Feeding Teenagers…Or, Am I Running a Diner Here?

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I love summer, but I’ve got to tell you, I think I may lose my mind with over a month left until school starts up again. The kids are killing me. According to them, every day in the summer is a party. All the rules of September through June seem to go out the window.

Besides the endless activities and “can so-and-so sleep over?” and “can I go to so-and-so’s house?”, there’s the problem of our summer eating schedule. Which…is largely due to the activities and the sleepovers and the going to friends’ houses. Feeding teenagers is hard under normal circumstances, but feeding teenagers in the summer? Damn near impossible.

September through June, our meal schedule goes something like this:
Between 7:00 am-8:00 am: Breakfast
Between 12:00 pm-1:00 pm: Lunch
After school: Snack
Between 5:00 pm-6:00 pm: Dinner

Loosely, of course. Weekends are a little different and it’s subject to change to depending on what we have going on at night, but still, everyone GENERALLY follows this plan.

In the summer however, it seems “Everything Goes”. Apparently over the kitchen doorway is a sign that reads “Mom’s 24 Diner! Eat What You Want, When You Want!!!” (And pout when Mom gives you a hard time about it.)

I follow the September through June dining plan all year, including in the summer. I am hungry for breakfast by 8, lunch by 1, and dinner by 6. My body doesn’t say, “screw that, it’s summer”. My body likes routine and normalcy. Feeding teenagers, however…

Child #1’s Schedule:

8:00 am: Wake up. Have coffee. Lounge around. Ignore mother’s requests to eat breakfast.

10:00 am: Eat breakfast.

10:30 am: Eat breakfast again.

11:00 am: Ask what’s for lunch.

11:30 am: Eat lunch.

12:00 pm: Have snack.

12:30 pm: Ask what’s for dinner.

1:00 pm: Stare into the fridge and announce there is nothing to eat. Walk to McDonald’s.

1:30 pm: Work out.

2:00 pm: Go out with friends.

4:00 pm: Return. Ask about dinner again. Have a snack.

(At no point is Child #1 using the paper plates, bowls or cups I have asked him to use because he makes too many dishes and he isn’t the one who washes them.)

4:30 pm-7:30 pm: SLEEP.

8:00 pm: Ask about the dinner he slept through. Offer Child leftovers from missed dinner. Child may or may not eat leftovers depending on mood.

8:30 pm: Go back out. Get food while out.

10:30 pm: Return. Make pasta.

11:00 pm: Have a bowl of cereal.

11:30 pm: Have ice cream.

12:00 am: Make more coffee.

Immediately go back to sleep.

Child #2’s schedule varies greatly from Child #1:

11:00 am: Stumble out of bed and reject all breakfast choices.

12:00 pm: Lie around and moan and groan about being tired. Reject all lunch choices.

12:30 pm: Take a nap.

2:00 pm: Wake up and announce she’s STARVING and ask when is lunch? Reject lunch choices.

2:30 pm: Eat seven hundred and fifty two mini pretzels and ask about going to the movies/bowling/sleeping at a friends’ house, etc. etc. Clean room for the hundredth time this week when told that she cannot leave the house till said room is clean and laundry is put away.

4:00 pm: Go out with friends.

7:30 pm: Return and wonder where dinner is. Offer Child leftovers from dinner. Child refuses leftovers.

8:00 pm: Have a bowl of cereal.

8:30 pm: Whine about hunger pains and still refuse leftovers.

9:00 pm: Go back to sleep.

12:00 am: Wake up to the smell of coffee brewing and make a cup.

Stay awake for the next 3 hours binge watching “The Office”.

And repeat

Add in Child #1’s work days and Hubby’s work days, it’s a wonder we ever get a normal meal in this house. Some nights Hubby and I shrug our shoulders and make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for ourselves. A few weeks ago I ate an Eggo waffle for dinner. Last night I had a block of cheddar cheese for dinner. And I didn’t even have any good wine to go with it.

And you know what pisses me off? I’m following a normal eating schedule here and they’re the ones getting annoyed that they can’t eat at their leisure. Today I got a text in Target from Child #2 wanting to know when dinner would be because she was hungry. It was 4:00. And yesterday I got a “what’s for lunch” text…I was at the beach.

I’ve got to laugh at all my friends on social media posting all the fun things they do with their kids during the summer…hell, we can’t even get a meal together, let alone DO anything outside the house. I almost long for the days when it was just picky eating I had to worry about.

Now I have one that is grazing 24/7, and the other I have to force-feed until she’s “starving” at the most inopportune times (kind of like when we were trying to potty train her all those years ago…).

I’m just trying to get through the days feeding teenagers. I guess that’s part of life when your kids are teenagers and doing their own thing with no regard for anyone else in their house (because that’s pretty much the Teenage Mantra). Maybe next year I’ll install a vending machine in the kitchen and make some money off of them at least.

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