Books about empty nest

7 Books Featuring Empty Nesters

It’s quieter here. There is no loud music, no kid-gangs running around, no pleading for pizza. This happens when all of your children have moved out. What great books feature empty nesters? Here are some of my favorites: 

Heaven Adjacent by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Heaven Adjacent (Lake Union Publishing) by Catherine Ryan Hyde

I love Roseanna Chaldecott. She’s the high powered attorney in New York City who decides that a change in her life must happen immediately. As in, right that minute. She fills her car with gas, heads to the Adirondack mountains, buys a house on 76 acres, meets a mother and daughter squatting on her property, and finally, finally reconnects with her grown son. A beautiful story of love, mothers and sons, forgiveness and finding a new you. 


The In-Between Hour by Barbara Claypole White

The In-Between Hour (MIRA) by Barbara Claypole White

Hannah Linden is a holistic veterinarian. Her life is filled with saving strays and caring for animals. She wants to heal everyone — animals and people alike. But she can’t heal her grown son, a bestselling writer, whose heartache has taken over his life. When he moves into her guest cottage with his dad, this family has to find a new way forward. For people who love to read about healing within families, this is the read for you.


Where She Went by Kelly Simmons

Where She Went (Sourcebooks Landmark) by Kelly Simmons

Maggie O’Farrell’s daughter, Emma, heads off to college leaving Maggie an empty nester. Maggie’s nervous — she misses Emma, she texts too much, she calls too much, and she has this nervous, anxious feeling that doom is around the corner. And then doom comes calling and Emma disappears. This is a book that sends fear crawling up your spine, in which a mother learns who her daughter is and what’s really going on in her life. The question becomes: How well do you know your own child?


The Freelance Academic by Katie Rose Guest Pryal

The Freelance Academic (Snowraven Books) by Katie Rose Guest Pryal

I just have to throw in this non-fiction book because it’s so inspiring. Katie Rose has a law degree and a doctorate. “Working hard” is her real middle name. (Okay, maybe not.) The Freelance Academic is about her life through academia; the struggles and hard truths about working in colleges; and how to build your own career based on your dreams and aspirations. An excellent book in particular for empty nesters re-building careers and new lives when the kids have flown the coop on their own well-made wings. 


The Mother In Law by Sally Hepworth

The Mother In Law (St. Martin’s Griffin) by Sally Hepworth

I am listening to this as an audiobook now, and the mother, Diana, in The Mother in Law is one of the most intriguing characters ever. She seems cold, overly practical, not a sentimental or gentle bone in her body. We see her interactions with her grown children and her children’s spouses, and how she believes a mother-in-law — and mother — should act when her children are adults. These actions are sometimes in direct opposition to what the grown children want. The whole plot is fascinating. This is a book for people with complicated family dynamics.


The Other Woman by Sandie Jones

The Other Woman (Minotaur) by Sandie Jones

Read this book to learn about the mother-in-law who seems addicted to her son, and hugely antagonistic toward his girlfriend, our protagonist. The son moved out of mom’s house long ago, leaving her an empty-nester, but there is a weird, dangerous dynamic there that explodes at the end. For anyone who needs a thriller about a mother-in-law who is a mystery and an enigma, and also super annoying and mean, all wrapped up in one complicated package.


Hope On The Inside by Marie Bostwick

Hope On The Inside (Kensington) by Marie Bostwick

Hope Carpenter needs her life to change. Her mother always said, “Whatever comes your way, find the happiness within it. ” With four grown children, Hope and her husband, Rick, need to find the happiness within their marriage again, especially now that they are entering a whole new stage of empty-nester life. With financial problems and a job disaster, Hope starts teaching crafts at a women’s prison. Then the women at the prison begin to teach her about life and living.



Empty NestersTall Poppy Writers

Six Books on Reinvention and Introspection for the Empty Nester — Feathered Empty Nest The guide to enjoying your empty nest

/ Lisa Fisher

Having an empty nest is a time of introspection and reinvention. These books are all about women, who are kind of funny, asking “

Who am I and what’s next for me.”

Full Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, some products with Amazon links earn me a small amount from qualifying purchases. I only endorse products I truly love.

Eat Pray Love

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of it’s publication, Eat Pray Love is the journey of a women trying to understand what she wants out of life.

In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want—husband, country home, successful career—but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and set out to explore three different aspects of her nature, against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.

The Overdue life of Amy Byler

Overworked and under appreciated, single mom Amy Byler needs a break. So when the guilt-ridden husband who abandoned her shows up and offers to take care of their kids for the summer, she accepts his offer and escapes rural Pennsylvania for New York City.

Usually grounded and mild mannered, Amy finally lets her hair down in the city that never sleeps. She discovers a life filled with culture, sophistication, and—with a little encouragement from her friends—a few blind dates. When one man in particular makes quick work of Amy’s heart, she risks losing herself completely in the unexpected escape, and as the summer comes to an end, Amy realizes too late that she must make an impossible decision: stay in this exciting new chapter of her life, or return to the life she left behind.

But before she can choose, a crisis forces the two worlds together, and Amy must stare down a future where she could lose both sides of herself, and every dream she’s ever nurtured, in the beat of a heart.

What Alice Forgot

Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child.

So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes.

Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over.

Where’d you go Bernadette 

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect; and to 15-year-old Bee, she is her best friend and, simply, Mom

Then Bernadette vanishes. It all began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle–and people in general–has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, and secret correspondence–creating a compulsively readable and surprisingly touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.


At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her

The Little French Bistro

Marianne is stuck in a loveless, unhappy marriage.  After forty-one years, she has reached her limit, and one evening in Paris she decides to take action. Following a dramatic moment on the banks of the Seine, Marianne leaves her life behind and sets out for the coast of Brittany, also known as “the end of the world.” 

Here she meets a cast of colorful and unforgettable locals who surprise her with their warm welcome, and the natural ease they all seem to have, taking pleasure in life’s small moments. And, as the parts of herself she had long forgotten return to her in this new world, Marianne learns it’s never too late to begin the search for what life should have been all along.

What is the empty nest syndrome and how not to fall apart when there is no one else to take care of

September 19, 2021 Relationship

If the chicks have flown away, it does not mean that life is over.

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When children have grown up and left home to live independently, parents may experience difficult emotions. These experiences are called the empty nest syndrome. We understand what it is and whether it can be dealt with.

What is empty nest syndrome

It is important to clarify right away: this is not an official diagnosis. It is not in any medical directory, and the doctor cannot write anything like this in the card. But this capacious figurative expression well describes the state of parents when their adult children left to study, got married or simply rented a house on their own and the house - the "nest" - was empty.

The empty nest syndrome is a complex of emotions. It may include confusion, a sense of loss and emptiness, sadness, boredom, anxiety, feelings of loneliness, fear of the future, and the like.

Why does it occur?

This condition has at least three reasons.

Parents have no one else to take care of

Or rather, at first they think so. Raising a child and caring for him took a lot of time, and in someone's picture of the world, this could even be the main meaning of life.

But now the child is already an adult and provides for his own needs, and his parents have freed up a lot of time and mental strength. And they still don’t know where to put all this, so they feel restless and strange.

Parents are bored and worried

Their closest person now lives somewhere far away, it is not clear what he does and it is not clear with whom he communicates. Will something happen to him? Will he get into trouble?

In addition, he no longer eats at the same table with his parents, does not clean with them, does not watch TV, does not quarrel with them over household trifles. The people who raised him yearn and want to spend more time with the “chick that flew out of the nest”.

Parents have no life of their own

If they devoted absolutely all their time to work and children, did not acquire interesting hobbies, dreams and plans, a couple of friends with whom it is pleasant to spend leisure time, then after the child “fledges”, it can be very difficult for them.

Where this state can lead

Opinions differ greatly on this issue.

Some studies suggest that empty nest syndrome is strongly associated with depression, anxiety and other mental disorders.

Other, more recent data indicate, and it is logical, that an empty nest, on the contrary, can become a source of good changes. Parents have free time and a lot of energy, they begin to do what they have been putting off for a long time, return to old hobbies or find new ones, communicate more, relax and travel, try themselves in different areas, take relationships to a new level.

Perhaps the path that a parent will eventually take depends on how prepared he is for parting with his children and what goals he sets for himself.

How to cope with surging emotions

Doctors and psychologists give several recommendations.

Prepare in advance

If you are a passionate person with many interests and a large social circle, chances are that change does not scare you so much, at least you will have something to do. But if in recent years you have invested all (th) of yourself in the family, it can be hard.

The good news is that children usually don't move out of the house all of a sudden. And you can think of a strategy: what will you do when time is free; with whom you will communicate; where will you go. If it seems that there is nothing to do, you can remember abandoned hobbies, look for interesting courses, plan a trip. If part of your thoughts is occupied by clay modeling, Korean language or programming, it will be easier to cope with the surging feeling of emptiness.

Try to let go of expectations

Trying to observe the lives of children, keep track of their schedules and calculate the amount of free time, hoping that they will spend it in their parents' house, is not very constructive. As in the case of any other expectations: that a person will call you five times a day, at the first call, go to help in the country, talk about everything that happens in his life, and in general live this life the way you planned for him .

No matter how hard it is, you have to admit that a grown child is a separate person who may not meet your expectations and live as she likes.

Stay in touch

If the children have left and you communicate less, this does not mean that you are now strangers or that you are no longer loved. You need to find ways to keep in touch in a format that is convenient for everyone, even at a distance. Create a family chat and chat during the day, share photos, news, interesting articles from the Internet. Agree that once every one or two weeks you will definitely gather with the whole family or at least call up via video link if the child lives far away.

Look for common interests and common ground. Suddenly, both you and the children love the theater. Or skis. Or Scandinavian thrillers. This is an occasion to buy tickets for a new production, spend a day off in the woods together, or discuss the latest books by Jo Nesbø.

Communicate more with your other half

Since you are now alone, it is logical to support each other, spend as much time together as possible and look for activities that can interest both of you. This is a good chance to get a little closer, resolve old conflicts and refresh romantic relationships.

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  • How to take care of the health of elderly relatives

Psychologist told how to survive the "empty nest syndrome"

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23. 06.202116: 00

Text: text: text: text Ekaterina Pryakhina

Soyuz. Belarus-Russia - Federal issue: No. 24(988)

Sergei Kuksin/RG

Empty nest syndrome is a beautiful expression that hides a tangle of not very pleasant emotions and experiences of parents whose child becomes independent. Children leave to study, create their own families or simply decide to live separately. Inna Khamitova, a psychologist and director of the Center for Systemic Family Therapy, tells how to survive this period.

Perhaps every parent has an empty nest syndrome?

Inna Khamitova: This is what happens to all of us when our children grow up and leave the house. And they leave their parents in almost the same position in which they were in the first years of married life. But then they were young and not burdened with offspring. And now they have a long life behind them.

And here everything depends on what this path was like. The empty nest syndrome can flare up in full force - and the family will not survive. Either the new period will be a renaissance in relationships, will give greater freedom, greater satisfaction with life.

That is, the "empty nest" is not always a symbol of melancholy and abandonment?

Inna Khamitova: Remember, when children are just growing up, how nice it is sometimes to return to an empty house, when they are, for example, in the camp or with their grandmother and you can go about your own business. So now, when they have grown up safely, your "empty nest" may well evoke positive feelings, the feeling that you have paid all family and social debts, are free from obligations and your life finally belongs only to you. But often, because of an empty nest, a person begins to feel that his life seems to be incomplete.

And that life itself is now meaningless, abandoned, like that old nest from which the chicks have flown. .. approaching adulthood. According to statistics, the first wave of divorces occurs in the second year of marriage, but the next wave of breakups happens just after the grown-up children fly out of the nest.

It turns out that these are not the experiences of one person, but the common problem of a couple?

Inna Khamitova: There are even more characters involved in this play than just spouses... What is happening? When a couple becomes parents, they are distracted from their own marital relationship and switch to parenting. And sometimes it turns out that the family generally rests only on their parenthood. Then the spouses are afraid to let the grown child out into the world. Not only because of natural anxieties about how a child will cope with adulthood. But also because of fear for their marital relationship, for what will happen to their couple if the fledgling child flies away. And it happens that on both sides - children's and parent's - there is an unspoken compromise: children do not seem to grow up, and parents . .. do everything so that they do not grow up. In such a family, the empty nest syndrome will not happen. There will be only fruitless attempts to break the vicious circle. And sad stories when a teenager starts drinking, leading an antisocial lifestyle so that his parents can forever take care of him.

The empty nest syndrome can flare up in full force - and then the family will not survive

But more often, nevertheless, separation occurs, the child grows up and leaves ...

Inna Khamitova: ...And adults have to turn around to each other. And then there are unpleasant discoveries: for example, people realize that too many grievances have accumulated between them. Or - that they just became complete strangers to each other. Because over the past years they have completely focused on parenthood, developed as if separately and became very distant from each other. This is a crisis that almost every family goes through. People ask questions. "Why do I need this? The children have grown up, my husband is a stranger, I'll go, finally, go about my business." Or: "My wife does not understand me at all, she is a strange woman for me, I am not interested in her." Connections begin on the side, and this, as a rule, ends in divorce ... Not every family can effectively go through the period of an empty nest. Especially when their marital bond has always been very weak.

What other scenarios are possible?

Inna Khamitova: Here's another option. It is known what big investments - material, emotional and physical - the upbringing of children requires. And also a job, a career. And it turns out that people in their youth work a lot and take care of children. And they do not have enough strength to live in a pair. And when the children flit out, the spouses finally turn to each other and notice: "What an interesting person, it turns out, next to me!" At the same time, they already have more material opportunities than in their youth, and excellent prospects open up before them. Now they can develop together, they have become more experienced and interesting.

And, finally, the happiest scenario, when people did not move away from each other, they were always close in their marriage. Yes, and something is changing with them, children's voices are not heard. But - and so good. The state when you feel good both with children and without children is exactly what you should strive for.

At an age when many are overtaken by the syndrome of an empty nest, I looked at my peers: someone became interested in sailing, someone opened their own business, someone radically changed their place of residence...

Started like a second life?

Inna Khamitova: Yes, it's not for nothing that they say now that the current 30 years are the former 20, the current 50 are the former 40. Well, at 40, life is just beginning. You are still full of energy, but you have a huge life experience, a more secure financial position. Once the kids are on their feet and you have "extra time", there's a lot more that can be done. Especially - if you managed to maintain the support of a partner. And if you failed, then rediscover yourself, understand that there is one's own path, one's own interests. This is especially true for women. It is strange and naive to think that after the children have fluttered out of the nest, you just live out your life. In the modern world, this is a new stage, full of new opportunities. Perhaps you are just not used to thinking about yourself, taking care of yourself. Good news for you - it's finally time to find yourself.

When our children are very young, it seems that they will never grow up. But in fact, their childhood flies by very quickly. It is important for spouses to remember that they are a couple, and not just dad and mom. And to all of us - that life is given to us not only for the sake of children.

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