I know this because the teenagers are constantly telling me to "relax."
Also, The Summer I Worked 5 Jobs While the Teenagers Fought Over Everything, Ate Fast Food and Destroyed the House is way too long.
"Relaxation" is a dominant theme in our fractious, two-teenager household. The girl, 16, is a newly licensed driver and veteran party planner. "Relax," she tells me. "I have been driving for months." The boy, 19, is home for the summer after his first year of college, where he joined a fraternity and learned everything there is to know in the world except how to operate a single kitchen appliance. "Are you going to clean up that mess?" I ask him. "Don't worry about it," he says. "Chill."
Throw in a couple of vanilla-scented candles and it would be like a spa around here, except that the candle holders have all been broken and there are no clean towels. Plus, it smells like burritos.
The things about which I am encouraged to relax include the fact that the basement is covered in half-eaten food and Chipotle wrappers, our expenses are out of control and no one but me ever seems to know what day the garbage goes out. I wake almost every morning to find I have been left with a mess, an empty gas tank or an empty wallet. Sometimes all three.
Still, I am expected to chill-ax. Because you know, it's no big deal. And they're right, really.
In the big picture list of Things to Stress Over While Living With Teenagers, Chipotle cleanup comes in no higher than 7 or 8.
On the other hand, their list of things that qualify as Genuinely Big Deals includes:
1. We have cereal but no milk.
2. We have milk but no cereal.
3. There is nothing to eat in the house except cereal.
4. One of them suspects the other of having touched his or her stuff.
5. One of them believes the other is monopolizing the basement.
6. One of them believes the other is monopolizing the car.
7. Both of them believe I am monopolizing my own car.
8. Why don't we have more cars?
There are never enough cars around here. And our grocery stocking system is so haphazard it can barely be called a system at all. No one is keeping track of how many times the girl has overrun the basement with her too-many-girls, overnight texting-and manicure parties. There is very little enforcement of the rules, except when there is too much enforcement of the stupid rules. It's a mess really. My point is, everyone should just relax.
from the Lessons Learned archives: A day spent forcibly undergoing spa treatments at the hands of two tween girls is no day at the spa.