Our empty nesting days are coming to an end as we will soon have two of our children returning from college for the summer. So it seems a perfect time to share one of my favorite articles in preparation for the summer chore lists ahead.

I have lived in a home populated with teenagers who strongly believe in fairness and justice for all. This means that nothing, absolutely nothing, gets done in our house that doesn’t involve discussion, negotiation, re-discussion, reward or retribution.

Take, for instance, dinner.

“Neill, pass me the fork,” says our middle child.

Neil responds, “Ok, but first you have to hand me the ketchup.”

The middle child answers, “No, I’m not handing you anything, because yesterday mama told us to put up the groceries. I put them all up, and you did nothing. Now, pass me the fork, or I’m going to hurt you.”

Neil says, “Try it, and mama will take your phone away.”

She responds, “No she won’t,” as she begins eating her peas with a knife while clutching the ketchup in a death grip.

The negotiations can continue for what seems like an eternity until at some point, I pass the fork and Brody passes the ketchup. I’m sure that’s not the right parental response, but somedays we just want to eat our pork chops in peace.

And so it goes … be it putting up the laundry, feeding the dogs, cleaning the garage, nothing gets done until negotiations are complete.

And while I appreciate hearty debate and even a bit of obvious posturing, at some point, the fact that there are no clean towels in my linen closet is just more than I can take.

In an effort to partake in this social justice experiment, I decided it was only fair to switch out the chore list.

Laundry, the most dreaded of chores, has been the middle child’s to-do since her sister left for college two years ago. Nothing makes my little perfectionist crazier than things that are not meticulously folded and in their place. Yet, with five back in the household this summer, it is a never-ending job.

So, when our oldest got home a few weeks ago, I decided it was only fair to give this chore to her. Our oldest is our laid-back child. Life, to her, isn’t about perfectionism but instead about enjoying the moment.

This basically boils down to the fact that, for almost two weeks now, nothing has been washed, folded or put away. Living life in the moment in no way, shape or form includes doing laundry.

It’s a fact I certainly do appreciate and the reason why I make my kids do the laundry.

But after almost two weeks of drying off with hand towels and listening to the never-ending arguments concerning the state of the laundry, I informed our household that we were reverting back to the pre-summer chore list.

“Zoe, you are back on laundry duty,” I said.

She screamed out, “That’s not fair. Madi did a horrible job, and now, I have to do it for her.”

And while I admit that my actions are completely unjust, it’s a fact I’ve come to live with each and every morning as I reach into that linen closet and find a clean, folded towel.

Fairness and justice for all … but more so in theory and definitely not this summer.

Telling Tales is written by Wilson County’s Becky Andrews and Angel Kane.

Email becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com with comments.

Email becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com with comments.

Telling Tales is written by Wilson County's Becky Andrews and Angel Kane.

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