Mangst = The Math of Angst

This is to prepare you for when you have teenagers.

Or if you know teenagers.

Or if you ever plan on meeting any teenagers.

Or if teenagers live in your zip code.

This is a diagram of a teenager at rest.



This is a diagram of two teenagers together.



In the above diagram, angst is the product of the time commitment of academic demands and household responsibilities when attempting to work in band practice.



In this diagram, the function of the sum of angst is not necessarily greater than or equal to the infinite amount of worrying over standardized tests.



Above, we have a diagram that illustrates that the absolute value of angst is greater than or equal to the change in available cash as a function of the purchase of gourmet coffee drinks.



And in this diagram, we obviously have angst multiplied by hormones compounded by esteem issues and emerging political awareness, divided by a developing psychological paradigm that is still learning to divide fact and fiction, risen to the power of teenaged-romance cubed, congruent to the factor of the evolution of biohazardous material in a typical teenaged room. And a ten percent chance of thunderstorms.

So now when they come to ask you for help with their first semester integral calculus, you can:
A) Refer to this handy reference
B) Pretend that you do not speak English
C) Open a bottle of single malt scotch
D) All of the above

The answer is left as an exercise for the class.


  1. See, these are all word type problems and I’ve never successfully solved one of those, not since 3rd grade when I was asked, if Lucy has 12 apples and she divides them between herself & 3 friends how many apples did each person get. I can just about follow that question, but nothing any more difficult.

    Should my children end up in calculus it will be due to my husbands genes and he already knows any algebra and up questions are solely his responsibility.

    1. If Lucy has 12 apples, and she divides them between herself and three friends, taking into consideration spoilage, preference of brand and ripeness, inflation and fair trade costs, Lucy will have no friends and a banana.

      I’m fairly sure that’s the answer.

  2. Oh man – I’ve decided that my children will be no older than six for the next 15 years. Then they’ll go through the whole developing psychological paradigm compounded by hormones thing on the drive to college. I get to decide stuff like that, right?

  3. ugh. My head hurts already! And my oldest is 7. I knew her math skills were going to eclipse mine . . . but to see it diagramed . . . and I vote for some wine. Lots and lots of wine.
    Also, thank you for reading and commenting on my blog post. Especially after visiting over here at your blog, it means a lot to me. I appreciate your taking the time :)

  4. Oh, yes. That was great! I’ll take plan D. Or at least the scotch – can I just be in oblivion for the next 5 years until the 15 year old is, well, hopefully!, out of high school anyway. :)

    1. I’m pretty well in oblivion now.

      I can’t help a single child with math, and haven’t been able to for at least a year.

      I do read all their papers, though.

  5. first of all, your cleverness is impressive.
    secondly, i am realizing having another baby ultimately equals having another teenager (someday) and wow. how come all i picture is the squishy baby goodness?

    maybe i’ll just stick to 1 after all.

    he he.

    1. Yes, we are a very, very, very weird house.

      We also argue who is the geekiest, the nerdiest or the dorkiest.

      And we wonder why our holiday gatherings are so small.

  6. I say HA! to the readers that think this is merely a cute illustration from Lori who has a bit too much time on her hands late at night.

    PEOPLE! This is the real deal. This woman DOES NOT have too much time on her hands, this is a PSA.

    I tried to warn them, Lori, I really did.

    Take heed, y’all.

    1. We can only do what we can do.

      We tried.

      People will only see the humor, and not take notes.


      And…how did you know that I did this late at night?


    1. Child A – the youngest, surpassed my math abilities a good two years ago.

      That means, when he was TWELVE.

      Yeah, I’m all kids of good with that.

      After a couple cocktails.

  7. I agree with Alexandra, Lori. This may seem all cute and haha to those that don’t already have the angst amongst them. But oh, to those of us who do….it’s so painful and true.

    In my house right now, there is also an equation creating an inequality between the amount of angst created by the teen boy preparing college applications and the hormonal tween girl obsessing over her straight-ironed hair and outfits. The balance is off.
    Alcohol may help.

  8. First off, I’m totally impressed at your math ability speaking as an SLP since we are not known for our math ability. Second, we have just entered this phase you refer to. We’ve been in it for almost 1 year (our son turns 14 in Dec) and we’ve experienced just enough to know that the next few years will be like trig…over our heads.

    1. Sometimes it is – mostly it isn’t.

      I sort of think that your son will be far more even-keeled than you think.

      But the squalls….oy!

      Keep a good rain slicker handy.

  9. Just as I was getting the hang of Lori-gebra you bring up Mangst. Clearly I am not ready for teenagers yet. Thankfully I still have a few years.

    But no that many years.


    I might pick choice C now and get a head start.

  10. Oh Lord, and here I am struggling with 5th grade math.

    And after reading all those diagrams, my nightly glass of wine is gonna taste EXTRA good.

    Come to think of it, after reading this, I may need half a bottle!

  11. Wait until you get a group of ’em together and they start belting out the Angsty Doodle Dandy song.

    I tell ya, you haven’t lived until then.

  12. If there is ever an example of how much more complicated having a teenager is compared to having a newborn, it must be your Mangst compared to my laughably simple parenting pie chart.

    I am officially terrified.

  13. You’re witty and a mathematical genius?! We’re breaking up!

    I’m with Nichole, I was a Comm major and English minor. My last math class was in high school, it wasn’t pretty…

    1. No! I’m totally faking it! I promise!

      Well, okay, I was awesome in geometry and physics.

      But I started out as a creative writing major, for heavens sake!



      Tough room.

  14. Mother Hen doesn’t do “new math,” so old math will have to do.

    2 x human teenagers = empty fridge

    2 x human male teenagers = (empty fridge + stinky clothes on the floor + monopolizing of the TV) x 2

    2 x human female teenagers = (permanent PMS + 1 hour in the bathroom + monopolizing of any and all household telephones + 1 mother dreaming of chastity belts) x 2

    Don’t you all wish you could just raise baby chicks instead?

    1. I have the 2x male teenagers.

      I have empty cabinets.

      I have one only moderately bathroom obsessed female teenagers.

      Which is good, as we only have two bathrooms and five humans.

  15. Oh my, I’ve never seen it spelled out like that.

    My oldest has not (yet) surpassed my Math abilities, but he’s me — he shall avoid Math with all his ability in college. Calculus? Nah he’s a Junior in High School taking Algebra something or other. I am pretty sure it’s a higher number Algebra than I took.

    In college I completely avoided the Math Department all together and took Logic — The study of Arguments which was technically offered by the Philosophy Department but satisfied the Math Req. for non-Math Majors. Oh yeah!

    Then I was smart enough to marry a math whiz! ;) It was a little awkward asking them to take a Math Test on the third date though.

    1. Yeah, all those pre-screening, background check and financial disclosures are a little awkward.

      My son is in Algebra 3-4, my daughter is in trig/pre-calc.

      Our oldest took some math class in college and now he’s probably done with it.

      Husband is a physics major/math minor.

      So I get the words, he gets the numbers.

      Works out well.

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