You close your eyes to the hell-holes of their bedrooms, and try to pretend that you like a living-room carpet covered in Twix wrappers and bottles of nail varnish.
But you do expect them to pitch in with hoovering, washing up and taking out the rubbish.
By and large, they see the logic of this. (Even if, "Mum, do you need any help?" usually comes when you've just finished hanging out the washing.)
But what causes the mother of teenagers to go slightly insane are the arguments over whose turn it is to do the next job.
In our house, before I've even finished saying, "Could someone unload the dishwasher?", there's a chorus of "Shotgun-not-me", which comes out as a sort of unrecognisable explosion, vaguely similar to a sneeze.
The theory is that the last person to say this irritating phrase gets lumbered with the job. Unfortunately, because of the hours of practice they've put in, they usually all shout at the same time, so it's impossible to tell who's lost.
(I think in my day you said, "Bags not me". I have no idea how shotguns became involved. Probably because mothers desperate for a smidgen of help end up wanting to shoot themselves.)
The result of all this, as you've probably guessed, is that I end up doing the work while they stand there arguing over dates, times, the unpleasantness of the last task undertaken, the huge essay that suddenly needs to be written, and the urgent need to record Scrubs.
So I sulk. The atmosphere in the house becomes thick and black and miserable. Everyone's unhappy. My eldest said to me the other day, "Mum, don't ask. Just pick someone and tell them to do it."
Like that would work.
You can catch up on previous Surviving Teenagers here.
How familiar does this sound?
More:Is It Just Me?
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