It dawned on me this week that my living arrangements are feeling less like a family home and suspiciously more like a student flat lately. Teenagers are awesome and all that, but one downside is that they can’t afford to pay rent or bills. Indeed, they even expect to be paid for doing chores. Wouldn’t it be nice if at least they could bring their plates out of their rooms and put them in the dishwasher from time to time?
After recently explaining to all residents why leaving wax-coated cotton buds on the bathroom sink didn’t lend itself to harmonious relationships, it took less than 48 hours until the next one appeared in exactly the same spot. More could be said about the discarded Zooper Dooper wrappers poking out from beneath the couch, along with sweaty socks and small random balls of sticky tape. I’ll tell you what you don’t find on the couch though – the remote! Where the hell has it gone? Mr Nobody has also taken up residence here.
Since having children I have enthusiastically embraced the decluttering, minimalist, Marie Kondo craze in an attempt not to disappear entirely under the tidal wave of paper, socks and half eaten sandwiches brought in on a daily basis. But it’s not enough!
Here you can see the ever present ‘laver la montagne’ or washing mountain for those who can't read French. It grows larger and more prone to avalanches with each passing day. When an intrepid explorer finally gets brave enough to tackle it a fresh deposit lands in the form of five loads of washing every single Saturday. ‘Why not do it during the week and spare yourself the drama?’ I hear you say. Everyone is working or heading to basketball, robotics or music practice. Honestly, who has the time?
Much like the notorious student flat, it is not uncommon to reach into the cupboard for a cup and come out empty-handed. A quick glance around the kitchen shows glasses and mugs strewn like an unruly army, refusing to snap to attention. Thank goodness at least now, unlike in my original flatting days, I can afford a dishwasher, filled to the brim and set on each night.
Most of the time though the teenagers are quiet. They enjoy the sanctity of their cocoon-like lairs - I mean bedrooms - and wear headphones to listen to music and surf the web. At times, despite the mess, it is blissful. Unfortunately, they can’t hear you calling out that dinner is ready and you have to shout three times louder and longer until you are completely hoarse.
I love my kids to bits, and am all too aware that these years are passing so quickly. While the baby, toddler and primary school years seemed to stretch on for eternity, the teen years are quickly melting away. The older one has three years left until university and I can’t believe it. The youngest will be at high school next year. It’s crazy. But not as bat-shit as me when I see that dirty yoghurt- covered spoon left lying on the rumpus room floor…