he wanted to assess what a father wants for his children.

As he shared more and I offered suggestions, I asked, “What do you adore about your daughter?”  ”She is funny and perseveres no matter the hurdle.” “What do you think she adores about you?” He said, “I don’t really know.”  Do you think she loves you?”  “Oh for sure.”

Love is an action and sometimes a knowing.   He decided, after our telephone sharing, to ask her about his concerns and get her intake. He wanted to tell her he would be fine and there for her even if she feared getting in trouble.   He also said,” I just want her to know I have made mistakes and they make me over react.  I want her to know I will miss her.  I am happy for her. She will love college.”

I suggested he write her a love note and stick it in her suitcase for a surprise when she unpacks at the dorm.  This is what I love about you… this is what I wish for you … this is what I believe about you….( I wrote that letter to my daughter and added doodles and polka dots on the papers when she headed to college. )

Love motivates us to teach , to be available, to handle the unknown, to say sorry, to try again, to be more than we think we can be in the moment, and so much more.

I remember when my dad died, I was devastated. Then I remembered, I am a mom and I need to go comfort my daughter who heard me sobbing.  She had a pillow over her ears.  I sat on her bed and said,” Yes, grandpa died (she was 11).  I am so sad and I will be OK.  You don’t have to do anything for me but let me be whatever I am going to be.”  I also told her, “You know what; grandpa really knew you loved him.  He knew it.   He deeply loved you, too, and so often talked about you.  You made him happy. ”

Mountain_Sunset_5177Father’s Day, an opportunity to celebrate the anchor they are and the love, whether shown or known, they generously extend to us.  Visit the happy memories and make new ones.

Happy Father’s Day,

20 Tips for Parents Dreading the Empty Nest

June 11, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments


The road you have traveled for 18 years as parents is turning a corner, headed for a bridge.

What is the truth about what is on the other side of the bridge? What changes do you have to address in order to stay healthily connected in your new role and your adult child’s role with you? Does this change mean filling in free time or deeply discovering parts of yourself you had to put in the trunk?

Crying is mandatory. Ok, there are no rules, so forget mandatory. But I would bet tears will fall when you least want them plugging your nose and smearing your eyes. A mom recently called me from her daughter’s college orientation. We had talked several times before she left. Ellen was there with her husband and strangers as they moved their daughter into the dorm and met her roommate and family.

Ellen said, “Hi, we had a long day of parent orientation and then the bell rang. Five o’clock!!! John and I walked out of the gym where all the parents had gathered. The kids were headed to dinner and meetings with their new leaders and college students. We hugged right there, outside in the walkway before they followed their group in the opposite direction of where we were headed, which was the parking lot. I dashed into the restroom and sobbed. Other moms were there wiping their eyes and blowing their noses. It’s over. She is gone. All that preparation and excitement ended. Now what? We won’t see her until October when we come back here for Family Weekend. She really is a freshman. I just can’t believe it! I feel lost.”

Here are 20 tips for making the adjustment.

  1. There is a true loss when children leave home. It is normal to feel sad, anxious, disoriented, fatigue, lonely, awkward. Professional help is there as needed. Let people help you.
  2. Every parent experiences it differently so the habit of comparing won’t serve you. “But Alice was fine after three days and I was still crying and tired after three months,” said a tearful mom on the phone. We are who we are for now.
  3. Having a career or not, you will feel the sadness because the role you have loved playing requires you to change. This was your favorite “job,” most of the time, and you don’t want the requirements to change. You had a friend and a deep kind of love that parenting births. That doesn’t change just because someone said to turn in your key.
  4. You will be learning how to be in the background, not managing … but mentoring. They are trying to figure life out for themselves so support them in their courage.
  5. You won’t instantly be able to change. In a new city you need the maps, the research time, the rest, the support, and the adventures. You get tired, too. You get to discover what you like and don’t like as you travel with your new self.
  6. I believe in the past few years baby boomer parents have had a different kind of relationship with their children than before. Part of the difference is technology and the role modeling of parenting. Parents and kids are more connected, making more time to “raise children and be involved.” Instant messaging, emails, cell phones, and text messaging are so easy that it keeps everyone in communication. It is not easy to let go.
  7. Remind yourself you taught them enough or they wouldn’t have the skills to leave.
  8. Mistakes and poor decisions are part of growing into independence so expect those calls where something didn’t go as planned. Listen and throw it back on them to see how they want to handle it. Yes, you still help them out, but let them be the first thinkers and you the back up.
  9. Your adult child is learning time management. In high school there was structure. College has free time and sometimes they feel the call of the sun. They go toss a Frisbee. They didn’t do the reading assignment and fall behind. Let them figure it out rather than you emailing them and nagging. The goal is for them to manage their lives now.
  10. You are their anchors and they need you. Here is the paradox, which you have probably lived before “I’ve got it. You don’t have to tell me.” Ring, ring, sounds the phone, “I, I need help. I lost my IPOD. I even went to campus security and no one turned it in. I was in the gym. Sorry, Sorry. And, don’t be mad, but somehow my checking account only has three dollars and I need money.” We will always be their parents and they will be calling for help.
  11. Sometimes, they will feel left out and overwhelmed with choices; organizations, clubs, relationships, parties, social life, academic responsibilities, weekend get away to friend’s houses, not being special or the smartest like back home in high school, comparing their looks to others as well as the not knowing what they want to be when they grow up, the 15 pound college freshman weight gain, drugs, alcohol, smoking.Talk to them about these issues before they leave home. Just bringing it up makes it easier if they need to call and ask for your help or to cry with a safe person. This keeps the door open. The key is to empower them by asking what they think it will be like and letting them know, no matter what happens, you are there for them.
  12. You are and were a good role model and they will hear and see you as they are leaping forward, moving into their own voice and shoes. You did a good job so believe in them. Trust. It isn’t easy because you are used to seeing who they are hanging out with, meeting their relationships, and knowing where they are. Change is scary for them and you. Your concerns are normal, but they aren’t interested in your worries.
  13. Plan something just for you, whether you are a single parent or married. If you can, stay near by at a spa or hotel and relax, get pampered with clean sheets, room service, and nature around to help your healing. If you have to get home, plan for support. Enjoy lunch the next day with a friend or dinner out with your partner in a comfortable setting . . . with comfort food. My choice is always french fries well done.
  14. Do what you must do. I would not cry at work, but I let myself know that I could fall apart and just be in my soft pajamas in bed as soon as I got home. If I did get tearful at work, which is not something one can plan, I talked to myself in a comforting way: “Of course you miss her. She will be home soon, so hang in there.”
  15. Have a frozen meal ready. There will be times you just don’t want to cook or go out.
  16. Begin journaling … Tonight, I feel … I could deal with this by … A dad told me he would journal and let his wife read it because he just didn’t feel like talking about it out loud.
  17. Be gentle and patient with yourself. A new you is on the way. You will find happiness and freedom. Get out that wish list and dream list you wrote of everything you would do if you had free time and lots of money.
  18. If you never wrote lists, put thoughts to paper now. It will take your mind off your child and may open your eyes to new endeavors.
  19. Sleep and eat healthy. Stock the refrigerator with foods that enliven you. Exercise. One woman got a dog so she would have to go for a walk and have something to come home to. She sat with the idea for a month before adopting a dog. It does limit your getaway time unless you have someone to care for your pet.
  20. Celebrate all that you are by writing yourself a letter called … What I like about me is … People say I am good at …

Change is scary even if it is for a joyous or a loss feeling.

Natalie Caine has been featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, MariaShriver .com, Better Homes and Gardens, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, Sirius, Associated Press, Miami Herald, and many more.

Change is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.

Helping Kids Cope When a Sibling Moves Out of the Home

June 9, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | One Comment

empty nest article

Natalie was featured as an empty nest expert in a new article at Metroparent.com focusing on the effect of empty nest on fellow siblings.

“It truly affects everyone in the family – even the dog,” says Natalie Caine, founder of Empty Nest Support Services based in Pacific Palisades, Calif. “With siblings, it’s complex because on the one hand, they’re going to potentially be getting a lot more attention from their parents now. The contrast is realizing that – oh no – they don’t want this much attention.”

Read Natalie’s advice on keeping connected and fostering communications at Metroparent.com.

Commencement, Now What?

May 18, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments

Coastline_02422Graduation, an anticipated moment of joy and pride. “SAY MY NAME AS I CROSS THE STAGE, SHAKE MY HAND, SMILE, TEAR, CLICK A PHOTO and HAND ME THAT BLACK    COVER DIPLOMA”.  All that hard work, mistakes that I didn’t get punished for, disappointing my parents and siblings, silly friends, study groups, Spring Break, crazy times, hugging my parents in appreciation for them really caring about me, choosing a major that I am actually going to use in the world, kisses in the cafeteria corner, dashing across campus for a final, facts zooming in my head that I hope land on my paper, laundry that never dried, dark nights in the library, lost keys, the best years of my life, well I don’t really know if that is true or not yet.  I do know, I feel excited and shaky to leave what I know.



Here is my wisdom to myself as I leave this safe community, routine, deep friendships, and unknown doors:

1. Please let me be creative.
2. Please don’t let me throw all this hard work away because I quit.
3. Please let me fall in love.
4. Please pay me well.
5. Please let me know what I think and not what they think.
6. Please teach me how to find my lost keys.
7. Please let me date a chef.
8. Please don’t let me get obese.
9. Please let my parents live forever.
10. Please let me screw up and not hate myself all week.
11. Please let me remember to open the door for others.
12. Please keep those parking tickets away from my car.
13. Please don’t let me be late.
14. Please just give me two best friends forever.
15. Please make me save money for that rainy day even though I love rain.

OK… so here is my short list of wisdom for my parents, now that I am a graduate:

     1. Don’t email me. I don’t read them.
2. Don’t expect me to call Sunday at eight. Not going to happen.
3. Don’t ask, “Am I dating?”
4. Don’t talk so much. My turn.
5. Don’t forget to send a gift for my birthday, money.
6. Don’t wait for me.  Go do your own thing.
7. Don’t expect this, that, and the other, and you will be happy with me.
8. Don’t not tell me bad news.  I have Kleenex.
9. Don’t friend me on Facebook.
10. Don’t visit without calling first.
11. Don’t forget to remind me everything is going to be all right.
12. Don’t forget, even when I don’t show it or say it, I love you more than the moon.
13. Don’t forget, I am not the same age as you.
14. Don’t forget, I am a good person.
15. Don’t forget, I want to be a good person.

As for my siblings, you will figure it out.  You are sillier than me. I am bigger than you. So let’s just stay on the same team. I need you. Now say you need me.

Airport_231I am on my way.  I want the best for me. I want the dreams I haven’t even dreamed to come true for me. I want to be proud of myself.  I want to be a giver. I want you to like me, so if you don’t, just don’t tell me.  I haven’t grown up that much.  I need support and I need mentors.  I need you to know, I will be OK.  Thank you for being on my side.

I DID IT.  THANKS FOR THE CELEBRATIONS ALL WEEK LONG.  Now I have to clean out my storage unit.


Thinking of you, Natalie

Natalie Caine M.A.

Life In Transition, What’s Next?
Empty Nest Support Services
(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454-0040
Los Angeles

Featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, MariaShriver .com, Better Homes and Gardens, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, Sirius, Associated Press, Miami Herald, and many more.

Change is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.


- Private Telephone Consultations
- Speaking engagements
- Support groups
- Workshops
- Mentoring
- Facebook, Linked In, Twitter


Best Advice Your Mother Gave You

May 9, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments

Do you wonder what your kids would say to that question? It might be fun to ask them   on Mother’s Day.  Here is a short list of what advice was given to women, by their mothers, from my circle:




1. Help others even if you feel shy.
2. Go for it because the clock is ticking.
3. Hold your own hand.
4. You don’t have to see it. Pray anyhow.
5. Open the door for others.
6. Try again and again.
7. Save money as soon as you make some.
8. Nothing lasts forever, so dear child, go ahead and weep.
9. Get the best education you can. Keep learning.
10. Go for a walk. Get off the sofa.
11. Look in other directions, not just straight ahead.
12. Say sorry when you hurt someone and mean it.
13. You will get disappointed. That’s life.
14. Love happens more than once, you know.
15. Don’t go out without your lipstick on.
16. Sit up straight.
17. Do your homework, then play.
18. Make your bed.
19. Find something to smile about.
20. When you lie, your nose grows too big and you can’t blow it.

There were so many memories from their Mothers. When they couldn’t remember words, they shared scenes, visuals, places, feelings, traditions, etc.  Some happy and some sad memories popped up, as to be expected in life.

Those who are mothers now wondered what their kids would say about them. They all agreed their kids would say, “You ask too many questions.”  Then they said their kids would say for wisdom passed on, “Be Kind.”

All were looking forward, no matter what age their kids are, to a phone call, or the card that says, “YOU’RE THE BEST MOM IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. I LOVE YOU.”  We laughed at how often that line shows up in the home made kid card.  We know we aren’t the best.  We know they know we aren’t the best. We annoy them. They annoy us.  We simply hope we stay connected, have moments together to show our love and to be loved. We hope they “get a life,” so they can stand tall and allow us to be in the background as they lead themselves forward or sideways.

Whatever memories or gatherings show up on MOTHER’S DAY, may you honor MOTHER in whatever way feels right to you at this time.
P.S. May you not have to “fake a smile,” for the present you receive that you really don’t like, aka, the same as you got last year.  We had a big laugh listing the gifts we just couldn’t say we didn’t like….Can you relate?
Natalie Caine M.A.

Life In Transition, What’s Next?
Empty Nest Support Services
(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454-0040
Los Angeles

Featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, Maria Shriver .com, Better Homes and Gardens, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, Sirius, Associated Press, Miami Herald, and many more.

Change is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.


- Private Telephone Consultations
- Speaking engagements
- Support groups
- Workshops
- Mentoring
- Facebook, Linked In, Twitter

Life Beyond Parenting

May 5, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | 3 Comments

mariaI know this time of year is full of planning joyous graduations.  I also know parents are wondering, NOW WHAT?

Below is an article I wrote that I thought would give you some tools and stories about this major life transition you are walking. Enjoy all the “LAST…” and remind yourself what a great role model and lifelong support you are for your children.

Now is an exciting time for YOU, as well.  What seeds and rocks do you want to put on your path of new beginnings? What new community might you build. What sorrow do you want to empty as part of this change?  I am here if you need support.

Take care,


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Seven Tools for Finding a New ‘You’ in Retirement

April 10, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | 5 Comments

wsj-7toolsAs one of the Wall Street Journal Experts, Natalie’s blog was originally published at blogs.wsj.com.

NATALIE CAINE: I was hiking uphill, early this morning, and met a woman on the path. We briefly chatted. As I continued my hike, I heard her voice in my head, “I am 76 and started hiking at 62. It makes life worth it. This summer, I am going to try biking at the beach.” Now she becomes a role model for me and gets me excited about possibilities.

I think when you are heading toward retirement or sitting in it, you can practice shifting the different voices in your head. For example, there’s the voice from your younger self that you hear, “Oh man, you are 40, that is really old”–and, of course, you are way past that age now and don’t feel old. Or there are the voices you hear in present time, such as, “I will be so bored after a few months and my life will just be invisible.”

Your new job is to hear those inner messages and make choices. “No, I am not 40 and I am not feeling old” or “Yes, I might have boring days and I can figure out what I want to do about that.”

Changes can give you a new view of you. You are in the unknown and that can be both exciting and terrifying. Delete the need to compare yourself to others.

Here are a few tools:

  1. What new meaning, beyond being the worker bee, is possible for you? (For example, being a positive role model.)
  2. Who within had to go dormant because of your work life that now wants to emerge? (For example, the artist, the sailor, the chef.)
  3. What new resources do you want to cultivate in your inner world and outer world in order to head in a direction that makes you happy? (For example, spiritual practices and taking a class.)
  4. Remind yourself you get to change your mind. When you know that, you will make fun choices.
  5. Believe in yourself. I know that sounds ridiculous and I also know you forget to be a best friend to you. You have never been at this crossroad of your life, so how can you have all of the maps together?
  6. Accept that your life will have challenges and joys. Savor the moments. Ask for help.
  7. Check in with your expectations, “Oh I should have more friends than I do. Oh, I should figure it all out before hand.”

Your new chapter, called “Me beyond work life,” is fed by exploring what really matters to you now. Health, family, friends, creativity, spontaneity, joy, spirituality, etc. You can have more than one and you can change your mind. Life continues to be a journey, not a one-answer response. You get to be the role model you want to be. If you have people who motivate you, as far as how enriching their lives continue to be after retirement, post them on your refrigerator, even if it is their name.

Today on my refrigerator is the name of the woman (Katherine) who I met on my hike, along with a big happy face.

Staying Inspired During Challenges

March 10, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments

Wall_7220How do you keep going when you are sitting in challenges?

Here are some suggestions:

  1. 1. Call someone you trust. Ask them if you can POUR your heart out.
  2. 2. What do you think a dear friend would do if they were in your shoes?
  3. 3. Exercise. Get outside and walk noticing what is in FRONT of you as you walk.
  4. 4. Trust, “this too shall pass.”
  5. 5. Give yourself simple PLEASURES, like movie day, at home and ordering in food.
  6. 6. DOODLE
  7. 7. Read quotations or STORIES that are uplifting.
  8. 8. There is always someone in a better place than you and in a worse. DELETE your need to compare.
  9. 9. Make friends with the UNKNOWN, rather than spinning to make a solution. ” I don’t know right now and soon, clarity will come. I am still ok when I just don’t know.”
  10. 10. BEGIN something and if you aren’t into it, you get to change your mind.
  11. 11. Be CURIOUS about the bigger picture of the situation.
  12. 12. Choose a SPIRITUAL practice and do it.  Look at the flame of a lit candle, practicing present moment.
  13. 13. Write down what you appreciate about yourself RIGHT now.
  14. 14. Remind yourself that you have been in challenges before and remember one and how that shifted.
  15. 15. You aren’t ALONE.

Grieving is never top on anyone’s choice list.  I remember a woman saying, “OMG, this has been the worst month of my life.  So many losses and disappointments with people I thought would be there for me. I am in so much pain and anxiety.”  Long story short, two things that helped her were: to email me in the morning, sharing three thoughts right in that moment, and two was to weep and weep whenever and wherever, with no judgment or interpretations.

Another woman was dealing with being solo and her only child heading to college.  She felt like she had to smile for her daughter, and inside she was heartbroken.  I suggested she share with her daughter, that she will cry and her daughter doesn’t have to do anything about that.  They are feelings, not a big problem to solve now.  That helped her. Loneliness is part of transitions. Who wouldn’t be sad saying,” see ya later”, to someone you deeply adore.

When a woman shared that she dreaded going to work because she felt unseen and underappreciated, just saying what was going on, reduced some anxiety. She could begin to look at different parts of herself and different choices.

Challenges happen over and over. Gather tools.  Go within. Ask in the inner world for some support, as well as, in the outer world.

Take good care, Natalie

Natalie Caine M.A.

Life In Transition, What’s Next?

(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454-0040 Los Angeles

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