Leave the dishes in the sink. Let them fester. Let the black ants move in. Don’t rinse and load the dishwasher. Don’t put that weird little pod in and get the cycle started. Let it burn.
Don’t sort or start the laundry. Don’t make a call for everyone to bring in their dirty clothes. Don’t switch it. Don’t fold it. Let it burn.
Don’t make the kids clean their rooms. Don’t care that they have a total of nine glasses collectively growing mold on their dressers. Don’t insist they pick up the clothes on the floor or put their clean clothes away. Let it burn.
Don’t walk around the house picking up shoes and putting them by the door. Don’t empty water bottles left for dead and wash them. Don’t fold throw blankets strewn about the couch like abandoned snake skins they have no need for anymore. Let it burn.
Don’t ask anyone if they have homework. Don’t get involved with any of the drama of it. When they tell you they are so busy and have so much homework and the teachers are so unfair, don’t even argue with them that they spent the entire weekend sleeping and hanging out with their friends having a great time and, really, they have plenty of time to do their homework. Don’t engage. Let it burn.
Don’t think about the food in the house and the need for school lunches. Don’t fall for the old, “There’s nothing to eat” bullshit. Don’t even think of going to Costco and replenishing the snacks and microwave popcorn. Don’t make anyone anything; they are old enough to do it themselves. Let it burn.
Don’t look at their grades on that evil school portal. Don’t care if they love Fort Nite more than fresh air and it’s basically a game of killing people that you swore you’d never let them play. Let it burn.
Don’t get the mail. Don’t bring it in the house. Don’t make direct eye contact with it. Don’t open it and sort it into piles. Don’t recycle the envelopes and file the papers. Let it burn.
Don’t consult your to do list. Don’t check anything off of it. Let it burn.
What can you do instead?
Make a big pot of coffee and sit outside and drink it slowly. Do the Sunday New York Times Crossword like it’s your job. Read your book that you never seem to get to.
Go to the gym and get in that workout you rarely get to these days. Take Lucy for a walk. Snuggle up your sweet almost 12-year-old dog.
Sit around and talk to your kids. Not about college or school or room cleaning or expectation or business, but just spend some quality time with them, like you would if they weren’t your kids.
See a movie. Take a nap. Meditate.
And then just daydream. Sit in the shade with a glass of iced tea and let your mind wander. Enjoy the gift of having so little to do that your brain takes you on imaginary journeys to any place, with anyone where anything can happen, like you live in a house with a porch that overlooks the beach, and you are sitting outside at sunset with a gin and tonic playing sweet songs on the guitar with the sound of waves gently lapping the shore, and you turn around and your best friends stop over, and the night is full of music, love, irreverent nonsense, and wild laughter.
And when you’re done with all of that, you should probably start putting out all the fires, because seriously, there’s no food in the house, the mail is taunting you, and the black ants have multiplied.