I need a part-time parenting arrangement, mmmmkay?

by Janelle Hanchett

The problem with being a mother is that you have to do it all the time.

I need a part-time arrangement. Even ¾ time would work. But this round-the-clock, 365-day a year bullshit? Yeah. It ain’t workin’ for me.

And don’t even give me that “You could get a job out of the home to “get a break.”

THAT IS NOT A BREAK. That is not release from responsibility. That is not “letting go and relaxing.”

You know what that is? It’s Responsibility Rearrangement. The job doesn’t go away, it just gets moved to Saturdays and Sundays and between the hours of 6pm and midnight. The shit gets concentrated into a mind-numbing ball of “I AM THE QUEEN OF MEDIOCRITY” and “What the fuck is happening to my house?”

And “Yeah okay cool no big deal. I’ll just do SEVEN DAYS OF WORK in one afternoon, the only afternoon all week I have free. Yay!”

All day and all night every fucking week. These are subhuman conditions. There’s no “job” on the planet like this. There’s nothing in the world you can’t check out from, except this job.

You can’t call in sick. The bosses don’t care.

You can’t call in for a “mental health” day. (That may actually be a good thing cause God knows I’d be pulling those at least 2 days a month). You can’t “leave the workday” at home because the motherfucking workday is the home.

And unlike other jobs where everybody pretty much EXPECTS you to bitch about your boss and coworkers, this is the round-the-clock, must-be-infinitely-grateful job.

If you bitch about your bosses (manifesting in the form of tiny dictators calling you “mama”) running your life, you’re ungrateful. And they are some messed-up bosses. Taketaketaketaketaketake. Pay back in 5-second intervals of cuteness and strange motherly adoration.

Also an occasional cuddle and/or dimples in elbows.

If you bitch about your coworker (partner) you should shut the hell up because some people do this alone you know.

Oh bite me.

Sometimes I just want to check the fuck out of motherhood.

Bye bye. Ciao. I’m out.


But I try.

I’ve been trying lately. I have spent the last week gauging the success of my day by how well I could get my kids to leave me the hell alone. My efforts have included (though this list is not inclusive): hiding in my bed with the fan on to drown out the sound of their voices; taking really, really long showers with the door locked; barricading myself on the couch with 19 piles of laundry so they can’t sit near me; sitting on the front porch while they flailed around in the house and I conscientiously pretended they weren’t there; plugged all three of them into Netflix much endlessly while I mess around on my iPhone in the furthest corner of the house.

THIS IS WHY I NEED A PART-TIME ARRANGEMENT, PEOPLE. This is not their fault. This is my fault. I need a break. This is the point at a desk job where you realize you’ve spent the first hour of every morning staring blankly at the wall of your cubicle and you’ve actually fantasized throwing the water cooler at the head of your closest work companion and every body and everything EVEN THE CARPET and you’re like “Oh dude. I need a vacation. Now.” And then you go and come back and it’s better.

I NEED THAT PEOPLE. The “go, come back and it’s better” part.

Instead, I get the same.

My tween’s attitude has reached catastrophic levels, and, like a super-mature specimen of motherhood, I recently yelled at her “Do you really think you’re gonna win the crazy dramatic female contest? Are we playing that game? Cause oh hell no kid YOU KNOW I’M WINNING. I will always win that one dude. ASK YOUR FATHER!!!”

And then I threw a small flowered purse stuffed with clay at the door. It was one of my shining parenting moments.

We’re supposed to be moving in 2 to 3 weeks so this is what my house looks like.

photo (7)

My toddler has decided she needs to wake up sometime between 12am and 3am to PEE. Fucking PEE. I tried putting her back in a diaper but she looked at me like “Oh hell no bitch I’m not into regression. Why don’t you shove that pull-up up your ass? Mmmkay?”

Then, she wants to sleep in our bed, with her feet on my breasts. When she wakes up she declares “Mama your nipples are like little mountains I can walk on!”

When they get home from school, I make them do chores to spite them.

My boy is alright, except he’s 8. He’s a boy and he’s 8. DO I NEED TO SAY MORE?

And let’s talk about my coworker. He’s been working 6 days/week, often staying out of town. Yeah, that’s right. So I’m alone. The other night he called me and he was like “Dude this motel is so bad I had to wait for people to hit the meth pipe before I walked up the stairs to my room.”

So then I tell him in my most supportive voice that he better not bring home motherfucking bedbugs. And then I get my head on straight and realize “OhMyGod he could get murdered by a tweaker who thinks he’s the CIA agent who’s been hiding in the microwave (probably on account of that damn pornstache my husband insists upon) and I’m gonna be left here with the three dictators from hell and a house to pack and a hallway that looks like this.

photo (6)

I fucking quit.

I’m done.

I need to just walk away from motherhood for like 2 days. No kids. No home. No contact with reality.

But I can’t. Neither can you.

We’re in this for the long haul, baby.

This is the forever job. The forever fucking job. And the worst part is, when I’m in my finest moment seething in self-pity and SURE my life will never resemble something actually livable, some broad tells me in the grocery store: “Oh honey they grow up so fast.”

And I’m like “Define ‘fast,’ bitch. I’ve got 3 kids spaced apart in such a manner than I’ve been doing this job for 12 years and I’ll be doing it for 15 more, which means for 27 years I’ll be working my motherfucking ass off day in and day out on a full-time basis 365 days a years, sick or well, into it or over it, mentally sound or totally off my damn rocker, and you’re gonna sit here and tell me it’s over ‘fast?!’”

Douchebag jar!

Except that I know she’s right, which just pisses me off more, and adds some fucking overtime to my day job as I lie there at night wondering how much of my dismissal that day the little dictators will remember when they’re 20 or 30 or 40.

GOD DAMNIT all to hell.

Let’s go to the fucking zoo so I can feel like a good mom and get re-engaged in my job. I promise I won’t play Candy Crush the whole time.

I had a nice vacation. It was fun while it lasted. In my head.

Look kids! A bear! Look at this bear and forget how I treated you all week!

39 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized | September 27, 2013
  • Jessica

    So glad you posted tonight. I needed to remember I’m not the only one.

  • Tina

    I’m just gonna give you a virtual hug now, Janelle. I feel the absolutely same way. Even though I am actually working full time out of the house, but I hate my job and feel like I’m rubbish at it, and my house looks like that too, but worse. And most of my conversations with the kids are in shout mode, which makes me feel even shittier, cause sometimes it’s really uncalled for.
    And you know what? Reading your blog already helps, because it shows me that I’m not the only one feeling that way, even though it seems like it. I do love your writing.
    Feel better soon. xxx

  • samantha

    so perfect i could cry. fuck motherhood man like FUCK IT! the worst is the guilt that nibbles on your soul when you are sucking so much and realizing that screaming at them is the last thing THEY need just because YOU suck so bad at the motherhood thing. Someone should hand out cards to girls on their 21st birthday that says NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO HAVE KIDS> FUCKING GO HAVE SOME FUN. hahahah but no, i wanted them.. so here i am with 4 kids 5 and under and I”M HOMESCHOOLING AND TRYING TO FEED THEM HEALTHY ORGANIC FOOD and not use chemicals and trying to reprogramme my brain to be a peaceful parent and not a pyscho screaming parent and fuck this shit! hahahahaha
    this morning i let my 5 year old and 3 year old watch tv (even though i took it away till after halloween) so i could sleep because my 15 month old twins are waking up every goddamn hour to use me as a human soother.. so i got 45 minutes extra sleep… 730 am weeeeee. So i nursed my twins, let them loose down the stairs, went to the bathroom and came down to OMGWTF!! food dye all over the walls, the carpet, and one of the twins… who is covered in it and tracking it around… oh and permanent marker on the wall and then when i get into the bathroom to hose off the little shithead beast. bathsalts.. ALL OVER THE FUCKING PLACE. so i cried. i cried and cried. 45 minutes of sleep.. = over 3 hours of scrubbing and cursing and scrubbing more thanks to my bored 3 year old who could care less about TV. FML dude. peace out LOL.

  • Sara

    I can be there any day and take the kids for two days, while helping you pack from 11-5. Let me know Chica. If not, I’ll come unannounced… your favorite.

  • love3cats

    thank you for being brave enough to voice out loud what most of us are thinking.
    I tried off and on for 15 yrs to have a kid (I’m on my 2nd marriage) and now I’m like, wtf? why in hell did I want this??
    And if one more person tells me it gets better as they grow up, I’m throwing the computer at them. My girl has been awful since before she was born- I had the pregnancy from hell, the baby had colic, then at 2 she almost got diagnosed with autism but the stupid social worker said that she was 2 points away so she wont just ‘give’ me the diagnosis. really lady? So now we are lost in a sea of quirky behavior that we get no help with unless it is out of our own pocket.
    Oh and hubby is a truck driver who works local, but nights. so basically, 5 days a week we only see him when he wakes up and goes out the door. he is no help what-so-ever. (sigh)
    And if I ever wrote something like this on fb or a blog all I would get would be family and friends saying how horrible a person I am.
    I’m tired of being told motherhood is the greatest job…no, you know what my favorite job was? Before I had a kid I was Manager of a toy store. Yup, 40 hours a week. Dealing with the public…easy peasy. Because when the day was done…that is it. it is done. I could go home and put my feet up and watch tv and eat what I wanted-uninterrupted. I could Go to a fun dance class. go watch a sunset.
    Sorry for my rant. and sorry for not using proper punctuation or if there is anything misspelled. I am typing this quick before child decided it is time for a meltdown because the sun is too bright.
    I am very much in burn out mode….
    and just to prove that I must have lost all of my f**&^ mind…I homeschool.

    • Tina

      Oh, god – I know that feeling! My daughter is one of those kids too, not quite autistic, but enough to make life very stressful and complicated sometimes. I’ve been feeling burned out for the last 7 years and it is not getting better. I am glad we chose to send her to a private school instead of home-schooling her though, because I really couldn’t do it. We would kill each other. I come home from school, happy to see my family and then 15 minutes later I’m like “Wait, i think I’d rather be back at work! WTF? These are my kids, aren’t I supposed to enjoy my time with them?”
      I can tell you now, the time that I actually enjoy being with my kids is maybe around 10% of the fucking day. I know that sounds horrible, but that what it feels like.
      But luckily I have a great husband who does his share, so I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be on your own. My condolences, seriously.

  • Lauren

    All of this embodies what I’ve been feeling for about a week now. I only have one. A small one at that- 15 months, but I’m growing a second one and in the middle of the first trimester, and dear LORD if I don’t hate my job as a mother every single day right now, and then feel so much effing guilt for it.

  • Holls

    Thank you. So, so with you. And I chose this! And I am pretty sure I’d choose it again!
    What the eff is wrong with me???

  • Tracey aka KidLit!

    Dude, I get it. I so fuckin’ get it. I really really do. I find myself saying “get out”, “go play”, “no”, “no”, “no!” … it IS never ending. From girl toddler intterupting sleep, 8 year old boy, and moody tween, I get it, dude. You are not alone.

    So. Where are runnin’ away to?

  • Diana

    Thanks, Janelle. I needed that! I try to take long showers with the door locked, but my kids just climb up to where I hang my car keys and unlock it, just to whine at me and/or flush the toilet. :'( Pass the vino!

  • Pat

    On the same page with college thrown on top.
    I have this folder when I stuff all my mom-cations for when my kids are old enough for me to flee guilt free for a bit. I’m so doing some artist retreats since that is the biggest joy that the kids have turned to shit. Its more taxing to do art around them then to scroll on the web.
    Also going to hoard my babysitting money to flee next summer for day trips to a yoga therapy retreat in the mountains. Stupid insurance doesn’t cover therapy in ranch settings as they call it.
    Hopefully your escape is sooner than later. There some great writer retreats in Wales, France and Scotland.
    And as I typed this my youngest pulled an evil moment to drag my blanket through a dirt pile and spill dog water on it.

  • Leigh Ann

    I have been here. I have said these words! I have felt so overwhelmed by it all and been so SCREW THIS! It usually happens when I’ve had X number of days with absolutely no break, and that’s how it usually is when kids are home with you all the time. But, BUT, today I had two 5yo’s in kindergarten and a 3yo in preschool, no deadlines, no appointments, no lunches with friends, and I found myself saying, “What am I going to DO?”

  • Angie M.

    Absolutely brilliant fucking timing! I was one of “those” girls who thought they could never be a stay at home mom. That was until I got pregnant with my first kid. I wanted for years and years and years to just be able to stay home and cuddle my kids. Well eleven years later my youngest just turned 4 and will be starting kindergarten next year and due to a really long story that I won’t get into right now we have the money for me to stay home for one year. My last year to be a stay at home mom, ever! Now I am stuck! I’m sitting here trying to find balance. If I spend all day with my sweet baby girl then I feel guilty that I’m home and the house is a mess. If I spend the day cleaning or running much needed errands I feel guilty that I didn’t spend enough time with my child who is the entire reason that I am not at my job every day. And then there is this whole feeling that I am doing something wrong, like someone is going to bust down my door and yell at me for not being at work, it is crazy!
    So basically, thank you! Thank you for being you and speaking the way you do about everything! Some days I think I could lose my mind and then you post another brilliant post and all seems right in my world again.

  • Jen

    Best post on motherhood ever. Seriously but I pretty much feel that way after every post you write.

    p.s. LOVE the comment policy. You are brilliant!

  • Melissa

    Um, yep. I just started back at school for the first time in more than 15 years. I have an almost 4 yr old boy, and a 14 month old boy with DS. I spend more time yelling at my 4yr old than I’d ever admit out loud. One time, he even told me I hurt his feelings. Lately, he’s been staying up til 9 and waking up before 6:30. My 14 month old still wakes up at least once in the night to nurse. I haven’t had a real break since I don’t know when! I love em and I hate em. Sometimes my skin literally crawls and I think if someone touches me one more time, I’m going to punch them in the face! And my husband wonders why we never have sex! I’m either getting sucked on, climbed on, pinched, jumped on, pulled on, screamed at, or… 12-14 hours a day. Leave me the FUCK alone! Thanks for letting ME rant! Nice to know I’m not alone. And, btw, my house often looks like that….but we aren’t moving!

  • C Smith

    You’re preaching to the choir, lol! I recently threatened to leave my husband so that I would get every other weekend off. I must have seemed really serious because he took all of the kids out for the whole day. Then I spent the entire day at home feeling guilty because it was his one day off work in the entire month. Also, they left my daughter’s inhaler at home and I was sure she would have an attack and DIE because I am a lousy, selfish wife and mother. Sigh, sometimes you can’t win at this game.

  • Lala Musings

    I can relate to this. I constantly feel like I am in a quagmire of minutia, repetitiveness and ineptness. There is also an oppressive guilt for not being the thing I think I should be, and then vicariously perceiving (whether right or wrong) this inadequacy through the disappointed eyes of my children. Add to that a partner with relentlessly annoying tendencies that erode all semblance of self-control and anger management, and I too would like to tack on a twice monthly no-contact clause to this motherhood gig. The problem is once you’ve signed on the dotted line, that sucker is ironclad.

  • carolyn

    It does get better- there will always be messes- too much work-the thought that you are not doing enough- before you know it -you will be watching your daughters get crazy-never stopping- Its a Girl thing-my husband never bought into that some of the mess is his- Smile -pick yourself up and walk yourself into your bedroom and take a mini vacation- it will all get done- There is an end in sight- but learn to worry about you first-your health -your stress level-your happiness-take the time to do things you want to do. DO IT NOW!

  • Rose

    love that you say everything raw, just the way I feel it instead of me finding sensitive ways to break this news to myself and my co-worker love to you! X

  • FashPackSocialClub

    Come to Copenhagen 😀 I’ll serve you for a cup of coffee, hell, I’ll even give you a huge glass of well deserved vine.. But it has to be out of the house, cos there are two small humans messing mine up at the moment. That’s why I made some young friends recently, the type that doesn’t have any kids, and live far away so I will have to stay over when I visit. I can highly recommend that. Then tell everyone (also the in-laws) That you have to go work for a weekend in.. say Stockholm (or maybe somewhere closer to you). Visit your friends, sleep like forever in their guest room, and chill the fuck out!!!

  • Virginia D

    Best post EVER!! Short of actually abusing or neglecting my 3 kids, I feel like the worst parent right now and the guilt is destroying me. Even if you can get away for a few hours or even a weekend, you never really get away because they are ALWAYS ON YOUR MIND.

  • ElizaLef

    I am in love with this post. I was up with my daughter all damn night… I need some sleep. I need a break. I need to get back to being good at my career. But until any of that happens at least I have your blog.

  • Bad Egg

    Once again, you’ve framed my life in your own words. Nice to know I’m not alone.

  • Beth

    I only have one. 7 months old. And – yes, yes, and yes. I know that when I have a couple more, plus many more years in I will feel this way times however many more and plus many more years. And yet it’s true with even ‘just’ one. I’m really new at this, and all of my friends are still living up the city life without kids. It’s hard to find validation for any of it (good, bad, or downright ugly). Yet when I read your blog I feel like at least someone is speaking the truth and knows and tells how it is. Thank you.

    By the way, the first post I ever read of yours was your “I became a mother and died to live” post. I read it when I was pregnant. I felt like I ‘got it’ at the time – because you write so well and because I knew that this was a big f-ing deal I was getting into… But now, with my baby pulling my hair (unwashed, I might add…for too many days I care to say) and crying if I put her down for a moment, with a massive poo in her diaper that I would think may have been the reason she only napped for 25 minutes (except that that’s been her nap norm for weeks now….) as I listen to a message left by a friend who says it’s been ages and can we hang out and organize another friends birthday together and I want to but wonder, as I do so much these days, just HOW…?????? How do I parent with post-partum depression? How do I admit it to myself or others? (Getting better with support, but still….) How do I shower, brush teeth, get myself fed and care for this little being? How do I support my partner in his difficult, stressful job while asking for support and validation from him, too? How do I feel human again? How ANY of it?

    I’m realizing the impossibility of it, and also realizing that days are going by and I’m doing it. Or not. But still they are going by and the bigger issue is that someone else sees me and this impossible situation.

    And I realize now that I get it more than I ever did before. And that when/if I have more kids I will understand the truth you speak more and more as I live each stage myself. And thank god or whoever or whatever that there are people like you out there living it before me and speaking it so that myself and so many others can realize that we are not alone and never have been.

    My first comment…sorry I’ve been stalking so long without saying thank you. Here it is.

    Please keep writing.

  • Krob

    Great.post as I gallop.around the house like the paid help.worrying about who is.next to cry whose the next to.be clobbered by a sitter… I think 16 years tilmy youngest is 18…. who.ever thought this mothering shit is great I fucking did. I cannot wait til they are all gone all four of them out of my house … I want responsi ikty gone I want to stop worrying about lunches and.mittens and.matching. outfits for.portraits I want out… I want to sit on my ass book a vacay somewhere hot and go there and sit on my ass and have no one ask me.for.juice

  • sara

    Yup, this pretty much is my life. Working full time, commute for an hour, house is a constant mess and too small. Disabled mother on top of it to make me a card carrying member of the Oreo generation. 6 years since my last vacation. Done= definition of.

  • Melisa

    Between us all we should be able to find a few of our significant others and withhold sex long enough until they agree to take the kids and lets all go on a vacation together!!!! Drink are on me!

  • Adriane

    I’m not brave enough to write these type of feelings but OH HELL YES do I have them! Thank you for letting me know I’m not the only one who wants to just walk away for a day and come back refreshed.

  • lisaeggs

    I also have a two-pack of ranch chilling in my hallway. I think I just want to see how long it will take for someone to put it away. Clearly I’m the only one playing this game because it’s still there. Okay, this post: I have been feeling so much like I need a break, a REAL break, and I know it’s not going to happen. My aunt (who’s like my mom, really) is always going, Oh, Lisa, you’re going to get your break in 18 years, hahahahaha! Ya, but I’ve been at it for almost 9 years now already! It is so hard to be a mom. SO HARD. So hard to be the one who is totally responsible for 3 kids. I have two older ones and a little one, like you do, my little one is just a bit littler that Georgia, and Max, my oldest, is Rocket’s age. So everyone’s doing something different, but everyone needs 100% of me. It’s been really hard lately. I know my daughter is going to be a really hard tween. I was pretty bad, and she’s cuter, smarter and quicker than I ever was, so I’m really in for it. Thanks for sharing this Janelle and giving me a chance to vent and write this all out. LOVE YOU!xoxoxo. (Going now to put the ranch away, maybe that will set things going in a more positive direction around here, who knows) xoxoxo

  • Tamara

    I needed this post so bad today.

    DD threw a flashlight at the baby and also dumped all the soap down the drain. (expensive facial cleanser) These are the two biggies.

    She has SPD, so she is absolutely oppositional lately. I am coming up with praise to give her constantly. I am tired of praising this horrible tyrant. I know she will be her sweet self again. Someday.

    I hope it’s soon.

  • Kateri Von Steal


    Even though I’m in the category of “working mothers”… I empathize.
    Because, the only thing this JOB does.. is get in the way of all the HOUSE responsibilities I am supposed to get done.

    It cuts short on HW time, with Emry, and making dinner time… and EVERYTHING.

    If I didn’t work… I’d be out of my mind trying to keep up with all the house stuff on a daily basis.. because there would be MORE of it.. I am sure.. because… That’s just how it would be.

    There is no winning.
    There is no break.
    We are MAMA… and this is it… until we die.

    There is a work conference I am going to…
    And Klay and my dad will be with Emry… From THURSDAY NIGHT until SUNDAY AFTERNOON… I expect the house to be burnt down when I get home.


  • Laurel

    You wanna know the best thing about divorce? SPLIT PARENTING TIME, BITCHES. Sure, it’s permanently damaging my kid and I sometimes feel like half a mom, but three days a week I get to do fuck-all. Which I feel very entitled to because I was a 24/7 single mom for a while. And by fuck-all I mean catch up on work. Whatever. At least it’s quiet.

  • HeronSister

    I love the honesty of your writing. It does suck. And there are those odd, very infrequent moments of being at peace with my mama-role, my daughter, and the state of the house. Notice I did not include my self.

    We keep saying we can’t just escape for a couple of days or a whole week. Well, I’m a single mother and I do. I get desperate enough to make it work. Sometimes it’s great. Sometimes it’s more trouble than it’s worth. Here’s my recent post on the topic: http://heronsister.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/mothering-self-care-and-shame/

  • Michele

    Your house? My house on a very, very clean day. I’m totally jealous. And kids? Make you feel like you’ve been rolled for your wallet, and at the same time GUILTY for feeling like you’ve been rolled for your wallet. What’s UP with that?

  • Emily

    I love the part where the lady in the grocery store says how fast they grow! That’s great! I totally hear ya there! I’m in that SAME boat! Sometimes I think “What was I thinking spacing them out like this??? No wonder people have kids close together! I’ll be in mommy mode for a total of, like, 28 years!” Some days I don’t think I can take another hour, yet I got at least 16 more to go!!! Ahhhh!!!! Thanks for the laugh!

    • Emily

      Lol, 16 more years I mean!

  • Ani

    So I may not have children yet, but I do have a herd of nieces and nephews(43 to be exact). So I frequently get calls, emails, messages of whatever sort from sisters expressing feelings of total insanity. Sounds a lot like your message. I’m going to have to share this, because every mother deserves to know that she is not alone.
    I love your honesty. It’s awesome!

  • Maggie

    Girl, I love you. This cracked me up, I went from horrified to laughing out loud like 10 times while reading this. I was just thinking today how much money i would pay for an afternoon in bed watching tv. And I only have been doing this for 18 months!!! Damn!
    Thanks. I bet it felt good to write this.

  • Rebecca

    Thank you for your honesty! I think that being a Mom is the hardest job in the world, we are under-appreciated all day long, and not just by the Littles, by society as well. I read on FB that being a stay home Mom is not a job, she said being a Mom is a duty and to stop calling it a job. Well, hmmmmmmm…..if being a stay home Mom is not a job then why do we PAY to leave the child(ren) IF we go back to a paying job?!!! WTF!!! not work if the Mom does it, just seen as work if someone else takes care of our kids while we “work.” I am so furious at the lack of being seen for what this is, it is FUCKING hard work! the hardest, most frustrating, intense, crappy day at work did not compare to getting through a hard day of being at home with an almost 3 year old and an almost 1 year old. ever. EVER!!! going to a paid job would be a vacation, and you get all the perks; mental health days and paid vacation, like you said we NEVER get those!!! and when you fall apart and FINALLY get them, you have so many layers of guilt and pressure that you can’t actually relax and enjoy. OMG it is the hardest most beautiful job ever, because I do love it as well and that is the crazy making!