Posts Filed Under motherhood. the end of dignity.

37 reasons I’m having trouble “embracing the moment”

by Janelle Hanchett

Sometimes I complain about motherhood.

Shocking, I know.

And every time I do, somebody somewhere somehow gives me the same sage advice:

Enjoy it before it’s over.

Live in the now.

Soak it up.


And generally speaking, my urge is the same. I basically want to punch them in the face. Not because it’s bad advice. It’s not. In fact it’s the best advice ever. It’s solid fucking gold. It’s true and real and exactly what I should be doing.

This, of course, makes the advice that much more annoying, since I know they’re right and yet I can’t seem to pull together this much-desired full-moment-embrace.

At least not always.

There are various reasons for this during any given day. I’ve decided to compile a few.

So here you go: 37 Reasons I’m Having Trouble Embracing the Moment

  1. I’m so tired I recently told somebody I had a baby girl. Yeah. My baby has a penis. So until further notice, I had a boy.
  2. It’s tough to really be present when your consciousness is sustained through 12,000-calorie, 25 grams of fat, 40 tablespoons of sugar, 6-shot iced coffee drinks.
  3. No for real, there’s a time each day when I think I may actually die from this exhaustion, but then, like a beam of hope and light and truth, comes the drive-through espresso place and I know I’ll make it ONE MORE DAY.
  4. But then I remember I will never lose the 30 pounds I’ve got attached to my ass if I keep drinking that shit. But I do it anyway because survival.
  5. Speaking of shit, I’m pretty sure there’s baby poop under my pinky nail.
  6. I made eggs for breakfast but my toddler “Only eats eggs on TUESDAYS!” So she screamed and wailed for approximately 30 minutes (even though she has no idea what day it actually is). Obviously.
  7. It’s so damn hot I can’t stand wearing the “quality” nursing bra to support my 15-pound-each breasts – it’s so ITCHY! – but the cheap ass (comfortable) one from Target gave me a clogged duct and if I don’t wear the 6 feet of “quality” material around said boobs (and nursing pads), milk drips out of them and onto my clothing.
  8. So basically, my choices are: uncomfortable, hot and itchy or uncomfortable, wet and milky.

(Embrace that, bitch.)

  1. I’ve been taking my placenta pills like a motherfucking boss but sometimes I wake up and I’m sure I have A.) Ruined my life and B.) Permanently ruined my life.
  2. My toddler just peed on the pool deck.
  3. Sometimes, my 12-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son bicker so long and so hard about something so stupid I actually pack up the insane toddler and screaming newborn and go to the park just so I don’t have to hear their voices for 15 minutes.
  4. When we get there, they sit on the bench beside me and whine that it’s hot.
  5. While my boobs itch.
  6. Then I usually say something horrid like “GO AWAY NOW.”
  7. And feel guilty about it because I know time flies and carpe fucking diem.
  8. I embraced motherhood 15 minutes ago. Now I want to sit on this bench and play Candy Crush and pretend I’m still 21 and hot and living in Barcelona.
  9. I have so many people demanding things from me ALL DAY LONG your voice has just become ONE MORE VOICE in the long line of voices asking me to do things and consequently I don’t hear you, at all.

But really, what part of “join me in the fight against helpful parenting advice is unclear to you?” Why can’t you just say “Yep.” When I bitch about motherhood? Why do you have to give me helpful words or whatever the hell that is because you know what I hear? All I hear is “If you were a better mother you’d be enjoying every second!”

18. Well shit. Now I can’t embrace the moment because you just told me to “embrace the moment” and now I feel guilty for not embracing the fucking moment.

19. And this leads me to think about how my tween will be 18 in 6 years and instead of living “in the now” I’m wondering where the last 13 years went and how come I didn’t “live in the now,” then, when I still had a chance and she was younger and nicer.

20. I’m thinking about money. Namely, the way we have none.

21. I’m wondering how that article that’s due this evening is going to get written when my baby decided that the only palatable life activities are nursing, sleeping against the boob (because I DIE WITHOUT THE NIPPLE MOM) and pooping.

22. I’m crying over nothing.

23. I’m answering questions from my kids about why I’m crying over nothing.

24. I’m making a mental note not to watch rescued-elephant videos ever again.

25. It’s 4pm and I just realized the circus needs to eat. Again. Why must they eat so often?

26. The dog ran away, out the broken fence. We need to fix the fence. He’s a sweet dog. I love that dog. I need to pay more attention to the dog. Sorry, dog. (No worries. We found the dog.)

Hey. Hey you. I AM EMBRACING MOTHERHOOD, just not at this moment. Why isn’t that okay? I ENJOY MY KIDS, just not at this exact second. Why is that a problem? Aren’t all jobs annoying at some point? Don’t all jobs have some aspects that suck? I mean if I were a lawyer and I hated doing time entry would you be like “Enjoy it.” Embrace it. Time flies. Someday you’ll be too old to record your time.” No. Of course not.

But this is motherhood, you say. Motherhood is precious. It’s all so precious!

NO. No it is not.

Sometimes it’s not precious and I really, really think we’d all be better off if we stopped telling mothers to “enjoy every moment” when some moments are really, really (sometimes literally) shitty, full of nothing more than grit and dirt and work and grime (with a hint of cuteness).

27. I was up until midnight writing an article. My baby woke up at 3am and wouldn’t go back to sleep until 5am. At 6am my toddler woke up and bounced into my bed “I’m here to cuggle (cuddle)!”

28. It’s hard to embrace something when your eyes won’t open and your head is pounding and your arms are stuck under an almost-crying newborn and a flailing 3-year-old.

29. It’s 5am and I’m torturing my newborn with that snot-sucking device so he can finally sleep, FINALLY.

30. But I can’t sleep because I’m 97% sure he has whooping cough.

31. Better get on Google and explore whooping cough. What time does the pediatrician’s office open?

32. Oh great. It’s 6am! Here’s Georgia! Toddler cuddle time!

33. My kitchen smells vaguely of vomit and mildew.

34. My voicemail is 90% full. I fucking hate voicemail. Text, people. TEXT.

35. I have 17 flagged emails in my work inbox that need attention and my auto-responder says “Just had a baby” even though it’s been 5 weeks and they hover in the back of my mind like the most irritating buzzing fly you’ve ever heard.

36. My kids are eating mac and cheese again. I can only imagine what the processed cheese-like substance is doing to their brains.

37. We need to go to Costco but the tired. Oh. My. God. The tired.

And this baby.

And these kids.

THEY’RE JUST EVERYWHERE. And it never, never ends.

the haircut in question.

the haircut in question.


Eventually I give up, fuck it, park my ass on the chair and watch some 30 Rock reruns. For a minute I laugh, we all laugh, as the baby tries to nurse Rocket’s nose. And Georgia did her swimming lesson without crying. Came out beaming “I was SO GREAT in that pool, mama!” And the dog jumped in the kid pool like it was his own personal Raging Waters and my husband got an amazing haircut that makes me want to, ahem. And the grin on Ava’s face when she got her prize for reading 4 books at the library’s summer reading challenge. Oh, the innocence. It was almost as if she were 6 years old again.

I saw it for a second, just a second. My second, and hers.

As her smile hits my heart, I hear an explosion in Arlo’s diaper and something wet on my arm. I change him in the back of our hot SUV while the kids argue about who sits in front and Georgia removes her clothes, again, because that makes sense. I see my coffee in the stroller like a silent beacon of hope.

So there. 37 reasons I’m having trouble embracing the fucking moment.

And 1 or 2 that keep me trying.


Now please, for the love of God, stop telling me to embrace the moment. I’m embracing what I can, as best as I can, along with every other mother I know. And besides, 


Where the hell is my glow?

by Janelle Hanchett

I’m 27 weeks and 1 day pregnant. You would think I’m in Peak Glow Zone. But I’m not. I think somebody has stolen my glow.

Somebody has stolen my glow and replaced it with hemorrhoids.

What? Too much information? TELL ME ABOUT IT. It’s too much information FOR ME and I’m the one dealing with it. I know things about myself I’ve never wanted to know. Regions of my body that should be ignored at all costs have become the central focus of my day.

I have an idea. Maybe we can stop talking about this for a minute or two and instead, you can shoot me.


Oh that’s right. Old people and lucky pregnant women.

So you call your midwife and she’s like “Don’t use that over-the-counter stuff it’s got mercury in it” (you hang your head, having already used it for two days you are sure you ruined your baby with mercury poisoning) but then she suggests potatoes and you’re like “You want me to do WHAT with potatoes?”

I’m sorry. Is this unpleasant? Of course it’s fucking unpleasant. This is what I’m trying to tell you. I’m supposed to be glowing but instead I’m being told to do ungodly things with potatoes.

One thing I know for sure: My glow has definitely not been dimmed by sleep problems. I mean, provided I meet a few simple conditions, I sleep like a damn baby.
You know, as long as

I’m on my left side or my right side (but not either side too long)

and I’ve got a pillow between my legs

and one under my belly and

one to hug,

and I have eaten recently but not too recently because heartburn

and we have the rear bodily region taken care of

and I’ve peed within the last 15 minutes and

it’s not too hot and

there are no weird smells in the air

and my husband isn’t snoring

and the dog isn’t snoring either and there aren’t offspring taking up the bed and making me really super fucking hot and the

baby isn’t poking my bladder with one of its 12 limbs

and it isn’t between the hours of 2 and 4 because those hours are for thinking not sleeping dumbass,

I sleep fine. I sleep great. I’m out like a motherfucking light.

Now that I think about it, there may be a small sleep issue harshing my glow.

Or maybe it’s the fact that my 3-year-old has recently learned the word “Never!” but not just never like standard never, she’s learned the never that’s stretched out, like “Neverrrrr!!” You know, the dramatic one yelled in response to the enemy force demanding that you “Surrender!” but instead you charge forward in brave defiance, wielding a sword and screaming “NEVERRRRR!”

And Georgia now says it about 174 times a day.

“George. Put on your socks.”


“Georgia, come eat your dinner.”


“Georgia. Say you’re sorry for ramming your finger up Rocket’s nose.”


That shit will fuck with your glow, I tell you.

I should be a soft picture of maternal beauty, but at some point my softness morphed into a walking ball of STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING NOW or I may kill you. The other night at dinner I was literally going around the table telling each member of my family how they were eating wrong. As I was doing it, I knew it was insane.

Now ask me if I stopped.


Speaking of not stopping, maybe the glow diminishes with every empty carbohydrate you consume. If that’s the case, we have discovered the problem, folks. I’ve gained 35 pounds already (FUCK OFF SCALE) and it’s not healthy weight. I know this because I’m not eating healthy food. I mean I do sometimes. It’s not like I’ve consciously eliminated healthy food. I just supplement it with the occasional almond croissant. On occasion. Occasionally. Somewhat regularly.

Somebody give me a glow.

I haven’t bought any baby stuff because Jesus who has time for that shit?

I want to get excited but all I am is uncomfortable and tired and trying to figure out how the end of the third trimester has come 2 months early and how it is that my entire lower region is being held together by strings (that’s what it feels like, not actually what’s happening) and WHAT, exactly, compelled this whole circus.

I want to be glowing, but I’m a dim flickering bulb, barely doing its job and annoying the shit out of people.

The other day my husband watched our 3 kids walk out of the room and with a very serious face asked “Why did we think we needed another?” and the truth is I really couldn’t answer and NO it’s not that I don’t want this baby and NO it’s not that there’s any doubt in my mind that the second this child locks eyes with me and I inhale his (her?) heaven breath and watch the petal mouth root for my breast that I will think to myself “Oh. There you are. How did we make it this long without you?”

But for now, when I’m supposed to be “committing to a nursery theme” (we have no nursery) or joyously picking out a “going-home outfit” or planning a “baby moon” (what the fuck is a “baby moon?”) or laying around fantasizing all day about fingers and toes and dimpled elbows I’m like “Leave me alone so I can soak my ass in some Epsom salts.”

And then I hop onto Old Navy to buy my svelte little body some maternity clothes and I see this broad:


and while she’s skipping all joyous and shit like some sort of blond happy swan I’m like “Where’s the Metamucil, assholes?”

It’s all so hot. I’m just so hot.

My glow, it’s everywhere. In all the places.  Can you feel it? I’m a radiant ball of reproducing glory.

Somebody hire a photographer so I can take those maternity shots where the mom makes a heart with her fingers and holds it in soft sunlight over the gorgeous arch of her womb.

Yes. Please. Let’s do that. That will be cute. I feel so cute right now.

Can’t you see it in my face? The double chin? ANYWHERE? (No seriously I couldn’t even muster the energy to look away from the damn phone or attempt to “smile for the camera!” Couldn’t be funny. Couldn’t be cute. Could only push button.)

the face of joy

the face of joy

I’ve got 13 weeks to get my motherfucking glow back.


Think I can do it?

I have the kid I used to judge other people for having

by Janelle Hanchett

It took a while to figure out, but I’ve finally determined that yes, for sure I have a kid I used to judge other people for having.

I used to look at people with their insane toddler hell-bent on standing in the shopping cart or running through the center of the mall and I’d be like “Well now, look at that little specimen of humanity” and then I’d look down at my own toddler, sitting quietly in her stroller gazing at shit with age-appropriate curiosity (reflecting profound intelligence and insight, obviously) and I’d be all “I’m so glad my excellent parenting has produced such a solid toddler as opposed to that person’s shithead kid.”

The other day, as we walked through the mall, I looked back and saw my husband carrying Georgia sideways and upside down as she flailed.

He asked me: “Do you have her other shoe?”

Yep. That’s me.

I now have the kid who’s plotting her escape at every fucking moment, occasionally finding success and running full speed, gleefully, into the wild blue yonder while I attempt to run behind her, which is a sight, I assure you, you’d rather not experience.

Actually, at this point, I’m so over it I usually just send one of the older kids after her, which makes me an even MORE SHITTY parent as I stand there watching my insane toddler bolt across public areas while calmly telling my 8-year-old “Dude. Go get her.” Then I watch with a mixture of resigned amusement and vague depression as he darts through the crowd and grabs the youngest one’s shirt, or pants, which may or may not result in her hitting the ground laughing hysterically, or bawling and screaming.

One can never be sure.

If you don’t buckle the carseat fast enough, she will launch herself across the car and into the back seat while giggling. She may get back into her carseat, IF you’re going someplace interesting to her (“When you get in the carseat we can go to the park!”).

But then again, she might NOT. There’s a good chance she’ll just run to the opposite end of the car no matter where you go to grab her, like the bad kid in Chevy Chase movies. And then you’ll just be the asshole yelling nondescript threats and wondering what the point of children really is. You know, when it’s all said and done.

Yesterday she squealed “Super Georgie!” and bolted through legs of the people standing in line of a restaurant. But that was kind of my fault, because I brought up the whole “super Georgie” thing to my mom and inspired her.

Silly me.

I have the toddler who won’t stop squirming down the bench seat in the restaurant (to say “hello” to the people at the next table – duh), but when you put her in the high chair she repeatedly pushes off the table to shove herself backwards and occasionally removes half-chewed food from her mouth.

Why? Because toddlers are fucking insane.


And she’ll stand in the shopping cart. Or try, repeatedly. She’ll grab shit out of the back of the cart and throw it.

She’ll scream “I HAVE A PENIS!” as loud as she can, which is mostly just annoying because of the volume, though the content could also be improved.

Or, my other favorite: “Santa is POOPY! You’re POOPY! I’m POOPY!”

That was yesterday, in Michael’s. We keep it classy.

Spilling things, mixing things, throwing things, constantly. Huge, huge messes. Messes you didn’t know were possible. In the refrigerator. “I’ll do it myself!” All the toys from the bedroom in the bathtub. Strange liquid mixtures all over the counter. Stickers. Everywhere. Pen marks on every wooden toy. Climbing. Jumping. Flailing. Lying down in parking lots, randomly.

It never, ever ends.

Maybe this is a result of deficient parenting. But IF this is a result of deficient parenting, WHY THE FUCK DIDN’T MY FIRST TWO KIDS ACT LIKE THIS?

Nope. This is just her.

Or maybe it’s that once you have more than two, the little hoodlums outnumber you and the older ones CRACK THE FUCK UP every time the smallest one screams “penis!” or “poop!” or flings herself sideways across dinner tables or throws her shoes and socks off while riding in the cart in Costco.

And you’re like “Stop laughing!” and trying to put your motherly foot down but for real it does nothing because there’s THREE of them. The energy of your voice is like a kitten walking against a tornado. Sorry. That was a little morbid.

The kitten’s fine.

A couple days ago Rocket was lying on the floor and Georgia literally did a cannonball off the couch onto his stomach. It was awful. Not funny. INSANE.

Where does she get this shit?

Maybe I’ve done something wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time. Maybe it’s just her. Maybe it’s a perfect storm of factors resulting in this gorgeous, crazy kid.

But whatever it is, I’d like to offer an enormous, heartfelt “FUCK YOU” to the old me, to the mom who walks by and sees me kind of sucking ass with this child, trying my hardest to rein her in when all the forces of life are against me.

And I’d like to explain to that mom, the one standing there with her perfect toddler or two, that if she has enough kids, her day may come too, when suddenly SHE’S the one in Michael’s picking shit up in the aisles with a toddler squealing at a stranger perusing the aisles: “Those are OUR BUTTONS! Don’t take OUR BUTTONS!”

And I’d like to explain something else, that the kid you see throwing herself out of the cart is also the one who runs into my room each morning and yells (after removing her clothes): “Do you want to cuggle (cuddle?). I ALWAYS love to cuggle!”

And she’s the one who had a big boy monster truck birthday party. She’s the one who hears a song in Old Navy and says “I gotta dance!” Then gets down and dances in front of the mirror. She’s the one who sat on an old man’s lap for a few minutes and gave me one of the most beautiful moments of my life.

She’s the one who seems to fill just about every square inch of the lives of those who know her with a joy that’s hard to explain. You can kind of see it in her eyes. In her sly smile, in the way she walks. A certain determination to live, to be what and who she is, as “irritating” as it may seem to the rest of the world. And to me.

I’m very serious when it comes to manners, and I am decidedly not one of those parents who’s all “Oh look at my kid acting like a shithead! Isn’t it cute?”

It’s not cute.  I don’t think it’s cute. You don’t think it’s cute. NOBODY THINKS THIS SHIT’S CUTE.

I don’t let her get away with poor manners and insanity. It’s just that she ALWAYS TRYING NEW METHODS OF CRAZY, which means my life with her is often a serious of averting disaster and attempting to correct the last disaster. Sometimes my mothering of this child is reduced to just trying to get through whatever task is at hand: a trip to the grocery store, dinner, the car ride.

If you don’t understand what I’m saying, just have a couple more kids.

If you’re lucky, you may get one like this…the best worst kid in the world.

And you’ll learn the only cure for horrible judgmental douchebaggery is to become one of the assholes you used to judge.

So thanks for that, Georgie, I owe you one.

1014201_10201752734803147_658876553_n 1148770_10201751599974777_206776795_n dancing in Old Navy, to a terrible techno song FUCK YOU, Stickers