Posts Filed Under Things I shouldn’t say out loud let alone Publish on the Internet…

I want to be the man in the BBC video.

by renegademama

So, we need to talk about that viral video with the dude whose kids barged in while he was being interviewed. You remember. The yellow-shirted child who walked in owning the place, and then the baby in the walker who charged in after? Yeah, them.

I found it cute. Of course, the Super Concerned Citizens Brigade had some concerns about the way he gently pushed his kid away. Of course they did. Because one should always be excited about having their children around. They are precious gifts from god, even while working. Obviously.

(Nope.)

And of course the people wondering why we are “congratulating a man for doing what women do all the time.”

Hmmm. Okay.

I thought it was an amusing glimpse into the shared experience of trying to work from home with children who don’t give a fuck that you’re trying to work from home.

And then there was a parody video: “How a woman would have handled it.” And it was a woman picking up the toddler and giving her a bottle instead of trying to get rid of her, and then roasting chicken and ironing and putting out a bomb and helping her husband find a sock, etc. It was funny.

I mean, sort of, until I realized the video wasn’t really critiquing the process, and in fact, the woman joyfully states at the end: “Alright let’s find this sock then!”

The point of course was to highlight women as master multi-taskers who would have DONE IT ALL while being interviewed about international politics, and I fear I may be the only person on the planet who thinks this is utter bullshit.

Look, I love humor. And I’m only uptight on Sundays. I’m the funniest person I know (this is not true). But I felt a wave of repulsion when I saw that video.

I know the point was to “revere” women and point out our incredible ability to take care of all the things all the time and hold down careers. I get that. And yay us.

But truly, fuck that shit.

I want to be the man in that video.

No, I AM the man in that video. When I work, I don’t want my kids around. I don’t want them barging in. I don’t want to feed them a bottle while I do my job. And frankly, fuck you for expecting me to do so.

I don’t want to be the one grilling shrimp and changing a diaper while writing a book. Yes, I 100% EXPECT MY HUSBAND TO GET THE FUCKING TODDLER OUT OF MY FUCKING ROOM SO I CAN WORK.

Sorry for yelling, but come on.

Roasting chicken, doing taxes, buying coconut oil, and planning parent-teacher conferences while working is to some extent the reality of my life, but mostly I accomplish “motherhood and career balance” by failing in rotating areas and lowering my motherfucking standards. I put out fires and focus on that which must be done right now.

Glorification of this “do it all” mode of being makes my stomach turn. I do a lot of things in a lot of areas, but I sure as hell don’t do them perfectly, joyfully, or with an attitude of “no problem. I got this honey.”

Why is it that women have accepted “juggle all the things” as our job? Why and how and when did we get it through our heads that we are even CAPABLE of such a thing (::whispers:: it’s the patriarchy)? We all know it’s impossible, and yet we celebrate it.

It has become a mark of accomplishment for “women,” an intrinsic aspect of our identities, a badge we wear with apparent honor.

I’m a writer. I have a major deadline coming up in five weeks. For the past three weeks, one of my children or I have been sick in rotating cycles of hell that have reduced my already scant 20-hours a week of office time to 4-5 hours a week. To make up for it, I have worked evenings and entire weekends, which means I leave my family for two days at a time, missing activities and evening events and their faces. I have all but ceased grocery shopping and cooking. I missed a parent-teacher conference because I had the date wrong. I may or may not be returning phone calls.

Ultimately, I have to REMOVE myself from my family to pursue my career. It’s hard, and it stings. But is it worth it? Yes. That’s why I do it.

You know who picks up the slack? My husband.

Because that is what we do for each other because we are not superheroes we are humans. 

So please stop implying that my family can literally or figuratively join me in my workspace, or that if I were a better woman, I would bring the kid onto my lap rather than kick her the hell out of my office.

 

And the truly unfortunate thing here is that I have the “ideal” career for “balancing” motherhood and work. I work for myself, so I have “flexibility.” My husband works two hours away as an ironworker. He is not available during the days. If he doesn’t show up for work, he doesn’t get paid. I am grateful I can be here.

But even though I enjoy “ideal” conditions, this shit is still impossible. I cannot do it all. Ever. And I’m growing mighty tired of the idea that I can.

I know people will read this and say, “Hey genius if you wanted a career, why’d you have so many kids?”

And to you I say: That is an excellent question.

And I will answer it as soon as we start regularly asking men the same question: “Hey man, why did you have so many kids if you wanted a career?”

Most of us are working – men and women – BECAUSE WE NEED TO EAT. But only one of the genders is being asked why the fuck they aren’t getting the ironing done.

I’m kidding. Obviously nobody actually irons.

 

When I excel in one area, it is at the cost of another.

When I focus on one area, I have less focus to offer other areas.

This is logic. Excellent stuff.

I cannot do it all. I cannot balance it all. I cannot perform at stellar levels in every damn area of existence. And that’s cool.

I will pass on the incessant multi-tasking, thanks.

So yeah, get the fuck out of my room while I work, kids.

Mama loves you.

Bye.

 

The good news is I made it to back-to-school night

by renegademama

The good news is, I made it to back-to-school night. I am happy to report that after 14 years, 10 months as a mother, I have figured out how to read school calendars and not miss important events like “paper parades” – HEY BTDUBS WHY CAN’T WE USE THE INTERNET FOR ALL THAT PAPERWORK LIKE REGULAR FUCKING HUMANS? – and, of course “back to school night.”

I even went for both elementary kids.

The questionable news, though, is that once again I said something I should have kept inside, thereby marking myself already as The Freak Mom. In front of the entire first grade classroom.

Why is that always my job, people? Why?

It was going fine until I tried to be funny.

(Story of my fucking life.)

But it wasn’t my fault. The teacher asked if we wanted her to “review the homework packets or throw them away at the end of the week” and I was like HAHAHA reviewing homework of first graders LOLLLZ! And I laughed, and then she looked at me, and I was like, “Oh for sure throw them away. Less work for you, and, I mean, they’re 6. We’ll probably all be okay if they’re not, like, graded.”

Approximately nobody in the room thought I was funny but HOMEWORK WHAT COME AGAIN?

It’s first grade. Where are my people? 

I shot a look at my mom, who was standing in for my husband because he was at our oldest kid’s back-to-school night, which was scheduled on, that’s right, the same night at the same time.  

Maybe the school district hates us and that’s why they make us choose kids by having it on the same night.

You know what? Maybe the same person who created the paper parade – AND CALLS IT “THE PAPER PARADE” MIGHT I ADD – also decided that having the elementary and junior high back-to-school nights at the exact same time is a good call.

This is why I don’t go to PTA meetings. I hate everything.

Also, I prefer complaining about the way things are done instead of actually doing anything about them.

WHAT? Isn’t that the American way?

Not that they don’t have good reason for making parents show up at the school instead of, oh, I don’t know, emailing like humans. I’m sure they have a perfectly good reason for making us all show up at 5pm on a Monday in August when it’s 375 degrees outside so we can stand in line with a bunch of flailing children to get tiny half-sheets of paper check-marked instead of, say, texting.

For example, it gives them a chance to size us up, and it gives us a chance to size each other up.

I’m fucking kidding. I mean, I definitely don’t ADORE the “paper parade” – event or nomenclature – but I know it’s probably the first and possibly only time some of those parents will make it onto campus to support their kids.

Stop being dicks and ruining it for the rest of us, parents.

 

Anywho, I quieted down after the homework comment and started sorting through the papers. There was a common core math grading sheet, a list of all the things my kid needs to know by second grade, a sample report card, and a daily schedule, which was jam-packed minute-by-minute with math and language arts and science and all kinds of important shit except playing, art, music, and/or any variation of FUN.

Being something of a nihilist, my brain immediately shot to everything I know about schools being machines to create worker-bees and mindless obedient drones and I thought about my little 6-year-old George and was like I MUST GET HER OUT OF HERE.

And then I remembered her telling us how they have to line up all day by number (She is number 14. She was 6 last year. So on her papers she has to write “Georgia 14,” which has always freaked me out) and this got me thinking of dystopian sci-fi novels where all the people become numbers, and then I started imagining millions of humans whose lives had been reduced to numbered assembly lines of obedience and that got me thinking of unschooling, and if that was possible, and whether or not I was personally ruined by public school, and how really that’s not relevant because I used to PLAY in school in 1987 and then I heard my mom say, “Janelle! Are you even listening?!”

No. No I was not, mom. I was imagining dystopian death camps, but thanks.

Also, damn. Now the teacher is talking about folders. This seems important.

But I start coloring the bookmark we’re supposed to make for our kid because LEMME TELL YA SOMETHING IF I DON’T DO IT NOW THAT SHIT AIN’T HAPPENING EVER.

I write “You are my best” and possibly cry a little, because she was two years old when she started saying that to me and now here she is in The Matrix.

When I tune back in she’s telling us about “reading packets” and I catch the last, fatal words, “Must be turned in weekly,” and I know I’m fucked.

Uh, mom did you catch that? 

Hi, I’m 37.

Then it was over. I looked around at the parents and I was like, “Wow, homework in first grade, huh?” And they were like, “Yep!” with glee.

So I nudged, “Seems a little young, don’t you think?”

They unanimously disagreed, saying “it wasn’t much” and “taught responsibility.”

In my brain, I added VOLUNTEERING TO BECOME NUMBERS as a thematic element to my dystopian fiction while I smiled  largely) to mask my utter fear of them.

A sentence formed in my head: When did they give up living? The main character would ask that at some point. I felt a wave of depression.

All of this because of first-grade back-to-school night.

Is this normal?

Where are my fellow weirdo nihilists? I NEED YOU. Can we have some sort of signal for events like this?

Like at the paper parade and back-to-school night we can have a hand gesture that means, “Yes, I too am worried about folders and numbers and lines obliterating humanity one gleeful school year at a time and together we must FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT for of brain and body!”

Later, my friend told me I could just not have her do the homework, which I thought was fucking brilliant, but when I asked George about it she was like, “I can’t wait to do homework!”

So that was a motherfucking quandary.

But she does hate lining up all day. And I can’t blame her.

I told her she should enjoy it now, because someday, when we all exist on rubber assembly line belts moving through our lives with microchip-brains, lining up in sequential order will feel like the good ol’ days.

I didn’t actually say that though. I know better.

Sometimes.

I just told her, “Lining up sucks, but keep one foot out of the line at all times to remember who you are.”

She looked at me like I am an alien and ran away, but as she left, I whispered, “They can never break you unless you let them!”

FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT

Happy new school year, bitches! Let’s make it a great super normal one!

found this battle-axe drawing on Rocket's desk so that's promising

found this battle-axe drawing on Rocket’s desk so that’s promising

Dear Internet: Nobody’s going to put Ecstasy in your kids’ candy

by renegademama

Okay, Internet. We have to talk. Again.

You must knock it right the fuck off with your timely and earnest warnings to “moms and dads” to BE ON THE LOOKOUT for Ecstasy pills that “look like candy” and may be put into their kids’ trick-or-treat bags.

What the hell is wrong with you?

Have you never done Ecstasy?

WHERE WERE YOU IN THE 90s?

Okay. Clearly we have different histories. No worries. I’m willing to share. Take a moment to follow me here.

Nobody is going to put Ecstasy in your kids’ fucking Halloween candy.

First, that’s a waste of Ecstasy. Ecstasy is expensive. Nobody gets it so they can dose children. WHERE’S THE FUN IN THAT? The whole point of Ecstasy is to relax in a cuddle puddle of 3-12 dear friends smoking cigarettes drinking vodka redbull and expressing deep adoration while stroking each other’s forearms.

NOT THAT I’VE EVER DONE IT.

No but seriously. Please. Pull it together.

They are also not going to accidentally give it to your kid. Why? Because people with drugs know what they look like. Very, very well. Ever get a Valium prescription? Yeah. That shit’s nice, right?

Would you ever confuse your Valium pills with Sweet Tarts and hand them to a tiny lion on your doorstep?

No. Of course you wouldn’t.

BECAUSE THAT IS NOT A THING.

Furthermore, people with illicit substances know where they are located AT ALL TIMES and therefore will never, ever have this happen:

Jane: “Honey, where’s the ecstasy we were going to take tonight?”
Bill: “Oh, shoot. Well sweetie I just don’t know. I brought it in from the car with the Lysol cleaning wipes and put them somewhere but it’s totally slipped my mind!”
Jane: “Darn! Well we need some candy for trick-or-treaters.”
Bill: “Let me look in the pantry……here…”(Comes back with Ecstasy pills). “Hand these out!”

Look. I get it. You were busy building a foundation for life while I spent time gazing into the eyes of my new girlfriend and dancing with glow-sticks. We all have our paths.

But still. There’s no excuse for this sort of fear-mongering weirdness. We don’t just get to MAKE SHIT UP to worry about. We can’t just invent things to post on Facebook because it’s fun to have The Super Critical Safety Message.

You know what I’ve found?

People are generally good. People generally do not want to maim my children or dupe them into taking psychedelics.

People in general want to smile at their costumes and hand them a Kit Kat bar, without even a razor in it.

People are generally good.

Even the monsters with Ecstasy.

Roar.

Our general approach. ya?

P.S. I don’t do drugs. I don’t even drink. I did however take a boatload of substances for 10 or so short years there in my 20s. Unless my kids are reading this in which case I did not. In fact this isn’t even Janelle have a nice day bye.

Breaking: Crazy human somehow loses weight, shares secret

by renegademama

You know I don’t give advice, but there’s this one area of life I have so mastered so fully (SARCASM MOTHERFUCKERS) I feel it would be a disservice to humanity to not share.

And that area is: LOSING WEIGHT.

Look, I don’t want to discuss feminism or women’s bodies or getting comfortable with my fatness or whatever the fuck else we all sit around discussing. I KNOW there are fat yogis balancing on their heads, powerful as hell. I KNOW there are women super okay with the rolls of their belly but I also know that those women are not me.

I am neither a fat yogi nor a woman comfortable with her belly.

I feel like shit. My back hurts. I look at myself naked and sorta want to puke. I KNOW I HAVE INTERNALIZED BODY SHAMING NARRATIVES OF SELF HATRED.

I’m not proud. I’m merely stating the facts: I am overfuckingweight and I don’t like it. I’m overweight because I eat too much and believe in the futility of eating one’s feelings yet do it anyway because THAT’S FUN.

Also, I don’t exercise enough.

 

I wasn’t always overweight. While they were trying to find what was wrong with me (during my active alcoholism), they gave me a bunch of psychiatric diagnoses and put me on 7 to 11 different psychotropic drugs at the same time. I gained 70 pounds in 3 months.

Um…..

And I’ve never quite been able to regain control. But I can’t blame that completely. Sure, that’s how it started, but once it happened I began the spiral into Fuck It All I’m Already Fat and started eating with wild abandon.

I’m not particularly unhealthy. My blood pressure is low. My blood sugar normal.

But I feel like shit.

This is just me. This is not a statement on all fat women in the world, or America. Or even my town. Or even one single other person.

I’m sure if I were a better, more enlightened human, I would

A. get okay with my body as it is; or,

B. do something about it.

I’m working on B.

 

But I kinda suck at it.

Once, a few years ago, when I was about this weight, I got super pissed off and done with not changing and I lost 40 pounds over a year or so and felt amazing.

Then I got pregnant again and gained it all back that was nearly 2 years ago the end.

Nice story, right?

I hate that story. That story can lick donkey balls.

Sorry. I should be more feminine.

I should stop apologizing.

I AM A FAT APOLOGIZING WOMAN FULL OF ANTI-FEMINIST GUILT AND BAD LANGUAGE.

 

Okay here’s the deal: I’m trying to lose weight to feel stronger and more able-bodied and in less pain AND to feel more comfortable in my body and clothes.

Here’s how it’s going:

4am: Wake up but against my will. Nurse tiny creature next to me and beg him (in silence of course) to go back to fucking sleep

5am: Breathe a sigh of relief that tiny human fell back asleep, roll over to do the same

5:15am: Wonder why I’m not asleep yet

5:30am: Wonder why I’m not asleep yet

5:45am: Meditate with the vigor of a thousand warriors because JESUS FUCK I NEED SLEEP

6am: Fall asleep

6:30am: Hear alarm go off, want to die

6:36: Get out of bed after looking at phone for 6 minutes even though I know that’s a super bad way to start the day

6:40: Do 7-minute workout thing (dude it’s an app and it rocks and I’ve actually been doing it!)

7am: Eat a healthy breakfast because today is going to be a good clean eating day!

7-10am: Drink 47,000 gallons of coffee but without sugar

10:30am: Healthy snack

1pm: healthy lunch

3pm: Drive around 12 small nations to pick up kids

3:15pm: Realize I’m fucking starving

4pm: Realize I’m dizzy from healthy snack deficiency

4:30pm: Get home. Open fridge. Eat something healthy but wish there was something more filling and also healthy

5pm: Start making dinner

6:30pm: GIVE UP BECAUSE IF FOOD DOESN’T GET IN MY MOTHERFUCKING BELLY RIGHT NOW I MAY DIE OR KILL YOU AND I’M SO TIRED AND I CAN’T EAT A DAMN GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST AND SALAD AGAIN BECAUSE BORING AND FOOD IS COMFORT (NO IT ISN’T) BUT IT KIND OF SEEMS LIKE IT IS SO…

6:45pm: EAT IT ALL,REGRET IT

7pm: Realize I basically negated all my day’s efforts because it’s the night calories that REALLY matter and ohmygodJanelle you suck and you’ll always be fat and nobody likes you.

8pm: Get upset with myself for fat shaming body shaming self bashing and blatant lack of self love.

10pm: Resolve to do better tomorrow.

11pm: Go the fuck to sleep

 

Then, DUDE CHECK THIS SHIT OUT: I do slightly better tomorrow.

That is actually happening and it’s real. I’ve been making tiny changes and little nudges here and there and I’ve lost 10 pounds over the past 6 weeks. What?

Every day, I’m trying to be a little healthier than the last, and if I eat everything in a 5 mile radius during one meal, I try to get back on track for the next without mentally assaulting myself until I’m lying lifeless on a cold stone floor.

And I see now that a big part of this is realizing that I deserve health and attention and wellness and compassion (lord I sound like a fucking life coach), and tiny changes ultimately result in a new place entirely.

And that feels damn good.

So yeah, success. Or something. Fucking rock it.

Slightly more than yesterday.

 

Do you ever wish you could see yourself the way your kids do?

Do you ever wish you could see yourself the way your kids do?

16 Ways I’ll Probably Ruin Christmas

by renegademama

I love Christmas. I love all of it. I love the gifts and the candles and the lights. I love the horrible music. I love the movies and eggnog and excitement and decorations. I’m slightly pathetic about the whole thing, actually. But it doesn’t matter how much I love it.

I’ll probably ruin it anyway.  Chances are good, at least. The more important the day, the more likely I am to fuck it up with my questionable behavior.

I made an infographic to visually summarize this phenomenon.

behavior

But this year I thought I’d give my family a nice, clear, fair warning about how I’ll probably ruin Christmas. I’m thinking this might help.

So here we go.

  1. I’ll probably stay up too late the night before wrapping the fourteen thousand seven hundred and fifty three gifts I bought for the kids because when I was a kid we were pretty broke, and my mom every year said “This Christmas is going to be small, kids,” and I smiled and felt a little pang but didn’t show it, but then on Christmas my big brother and I woke my mom up and trotted into the living room and the gifts were tumbling over themselves in a massive insane heap and it didn’t feel small at all. So now I do the same, and it’s shallow and materialistic and unenlightened but I couldn’t possibly give fewer shits about that. I freaking love it.
  2. But because I stayed up too late I’ll be irritable and you’ll be bouncing off the walls so I’ll probably snap at one of you. I’ll snap at you as I watch you in your Christmas pajamas and think about the next gift I have for you, that one you’re not expecting, because I know you’re just going to love it and it’s the little ones like that make my stomach flutter and Christmas becomes the same as when I was you. I’ll snap and feel immediately terrible and apologize and think “You can’t do that! It’s CHRISTMAS!”
  3. I will for sure say something stupid though. Once I opened a gift and said the first thing that came to my mind and it was the wrong thing to say and it made my mom’s face fall and I knew I ruined Christmas then.
  4. I’ll probably say “tits” at the Christmas table and regret that immediately too. On the way home I’ll ask Mac why I always have to sit by the classy people in the family and he’ll say “Right. That’s the problem. The seating arrangement.” And then he’ll tell me it’s not a big deal, Janelle, and I’ll be vaguely grateful it wasn’t an F-bomb.
  5. My mouth ruins a lot of Christmases.
  6. I’ll probably overbook the day because rather than learn from mistakes I like to keep doing them over and over again a few hundred billionty times because you never know it may work this time and then when we’re all wrestling ourselves off the couch and into nice clothes I’ll probably ruin Christmas by being angry and frustrated and kicking myself because I want to stay home and swore last year I wouldn’t do this again. I’ll wonder what the fuck is wrong with me.
  7. No. We’re staying home this year. I WON’T RUIN CHRISTMAS THAT WAY, KIDS.
  8. I used to ruin Christmas by drinking too much. Once I ruined it by not even showing up at all. There was one when I found myself alone for a moment in the bathroom after all the gifts had been opened and as I was getting up from the toilet after peeing I thought for the first time that my kids would be better off without me and it was my first and perhaps only real thought of suicide and it was shocking in its anticlimactic nature and the smoothness with which it passed through my brain. I thought about it like I might think about an item we needed from the grocery store. It was matter of fact and plain and clear. In that it terrified me. I went outside and watched my son who’s now 9 ride around on his new Hot Wheels in his footed Christmas pajamas. I poured some whiskey in my coffee and didn’t die.
  9. I’ll never ruin Christmas by not being there again.
  10. I’ll eat too much and practically bust out of my clothing though and that won’t ruin Christmas but I’ll feel like a cow.
  11. I’ll get mad at you for not looking at the camera.
  12. I’ll forget your tights. I always forget the tights. Damn tights.
  13. I’ll yell, probably, because really JUST LOOK AT THE FUCKING CAMERA FOR 12 FUCKING SECONDS KID. And then I’ll bribe you with See’s Candy and win at parenting.
  14. At the end of the day I’ll probably go out on the patio with your dad and I might start blaming him for the ways Christmas was ruined because that’s easier than realizing I ruined Christmas by being overtired and cranky and the stakes are just too high. And I’ll want to stop but I won’t because there was his pain and my mom and brother and I and my dad, and my grandmother who’s gone now, and the way I used to wrap presents for her every year, and the ache in my gut and brain and eyes to see her again and the wrinkles in her hands and tell her goodbye, mostly, or even thank you. And there are those thousand Christmases of them and me and you and those to come and I’ll feel it all right then. Through the lights strung on the porch that you hung badly. I got a little mad when it happened (because the neighbor’s are perfect) but laughed when I realized poorly hung Christmas lights are a fucking family tradition at this point. It’s our Griswold moment.
  15. And I’ll ruin Christmas when I lie down at night and think of you the oldest kid in your bed and you and you and look down at the baby, 6 months old, and watch him nurse and know he will be you, the first, 13 years old, so close to gone. And I’ll shut my eyes with the memory of snapping at you as we sat around the tree. And I’ll wish I could go back there. This year’s gone already. Next will be later still. Further still.
  16. I’ll ruin Christmas because it’s never enough. I’m never enough, for you. For this. How could I be? How could I be the light to make a day perfection? The mother bustling about the tree. The one with the gingerbread and sugar cookies. Oh these stakes are just too high.

Damn you, Christmas. The perfect, ruined day, every year. You just keep getting better. In my mind, my heart, you get that much better every year. And you, kids.

I can’t wait to see your faces.

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