Not just on a Monday

I am linking up with the Manic Mondays Blog Hop!!

Perfection Pending

After a fun and restful weekend I had a few things to catch up on this morning. Actually, I have the same things to catch up on most mornings. These are just a some of the joys that can be experienced when sharing a house with teenagers.

First off, on school days, I need to drag myself from my warm and cosy bed in order to check that they are awake. This has to be done with some stealth because, you know, they are perfectly capable of getting themselves up in the morning and do not need Mom to wake them. Except sometimes they do. Sometimes the alarm just doesn’t go off (of course it was set the night before, it’s not their fault!). Thus I can be found tiptoeing silently through the darkened house as I check that there is a light on in each bedroom.

Once I am sure that they have woken up I can grab myself a cup of coffee and return to my bedroom. It is unwise to try to converse at this time of the morning. Teenagers have a lot to think about first thing and none of it is any concern of Mom’s. Unless something major has been forgotten, in which case I am expected to sort it out in the five minutes before they leave the house. I find it is best if I keep my head down and leave them to it until they are just about ready to go.

Once they have banged the door behind them I can start my day proper. I wander through their rooms, turning off lights, folding back bed covers and gathering abandoned clothes from the floors and laundry baskets. Sometimes these jobs have been done by the capable teen, but they lead busy lives with important tasks to complete; like homework, computer games, chatting to friends, Tumblr updates. Locating all those abandoned socks and placing them in a basket for washing is not high up on their priority lists. Luckily for them there is a reasonably efficient laundry fairy to ensure that their wardrobes always contain clean clothes.

Next up I start the daily hunt for dirty dishes. If teenagers are one thing it is hungry, always. After school snacks, early evening snacks and late night snacks all get carried up to their rooms on plates which then vanish from sight under piles of paper that I dare not tidy away in case a homework goes missing. They assure me that they have a system, which works until they lose a particular book. Thankfully for all concerned I have a good record of finding these missing books, often cunningly hidden in full view on their desk or bedroom floor.

Cups of tea and glasses of water are finished and the crockery abandoned in the strangest of places. I find mugs on window ledges when I pull back curtains, empty glasses on shelves in every room. Mugs also gather on the table in the landing, or on the floor of almost any room in the house. I gather these up and transfer them to the dishwasher. I am so grateful for my machines.

All these snacks create crumbs, easily dealt with using my vacuum cleaner. Except the floor is still covered with those papers, books and magazines that I dare not move. I tentatively ease the cleaner around the small areas of carpet that are not hidden under debris, determining to come up with a suitable bribe at the weekend to make them sort out this mess. In their eyes of course it is not a mess but a filing system that I should just leave alone.

Sometimes I try to clean a little more thoroughly but this is generally unwise. Much as they like to have a tidy room, if I have moved a single thing then it is my fault next time anything is lost. Room tidying is best done with them in attendance and only when we are both in a good enough mood. Strength and resilience is vital.

As they drift in from their day, late afternoon, I will offer drinks and snacks and try to converse. I can never be sure how this will go. Sometimes they feel pleasantly chatty, but often I get the barely tolerant ‘It was fine‘ when I ask about their day. Such a response quickly conveys that their lives are none of my business and could I just leave them alone, which I do.

Until dinner time. I insist on a family dinner time.

Don’t get me wrong, I think my teenagers are fabulous. I remember hating being told to clean my room and keeping much of my life private; I do not have a problem with any of this. The fact that I can remember is, though, beyond their comprehension. Someone as old as me cannot possibly remember back so far as my teenage years. How can one’s parent ever have been a teenager?

In my children’s eyes I once had a pet mammoth and certainly never had fun or went to parties. When I look back at photographs of my parents or teachers taken when I was my children’s age I am amazed at how young they look. In my eyes they were always old, and I understand that this is how I now look to my children.

I try not to nag as I gather up yet another handful of mugs from a random location, or find the trousers that a son needed this morning abandoned in a heap behind a door. The trail of mud on the stairs that tells me a child had to grab a forgotten book from upstairs after they had put on their shoes to leave irritates but is easily swept. I try to support more than remonstrate.

My children will have time enough to learn better housekeeping when they leave home and have to pick up for themselves. When I am left with pristine rooms and a solitary silence I will miss this daily routine.


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