Hi Kathy, I understand your teenagers are taking advanced courses. And you have a day job. Could you evaluate and simplify the home life? I had this experience in two stages. Once with two teens, 18 months apart; and then with my youngest one who graduated from high school last year. The last one was the most exhausting! But I enjoyed the whirlwinds. It is amazing to see them in this stage.
I slowly started shifting responsibility on how we organized ourselves at home. You can exhaust yourself mentally and physically just worrying if they got the homework done and are they ready for a test. If I could get back all the energy spent on worrying about homework, college entrance tests..etc etc... it would add 10 more years to my life. Let them take turns planning dinner a few times a week. You will feel pampered if they pick the menu, cook, and clean up ...even if you had to give them a ride to the store to grocery shop (and provide the money). Stay in the car and read a book!
My last one went away for four months to live on campus...which she hated. Now she is back at home and attending college locally. I am very happy because I missed her ...and she cooks for me. Plus I hardly ever ask if she's ready for the next test. I keep the question in my head I guess we really never stop worrying.
My kids are only 16 months apart, so I can relate. They are different as night and day and usually have activities in opposite directions. That's the part that exhausts me. Trying to coordinate getting people where they need to be. While we don't have a set schedule for them to prepare a meal, they often surprise me. (My daughter is a great quesadilla maker!) My son tried grilling steaks and the flames were shooting out of the grill so high that I had neighbors hurtling over the fence to put out the fire! While he was a little embarrassed, we laughed that a little crunch is a familiar texture! So, they help when they can. I just don't want to add ro their stress level either.
I guess I had a string of weekends where we were running constantly. I don't get much done around the house aside from the necessary things during the week, so when i can't get caught up on the weekends, i tend to stress out. I like your idea of letting them shop while I read a book! I'll see about that one. Looks like another busy weekend coming up, but we've got a couple dun things planned for all of us. And only Friday and Sunday will require me to be in two places at once!