Bored Due to an Empty Nest? Fostering a Child Is Not the Answer, Say Redditors
Free, at last!
Some parents are hugely relieved when their kids leave home for college. Now, they have more time for themselves and for those things they’ve been longing to do.
Others suffer from empty nest syndrome, and loneliness, along with boredom, haunts their days.
This is the case for a couple with different reactions to an empty nest. The wife is absolutely happy and excited with this new chapter of her life, while the husband finds himself longing for a kid around the house.
The Original Poster is this wife with the username u/mdfi19 who published about their dilemma on Reddit’s popular r/amItheA–hole forum. She shared the following details: “My husband(44M) and I(43F) have 2 kids. Both left for college, and one is in law school now. So we are empty nesters. I love it; I get to go wherever, whenever. Right now I’m skiing a lot, and we take lots of vacations. I’m planning on retiring in a few years. We invested smartly, and now our home is paid off and my kids are getting a full ride in school. We can retire without much worry, although we will still work until the economy is better and our bodies allow us to.”
You could say that the couple should be feeling happier and more content because they no longer have a lot to worry about. But, as the saying goes, one man’s meat is another man’s poison. OP is ecstatic, but her husband is down in the dumps. And he’s proposing a solution to his boredom and loneliness: fostering a child.
The thing is, it’s not just a proposition. OP’s husband has been pressuring her to agree. But, OP admitted in her post that she didn’t want to undergo the same experience that her cousin went through. She and her spouse fostered a child, but, unfortunately, it turned out to be a nightmare. The child almost wrecked their marriage, and OP’s cousin was crying to her and her sister every day.
OP did say that she believed that not all foster children were like that. Nonetheless, she wrote, “I don’t have the energy to deal with it anymore. I raised my son and daughter, and unless they need me, I’m going to finish my last years at work and then retire and enjoy my quiet years. My husband constantly badgers me to reconsider, and I’ve told him I’m not going to. He argues it will be like having a child again, and I told him I don’t want that. I told him to find a volunteer position at a school or go down to the children’s wing of his hospital (he is a doctor) if he wants to spend time with children. He also works outside the home while I have a hybrid job (3 days in the office, 2 days at home), so I feel like any foster child will just become my responsibility.”
But, the argument just went on and on, with her husband accusing her of not being compassionate. He also kept on saying that they could change a child’s life for the better, but OP felt that fostering a child would just turn her life worse.
Is she being unreasonably stubborn and heartless?
The AITA community didn’t think so, and they didn’t agree with her husband that fostering was the answer to the boredom he’s been feeling as an empty nester. Children are not for entertainment, as one commenter voiced out.
Organic_Start_420 wrote, “I would agree for him to do the emergency foster and you go on vacation leaving him alone to care for the child. This should be enough for him to realize what fostering entails. NTA.”
TreasureBG also has this for advice, “Our son lived in an ’emergency’ foster placement for a year. That is not a good idea. Fostering children is a commitment, and it’s absolutely ok to say it’s not for you. He could be a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and give foster children a voice in court. That way he can help without having to do the daily grind that you don’t want to do. Definitely NTA.”
Meanwhile, thispieisgross further clarified, “Emergency fostering is a thing, so is respite fostering, which is where you “babysit” a foster kid so their foster parents can have a break or go to a funeral out of state or go on a vacation or whatever. It’s usually just for a few days at a time, the state pays you, and the foster parents will often go overboard to make sure the kid has everything they need.”
And these candid words from pepperann007 were an eye-opener: “Also you don’t foster a child because ‘you’re bored.’ Is hubby going to ask CPS to take the kid back when he’s had his entertainment filled?”Whizzco