Posts Filed Under Maybe my kids are the problem.

Imagine all the people trying not to be dicks

by Janelle Hanchett

So the other day I was at Costco. For our overseas readers, Costco is grocery store on steroids. Everything in is it huge, bulk, wonderful. I love Costco. It’s very American.

I shop there often because my family somehow manages to consume like 3 loaves of bread and 2 gallons of milk a week, even though I rationed milk consumption to dinner-only since the kids kept getting dehydrated in this fucking Valley heat.

Why do I admit these things online? There’s something wrong with me.

Though I’m technically there for “staples,” the miracle is that once I enter those giant roll-up doors, I realize I pretty much need every single thing in the damn warehouse, but none of this has anything to do with the story.

So anyway, against my better judgment, I venture into Costco with all four kids. Yeah. That’s three plus a newborn, folks. I knew I was playing with fire. It was like 3pm and 104 degrees or some nonsense. 3pm sucks. Everybody’s tired and miserable and generally over it, but rather than staring at walls at home (or napping), I’m towing them all through the sun-kissed aisles of ridiculous American consumerism. The baby was asleep in his carseat but I knew it wouldn’t last. He’d been asleep too long. Georgia was nearing the point where her exhaustion turns into squirrel-on-crack behavior. Bouncing off the walls, I believe it’s called.

And the two other kids, well, they’re pretty reliable. They behave in Costco. MOSTLY.

My coffee had worn off.

The kids were hungry.

So, why, exactly, why was I doing this?

Because I was having a little dinner party for my mother-in-law’s birthday that evening, and I had no food, as per usual. No choice, motherfucker. GET THIS SHIT DONE.

We do okay as we walk through the aisles. I was going quickly. There were samples. I thought I might actually pull through without disaster.

Then we hit the checkout line. It became very, very clear to me that I will not pull through.

The baby starts doing that closed-eye head-turn “wah wah wah” thing. The fists start shaking, the legs kick a bit. Of course I start pushing the stroller back and forth, doing the frantic “Shh shh shh” thing, but I know it’s not going to work.

He settles for a moment. Five seconds letter he’s back at it with more force.
“Fuck. Should have put him in the carrier.”

But I didn’t want him on my body. IT’S 9 MILLION DEGREES and the thought of 30 minutes in air-conditioned Costco without a sweaty head and 20 feet of material across my chest just sounded too amazing. Sometimes we need our bodies back for a moment, ya feel me?

I glance at the line ahead of me and see the slowest moving humans on the planet. They’re enjoying a chat with the checkout dude. I realize this hell is my own.

The baby’s really getting worked up now. I remove him from the seat but he wants to nurse, bad. It’s been over 2 hours at this point. He’s clearly wondering how he’s managed to stay alive this long.

I hear a woman say “Honey, sit down! You’re going to fall!” I look back and see Georgia attempting to STAND in the cart (which the

Hey dumbshit, bring the carrier next time.

Hey dumbshit, bring the carrier next time.

kids were pushing). With the baby in one hand I grab Georgia with the other, tell her to sit down. She ignores me. She’s been ignoring me lately. I can’t figure out if it’s a fun feature of age 3 or some twisted symptom of my-mom-just-had-a-baby-and-I-hate-life syndrome. At any rate it’s loads of fun!

I curse myself for not bringing the carrier inside. I consider leaving the checkout line completely and nursing the baby in one of those giant chairs in the furniture area. But the dinner party. I don’t have time. And his diaper is wet too. Nope. I have to plow the fuck through. Get through this line with a screaming newborn and horribly misbehaving toddler and the card and the wallet and groceries and the cart and stroller.

By this time, Arlo is wailing. I’m bouncing him on one arm and pulling the toddler into the seat and trying to use my nicest voice (as opposed to my “I’m going to fucking kill you” voice) to tell my older kids to please load groceries onto the black moving belt thing (WTF are those called?) and I realize in a flash that I look absolutely pathetic. My shirt was even pulled up a bit, exposing stretch marks and a belly modern society would call “fat.” I’m straddling the line of humiliation and PURE BEAST MODE.

The dude asks me for my Costco card. I’m trying to buckle Georgia in with one hand and soothe the baby and direct the other kids and get the card and pull my shirt down and move the cart through the thing.

People are looking at me. I’m terrified of keeping them waiting.

My god in that moment I swear I almost looked at complete strangers and asked “Would you HELP me?”

But I didn’t, because we don’t do that sort of thing. Nope. This is America, where each human fends for herself and a dumb broad like me, well shit, I’m the one who decided to have all these kids and go to Costco and whatever, whatever.

Ain’t my problem, lady.

Sucks to be her.

HURRY UP, pathetic mommy, so I can get home.

Imagine if somebody walked over and started putting some groceries on the moving thing. Imagine if somebody came over and said “Here. Let me get this toddler buckled in.” Or asked “Can I help you?” Shit. Even a smile would have altered my life.

Honestly, I can’t believe somebody didn’t intervene solely because it was too painful to watch.

I’m a tough sonuvabitch. I’m tough as nails. I don’t break easily and this ain’t my first rodeo, but you know what? Sometimes we need help. Sometimes we need somebody to take a minute or two and just HELP. I never ask for help, but I would have proposed marriage to the human that lent me a hand in that moment.

But nobody did. And that’s cool. I don’t deserve shit and I’m not entitled to anything. I knew I’d survive, and I did, and I don’t feel sorry for myself.

But I made a decision right then and there that the next time I see some human struggling, I’m going to help her. I probably would anyway, but from now on it’s a self-imposed requirement. And I’m going to make my kids help strangers when it’s obvious they could use a hand. We live in a community. When the fuck are we all going to act like it?

Of course we don’t have to. Of course it’s not our problem. But you know what is our problem? Not being a dick.

And as far as I can tell, watching some pathetic, overwhelmed woman like me in the Costco checkout aisle while glaring at her angrily is, in fact, being a dick.

And once again, my comment policy pulls through like a brave warrior, life mantra, the deepest spiritual concept ever written:

Try not to be a dick.

Just try. Let’s all try. I’ll try, you try. Boom.





Marianne Elliott (author, yoga teacher and human rights activist) had me at this question: “Do you wish you could find the courage to do what you really feel called to do?”

Well, until I read this one: “Do the voices in your head tell you that you can’t do it because you are not ready, not qualified enough, not good enough?”

Um, yes.

You know, the thing is, you know when somebody is speaking your language,willing to speak the truth, and brave enough to face the real shit.

Marianne Elliott strikes me as one of those people.

She’s enrolling now (deadline is August 1!) for her online class 30 Days of Courage, which is meant for “people who want to step out of their comfort zones” and lead a more courageous life. (Is it wrong that I immediately think about traveling the north American continent in a trailer with my family? That’s what I’m into lately.)

In her words, you’ll learn:

• how to build a stable foundation for your courageous life;
• practices to cultivate your innate inner courage;
• ways to use curiosity and experimentation to sneak past the guards at the gate to your comfort zone;
• how to find the small act of bravery that you can do right now;
• exercises to tone your courage muscles;
• practices to ensure your courage is also compassionate.

She offers all kinds of other classes too. Check them out.

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, 


When did we decide kids shouldn’t suffer?

by Janelle Hanchett

You know what I realized recently? My kids aren’t suffering enough.

Oh, come on. I don’t mean like that. Not suffering abuse or neglect or whatever. Get your head out of the gutter.

I’m talking about healthy suffering. Toil. Good ol’ fashioned WORK. I’m talking about discomfort, doing things repeatedly that are physically, mentally and emotionally unpleasant because you have to. Because it needs to get done. Because there’s nobody else to do it.


the man in question.

So, I have this husband who grew up on a ranch. Actually I only have one husband, but he did in fact grow up on a ranch. Eighty acres of farmland and a small, family run slaughterhouse (sorry, vegans). And from the time he was old enough to work (so like, 7? 8?) he was expected to, um, work. He had to get up and feed animals – when it was pouring rain, hailing, or Christmas. The animals don’t care. When it was 45 degrees or 106 degrees and a cow got out, he had to go handle it with his dad, whether or not he felt like it. I used to watch him catch chickens and my God he hated it. I’ve never seen a person more irritated. I could tell he was miserable, through and through.

There’s value in misery, I tell you.

And he worked in the slaughterhouse (still does, actually. In fact he’s there as I write this, at 7am on a Saturday). I’ll save you details but I’ll tell you this: It IS NOT pleasant. I don’t care how gently SouleMama makes it seem to slaughter turkeys or whatever the hell she does, it’s messy and disgusting and freezing cold (or stiflingly hot). It’s foul (fowl? hahaha. TELL ME I’M NOT FUNNY.) beyond recall. It’s physically exhausting, and it’s relentless.

But as a result of this relentlessness, his life reflects some principles that make him a damn fine human being (if I may say so myself), and something of a lost art.

He understands:

  • The world is not here to cater to him.
  • Hard work is a natural part of life.
  • Physical discomfort is not that big of a deal.
  • If something needs to get done, YOU FUCKING DO IT.

Sometimes it seems like we all work so hard to provide our kids “comfort” and “a nice childhood” that we forget that a good portion of life is just WORK: dirty, grimy, unpleasant. I mean, isn’t it? Isn’t a good part of your life doing things you don’t feel like doing?

Not that we’ll all be toiling on ranches under the beating sun, but rather, life requires the ethic that underlies that work, the willingness to do the damn job until it’s done because it needs to get done.  And even though you don’t want to, even though it’s terrible and unpleasant and exhausting, YOU DO IT ANYWAY.

Let me back up. Here’s what happened. One of my kids was purposely doing only half of an assigned daily chore because s/he found it distasteful to his/her delicate sensibilities. Vague enough for ya? Yeah, well the details don’t matter, and I don’t really want to call my kid out on the internet (well, not directly, at least). The point is the child was purposely deceiving us for a month because doing the unpleasant portion of the job was JUST TOO MUCH or whatever the hell. Couldn’t be bothered. Couldn’t be made to feel uncomfortable. I discovered this and was furious. I’m like wait. WHAT? On what planet does this make sense to you? Everybody in your world works, homie, and hard.

Georgie is ready to work.

Georgie is ready to work.

Your dad is an ironworker who commutes 4 hours a day to provide for his family. Your mom is 8-months pregnant teaching 3 classes, trying to develop a freelance career and raising 3 other kids. We aren’t martyrs. We’re working people. Not because it’s glamorous, but because we want to eat.

Your grandparents work. Your great-grandparents STILL WORK. We aren’t some silver-spooned, Town & Country-reading douchecanoes who sit around basking in trust funds and lamenting the plight of the world. Come the hell on, kid!

But then I realized in a moment of painful self-honesty that my kids have never really been made to suffer much, to get their hands dirty, so why am I surprised? If life teaches you that comfort is the expected baseline, why would you ever accept the opposite? If daily existence confirms your right to unadulterated pleasantness, clearly unpleasantness is an anomaly to be avoided. Right?

I’m realizing that sometimes, kids need to work hard, really hard, against every shred of their desire. They need to be made uncomfortable. They need to get super freaking pissed off and do the work anyway.

At least, I think they do.

Yeah, my kids do chores (SORT OF), but rigorous work? Not so much.

Hours of work? Probably not.

Work that really, really pisses them off? Doubt it.

And this is supposed to be a good thing, right? These kids that have such a “nice life,” such a relaxed, supported life?

Right. Until they grow up to be the The Entitled Asshole in my English class. Oops. Was that my outside voice?


I’ve seen the product of “Oh honey, the world is here to serve you” and people, it ain’t pretty. I’ve seen the product of “Dear, we’re all here to make you more comfortable” and “You shouldn’t have to suffer, sweetheart” and it manifests in an expectation that the world should love them for showing up, for breathing. It develops into an attitude of “well I’m here and I’m wonderful and I really feel like I should be able to do the bare minimum of work and you will compensate for my laziness because duh! I’m me!”

I’ve seen the results of the every-kid-deserves-a-trophy mentality* and I am here to tell you IT ISN’T WORKING.

Every kid does not deserve a motherfucking trophy.

You know who deserves a trophy? The kid who works the hardest. The kid who puts in the most time. The kid who shows up and BRINGS IT.

Alright fine. In tee-ball they all deserve a damn trophy, because they’re four.

But after that, kids deserve what they put in, nothing more and nothing less. And I’m not getting all “American bootstraps mentality for the win!” on ya. Come on. I know there’s more to the story than that, and hard work alone doesn’t guarantee “success” in the world, but I also know 100% that I cannot teach my kids the world is here to serve them, or even, really, as harsh as this sounds, that the world gives a shit about them. The world does not care about my kids. The world cares about itself.

My job is teach my kids to ask themselves “What can I contribute to the world?” Rather than “What can I take from it?” So many takers. I want to raise givers. Imagine if we all raised kids who grew up asking what they could contribute to the situation, to each other, to the world?

Okay, John Lennon, settle down.

But seriously, that wouldn’t suck.

And since right now my husband and I and this house are their “world,” we’re going to start with some gardening in the hot sun, some washing of floors and some Saturdays spent cleaning and organizing and sweating, a lot, all day. And there will be no trophies given.

The trophy is knowing you did it, and you did it well, even when nobody was looking, even when you didn’t feel like, because it had to be done, and you, thank goodness, were there to do it. There’s an unparalleled sense of satisfaction there, when you give, when you work your hardest, for yourself and others, because you were needed.

And if there isn’t satisfaction, get over it. Not all endeavors in life are infinitely fulfilling. You did the work necessary because you understand that sometimes work is necessary. And that alone sets you above Entitled Douchebag status, which, I’m sure we can all agree, is a win.

HA! OMG. There. There’s your trophy, kid: You aren’t an entitled douchebag. 

You can thank me later.

*Note: I did not invent the trophy thing. Somebody told it to me and I stole it but for the life of my I cannot remember who said it. So, if you’re reading this and you’re the one who said it: 1.) you’re a genius; 2.) sorry for stealing your shit; and 3.) tell me and I’ll cite you, MLA style.

Hey new moms: I got a “babymoon” for ya.

by Janelle Hanchett

You know people keep talking about these damn “babymoons,” and once again I find myself shaking my head. Setting aside my disdain for the term itself (on account of its excessive cuteness), I just don’t understand how a trip to Turks and Fucking Caicos is really a “last hurrah” at all.

Yeah okay I get it: Quality time with your partner before the baby arrives and your life is ruined. Wait. Not what I meant.

It’s a time to “renew” and “reconnect,” blah blah blah, fine. It’s a time to really take advantage of your childless status. But why the hell are we telling new moms to take a vacation as the way to celebrate and cherish the way their lives are now (as opposed to the way it will be when baby enters the picture)? I mean that’s not the shit we miss. Right? Is it? Big vacations? Nah…I mean some of us could never afford those anyway, and Mac and I still take mini-vacations occasionally. At least I think we do.

Anyway for me it’s the little stuff, or was, back when I remembered life without kids.

If we really want to help women appreciate life before baby, I really think a trip to Florida isn’t the way to do it.

Hey, first-time moms. You want a babymoon? Try taking a shit and enjoying the way nobody bangs on the door.

Come to think of it, I have some other ideas:

Why would you EVER want a break from these faces?  Ha. Ha. Ha.

Why would you EVER want a break from these faces? Ha. Ha. Ha.

  1. Go to a restaurant and have a conversation, like as in the whole time. Just do that. Just talk and eat. Do nothing else. Notice the way you don’t have to bounce a baby on your knee while eating or nurse anything or leave the restaurant entirely because Lungs of Steel refuses to enjoy the ambiance.
  2. Come home from work, sit on the couch and do nothing. Trust me.
  3. Get on the phone when you feel like it. Have a conversation. Talk as long as you want. Soon, the second you get on the phone, no matter how sure you are the baby is asleep, no matter how long she’s been happily playing by herself, no matter how short the call, the SECOND that call connects is the SECOND your baby will demand your undivided attention. (Note: the importance of the call is in direct proportion to the likelihood that your baby will not let you make that call. Just FYI.)
  4. Have sex with the light on. What? Dude. When there’s a chance a small human could enter your room at pretty much any moment, that light ain’t going on.
  5. Actually just have sex anywhere you want.
  6. Get in the car and put on Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop.” When he says “motherfucker,” enjoy the way you don’t feel guilty for playing music with swear words.
  7. Then, drive around in silence for a long, long, long time.
  8. A long time.
  9. Put your groceries in the car. Get in the car. Drive away. Appreciate how fast that was.
  10. Go to a bar on Friday night with friends, get totally shitfaced, stay up til 2am, THEN SLEEP IN ON SATURDAY like the rest of your friends. Wait. Nevermind. You’re pregnant – BAD IDEA. Just sleep in Saturday. That’s revolutionary enough. Babies don’t care how late you stayed up. They also don’t care that you’re hung-over, puking, feverish or depressed. Neither do toddlers or kids. So yeah. Just sleep in on Saturday over and over and over again.
  11. Cook a meal, sit at the dinner table and eat it with you partner, relishing the way you aren’t trying to quiet, ignore, or discuss deep philosophical shit with offspring, or teach them manners or tell them to eat their whatever or sit still damnit or stay in your seat or clear your place or stop bickering or OMG I hate dinner.
  12. Crawl into your bed and observe the profound lack of infant in it.
  13. Pack up your stuff for an overnight stay somewhere. You don’t actually have to leave, just pack. Just pack because it’s SO FUCKING EASY TO PACK when you aren’t packing for a baby.
  14. Go to bed when you feel like it. As in, when you feel tired, go to bed. Yes, that’s it. That’s the whole exercise.
  15. Watch whatever the hell you want on Netflix.
  16. Spend some quality time with your dog.
  17. Do laundry. Revel in how there aren’t 1,436 loads.
  18. Don’t handle poop.
  19. Walk barefoot in your house. No toys? Exactly.
  20. Stare at the floor of your car. Soon you’ll forget what it looks like.
  21. Clean a room in the morning. Clean another room in the afternoon. In the evening, delight in the way BOTH ROOMS ARE STILL CLEAN as opposed to re-destroyed in a sickening cycle of cat-and-mouse games. (By the time you clean one area of the house the other area is destroyed so you just keep going around and around and around cleaning rooms while others get destroyed, feeling the cat on your tail, wondering why you do it at all but also unable to function in the borderline-subhuman condition known as “kids in home.”)
  22. Get yourself ready. Right. Yes. That. Get YOURSELF ready and then leave.
  23. And then go on a trip, I guess, but not because you won’t ever get to again, rather because this is the last time you’ll go on a trip by yourselves when you won’t be oddly, frighteningly, inexplicably missing the insanity of numbers 1-22, just a little, as you walk around that gorgeous beach without your kids, thinking simultaneously “God it’s nice they’re gone” and “Damn I miss those little bastards so much. WHEN DO WE GO HOME?”

Now THAT is a fucking babymoon.

We'll just call our trip to Monterey our 4th baby "babymoon." Wait. Does that exist? Is that a thing?

We’ll just call our trip to Monterey our 4th baby “babymoon.” Wait. Does that exist? Is that a thing? Since HE DIDN’T LICK MY FACE IN THIS ONE (I yelled at him), we’ll use this to prove we’re a romantic couple that takes babymoons and shit.

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