‘Empty nest’ syndrome is often associated with parents who struggle after the last of their children leave home. Many parents experience feelings of loneliness or sadness or a loss of purpose once they don’t have children to care for after spending 18 or more years doing so.
For some parents though, an empty nest seems to be an opportunity for freedom! Some parents travel, some downgrade to a smaller house, and it’s not surprising when they add more animals to the family. These parents seem to be taking the loss just fine. Better yet, they’re thriving!
Meet Amy and Randy
Mississippi couple Amy and Randy English recently went viral for an ’empty nesters’ photo shoot they modeled after the typical pregnancy photos that are popular on Facebook nowadays.
Their daughter Haley posted the series of photos to her Facebook photography page with the caption “Most parents are a little sad when they hit the “empty nest” phase of life. HOWEVER, my parents seem thrilled 🤣🤣 also… how cute are they??!! 👫🏠”
Marley And Buck Run The Show Now
Haley said her parents frequently refer to the family dogs Marley and Buck as the “favorite children” so she wanted to include them in the shoot somehow.
The English’s photoshoot has been shared on Facebook over 190K times since it was posted on May 28, 2019, and has 75K comments. The majority of the comments are in support of the couple, discussing what a fun idea this is and how many parents wish they had thought of doing something similar.
Expecting More Free Time – June 2019
As you can see, this particular part of the photoshoot was modeled after parents who host gender reveal parties or announce their pregnancies through photo shoots.
Amy and Randy have three children, Haley, Ethyn and Preston, and they won’t be expecting any more any time soon! In fact, their children helped them come up with the idea for the photo shoot. Haley said in an interview with USA Today that “we knew we wanted it to be something fun and exciting because that is just how we are.”
They’re Not Taking The Loss Too Hard
This particular photo is getting a lot of laughs from parents and children online. Randy and Amy are ready to embrace the next chapter of their lives, and they’re not upset about it.
A lot of the Facebook comments also reassured other parents that you shouldn’t feel guilty for being happy that your children have moved out. It just means you raised sufficient adults, which is something to be proud of!
Jumping For Joy
Haley joked in an interview that she’ll be visiting home frequently, saying her parents “can’t get rid of her that easily.” When talking about their future plans she also said, as many empty-nesters do, that her parents will probably downsize their home sometime soon.
“I feel like now that it’s just them, they might move into a smaller house rather than staying in the 5-bedroom house they’re in now,” Haley said. “I’m sure they will travel and spend more quality time together.”
This isn’t the first family to go viral with their empty nesters photoshoot!
Vicky and Jeff Are Less Than Devastated
Vicky Piper and her husband Jeff went viral in August of 2018 after they posted these photos on Facebook celebrating their second child moving out of the house.
The Dayton, Ohio couple’s daughter started college in August of the previous year, and after their son moved to college in 2018 they decided to have their own photoshoot. Piper said in an interview “for the last twenty years we’ve been focused on the kids… and now we can focus on us.”
A Viral Hit
Vicky’s post was an instant hit on Facebook, with over 48K shares, 215K likes and 25K comments. Vicky gave all the credit to her husband Jeff for the viral idea.
She said after they dropped their son off at college so many people were concerned for them, asking if they’d be okay, which they knew they would be. Vicky told TODAY Parents, “We just had a different perspective about the whole thing: both kids are doing great, and they’re in college, and that’s awesome! So the bottom line is that we had a different view of that ’empty nest.’”
A Figurative And Literal Empty Nest
Vicky made her husband go out and find a real empty nest that they could use in the photo for authenticity, and for a good laugh. They wanted the opportunity to have a photo shoot like many parents have now for announcing engagements or pregnancies.
“If you’re in your 40s or 50s, when you had your kids, you missed all these beautiful photo opportunities kids do now,” Vicky told TODAY. “So there was definitely an element of ‘Let’s join those whippersnappers!’”
While these two families are loving their empty nest, the next family took their photo shoot on the road
All You Need Is An Airstream
Cheryl and Andrew Patton are a couple of empty nesters who are exploring the U.S. by airstream, and they document all of it through Instagram. They have two grown children that have moved out, but they still have their third child, Prince the Goldendoodle, travelling around the country with them.
Based out of Texas, they started their airstream Instagram journey back in October of 2017. Cheryl and Andrew drove 9 hours from Texas to Mississippi to purchase the 2017 Airstream International Signature 25′ that has become their road trip home.
This Wagon’s Rockin’ Across The USA
Since purchasing their airstream, Andrew and Cheryl have visited a number of must-see southern landmarks throughout Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi. Within the first few months, the couple had visited locations like Seaside Square in Florida, Buccaneer State Park in Mississippi, and Indian Creek Recreation Area in Louisiana.
The couple’s Instagram occasionally shows off their two kids as well, who like to join them on their trips when they can. Andrew and Cheryl also use the airstream to tailgate at Texas A&M football games because they’re big fans of the Aggies.
She’s More Than Just A Southern Belle
Beyond the deep south states, Cheryl, Andrew, and their airstream are working their way through other U.S. states. They’ve hit many major locations through Colorado, visiting the Garden of the Gods, Telluride, Breckenridge, and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Some trips a little closer to home for the couple were to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which sits on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, as well as to Bottomless Lakes State Park in New Mexico.
Apparently, being an empty nester means starting a personal blog highlighting all of your adventures, as you’ll see shortly!
Adventures Of Empty Nesters
The Adventures of an Empty Nester travel blog was started in 2014 by Suzanne after her children moved out of the house. She was searching for something to do with her new found free time and decided to start the blog to document her and her husband’s adventures.
In a video on her YouTube channel, Suzanne said it’s “more than just the children leaving the house. It’s like a whole new adventure.” Her blog has travel tips on where to go, what to eat, and what to do in any given city they’ve visited. Clearly having the kids out of the house hasn’t held Suzanne back.
An Empty Nest Upgrade
Twitter user @AlanSee tweeted out this picture after making some … revisions to an empty bedroom in his house. Rather than have an unused bedroom in the house, Alan chose to repurpose the bedroom in his empty nest into something he would actually use — a sauna!
At least if any kids come home to visit they’ll get good use out of their old room. And I’m sure guests prefer this. Who needs a closet anyway?
Living A Rebellious Life
Twitter user @alana_shorts tweeted out a picture of her dad getting a tattoo, which he had sent to the family group chat, after making the decision to spice up his life and his look.
Alana captioned the photo “empty nest syndrome is REAL ladies and gentlemen!! JUST RECEIVED A PIC FROM MY DAD OF HIM GETTING A TATTOO!!! #ohno” Sadly we weren’t able to see what ink he was actually getting and Alana never gave the Twitterverse an update.
Life Of The Empty Nesters
Life of the Empty Nesters is a travel blog started by semi-retired couple James and Nancy O’Leary who went from parents to travel and lifestyle bloggers. Their social media have over 30,000 followers over Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and they don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.
James and Nancy have traveled to over 20 countries and have explored more than half the U.S. states, and they’re always looking for new adventures!
Fill The Nest With Wine
This mom understands the advantages of having an empty nest and is having no problem filling the void with what matters most: wine. Law student Claudia tweeted out this photo of her mom just for laughs.
She captioned the photo, “Can’t spell “empty nest” without “red wine.” Amiright, ML?!” I’m sure plenty of empty nesters are taking a page from Claudia’s mom’s book. Whether you’re a white wine or a red wine kinda person, you’ll find yourself walking down this aisle far more often.
An Early Celebration
A Bakery in Pennsylvania posted a photo of a cake someone ordered for a high school graduation party. They captioned it “The cake you order for yourself for the last high school grad party. I think they are kinda of excited to be empty nesters 😀”
These parents are definitely excited, but maybe wait until the kids actually leave for college before you start celebrating? I guess there’s never a bad time for cake though.
Smile For The Camera!
Twitter user Rebecca Searles tweeted out this picture of her family dog having to sit through an unfortunate photo now that her parents are empty nesters. They took their dog on a trip to the North Carolina Arboretum Lego Sculptures and he looks less than thrilled to be sitting pretty for this picture.
Hopefully, he got a really good treat after this one! This guy needs a friend to help keep his parents busy.
Upsizing Is The New Downsizing
Rather than downsizing like many couples often do once they become empty nesters, Suzy and Andy Adler decided to upgrade to a bigger nest. Twice the size of their previous nest actually.
With one child at LSU and two children in graduate school, the couple decided to move into a house they could better entertain guests in. The house includes extras that their previous house didn’t, like a swimming pool and a large bar in the living room. An added bonus is that it’s in the same city as Suzy’s parents as well.
You’re Almost There
And for those parents who are still trying to become empty nesters… we hope for the sake of you and your sanity that your time comes soon. Just use this time to start planning your celebratory party!
As much fun as these parents are having, just remember to cherish every moment. Once your little birds are out of the nest, there’s almost no coming back… unless they move back in after college because Millenials can’t afford the cost of a house.