The month of May: that glorious time of year when the days are longer, flowers are planted and everyone is in a transition. For me, a creature of habit, there is nothing more stressful than this “glorious” time of year.
The first and most obvious transition in our house is the return of the “adult” children from college. After 9 months of independence they have to stuff themselves back into their 10X12 childhood bedrooms which are lined up three in a row. These shared walls which seemed so precious back when they were young now cause nothing but problems. The music is too loud, one of them has an early job, one has a hard time sleeping. So within just 1 week of their being home Jack is moving to the lower level where he can have his own space and his own bathroom. (Side note: I am not sure who is messier in the bathroom, Jack or the girls but needless to say they cannot co-exist in one space.)
With their return come the chores that should be shared equally. What a joke. This is a constant battle between Sean and me. Why between the two of us? Earlier HE was responsible for assigning chores to the kids, however, I did not like his heavy handed approach and so a few years ago I took on this responsibility. Major mistake. They do not perform their duties and he constantly asks why I can’t get them to adhere to my rules. It would appear that I am a successful leader at work where this type of behavior is easy to achieve. Hire the right people, give them clear direction, remove obstacles, reinforce positive behavior and watch them prosper. I will flat out say that this approach has not worked at home. All attempts at clear direction have been met with resistance. They will do the chores later, the directions were not clear, or they will do the chore but without any clear evidence of results. The worst is the ever popular argument that THEY have to do more chores than the OTHER kids. And so within just 1 week of their being home I am hiring help to clean my home. (Side note: I am not proud of this, I am merely reporting this as a fact.)
Finally, my youngest daughter is in her last few weeks of a middle school transition complete with the drama associated with that minefield of teenaged hormones. This has been a difficult year for her and I have watched from a distance the tactics used by teenaged girls everywhere to alienate and claim power over other girls. In my worst moments I felt myself revert back to MY teenaged self and want to get involved with these girls on her behalf. Thank goodness, she did not WANT my involvement – which should be a surprise to absolutely NOBODY and I was able to restrain my behavior and avoid appearing in the National Enquirer. The good news is that it seems as though “this too shall pass” and by this time next year this drama will be a blip in her memory banks. (Side note: a wise person once told me that the adults should never get involved in the business of their children. That wise person was my mother. Good advice, Delphine.)
So I am surviving this time of transition by moving the boys away from the girls, getting some help around the house and listening to my mother. Some things never change.