FULL QUESTION: My teenager's a slob and it's driving me crazy – their messy room, leaving dirty dishes all around the house, and the bathroom looking like a disaster area! And now they're home for the summer. Help!


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io


Moms everywhere know exactly what you're talking about! And although people told me not to worry, this phase will pass, that didn't make it any better while I was in the midst of it. (I wish I had understood why teenagers have messy rooms and what I could have done to manage it better.)The good news was I was able to set expectations (and help maintain them) for the common areas of the house, but dealing with their rooms was very different. Especially with my eldest daughter since nothing would work – not bribes, not threats, not rationale conversation. I tried all the tips and "tricks" without success, and eventually decided to stop nagging her because all it did was get me upset while she seemed perfectly content with the mess.

At that point, I realized my primary concern was that I'd ultimately need an exterminator and/or plumber (for those of you that have lived through this, you understand), so I'd periodically go in and selectively clean that which would create problems for the rest of us. The rest I left alone. Hey, if she wanted to wear smelly clothing or have a bathroom that should be declared a national emergency zone, so be it.

My younger daughter, in comparison, was so much better. And since she's more social and likes to have friends over, that has been the best thing to keep her room habitable by humans, as she'd never have them come into a pigsty.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io


I do not have children, but there was a time I did have stepdaughters, and not knowing what else to do, I decided to treat them like I would new employees. I knew employees basically wanted to please management, so I figured kids wanted to please their parents. I created a "Rules of the House" document (small, basic, easy things) and presented most of them as things to do versus things not to do, and looked at the rules as an opportunity for them to achieve and succeed, not as a set of restrictions. I always found it more effective with employees, and then the girls (and even their father), to reinforce positive behavior rather than punish bad behavior. It can be as simple as a "thank you," complimenting them on their efforts, or maybe even reward a job well done. It seemed to work, and along the way, improved communications and helped us set priorities.


Red assets.rebelmouse.io


I definitely believe things happen when the time’s right or don’t happen because it isn’t the right time. And I know the concept “timing’s everything” helps us make sense of things we don’t understand or when we’re disappointed that something didn’t happen.

However, I often use the idea of “timing” to help me prioritize things, and not just “bigger picture” issues but also my “to do” lists. For example, things that are high priority always seem to get done (even if in a panic at the last minute), but I’ve found that when I use the excuse “it isn’t the right time” to delay doing something (which happens more often than I like to admit), it becomes apparent what’s important to do and what can wait. And sometimes, the timing’s never right (in other words, it doesn’t need to happen at all).


Black assets.rebelmouse.io


I believe that “timing is everything” because we continually encounter things that influence us and change how we think and act. And, it can apply to just about anything – business opportunities (early innovations), relationships (Right Person? Wrong Time?), places (being in the right place at the right time or not being in the wrong place at the wrong time).

A decision that may not be right for us at one point in time may be right at a different time. And, how many of us have thought, “If I only knew then what I know now”? To a great extent, timing is out of our control, but we can try to be better prepared for “when and if” the timing is right.


Red assets.rebelmouse.io


One of the best things about holiday weekends is having an extra “weekend” day, especially as most weekends are spent on personal things I can’t get done during the week, so can be just as exhausting as the week itself. But I always try (but don’t always succeed) to get some “me time” by escaping to my local AMC movie theatre, even if it’s more for the popcorn than the movie.

This year, since I have some airfare credits that will expire, I’m going to take advantage of the extra day and visit my oldest friend (from 5th grade!) who lives in New York. It’s strange being an empty-nester and taking a mini-vacation on my own. It seems like only yesterday, when my girls were much younger, that Black would take us (and her stepdaughters) to the Hyatt Hill Country in San Antonio, so I know that holiday weekends can provide lifelong memories!


Black assets.rebelmouse.io


I love three-day weekends as instead of having two days when I can work uninterrupted, I have three. Some might think I need to get a life, but I have passion projects that bring me joy, so I am doing what makes me happy. And, I have a standing “appointment” at 3 p.m. every Memorial Day to observe the National Moment of Remembrance.

It is important to remember that Memorial Day weekend is more than just a holiday weekend (and the “unofficial” start to summer). Memorial Day honors the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. A day to put aside politics and think about patriotism, and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
Our thoughts about Friday the 13th have not changed (not in years, maybe decades), so we have no problem re-running this question from August 13, 2021. But it did pique Black’s curiosity about how often Friday the 13th occurs, and although this answer is from a source we’ve used before, she found this analysis fascinating. Meanwhile, Red just rolled her eyes as she’s always felt like Friday the 13th should only happen in October because it reminds her of superstitions and “spooky” things.


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io


I know you're not talking about the incredibly popular Friday the 13th horror movies , which, for the record, I'm not a fan of. Not because they scare me or I dislike all the blood and gore, I'm just "old school" and prefer the classic horror movies like Bela Lugosi as Dracula and Boris Karloff as Frankenstein. Although Mel Brook's "Young Frankenstein" is a hilarious "classic" and one of my all-time favorite movies.

But I digress. I'm not superstitious, so I don't believe Friday the 13th is an unlucky day. Interestingly, our grandmother thought that the number 13 was very lucky, so Friday the 13th was a particularly good day for her. What I will say is that I've always been interested in parapsychology (keep in mind that I'm "older", so this was before all the TV shows about ghost sightings that now pose as "reality TV"), although I feel that I should draw a distinction between the scientific study of paranormal activity and a belief in superstitions.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io


Actually, there is science and logic related to superstitions, and I can see how superstitions can give people a feeling of being in control, which in turn helps them cope with anxiety and uncertainty. Obviously, it is a function of whether you believe something good will happen or something bad, and ultimately it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Friday the 13th is a good example, as whether you think it is unlucky or lucky, you will look for "supporting evidence." (I find it neither, but was intrigued by how many times it happens each year and other interesting facts .)

That does not mean I do not believe in other superstitions, but I do not try to defend them. Sometimes it is a nice break from being pragmatic, and I figure there is little to lose and maybe something to gain. And I am not alone when it comes to superstitions – there are superstitious athletes, like Michael Jordan, who wore his North Carolina practice shorts under his NBA uniform for good luck, and even superstitious scientists.