My house is full and my stress runneth over

In the past, I’ve blogged about the empty nest syndrome. Many of my readers commiserated with the heart-wrenching transition to this phase. What about the refilled nest syndrome?

Yes, I just made that up. It could be the no more silence syndrome. Or the where did all my food go syndrome. Perhaps the overflowing laundry basket syndrome suits it even better.

No more silence

My favorite sound is silence. I know. I’m strange. Silence soaks into my soul and opens my mind to creativity.

Computer games, friends and girlfriends, movies until 2am – none of these promote peace and quiet. They can make falling to sleep difficult as well.

I especially loved hosting friends when the boys were younger. I loved knowing where they were and what they were doing. I enjoyed interacting with the people who filled the kids’ lives. I’m not saying that’s changed, but I’m older now.

When I’m tired, I lock myself away in my room with a book. Mostly because I want to wear PJs after 9pm. No one wants to see me in such attire.

I won’t even mention the brotherly arguments (they both can’t be RIGHT – but each of them is certain they are). I will say they’ve gotten less frequent.

I can only pray for an internship for my youngest. Then I’ll at least have the daytime to permeate myself with solitude and get my creative work accomplished.

Where did all the food go?

Men eat. All the time. It’s hard on the food budget and requires more menu planning on my part.

“There’s nothing to snack on” is the phrase I hear most often. My response, “Go buy something then.” Yeah, that goes over like a Nerf ball in a vacuum.

I am a leftover for lunch kind of gal. I was raised on leftovers and this was before the invention of microwaves (which make reheating so much simpler). I will cook extra so I can have lunch for the next day or two.

First off, the more you cook, the more these men think they need to eat. You make six pork chops for four people (there should be two left), and the bottomless pits absorb those extra two. “That was my lunch for tomorrow” does little to curb their appetites.

Secondly, those late night game and movie sessions work up an appetite. That extra plate of chicken and rice – ready for the microwave – passes for a midnight snack (in the absence of chips or crackers).

This one is irritating because I never discover it until I open the refrigerator at lunch time, dreaming of that plate of leftovers, salivating in anticipation. Where is it? There isn’t even an empty dish (until I check the boys’ rooms).

Overflowing laundry basket

It’s amazing how quickly I adapted to running two loads of laundry every Saturday. Yep, only two. Except when I changed the beds.

Four people translates into a minimum of six loads. Six loads that only I can move to the dryer and only I can fold. I’m not sure how this works. No one else hears the musical chimes signaling the end of the cycle, I suppose.

No, I haven’t folded their clothes for a decade or more. I put them back in the laundry basket and set them in their rooms. My oldest folds them and puts them away before he goes to bed that night. My youngest uses the basket as a dresser and his dirty clothes get piled on the floor beside it.

Needless to say, the door to his room remains closed.

And there’s more

I personally love the “Are you making us lunch?” query on Saturday afternoons. You can imagine the response when I answer with, “I thought you were making me lunch.”

My oldest son will take me to Taco Bell if he thinks I’m serious. The younger one looks at me like I’ve lost my mind and cooks something disgusting – Top Ramen noodles, for example – with a blithe offer to make me a package, too. Yeah, if I wanted to load up on fat and sodium.

I know this sounds like I’m complaining about having my boys living with me. I’m not. I love having them around, and I’m glad they feel comfortable enough to spend so much time with us.

They bring energy to the house. Translation: peace and quiet get exchanged for stress and activity.

For those of you on the other end, the kids moving home for a while, what’s your take on the situation? Parents, what other changes did I forget to mention?

2 thoughts on “My house is full and my stress runneth over

  1. Well, I’m neither an empty nor refilled nester at this point (my daughter’s only 12), but I am a HUGE leftover fan, so I feel your pain—deeply. I rarely cook anything that doesn’t double as a second meal (usually, like you, lunch). There are some things that don’t work as well as leftovers, but others get better, like a good wine. Luckily my family sees the beauty in leftovers. My brother won’t eat any kind of leftover. The man doesn’t know what he’s missing…

    1. Lots of people don’t like leftovers. That’s okay. More for you and me, right Kelly?
      Enjoy the time with your daughter. Weren’t my kids just in grade school? They grow up and change before we’re prepared to let them go.

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