Opinion: Survival of the (mentally) fittest


With at least eight more weeks of my kids being home and some type of social distancing still in place, I’ve decided it’s time for drastic measures at Chez Wilson. Consider this our Defcon 5 Summer Survival Plan (SSP).

In truth, this isn’t different from any other attempt to navigate the two months of unscheduled chaos that ensues when three angsty young adults, two ill-prepared parents and one high schooler who desperately wants her driver’s license try to live together under the same roof while fighting for cars and food and access to the washing machine. And that’s the problem. We’ve essentially been in our “summer” mode since March, when we were prematurely forced to implement a chore chart and reacquaint ourselves with each other’s mood indicators. Our never-really-large supply of patience and compassion now stands empty, as June and July glare menacingly from the horizon. Hence, the necessary elevation to a more extreme version of our usual SSP.

So, all our current expectations remain in play, but with a few added, shall we say, incentives. Chores not complete? Phone is confiscated. No job? No student loan co-signature. Chew obnoxiously next to Mom when she’s clearly agitated? Caps. Busted.

Because let’s be real. Regardless of the rules I create, the alliances that inevitably form, and the back-bedroom deals made in the dark of night, no one will emerge in August unscathed. The goal then is not to achieve the impossible – universal happiness – but rather to minimize emotional damage and put a little cash aside for future psychiatric services. And by that, I mean my emotional damage and my eventual need of therapy.

Godspeed, friends. See you on the other side. Peace out.