Sometimes I want to be able to sit on the couch at 11:30 at night, not needing to worry about a 17-year-old know-it-all sitting beside me letting out over-elaborated sighs about how bad his life sucks because his dad nags at him. When you live in a house with three guys, sometimes that extra couple of hours at the end of the day when the hubby goes to bed and when the kids are theoretically to be sleeping are precious hours that either don’t come for long stretches of time, or are rudely interrupted in the peak of your annoyance. Either way, they are rare gifts. But I need that alone time. Whatever shred of sanity I have left after the browbeating I’ve been through the last few months is rapidly depleting.

“Sometimes my dad can be unfair.” Even though it’s been a few months since those words were said, I can’t wrap my brain around how he came to that conclusion. Your dad, the king of passivity, is unfair? It’s hard not to think of my own teenage years when I commiserated over how bad I had it when Mom would yell at me down the stairs for not washing the six dishes that were in the sink after having all day to do it (well, not all day, after you consider that I was only starting my day at 2 in the afternoon), and after being asked repeatedly over weeks to perform some minor chore that only burned 10 minutes in my day. I spent so much time and energy getting worked up over nonsense that would have simply made my parents daily lives a little easier. I don’t think any teenager really excels at picking battles, but 10 years and three apartments later I’m looking back on the pre-college version of myself and I see the same things most teenagers are guilty of. The thing is, independence matures you; getting older makes you care about stuff more… especially your own stuff, because you attained it yourself. You probably even paid for it, and that makes you take pride in it and take care of it. Teenagers really don’t give a rat’s ass about YOUR stuff. They hardly care about their own stuff. But they will when they have to buy it, and when their friends destroy it… or when they’re a little older and they find themselves in the adult-living-with-teens scenario. And even though I’m a hypocrite because I did the same things, my skin crawls from living with teenagers. How did my parents deal with this?

This situation is many things, but it’s very far from being easy. When I lived on my own I refused to live with roommates for this very reason. It’s better to pay a little more for the convenience of not having to share… for all the space to be yours, and yours alone. Nothing is more disappointing or infuriating than spending all day tidying up a house, only to lose all that effort in a split second after two teenage boys destroy what you just worked so hard to clean. And for what? So they could make an entire entree at 4 in the morning and leave a trail of breadcrumbs all over your clean counter and grease splatter all over the porcelain oven top you wiped down… and stick food in the microwave without a cover on it so that it blows up and leaves starchy shrapnel all over the white interior. Of course they don’t clean up after themselves, because apparently they figure there’s a poor frustrated woman living here who takes care of that.

And the nervinous of the oldest one astounds me sometimes… like when he asks me for money. I’ve only done that once, because he told me this elaborate tale of his friend being hard up for gas money (which I knew was a con just to get money, because I was a teenager not that long ago myself). Last night he called home asking his dad to give him money so he could go get something to eat, and when his dad told him no, he asked his dad if I could give him anything. Excuse me!? You have two parents, not three.

Everything my folks told me about myself when I was doing the exact same things, is coming to life. Don’t they always say, “I hope you have one just like you”? It semi applies to me, because they’re not mine, but I do live with them.

Aye. Although they drive me crazy, they are good kids. They have good personalities and I don’t think their habits are intentional. But Christ, try telling yourself that when you’re about to put your head through the wall in frustration.


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