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

Wait. I’m supposed to play with these kids?

by Janelle Hanchett

I created a new category called “things I shouldn’t say out loud let alone publish on the internet.” This post, my friends, falls squarely into that category, and may actually redefine the term “over-sharing.”

I actually considered not writing this, even though I felt compelled to do so.

Because this borders a little too closely on something I may want to pretend doesn’t exist. Something I may deny. Something my ego hates to admit.

But in the first post I wrote for this blog, I asked “where do the bad mothers go?” (Wait. Did I just quote myself? Wow, that’s a new low.)…and that got me thinking…I already admitted I’m a bad mother, and I don’t mean “bad” in the “ha ha ha aren’t I funny because really I’m a great mother and we all know it” kind of way…I mean “bad” like for real bad – like people may wonder if I have a heart bad. Like screw you, Janelle, bad. Like I’m not proud of this but it’s true, bad.

And since I already admitted it, why back out now from telling this shit the way it is?

There’s no reason.

So here you go…

Most of the time, I pretty much can’t stand playing with my kids.

You see? What the fuck. Bad.

Sometimes the stars align perfectly and I’m in a great, playful, carefree mood, and I can play with them and sing and be goofy (like recently when I walked around Walmart with underwear on my head – (I was buying them, they weren’t dirty)…and the kids were in hysterics and we played sword fighting with the foam pool noodles, right there in the aisle…and it was fun and we laughed and I felt like an alright mom for a minute.)

But say…oh…I don’t know…say the kids ask me to play with them, and I’m not in that kind of mood. Say yesterday happens, when I had been cleaning the house for 6 hours and was finished, but was suffering from allergies and feeling not quite right…just a little uneasy…just a little depressed…just a little, wait…what was it? Oh right. Self-pitying and self-centered and DOWN. That’s right. Uninspired. Over it. Fuck this family crap. Down.

But they are kids and they deserve a mom that plays with them.

And they’ve been asking me all day.

And the game’s all set up.

And I should do this for them.

But what I really want to do is leave. Be by myself. Not clean. Not listen to kids. Not be in this house for one more damn second.

But I have that pull. I hear that voice “Janelle…you should do this. Mothers do this. Just fucking do it.”

So I sit down to play Monopoly and they are bouncing. Bouncing. Because mama’s playing a game with them. Mama’s involved. As a courtesy they pretend to buy my plastered smile.

They even put cushions down in my spot, so I would be more comfortable on the floor.

Those kids are damn angels.

But check it out. Everything they do irritates the hell out of me. The way they slam the board when they’re moving their tokens across it…the way they lean over and knock the money piles everywhere…the way Ava directs everybody’s every single move…the way Rocket won’t focus and rolls around constantly…the energy…the time it takes… all of it. My skin is crawling. I act terribly. I’m a straight asshole to those kids, telling them what to do, demanding they do things my way.

Demanding that they not act like kids.

As I’m doing it I hate myself.

What the hell is wrong with me?

I’m there. But I’m not there.

I try, but I can’t snap out of it.

If you’re reading this and your kids are in college now and you’re thinking about how much you miss them, please don’t tell me how I’m short-sighted and should cherish these times because wow they’re SO QUICK and before I know it they’ll be out of the house and soon I’ll give ANYTHING to have these moments back .

Don’t tell me that.

Because I already know it.

I felt a yearning for that Monopoly game 5 hours after it happened.

I realized the beauty of what I missed while lying in bed that same night.

Right now I feel the sacredness of playing a game with my non-stop director daughter and goofy distracted son. I feel it. I know it.

And YET it doesn’t change it. It has no effect on The Now – when I need it. And all the self-talk “Oh come on, Janelle, be patient. Be kind. Chill the fuck out. These are your KIDS…”… all of it withers in the face of…well…I don’t know. Whatever the hell it is that makes me act like that.

It’s only the next day and I wish I could go back. But as one of my favorite songs says… that’s a “no-go for this hobo.”

I wonder how many times I’ll feel this before I learn.


Sorry, guys. You got dealt a mama who ain’t that good all the time. In fact she’s pretty shitty most of the time.

She’s a bad player.

But she loves you. And she’ll keep trying.

Hang with me little ones.

"I know Alcatraz stopped taking prisoners a while ago, but do you think they'll make an exception for that bitch mother of ours?"

“Mama, why aren’t you in the PTA?”

by Janelle Hanchett

Not too long ago Ava asked me that question:  “Mama, why aren’t you in the PTA?”

Awwwww. That kid. So sweet.

There I stood in the kitchen with my tattoos and questionable attitude, throwing together some jerry-rigged meal of non-organic clearance items while yelling at the 5-year old and the husband simultaneously, singing kid unfriendly music between rants, trying to convince myself that 8pm is in fact a reasonable time to start dinner, wondering what sort of hellish after-school activity will plague me tomorrow …and she wants to know why I’m not in the PTA.

 Sweet innocence.

I figured “well, this conversation was bound to happen someday.” –  Kind of like the sex talk. You don’t want to have it, but you must. It’s just one of those things.

So I laid it out for her: “Ava, there are two kinds of mothers in this world: those who are in the PTA and those who are not. You come from a long line of women not in the PTA.”

And I left it at that, hoping she’d drop it.

But she didn’t drop it – because she’s Ava. She never drops anything. Except her stuff as she’s trying to get in the car with 75,000 items NOT IN HER BACKPACK (though oddly, her backpack is one of the things she’s dropping, as it bangs around, (since it’s empty and therefore floppy), whacking other items out of her arms and onto the ground). Damn. Nine-year olds are weird.

(Don’t you wish I could stay on topic? Yeah. So did my high school English teacher.)

So of COURSE the dreaded question comes next “What do you mean?”

And then I have to decide…truth? Kid appropriate bullshit? Truth? Kid appropriate bullshit?

That night I chose edited truth. “Well, some women are into that sort of thing. Some women are all PTA-ish – you know, they dig that stuff – the organized mommy movement and such. They fit in and like planning and cheerfulness and whatnot. And perhaps more importantly, they usually don’t work, which means they have time and, most likely, money, (or insane drive and devotion) – and since I have neither, I’m not in the PTA.”

The unedited truth would have sounded something like this: “well, Ava, I hate organizational meetings. The only thing I can imagine worse than an organizational meeting is an organizational meeting of mothers debating which gift is the appropriate one for Teacher Appreciation Week or who should bring the gluten-free cookies to the next open house – because there’s just so much talking and so little action and I inevitably find myself asking the same glaring question: WHO.GIVES.A.FUCK. Basically I’d rather stab myself in the eye with a spoon than get involved with something like that.”

But I didn’t say that. Because that would be inappropriate. 

Though even my edited version seemed to hurt her feelings a little, so I explained further.

“It’s not that I don’t want to be involved in your education and school. It’s just that it isn’t really my ‘thing,’ as much as I’d like it to be. Part of growing up is realizing what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. And I’m not very good at that sort of thing. I tend to scare people with my bad attitude and general disdain for group activities (That was a thought. Not an outside voice item.). I prefer to get involved other ways.” (Um, yeah, still looking for those “other ways,” but I’m sure they exist. Somewhere.)

I mean the PTA emails ALONE irritate the hell out of me. 

For example, I was not joking about the Teacher Appreciation Week. It started out with a seemingly innocuous email by the lead PTA person…”Hi it’s [upbeat PTA woman]….blah blah blah….teacher week….etc…we decided that every parent should give $30.00 to buy gift cards for the teachers.” Hmmmm. I considered this. Here were my thoughts:

  1.  Dude, $30.00? That’s a damn lotta money. I don’t really have $30.00. Screw you for assuming everybody has an extra $30.00, you damn out-of-touch yuppie. What happened to the good old $5.00 limit?;
  2. Why should I pay $30.00 to show my appreciation anyway? I show my appreciation by paying the freaking tuition each month; and
  3. Moreover, how the hell does MY paying $30.00 show my KID how to demonstrate appreciation to those who help her, which is allegedly the point of this exercise?

And then, of course, my final thought: “There is no way in hell I’m participating in this activity.”

So I write a (very) edited version of the aforementioned thought pattern and [wrongly] assume that I won’t hear any more about this, having decided with Ava that we would make beeswax candles for her teacher and write her a letter of gratitude, possibly giving her some roses from our front yard (if they’re not “gross” by then).

But OH NO it’s not the end. It’s not the end because people don’t understand the “reply-all” function (or they are hell-bent on making me bash my BlackBerry into the ground until it falls helter-skelter into 5 crushed pieces of plastic), which means I will receive no less than twenty-seven irrelevant and superfluous emails registering in favor of the $30.00 gift card scheme or  acting as ‘friendly reminders’ (which are not friendly at all, just annoying) or asking deep critical questions such as “what about the specialty teachers?” “what do they get?” “what about the after-school aids?” “how much does each one get?” “do we have the kids sign a card?” “if so, what sort of card?” “who’s going to get the card?” “what about the teacher’s husband’s mother?” “does she get a card?”


Say it with me people…





And that, my friends, is why I’m not in the PTA.

Cause I can’t even handle the cyber decision-making.