Barbara & Susan’s Guide to the Empty Nest: Discovering New Purpose, Passion and Your Next Great Adventure
Barbara Rainey & Susan Yates
Family Life Publishing (2008)
Reviewed by Tammy Petty Conrad for Reader Views (7/08)
I haven’t yet begun to worry about my future empty nest, but I already feel better knowing I can turn to this book and its two authors when the need arises. These two women earnestly share their personal experiences and those of women they’ve encountered to help us all. The idea of “losing” our children to the world and being the mother bird left behind with an empty nest hits women in many different ways. Since our experiences are all slightly different there is no one way to make everything better. Rainey and Yates describe this “…like Jell-O, hard to grab hold of and constantly changing shape.” But they have many suggestions to help us survive this life transition as painlessly as possible.
Since my own nest is still full I had not begun to think of the many issues the book details. But reading this makes me aware of the importance of preparing in advance so it won’t be such a negative time. The authors acknowledge that it seems to hit women harder, but that men also have issues with this time and we should talk about it and help each other as much as possible. Marriages should still remain a priority.
They also introduce the “Season Principle” reminding readers that this is only another season of our life. Nothing stays the same forever as we travel through different seasons, or phases, of our life. Each has their own challenges and rewards. There is a lot of discussion about how women wrap their lives around their children making it an overwhelming change when they are no longer there. I was surprised that women who work outside the home fulltime found it just as hard to make the transition. I also appreciated how the authors addressed all the different kinds of empty nests and how they might affect our responses.
These women have a strong spiritual background and encourage women to turn to God during this time, just as we would during other stressful situations. They also support having a strong network of women friends who have been through similar experiences and can offer support and comfort during this time.
This is one of those books you can read straight through or you can use it as a workbook and answer the questions found at the end of the chapters to allow you to contemplate further. There are also recommendations of other books that readers may find useful. I love that this is very well-rounded and brings up issues from many different angles. Just a side note, it is a pretty book. I found the brown and blue color combination and the font choice very soothing.
I am glad I got a head start on being prepared for this transition during my own life. With my children six-and-a-half years apart and different sexes, I realize now that I will probably go through it twice and in very different ways. With “Barbara & Susan’s Guide to the Empty Nest” on my bookshelf I don’t need to fear the future.