A boomer counts joys of becoming an empty nester

Ah, the joys of becoming an empty nester. Most baby boomers who’ve had kids are probably there now and if not, they’re getting close. And humor author Marsha Kester Doyle of Pompano Beach, Florida, who wrote the book Who Stole My Spandex?, is counting those joys.

I’m counting down the years until the last of my four children moves out of the house. I get giddy at the prospect of being an empty nester. While there are some parents who dread this phase of life, I know I’ll embrace the newfound freedom of an unscheduled calendar.

Marcia Kester Doyle

Marcia Kester Doyle

No more P.T.A. meetings, teacher conferences, football games, homework squabbles, band practice, or bake sales. I dream of the day I can lock the front door, hop in the RV, and hit the road to Margaritaville.

The advantages of becoming an empty nester are numerous:

  • The laundry room will no longer look like I it has been hit by an atomic bomb of dirty clothes.
  • The liquor cabinet that was once locked down tighter than Fort Knox can now be left open for legal libations.
  • Our extra bedrooms will no longer resemble hotel rooms trashed by rockers and their overzealous fans after a sold-out concert.
  • My electric bill will decrease because no one will be checking the refrigerator every ten minutes to see if new groceries have magically appeared inside.
  • I won’t have to wake up before the owls go to bed to get my kid to the school bus on time.
  • I can travel to exotic places like Bora Bora. Just kidding! I’m broke after raising four kids. The only trip I can afford now is to Walmart.
  • No more stockpiling of toilet paper, milk, or socks.
  • It’ll take three days to fill the dishwasher— maybe more since I’ll only be cooking for two. How much space do I need for a microwave tray, cup of soup, or a bowl of Cap’n Crunch cereal?
  • Ant colonies will no longer form on my kitchen counters to feast on donut crumbs or pizza crusts left out by the kids the night before.
  • There will be no more squabbling over the TV remote. I can watch Cupcake Wars instead of listening to Kim whine on Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
  • I won’t have to conceal my Chinese leftovers in a container marked “Urine Sample” to fool hungry teenagers.
  • My grocery bill will be cut in half since I’ll no longer be feeding a school of piranhas at the dinner table.
  • I’ll finally be able to hear the birds singing outside instead of covering my bleeding ears to the loud thumping bass of my son’s electronic dance music.
  • My husband and I will be able to rekindle the intimacy of our youth without worrying that the kids will walk in on us in the bedroom while we’re playing the naughty version of Little Red Riding Hood and the big bad wolf.

So you see, there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel of parenthood…. until the circle of life comes around with the next stage: grandchildren.

Marcia Kester Doyle is the author of the humorous book, Who Stole My Spandex? and the voice behind the popular midlife blog, Menopausal Mother. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, The Mid, BlogHer, Boomeon, Better After Fifty, Humor Outcasts, BLUNTmoms, The Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Midlife Boulevard and numerous other sites.


  1. I have to admit that I actually whooped with joy when I walked out of our daughter’s graduation ceremony – never to darken the door of another school EVER again!! I also love the quiet and knowing who is home for tea, although the wild and wanton sex never really maintained after the novelty wore off – you can borrow my red cape if you need it! Great post (and I love your hair!) ~ Leanne

  2. One minute you have an empty nest, the next the kids have boomeranged back ‘just for now, til I get myself sorted’ – and we wouldn’t have it any other way. 😉

  3. I only have 2 girls, so the change isn’t quite as “impactful” as moving on 4 kids, but it is pretty quiet around here. One things I’ve noticed for sure is that I hardly ever have to run the dishwasher!

  4. Ok, I am pretty sure I’ve never played Little Red Riding Hood LOL But hey, maybe the big bad wolf a few times!? Enjoyed the article – our house is free now except for small furry things. Just entered grandparent world. Life moves fast!

  5. I have read many depressing articles about children going off to college this week. It is refreshing to see something positive written about the topic. (I especially like the “urine sample” trick.) Thank you for sharing!

    1. Ha-Ha! When the first one left the nest, it really bothered me, but now that I’ve discovered the joy of having my husband all to myself (and no more soccer games or cheerleading practice), I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world!

  6. it took me a few weeks of missing them to adjust–hubs, too–but then I had an epiphany: My wishes/wants are no longer at the bottom of the list. I’m Number One! Numero Uno, at last. heady stuff.

  7. I am guilty of feeling sad that my nest will empty in less than a year. This post helped to remind me that there is a bright side. I could probably write a volume the size of “War and Peace” in the time that I won’t be doing laundry!

  8. I LOVE THIS!!! My husband can’t wait to be an empty nester although we have a ways to go since our youngest is 3. But I understand everything that you are saying here and how exciting it is to be moving onto the next chapter of your life! Congrats!

  9. I’m definitely looking forward to no P.T.A. meetings, teacher conferences, football games, homework squabbles, band practice, or bake sales!! And, thank you for the tip about the urine sample!! 😀

  10. I had an empty nest for about 9 years before grandchildren arrived. I was devastated at first, but after a few months, I could appreciate all the advantages you so have so eloquently expressed. I am enjoying the grandsons, but I can foresee the day when history will repeat, and I’ll be bundled up watching a soccer game while freezing rain beats against my face (the only part of my body exposed to the elements). In the meantime, during their impressionable years, I’m pushing for piano lessons. 🙂

  11. I smile when I read about your excitement over the coming empty nest. I think I told you before, mine has been empty for so long that my ‘birds’ are busy filling their own nests with chicks. The noisy, joyous long-weekend visits home have got less and less as my boys are more focused on their own lives and families and I now have an aching heart because I miss them SO much. The nest is so empty it echoes! If I want to see them, I have to drive for a couple of hours and then ‘fit in’ with whatever is going on. Oh my how times change with the years!

    1. It’s hard when they live hours away. Right now I am very fortunate because mine all live locally. My oldest though swears he is moving across country in about a year. I may be singing a different tune at that point about the empty nest….

  12. Marcia, I am going through the interim phase when I still can’t believe the state of our place when I wake up – we just dropped my son off in college a month ago. I am experiencing the withdrawal symptoms – I forget there’s only two of us and end up cooking for three and when the third one is our son, it makes a big difference. A pack of bread that would barely last two days now stretches to a week and it is freaky. Of course I miss him. I also miss picking up, clearing up, cooking and the… TIME! OMG. I am getting less done than I did before, can you believe it!

    I loved your seven dwarfs post! I am about to grab your book from Amzn. Hugs!

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