Art and the Empty Nest

empty nestThis week, I’m back to an empty nest. My daughter just returned to college after spending a fun summer at home with me.

As a creative momprenuer and mother of three young adults, the “empty nest” is a bittersweet ritual I know quite well. Yet, I still experience recurring pangs of sadness when my kids come home, and then leave again.

Over the past five years my life has changed. After devoting 23 years of my life to marriage and motherhood, I found myself a divorcee, and living alone in an empty nest. But, I soon came to realize that it was an exciting time for me to reinvent myself.

Thankfully, I had (and still have) my art career!

Now, I fill my empty nest up with my art, blogging, and social media careers. Art has broadened my horizons, taken me to amazing places around the world, and introduced me to exciting people. My life is full and busier than ever. Art has been my constant companion.

To all you moms, and dads of older children, I hope you plan ahead to fill up your empty nest with your strengths and passions to help you avoid Empty Nest Syndrome.

The Mayo Clinic’s tips for coping with Empty Nest Syndrome:

  • Accept the timing. Avoid comparing your child’s timetable to your own personal experience. Instead, focus on what you can do to help your child succeed when he or she does leave home.
  • Keep in touch. You can continue to be close to your children even when you live apart. Make an effort to maintain regular contact through visits, phone calls, emails, texts or video chats.
  • Seek support. If you’re having a difficult time dealing with an empty nest, lean on loved ones and other close contacts for support. Share your feelings. If you feel depressed, consult your doctor or a mental health provider.
  • Stay positive. Thinking about the extra time and energy you might have to devote to your marriage or personal interests after your last child leaves home might help you adapt to this major life change.

To prevent Empty Nest Syndrome, plan ahead. The Mayo Clinic suggests looking for new opportunities in your personal and professional life. Keeping busy or taking on new challenges at work or at home can help ease the sense of loss that your child’s departure might cause.

Thank you for helping me fill-up my empty nest. I am grateful for your support of this blog. I appreciate the time you take to read and comment, for I know just how busy you are. ~Lori

…and some kids might even need a little push!

Let’s also meet on Twitterand on Google Plus, Pinterestand join in the fun at Fine Art Tips Facebook Fan Page! Please checkout my art too, or find me on Instagram lorimcneeartist. ~Lori

2017-10-09T09:05:50+00:00 August 29th, 2012|Fine Art Tips, General, Inspiration & Motivation, Misc. Articles|13 Comments


  1. kathryn August 29, 2012 at 4:44 am

    I have a very similar situation…only 2 more years and i will have an empty nest as well. But to be honest, I am very much looking forward to it…yeah, it will be sad and I will definitely miss my girls, but am also looking forward to being able to expand my art work and travel way more, like you!

    • Lori McNee August 29, 2012 at 10:12 am

      Good for you Kathryn, that is a healthy attitude for sure! Like I stated, it is an exciting time that can be filled with lots of new adventures. I feel like a kid again.

      Thanks for stopping by for a visit and comment,

  2. Sandy Askey-Adams, PSA August 30, 2012 at 6:05 am

    Hello Lori..

    I had to smile with a bit of a nostaligic sigh after reading your post because my husband and I just helped our daughter and her fiance take her daughter to Roanoke College in Virginia. She is a Junior. A bit of a drive from here in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
    I went through Empty nest syndrome twice. Once with my two daughters and then as a young grandmother who had babysat two of her grandchildren (out of 5 grandchildren) so their mother could work. (I worked as an artist at home and did even while my two daughters grew up)I Those two grandchildren are now graduated from college and medical school. One a Doctor (Suzanne) and one with his (Michael) own successful business. Now the other three, one in college and another is in his final year of H.S. and his younger sister is in 9th grade.

    All I can say is that TIME moves fast….. and at times I miss those days gone by.
    That is a beautiful painting of the nest.

    You are a very courageous and amazing woman and artist Lori.

  3. Debb Ferris Bates September 4, 2012 at 8:03 am

    Hi Lori,
    Since this is my very first experience with my youngest leaving “the nest” just four days ago , after reading everyone’s experience, it is soooooooo nice to know I don’t have to face this alone. I love all your topics Lori, but you wrote this one just in the nick-of-time (for me, anyways )
    My gosh, nothing prepared me for the sense of loss, and sadness that I am wrestling with these last few days…:(….I know it will get better, and my son hasn’t moved across the country or anything…he’s just two hour drive away,(please don’t laugh) but it doesn’t change how I am feeling this very minute. My daughter is still here, and she will be twenty in a couple of weeks. Corey is my youngest…tha t is the difference , I think, he is my “baby” 🙂
    I finally poured myself into drawing portraits today and if felt like a warm blanket giving me a hug and welcoming me back (honestly!) Any form of art is very comforting in any situation, and very self-medicating…we are each very lucky people , creative people, to be able to turn to something else we love as much as our kids, our art.
    In saying this I just want to say I am so grateful to be part of your “art friends” Lori 🙂
    Thank you, thank you, thank you !


    • Lori McNee September 4, 2012 at 8:41 am

      Hello Debb,

      Well, I’ve been planning on this post for a few years, but was extra motivated after our emailing back and forth. I am so glad you found a little help with this post. At least you know it is ‘normal’ to feel this way, and you are not alone in your feelings. I hope you are adjusting to the changes and getting back to work painting again.

      I am grateful for your continued support and friendship too.

      Hugs back,

      Lori 🙂

  4. Sylvia September 5, 2012 at 5:38 am

    Lori, tienes toda mi admiración!.
    Acompaño a mis padres ancianos, los apoyo y sé que un día partirán, no tengo esposo ni hijos; así que me estoy preparando, si cabe el término. La pintura es mi gran aliada. Tu blog es excelente, me das mucho ánimo.
    Saludos cordiales,

  5. Eleanor Jodway September 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    As a middle aged Woman who never had Children, I will never know this feeling. But, I have many friends who have gone through this transition. I remember when Their Children were going through the “Terrible Teens”, and they proclaimed….”God, I can’t wait ’til they leave home!”. Or the ever famous….”Wait ’til You have Kids of Your own….then We’ll see how You feel!”. LOL But as College/University/First Apartments, Homes/or Marriages neared; I watched a transformation of those thoughts! It’s NEVER easy to say Goodbye, and especially to Your Children. So Mothers….Fathers…hold on to the fact that it is farewell…not Goodbye; and, remember all the plans You had before, for when You became an Empty Nester….Go out and make some Fabulous New memories!

    • Lori McNee November 19, 2012 at 11:43 am

      Hello Eleanor, thanks so much for your insightful comment. It is true, it is not goodbye…my kids all bounce back and forth! I love it though, but it does get easier to say farewell. Especially when you know they are doing well in the big world. Isn’t that what we all want for our children anyway?

      Cheers and farewell to you,

  6. Jan September 9, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Great post Lori! I could identify with what you discussed and was inspired by your words.
    thank you!

    • Lori McNee November 19, 2012 at 11:41 am

      Thank you Jan, I am so happy to hear this inspired you! Nice to see you here and I wish you the best.
      Lori 🙂

  7. Sara August 31, 2014 at 4:14 am

    I have had an empty nest for four or five years and I still struggle to focus on my art career. My daughters are at different stages in their life paths and my long-suffering husband has been looking forward to getting all my attention – I thought I would finally be free to paint like mad. I have time and space and nothing to stop me but me and the voice in my head. The truth is I get bored in the studio – I don’t finish a painting unless it is a commission and then I hate the stress of a deadline! And yet there is nothing else I want to be and do… Such is life! We just soldier on…..

    • Lori A McNee May 1, 2016 at 2:38 pm

      Hello Sara, first of all many apologies for the belated reply!! I am so behind on comments. I truly appreciate your feedback and story. I tend to be a crammer too, but am trying to find a balance and more peace. I don’t like to push all the time!!

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