14/08/2014 12:48 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Surviving Teenagers: Car Crash Kitchen

Surviving teenagers: Car crash kitchen

My kitchen looks like a car crash. What was once a streamlined machine is now dismantled in bits.

Stray metal litters all the surfaces - spoons, tin openers, the sieve, the colander. The sink is full of saucepans. There's bright red tomato ketchup all over the table.

"What's happened?" I say to my son.

"I just made pasta," he says.

At weekends, I don't always get lunch for everyone. This is because:

a) Some people haven't got back from staying overnight at a friend's house

b) Some people have gone out

c) Some people haven't got up

d) My husband says he's not hungry

e) The fridge is full, so why can't everyone just make a sandwich?

But it's a really bad idea not making one big lunch. Because what happens instead is that each individual family member makes lunch at varying intervals from any time between noon and half past six.

My daughter likes cutting a slice of bread and covering it with tiny bits of chopped tomato and a generous sprinkling of grated cheese.

= crumbs, red bits and cheese parings all over the floor.

My middle son likes making pasta.

= see above.

My eldest likes nothing better than a quick Masterchef creation using all the stuff I'd been saving for supper.

= chaos with hot pepper sauce.

The worst thing, the very worst thing, about all this is that our elderly dishwasher keeps going on strike. (It survived a near-death experience a year ago, but is now - a bit like our elderly cat Sidney – unwilling to do anything that requires any effort.)

This means that even on the rare occasions when I come home and find the kitchen looking more or less like its usual self, the dishwasher light is on, it's full to bursting with dirty saucepans, but nothing - nothing - is clean.

So I get down on my knees and pull out the metal filter. And there it is, all the evidence of endless lunches - pasta, tomato sauce, fried onion, bits of grated Cheddar and that glorious, glorious Masterchef creation.

Does this sound horribly familar?