Imagine: No Empty Nest

Imagine No Empty NestImagine a World Without an Empty Nest?

There’s a big change brewing that could really wreak havoc on our empty nesting cycle.  We’re talking about a change toward on-line learning- imagine: your kid does not GO to college- He does college from the comfort of your home!

Google away- you can find plenty of stats supporting the trend away from brick and mortar schools and movement toward on-line learning.  And this is not the future- this is now.  2013 is predicted to be the year that on-line learning becomes the preferred method of getting a higher education degree.

“The public’s interest in taking online classes has skyrocketed…With an apparent shift towards online education away from traditional classroom instruction predicted to shape the educational environment of 2013, the demise of “brick and mortar” schools will inevitably be a decisive factor shaping the future of online schools and the students who attend them.”

Ok, so given the rise in on-line education (an increase of 100% in the past year), it is in fact possible that very soon kids will not be leaving the nest for college.

You weren’t ready to let them go anyway, right?  You were sad, and fantasized about keeping them around forever.  Want to think that through again?  With kids able to do college from their bedroom computers, parents may be looking at a very, very, very long four more years.

What would the new nest look like?

I can only imagine:

  1. Social Life: Hang on parents, partying is coming back into your home. Better increase your liability insurance. Don’t plan on leaving the house EVER – it’s a few years until they hit 21, and even after they do, if they are living with you, you might be fully responsible if there are accidents in your home or if their friends bounce off trees when they leave drunk.
  2. Food: If you liked your family cooking routine before, that is good news- because you’ll be doing a whole lot more of it!   Adult children are hungry critters and their feeding cycle can be 24/7. Unless you get your kid to start watching the Food Network and signing on for dinner duty – embrace your inner cook.
  3. Cleaning House. How about a chore chart – NOT! Just because your kids are going on-line at home doesn’t mean they will readily adapt to your vacuuming, garbage removal and yard work routines. More likely, they won’t have a clue that there’s routine cleaning involved unless you put on your “outside voice” and read them the riot act.
  4. Privacy: Your child will demand theirs (of course) but you’ll have none – need I say more?  Romance for you and your partner is last on the list.
  5. Re-connecting with your spouse: Get a room!  You may have a tough time finding your spot on the couch between your kids, the dog and your beloved.
  6. What time is breakfast? 2pm? It doesn’t really matter for the kids – they make their own hours on-line so forget any structure. Have you ever experienced kids sleeping in late on a gorgeous day?  Can you say “TORTURE”?
  7. Xtreme Sleep Overs?    Date night has no time limits; it can go on for days…or months. Just because their “natural cycle” of leaving the nest has been tampered with — A kid’s gotta do what a kid’s gotta —– You may not want a long term guest, but you can be sure that your offspring will be asking.

You get the picture…and it ain’t pretty!  In this new age of learning, I say that parents should be careful what they wish for.

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Imagine: No Empty Nest was last modified: by


Felice Shapiro

Felice Shapiro Felice Shapiro loves figuring out what's next. Felice writes with honesty and humor about real life events, romance, tragedy, reinvention and family not to mention — fashion, beauty & travel. As a serial entrepreneur in the publishing space, she launched to meet the needs of women entering their next phase at 50. Inspired and armed with her love of publishing, writing, start-ups and women’s issues, Shapiro launched an online magazine for 50-something women to share personal stories, successes and relevant issues. She is proud of BA50 which is in its 4th year and has over 7 million unique visitors. 

  8 comments for “Imagine: No Empty Nest

  1. Sienna Jay Fein
    April 2, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Felice, this is scary on a number of levels, and not just for Boomers fondly remembering their years at brick and mortar colleges. Going away to college has always been an extremely important rite of passage, an adventure every bit as important for social integration as for book learning.

    I think there’s a parallel with working (professionally) at home. Few of us have the discipline required to focus entirely on our jobs when other tasks beckon, whether these be vacuuming, weeding the garden, shaping your eyebrows, or settling into a good novel. It will be a rare teen who has the maturity and discipline to devote the needed time to study.

    I hope my grandchildren won’t choose to remain in thrall to electronics instead of venturing out into a world of real people.

  2. April 3, 2013 at 11:21 am

    This is a terrifying future – please, give me my empty nest!!!

  3. Linda Brodsky
    April 3, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    I never thought I would be happy to be 10 years older and all my kids are out in the world or finishing their educations at Bricks and Mortar U.

    Looking into the future is a lot like looking at the past when all our parents went to City college and lived home until they married……..

  4. Gordius Knot
    April 5, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    4/5/2013…In reply to “Imagine: no empty nest”

    Good god, Felice! Your priorities are totally skewed – Hell, they are upside down!!

    Why in hell is “reconnecting with your spouse” #5 and not #1?

    If you’re a smart, savvy, still somewhat sexy, aspiring BA50 gal, then you should’ve had him at the top of this “to-do” list….really, he should’ve been “off the chart”.

    Think back now, how did the two you manage to get disconnected in the first place? (Frankly, if I were your “spouse” and came in at number 5, I’d have made other newer connections, by now…)

    From the moment you and he took the vows, and sealed the deal by kiss and consummation, the two of you became as one to orbit for all time only with each other. (See Matthew 19, v4-v6. It is probably in the Torah as well, but I barely make my way around in the Bible much less the Torah)

    But it sounds as if you’ve allowed other minor (your minors) entities into rather than to spin about your orbit. From the moment, the two of you became one, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, (your parents, your kids, your religion… everything!) should be orbiting the singularity of the two of you.

    So how to get back into the groove? For starters, if the two of you haven’t fallen out of orbit by now, try an occasional quick full frontal embrace in front of the kids and by “full” I mean breast to chest, clit to pubis…be sure they’ll see the complete bliss of the moment, real or simulated… you want them to know they are loved and important, yet ancillary to you and your mate.

    Just do it…you’ll be surprised that when you get the 1st-things-1st straight, how your list of 6 (I removed #5) fades to non significance. The kids will soon realize the two you is the center of their universe…not the “other way round”. And depending on their ages, they’ll come to know how lucky they are and how comfortable it is to have the both of you, not just you, there at the middle.

    Sooner rather than later it becomes apparent to them to think seriously of beginning their own universe and to move on and out (literally) of yours. For some reason daughters tend to do this well before sons, who may need a bit of prodding.

    Need more wiles? I kind of doubt it, but if you do, leave a note…

    Good luck.

  5. April 9, 2013 at 4:40 am

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this article and the rest of the site is also very good.

  6. September 12, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Yikes! Your scenario is scary. I know that room and board are half the cost of college, so, presumably, it would be more accessible for more kids if they could study at home. But, as a parent, I would treat them as renters, with chores as rent, to inspire and prepare them to get their own apartment within a year or so, like most college students do. Food would be their own problem, unless they notified the cook on the morning of that they could be expected for a meal. If parents have to be the transition to the real world, then they have to let their kids know what the real world is going to be like. As for intimacy, you’ve figured that out with teenagers before college. The only thing different is whether you are also a hotel. I’d say no, again, an incentive to move out of Mom and Dad’s house.

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