Posts Filed Under bitching about the kids I chose to have.

Motherhood is driving around in circles.

by renegademama

And in today’s episode of “shit nobody tells you about parenthood,” let’s talk about the amount of driving involved with this endeavor.

Could also be called, “If this is sacred, why am I so bored?”

I mean, I get it. Motherhood is a really beautiful thing. At least 14 seconds of it each day take my fuckin’ breath away.

But the rest of it feels a little more like vapid routine blended with odd smells and existential crisis.

The good news is, my sense of the hyperbolic remains intact.

So, our kids’ school is about 15 minutes away from our house. It’s a long story involving schools and where we can afford to live and blah blah blah, but the point is: My daily driving routine is something along the lines of unbridled bullshit.

For two years, I had to leave my office at 2:15pm to get my kid at 2:30pm, at which time I would sit in my car with said child or run to the store because Rocket didn’t get out until 3:05 – who the fuck invented that plan? – then I would drive across town to pick up the teenager and her carpool, circle back to my house, drop off two kids, drive back near my house to pick up the toddler, then go home.

The process took two full hours.

Then I brilliantly learned about an after-school sibling program (that’s always been around, FYI) for $40/month where your little kid can dart around a gym for 35 minutes, guarded by teenagers, waiting for their older sibling to get out of school.

The discovery was perhaps the happiest moment of my life.

So now my driving is 1.5 hours. Sometimes Mac and I share it. Those are the good days. Sometimes he does it himself. Those are the orgasmic days.

Sometimes he’s working so far away he can’t get there at all. Sometimes he’s doing that for ten months at a time.

Those are not orgasmic days.

By the time I get home after that drive, I feel like I’ve run a marathon naked in the snow. But even that would be more rewarding since at least I’d be burning calories and it’s at least weird. You know, a good story.

In between road rage, car line pick-ups, double-parked motherfuckers, the mess of my minivan – partnered with the fact that I, in fact, drive a minivan – back pain from sitting so long, bickering children, spilled milk products when I can’t even figure out where they got the fucking milk, whining demands for what music is played and WHO GOT TO PICK THE LAST SONG, the list of paperwork I’m supposed to sign as well as the shit we were supposed to turn in yesterday that I was also supposed to sign – there’s me, wondering if perhaps there was going to be more.

Or was there? I kind of signed up for this, didn’t I?

Our life is the way it is because we constructed it this way, so why am I complaining?

First, because it feels good.

Second, because I think so much of motherhood is this really vapid shit nobody talks about, tasks and routines that are so heavy and dry, just the same thing each and every day – and it’s rarely fun, and it’s not particularly rewarding, and yeah, I’ll say it, it doesn’t feel “meaningful.”

The feeling I get in these beats of motherhood – in the daily uniformity and yet never consistency because who the fuck knows what mood the toddler or teenager will be in today?

The feeling I get sometimes is that my life has become nothing.

And by extension, I have become nothing.

 

I don’t feel this way now, as in, this very moment. I just published a book. I just got back from a book tour.

But I began writing this blog post in March, just a couple of months ago, then abandoned it, probably because I had to drive somewhere.

How quickly things change.

How quickly things return to the same.

I’m riding the high of your messages to me, your comments that you see yourself in the book, in the depiction of motherhood I explored and worked on for two years. I worked my ass off, away from my children. I gave it everything I had, much of it alone. I worry about book sales and I’m hustling to get this book into the world’s hands, and it’s hard, and it’s all-consuming, and terrifying, but in between, I drive. I drive around in circles, and come home to a thrashed house and dinner to be made.

I drive and drive and drive.

 

I know that when this all dies down, I’ll find myself there, again. Back on the same old track. Wondering where I went. Wondering if I’m gone.

I think this is how it goes, back and forth, looking for ourselves in these tiny moments, often drowned out by the roar of 2 hours in a messy car, again, listening to bickering and searching for that paper we lost and realizing one kid forgot his instrument and the toddler is somehow lacking a shoe, and me, knowing somewhere this what I wanted, though I get to hate it, too, now, and maybe forever.

Thank god it’s almost summer. Thank god we just keep rolling on. Surely right around the corner it will all feel synthesized, right?

No.

It will feel the same, but I’m glad I get to talk to you, and when you see me in my fucking minivan, you’ll know what I’m thinking. And if we see each other, we can’t be disappeared.

Maybe that’s the story I’m writing now.

Maybe that’s the story we’re all writing.

***

Have you checked out that book I wrote?

I wrote it for you,

that’s for damn sure. 

The three-year-old explains how to do mornings without pissing him off

by renegademama

Hey, Mama.

Look, I know you raised three toddlers before me, and I’m sorry it’s come to this – truly, what is wrong with you – but I’ve noticed you really suck at meeting my needs in the morning. I’m a giver, though, so I’m going to tell you how to stop being awful.

I’ve broken this down by topic so your questionable brain can comprehend it better, and you can use it as a sort of reference sheet when you grow confused, which, as far as I can tell, is often.

Waking up:

Thanks for letting me crawl into your bed at 2am to use daddy as a pillow and you as a footrest. I like that. Please don’t wake me up, though. I don’t like that. If you wake me up, I will either be so fucking adorable you could cry, or I’ll behave like a weeping squirrel on methamphetamine.

I like to wake up when I wake up, which is usually 6am, unless you have to be somewhere, in which case I like to sleep longer than I’ve ever slept in the entirety of my life.

Getting dressed:

I like pants with “soft stuff” inside. Nobody knows what that means but me. I hate some clothes, a lot. Which clothes I hate changes daily, but you’ll know if I hate it because when you try to put it on me, I will throw myself onto the ground with my face on the carpet and bottom in the air. This is because your sartorial choices are so awful they cause me physical pain.

Like bowel cramps. That’s why I’m writhing.

Also, the person I want to get me dressed is whoever isn’t available. Daddy is at work, you say? Well, he’s who I want to dress me. Since he’s not around, I will refuse to get dressed.

If not him, I want the teenager who already left for school.

Third-tier choice: The 7-year-old, because at least with her I get to laugh a lot and everything takes nine times longer than it should.

Lot of motion, no progress. That’s the way I like it.

Basically I want anyone in the world other than you to dress me because I hate you and you’re always rushing on account of your shitty planning skills, which aren’t my problem. I hate rushing. I AM THREE.

Brushing my hair:

I will never know who’s fucking idea it was to grow my hair out. What are you? Hippies? Hipsters? You’re almost 40. Pull it together. I hate my hair. I hate that you think you need to brush it. I only like daddy’s beard brush. I can’t believe my father has a beard brush.

The reason I like it is because it’s boar bristle and therefore does absolutely nothing against the wads of dried whatever the fuck is in my hair.

The best thing for you to do would be to NOT TOUCH MY HEAD EVER but look, I’m reasonable, so I’ll settle for an iPad in front of me and unbridled wailing while you attack my head with small, ineffective bristles.

Breakfast:

I hate breakfast, unless you don’t feed me breakfast, in which case I feel starving, downtrodden, and abandoned, even though daycare feeds me breakfast. Once you feed me breakfast, though, I remember I hate it.

So what’s best is that you make me food then let it sit at the table so I can reject it.

Shoes:

I prefer shoes that do not fit the season. In the winter, I like sandals. In the summer, I like rain boots. I’ve observed you’ve gotten on board with the summer rain boots but really hold fast to this “your feet are going to get cold, honey” nonsense.

Fine, I’ll wear closed-toed shoes, but only the pair that has one missing. Oh, you can’t find it? Look harder. I NEED THE ONES THAT ONLY HAVE ONE, Mother. And I need to put them on myself, which I don’t know how to do.

Jackets:

Fuck jackets.

Carseats:

Fuck those too.

Lunches:

I need a lunch like the other kids even though a wonderful woman named Amanda makes me home-cooked lunches every single day and you pay for it. And I need three items in that lunch. If I spot sweets, I need three sweets. You never let me do this. This enrages me. If you would just give me the three sugary items in my lunch, I wouldn’t have to remove the shoes that just took me ninety minutes to put on the wrong feet.

Walking:

Sometimes I will walk to the car or up to the door at daycare. Sometimes I will tell you, “My legs deflated,” and collapse in a pile on the sidewalk.

I ain’t mad. My legs just deflated.

The car ride:

I like to listen to The Greatest Showman soundtrack with my lunch in my lap, or I like to scream about how you fucked up my morning again. There are just so many details you forget. Stick to this reference sheet, JANELLE, and I’ll just sing, okay? I’ll sing show tunes and be the cutest little ratty-headed toddler in the world.

Like God intended.

You’re welcome.

Love,
Arlo

what sort of bullshit you gonna serve up today?

***

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29 Comments | Posted in bitching about the kids I chose to have. | February 28, 2018

My life is a wall of indecipherable sound.

by renegademama

Hi, my name is Janelle, and I barely like sound. For many years, I thought I was simply an asshole. While this is undeniably true, my condition apparently goes beyond an irrationally low tolerance for people trying to chew food.

You see, I have “misophonia.”

Apparently this is a real brain thing. Whew.

I’m the person who visualizes stabbing strangers for eating Corn Nuts across from me at the library, or my husband when he has the audacity to eat a chip. I feel actual rage. It starts in my toes and runs all the way to my forehead, where it gathers into helpful ideas like, “Maybe I can kill this person and run out real quick and get away with it.”

I’m being 15% hyperbolic.

And yet, I have seventy-five children.

Fine, I have four.

Do they have a term for the inability to handle the wall of indecipherable sound known as “children?”

 

All they do is talk. Well, no. One of them, Rocket, the twelve-year-old, evidently adopted the quieter demeanor of his father.

While Rocket doesn’t talk incessantly, he does make some seriously odd squealing noises pretty regularly, sounds I imagine a goat would make were he being held over flames, but he doesn’t chatter on endlessly requiring the undivided attention of his mother. Interestingly, he is the one kid I TRY to make talk, and he barely will, and even when he tries, his words are drowned out by the raging torrent of his siblings’.

That’s because my other three children basically never cease speaking, no matter what, or when, or what the topic, and I just need to say this out loud: I CANNOT LISTEN TO ALL THIS TALKING.

There seems to be an expectation of me, as a mother, to exist in a state of rapt attention, endlessly interested in the yammering of small humans, in the barrage of stories regarding this and that, in the 800 billion questions regarding Peppa Pig and the nature of existence, in the dreams.

Oh God. The dreams.

NOBODY GIVES A FUCK ABOUT YOUR DREAMS.

Wait. I didn’t mean that. I meant, “Aim high and dream big, kiddo!”

No but for real. Stop telling me what you dreamed last night.

Sometimes my three-year-old wakes up in the middle of the night, talking. He’s in our bed, and thus difficult to avoid. The last time he did it, he told me something about a motorcycle and tiger, and demanded to know why I was wearing a shirt.

Yes, good call. Let’s talk about that. We don’t talk enough. Let’s add 2am bedtime chats to our talking schedule.

 

Do people really expect me to give a fuck about every single word that exits the mouths of my children? I strongly believe those people have never actually been around children.

I’m being a dick in this blog post, but I usually attempt civility and feigned interest in the sound wave crashing into my face.

For example, when the dream recounting begins, I sit there staring at them with a sort of blank look on my face and my mouth possibly open, mumbling, “Oh.” And “Weird!” and “Dreams are like that.”

Later, I remind myself that kids can pick up on parental vibes and they surely know I was not exactly “riveted,” then I wonder if I’ve done irreparable damage to their self-esteem and psyches. On the other hand, shouldn’t kids learn that nobody wants to hear their self-obsessed chattering (lest they grow into mansplainers)?

I am grateful my teenager still talks to me, but the problem with the teenager (and three-year-old and seven-year-old) is that they are almost always asking for something.

So it isn’t just talking. Every word is adding a motherfucking task to the list of my life, and I already hate the list. I may have lost the list.

THE LIST IS NOT WORKING AT ALL ALREADY.

Reminding me of this or that commitment or wanting permission for something or asking for money or a ride or an outfit or some bullshit for school and I’m like For the love of god leave me alone for ten minutes so I can contemplate how I’m ruining you by trying to avoid you but also I need to avoid you.

 

Since we’re on the subject, I also don’t think kid conversations need to enter every adult conversation and I will, in fact, reject the blithering talk of my kids to enjoy an actual adult conversation and if I see my kids pummeling an adult with a wild stream of speech acts, I will make them stop.

Having hung out with many, many parents over the years, I have learned that this is not the way every one parents, and in fact, many parents make the child the center of all existence always and forever, no matter how fucking boring the kid is.

Did I just say kids are kinda boring?

Yes. Yes I did.

It’s not about “seen and not heard.” Nah, it’s about recognizing when you’re dominating the conversation, assuming you’re the only one that matters, taking over everything because it’s fun for you. I know adults like that. They only get invited to dinner once.

 

Anyway, when it’s just the five of us in the car, and my teenager is telling me about the 463 things she’s got going on in the next week and my 7-year-old is telling me about what this one kid said in line today and also when can she get horse riding lessons and the three-year-old is recounting a day when he went into the clouds on a submarine and saved his grandfather from a monster who lived in a tree, and I’m sitting there trying to drive or think or plan dinner or my inner spiritual life, what I really want to say is: EVERYBODY SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Instead, if it’s really bad, I’ll yell something like, “Everybody be quiet for 30 seconds so I can think.”

Or I turn the music way up.

Or I try to choose which kid is actually saying something that matters, and I hone in on that one and ask the others to cease and desist.

The toddler just keeps on going. Forever. NBD. Who needs an audience?

What sort of bullshit genetic defect did I inherit that I have to hear every single goddamn fucking word that exits my children’s mouths?

There should be some sort of default silencing shut-down system in every brain to allow for the muting of unending child words.

And the worst part is that sometimes they say the sweetest and deepest shit imaginable, and I’m overwhelmed by adoration for their weird little kid brains.

But truly, no more dream talk. And I’ll wear a shirt if I want to, toddler. Also, tell your future therapist it’s not my fault. I have misophonia.

I HAVE KID MISOPHONIA.

Go team.

 

***

Let’s write together in 2018.

I have three workshops running in January/February:

Write Anyway: 3 spots left (one partial scholarship available)

Renegade Writers’ Group: 1 spot just opened

Brand new workshop on effective argumentation/political writing: 2 spots left

Join us, and please email me with any questions.

 

28 Comments | Posted in bitching about the kids I chose to have. | December 13, 2017

I hereby declare we get to bitch about motherhood because sometimes it’s bullshit

by renegademama

The other day I told Mac, “I don’t really enjoy hanging out with our family anymore.”

It wasn’t one of those moments of exhausted self-pity or fiery rage when we say shit we don’t mean (or maybe only I do that?), and it wasn’t a well thought-out expression of a deeply shameful secret. It was simply the verbalization of a feeling, and when I said it out loud, it simply felt true.

I wonder if it’s grief. Maybe I’m still jacked up about the murder of my grandmother last November. That was a ridiculous thing to say. Of course I am.

Maybe it’s because time is forcing me back around to the moment my cousin took her life: November 9, 2016 at 7:30pm in Livermore, California.

Or maybe I haven’t actually moved on at all. Maybe I’m still stuck in the moment when I found out, as if time halted and now I just travel in circles around a tiny, horrifying instant.

I don’t think that’s it.

I think it’s that my family has changed, a lot, and I’m having a hell of a time getting adjusted to it. I have a full-blown teenager now. She’ll be 16 next month. She’s a spectacular kid, better than I ever could have imagined, especially considering how her mother behaved at 16, but she’s a teenager, and the world pisses her off, a lot, and sometimes her moods almost perfectly mirror the toddler’s.

Speaking of which, every morning I wonder which Arlo will walk out of the bedroom: Satan Arlo or So-Lovely-I-Could-Spit Arlo. If it’s the latter, he’ll walk up to me and say, “Will you hold me for just a minute?” And I’ll pick him up in his motorcycle pajamas and pat his fuzzy blonde head and stick my nose in the fold of his neck to catch a whiff of sweet sweaty toddler.

If it’s the former, he’ll sit on the kitchen floor screaming and kicking the refrigerator because I won’t let him eat an ice cream sandwich for breakfast.

Rocket is twelve now. And he’s getting damn close to the same teenage angst his sister is experiencing, but he’s still pretty mellow, comparatively.

George is in the childhood sweet spot. Seven years old. Adorable, young, and still chill. But the oldest and youngest kids often demand so much of my attention, I can’t even hang out with her and Rocket like I hung out with the other kids when they were their ages, and I feel a little robbed, and resentful. And I think about middle child syndrome how I am surely, right now, causing it with my glaring deficiencies.

When we go somewhere as a family the bickering starts almost immediately – who sits in the bucket seat of the van (I hate my life), or who gets the last piece of sourdough, or one kid tells another kid to stop humming or whistling or singing or breathing and the other kid yells back until we’re on minute 20 of bickering or yelling and then I’m yelling and it all goes to shit.

Somebody is always in a bad mood.

Somebody is always throwing a tantrum, so rather than enjoy the kids, I’m dealing with a pissed off teenager or pissed off toddler or pissed off me.

It feels lately like it’s more trouble than it’s worth.

 

As soon as I admit that, I feel shitty for admitting that. I remind myself how lucky I am to have this family, these children. This home. I tell myself to be grateful, goddamnit, some people have lost everything.

And intellectually, I know this to be true. Right now, as I type these words, I feel like an entitled piece of shit complaining about a beautiful life. These aren’t even real problems.

And I know they’ll pass. I know whatever is happening here, whether it’s in me or them or both or the stars, will fade into a something new, maybe something I have never known before.

But then again, I think mothers need a chance to say “sometimes motherhood sucks,” and sometimes we need to be able to say it without anybody telling us “Cheer up, Charlie,” or looking at us as if we’re bacterial bottom-dwellers.

Sometimes parenthood is boring and monotonous and simply sucks donkey balls, and sometimes I’m tired in my motherfucking bones. Like a tired that is more than lack of sleep, like a tired that feels like it’s in the air and has moved into my blood, an existential tired. A tired of the cosmos.

Oh, the drama.

It’s an exhaustion that makes me feel like I can’t engage at all. I can’t even rally the resources I almost always have – to parent.

 

And yet, here we are anyway. Crazy fucking mothers. We keep showing up, every damn day. We keep trying to talk to our kids, to guide and support them, to advocate and fight on their behalf, to lift them up when they’re all fucked up.

And we do this even when WE are fucked up.

And that’s why we get to say it, you know? Because if our frustration or boredom or exhaustion led our feet out the front door to never return, well, then, that’s something. But that’s not what we do.

We show up half-broken and half-asleep with a headache.

We show up when every inch of ourselves craves bed.

We show up when the irritation and annoyance with the bickering is like metal stakes in our foreheads, over and over again.

We just keep showing up.

 

It’s not about martyrdom. It’s not about, “Aren’t I so sacred in my annihilation of self?”

It’s about “I love these humans and I am their mother and this is what I do and also they are not ALL of me and never will be and sometimes the entire thing is bullshit.”

Sometimes I just cannot get into motherhood and yet I can’t talk about how I’m not into motherhood because I’m supposed to be so fucking grateful all the time.

Well, you know what, I’m grateful AND I’m over it.

See you at the pick-up line.

Therefore, I hereby declare: Mothers are allowed to bitch about motherhood without anybody telling us “Well, you chose this.”

People choose to be doctors and lawyers and firefighters and they come home and bitch about that, don’t they? How is it weird to have moments when you are TOTALLY OVER YOUR JOB?

We all get to not love what we’re doing sometimes, and we can let the sanctimony surrounding this particular job (of motherhood – fuck the patriarchy forever) vanish like last night’s sleep.

We are real people with real needs and desires doing real work, and as such, we get to yell “fuck it all” into the cosmos on occasion, and realize that in showing up, and doing our best with what we’ve got – even if it’s small and half-assed or a bit sketchy – we’re there, every day, indicating how “grateful” we are for the life surrounding us.

The life we built.

And thank god for made-up pumpkin patch challenges, which I do every year (we go to like 8 or 9 in a month) and which this year involved so many arguments I can’t even begin to count them.

Pretty sure Mac at one point stated, “Pumpkins are ruining my fucking life, Janelle.”

But we showed up anyway, and at the last pumpkin patch yesterday, the teenager said, “Mama, you have to take a picture of us jumping off the haystack like we do every year.”

So I did.

And remembered.

***

Want to write with me in January?

I started writing this blog in January 2011, and over the years, I’ve learned how to say the things I think even if they’re a bit unpopular, and may or may not result in people telling me I’m fat, should have my kids removed, or diagnosing me with some preventable illness.

Let’s just say I get unfriended a lot.

But also, I have been overwhelmed with the reverse: People saying, “Hey, thanks for saying it. I needed to hear it.”

That’s how writing works, I think. We say some truth to connect to our people, and in doing so, we lose some people and piss some people off, but at the last, we find those who need to hear our words.

I don’t have a monopoly on this process, and people are waiting for what you’ve got to say. I made a workshop to work toward getting you there. I don’t sell any fucking silver bullets, but I can tell you what I do to silence the assholes in my head and ignore the ones in the interwebs, to just Write Anyway.

Join me in January.

I found this a year after I named my workshop “write anyway,” which basically means Junot Diaz is my best friend and he loves me.

27 Comments | Posted in bitching about the kids I chose to have. | October 31, 2017

An honest account of “chore time” in the shitshow of my domicile

by renegademama

Somebody on Facebook recently asked me what chores are like in my house, so I thought I’d tell you about it in entirely honest, unequivocal terms.

In short, it fucking sucks.

Perhaps it’s a result of bad parenting, and surely in response to this post, all sorts of helpful humans will suggest infallible tactics to WHIP MY ASSHOLE KIDS INTO SHAPE, or, better yet, get my sorry ass functioning on the level of the enlightened, but I don’t fucking care. The truth is what it is, for whatever reason, and chores around my house go like this:

The second the teenager starts working, her mood becomes that of downtrodden elderly person sick of the way life has mistreated her all these years.

She generally walks around doing her work while shouting at her siblings for failing to do theirs and asking my husband and me if we would please “start parenting our children.”

I usually look at her and wonder if perhaps a better option would be to burn the fucking house down.

I TOO AM ATTEMPTING TO PARENT HERE, TEENAGER, BUT HAVE YOU SEEN WHAT I AM WORKING WITH?

Incidentally, she’s my favorite kid whilst doing chores because although she is annoying as fuck, she is, in fact, DOING SOMETHING, which is generally more than I can say for my son, who’s twelve, and has to be asked 5 to 27 times to complete a single task.

Every time it’s chore time, he suddenly has to go to the bathroom, for a long time, or he begins doing a task, such as the dishes, only to get distracted almost immediately by a funnel, which he will fill with water and bubbles until Mac or I walk by and remind him of the importance of progress in such situations.

He gets back on task but then sees a jar with a lid, which is apparently fucking fascinating, or hears Phineas & Ferb echoing out of the iPad held on the lap of his seven-year-old sister, who has been asked three times to turn the iPad off and clean her room.

Twelve year old somehow forgets all reality and saunters over to observe the sound, which now has my husband almost roaring because we’re on reminder number 6 to DO THE DISHES.

I take seven-year-old by the hand and escort her into the room, where I glance at the one-foot piles of clothes everywhere and ask, again, why all the clothes have to be removed from the drawers in order to find a single outfit.

“I was looking for my dinosaur shirt” is somehow her categorical answer.

Well, also there’s, “I don’t know.”

So infinitely helpful, these kids.

I scan the room with 12,000 stuffed animals never played with but somehow of great sentimental importance and the overturned magnetic tiles bin, the dress up clothes, the Legos—and I’m overwhelmed with such a sense of existential malaise I usually just stand there with mouth open wondering if this is really my life.

After staring into the ontological void, I often walk out of the room hoping for the best, knowing there’s a good chance the kid will shove all the shit under the bed. I’m conflicted about the whole bed-shoving thing. On the one hand, it’s a useless, lazy activity simply moving the mess from one location to another.

On the other hand, it moves the mess from one location to a less visible one, which in my state of deep malaise, kinda feels like a win.

To understand my standards in moments like that, please take regular standards and remove them entirely.

If I don’t leave, I usually start working, somehow always donating 20% of what I see to the goodwill pile – BUT HOW DOES THE SHIT JUST KEEP MATERIALIZING OUT OF NOWHERE? – while shouting to Mac how “we need to make the kids pick up their room every day after school!” and he adamantly agrees despite the fact that we have never once accomplished this task with any regularity.

Alternatively, I will call him into the bedroom to say things like, “Do you see this shit?”

And “SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH OUR FUCKING KIDS.” Or I blame their habits on him.

I find that goes well.

We will then usually say something about garbage bags and how all items on the floor will end up in them unless shit starts changing today.

Vague threats and empty rhetoric are my most essential parenting tools.

Meanwhile, the three-year-old is running around with a large sword from the dude in Moana, whacking his siblings until they engage with him and Mac and I shout “Get back to work!”

The dog sits farting in the living room.

To contain him (the toddler, not the dog) sometimes we’ll turn on the TV, but then the sweet siren sound of the electronic babysitter radiates throughout the house, attracting the semi-addicted 7-year-old and 12-year-old until all three are huddled in living room and the teenager is once again accusing me of “not parenting.”

This generally continues for two to four hours until each kid (sans toddler because he’s useless) has managed through some miracle of baby Jesus, Mary, and Buddha, to complete the fucking chores on their chore list.

As miserable as chore time is, the idea of not having them do chores is about eighty times worse because who the fuck wants to raise entitled assholes who won’t do chores? I DO NOT.

And yes, I know, Super Capable Mother who will comment on this very post letting me know how I need to be consistent, firm, and reasonable and my kids will follow in line perfectly, I REALIZE MY DEFICIENCIES ARE THE PROBLEM HERE AND NO I HAVE NO POINT OTHER THAN TO SAY CHORE TIME SUCKS ASS.

The most infuriating part of chore time is that at the end of it, each and every kid minus the toddler because all he cares about is removing toys from shelves we just organized starts saying things like, “Wow, our house sure is nice when it’s clean like this!”

And I’m like “Yeah, it really is isn’t it? Maybe we could do this WITHOUT THE WRATH OF SATAN.”

But they look at me like I’m speaking some other language.

Sometimes, when feeling entrepreneurial, I will print out some chore charts and through a hundred forms of self-delusion, convince myself that my devotion to them will last more than three days.

Oh, and how long does the nice clean hopeful beauty house last?

One to one and a half hours.

So yes. There you go. That is how it goes down in my house. Every damn time, even though we’ve had kids for nearly 16 years and there are four of them.

Bring on the internet helpers! I’m all ears!

That is a lie. I am not listening.

If I listened, wouldn’t I be in better parental shape by now? 

In other news, here’s my toddler’s contribution to chore time:

thanks, Arlo.

***

I may suck at chores, but I don’t suck at teaching writing. 

COME WRITE WITH ME GODDAMNIT

in the 

January 2018 “Write Anyway” Session

 

I found this a year after I named my workshop “write anyway,” which basically means I am Junot Diaz.

 

37 Comments | Posted in bitching about the kids I chose to have. | September 20, 2017