I also know being a teenager can be somewhat boring, and there are days you have to dig deep to amuse yourself — because I lived it. My mother used to laugh when we said we were bored and gave us more chores; I do the same. But my mother also worked outside of the home and wasn’t parenting through a global pandemic where everyone was up each other’s asses, so there’s a difference.
And no, I wasn’t a budding young adult during the time of a global pandemic so I don’t know their truth, but there is something on my chest I need to scream off: If my three teenagers say they are bored one more time while I run around like a rabid hyena because there’s so much shit to do I can’t see straight, I’m gonna lose it.
When the middle of March came and everything was put to a halt, I was fine with all the lounging and laziness. It was chilly outside. I was happy my kids were safe and we didn’t know anyone who was sick. I was fine with letting things go — the dishes, the laundry, my kids not changing their clothes– because all I could do was mentally get through the day. Everything else seemed so minimal to me.
But hello, people living in this house — that was six months ago, and never wearing shoes, and lying horizontal on the sofa, and telling me you are bored isn’t a way of life.
I had sympathy for them early on. I did. But they’ve had plenty of time to reflect and make some changes. They know by now that when I’m busting out the vacuum and yelling about the empty glasses hanging in every corner, there’s shit to do and they can do it.
My children are young, but they aren’t so young they are at a loss for how to handle these times. At this point they know if they tell me they are bored, they look bored, or they smell like any type of boredom, I’m going to hand them something to do. Like wash a dish or scrub a toilet.
As the mother in this house, I feel like I am losing my ever loving mind.
I feel like no matter what I do I simply can’t catch up, and every morning I’m propelled out of bed by my to-do list.
I’m not asking my kids to be an full-on adults or take on my responsibilities, but I am frustrated with the three teen-brains walking around this place thinking there’s not much to do when all I see are a million things that could occupy their time — and save me some sanity in the process. Win-win, right?
My patience has worn out. I no longer have suggestions for them.
If they say there is nothing to do, instead of getting angry (okay, I still get angry but I deal with it better now), I go down the list of the things they could be doing. Like cleaning their bathroom and emptying the dishwasher that’s full of the dishes they didn’t rinse off even though I’ve told them one-thousand times, or to at least grab a fucking book.
I have good kids; I do. But they are still kids, and like most, their go-to if they’re feeling like they need a project isn’t to clean up after their asses or anyone else’s. Most teens don’t swing that way.
And as a parent who is trying to balance it all, like so many of you are, I’m straight out of willpower. When my kids are lounging in their hoodies acting like the world will keep spinning just because mom will keep that wheel in motion, I’m not sure what I clench harder: my jaw or my ass cheeks.
I know I’m not alone here. I know the folks who are working from home have already done away with regular body-odor checks and monitoring their kids’ screen time because dammit it all to hell, some things have to give.
I’m losing steam, though. One second I’m so glad my kiddos are home safe and sound with me, and then the next second I blow a gasket because someone left tuna fish on the counter, and for fuck’s sake am I the only one who knows where the sponge is?
To the parents who are have been fizzling fast trying to keep things normal and fun and oh-so-peppy throughout this new normal, I feel you. I know you are not okay, because I am not okay either.
I guess the only thing we can do is conquer one day at a time and keep giving these teens something to make TikTok videos about. Because if they don’t want to do that, I’ve got a toilet they can scrub.