Posts Filed Under Maybe my kids are the problem.

If you tilt your head to one side and squint, my yelling will look like “gratefulness”

by Janelle Hanchett

I would just like to announce that I have officially lost control of my children.

I thought I lost control when child 3 entered the world, but I hadn’t.

I lost it Sunday. Or at least I realized it Sunday. It was confirmed today.

You see, child 3 has grown old enough to follow the directions of her older siblings, which brings the number of insane noise-makers with remarkably poor judgment to THREE.

You know how many there are of me? ONE.

So we’re driving home on Sunday in our big-ass SUV and all three kids are lined up in one seat (long story), and they start having “fun.” You know, “fun,” as in the silly crap kids do that I’m supposed to think is “cute” but really I just find annoying, which simultaneously makes me feel guilty and inadequate, because as a mother I’m supposed to bask in the antics of my little ones, RIGHT? So I’m irritated, guilt-ridden and questioning my capacity for mothering while wanting to stab myself in the face. Just another day in paradise.

More on that later.

So anyway they get bored and start making Georgia repeat some line from horrible show like 27,000 times, and they’re squealing and laughing and making noises that remind me of what I imagine a donkey on meth might sound like. It’s as if the noises are actually SCRATCHING MY BRAIN OUT. Like I can see it in shreds at my feet. A big pile of it.

Ok that was graphic, but you feel me, right?

I gently ask them to settle down. IGNORED.

I sternly ask them to settle down. They’re quiet for approximately 47 seconds.

They giggle and start up again.

I look over at Mac (I’m driving, of course. I’m always driving. It’s not my fault the man can’t drive properly.), and you know what he’s doing? SMILING.

I swear to you he’s giggling. AS IF IT’S CUTE.

His eyes mock my agony: “Aren’t they sweet?” they seem to say, “Aren’t you glad we have kids?”

No joke, this strange species of human thinks this crap is charming. I want to kill myself and he’s looking at me like “Let’s have another, please?”

And that, people, is why my kids will always, ALWAYS like their dad more than they like me. On the plus side, I figure he’ll balance out my generally poor attitude and short temper. I mean one patient parent is enough, right? You know, to raise well-adjusted children? Let’s talk about something else.

So clearly he’s no help. I’m in this alone.

I plug in my phone and turn up Macklemore really, really loud, hoping to drown out the sound of their death screams. I meant “playful songs.”

Doesn’t work. Just gets them louder.

I tell myself I’m a rock in a stream.

I follow my breath like Thich Nhat Hanh says I should.

I remind myself it’s just 20 more minutes to the house.

Then I yell. Loud.

“BE QUIET! I can’t take this anymore!! NO MORE TALKING! NOT ANOTHER SOUND! The next kid to scream is doing an hour of chores when we get home!”

That shit used to work. You know what happened this time? They made church straight-faces for about 12 seconds then burst into laughter when Georgia announced “I pedo” (I fart).

And that’s when I knew: I’ve yelled so much they don’t even hear me anymore. Well shit, that’s rad. My kids have become immune to me.  Parenting WIN!

I recalled reading somewhere once that if you yell at your kids too much eventually they stop acknowledging your yells. Apparently that’s true. Who knew? Guess I’ll have to start some more advanced parenting approaches, maybe like, um, well fuck. I don’t actually know any advanced parenting approaches.

Please don’t share any with me. I have a mental block against improving as a parent. Actually I just hate helpful parenting advice. We’ve been over that. I much rather prefer blowing it enough times I give up and try something new.

Don’t ever say I don’t have a system.

So I resign myself to the chaos. I give the whole situation a mental “fuck it” and turn on Kingsley Flood (my most recent band obsession) as loud as I want, and start singing.

Eventually I forget the demon spawn. Sort of.

As we drive along my mind drifts to the words I’ve heard so many times: “Why do you have children if you’re just going to complain about them?”  Having just done a large amount of mental complaining about my children, the sentiment was particularly poignant.

You chose to have kids. Deal with it.

As if deciding to do something in life negates the possibility that that thing might get hard at some point, and you’ll want to express that. As if pursuing a path results in nothing but infinite joy as you follow it through the years.

You made this bed, sleep in it. Don’t expect us to listen to you whine.

And I wonder if this sentiment is equally distributed among all professions, or if there is a special expectation reserved for mothers, a special spot carved out just for us: Because we’re “mothers,” we’re “nurturers,” right?

And nurturers don’t want to launch themselves out of a moving Expedition on account of the horrible noises being emitted by their offspring.

They love that shit. They match chaos with fortitude, serenity, perspective.

They had these kids because they just love it. All of it: the noise chaos squeals cackling kicking crying and bickering. Obviously.

[Or, they marry a dude who loves it hoping he’ll make up for their deficiencies. I jest. I had no idea he was like that. ]

Well, check this out, my friends. I’m going to say this loud and clear: I don’t love it all. I particularly don’t love feeling like I’ve lost control of my kids. Some people are going to read this and say “Well, if she were a better mother she wouldn’t be having these problems.”


But the fact is I’m not a better mother. I’m this mother and my kids irritate the hell out of me sometimes and I don’t handle it well. I’m this mother and I don’t love every second of child-rearing and this is my job and sometimes it FEELS LIKE A JOB just like any other job a human might have, and if the world thinks I need to shut my mouth and suck it up like some grateful puppy begging at the door of my master, well the world can bite me.

Mothers are doing some seriously hard work, as hard as any work being done anywhere. And we won’t hide our sweat or shut the hell up because society thinks we should bow our heads in gratefulness at the profound opportunity to be mothers.

We are grateful, and it is profound. OTHERWISE WE WOULDN’T BE DOING IT – day in and day out. It’s not that we’re doing more or less than anybody else in the world. We are just doing a very particular kind of work, sometimes thankless work, and for some reason we face an expectation that we do it gracefully, gratefully, smiling, full of laughter and sunshine, all the time. Because it’s beautiful, pastel motherhood!

Frankly, it’s fucking ridiculous.

Motherhood is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and it’s raw and messy and real. And yet, I’m doing it. I’m always already doing it. Against my better judgment, I keep on keepin’ on.

As do you.

But we don’t have to do this alone, and we sure as hell don’t need to do it quietly.


Forgive us if our voices grate on your ears, upset your groove, irritate the living hell out of you.

We know how that feels.

We deal with it every day.


This will not be cute when he’s 40.

by Janelle Hanchett

So, as formerly mentioned, we had a birthday party for Rocket last Saturday. He invited everybody from his class. That’s right. Everybody.

But, thank my lucky stars, only 10 came.

It was fun. I mean, I guess. As fun as a party can be with a bunch of people you hardly know.

And their fucking kids.

Dude. People. There are some seriously terrible children in the world. I think I’ve grown accustomed to my own offspring, and that of my friends, or haven’t had much access to the general population recently…or something. Whatever, there are some BAD kids and even worse parents out there. That’s all I know.

While speaking to one woman, I heard a commotion. I looked over and it was her 4-year-old son JUMPING on the decorations. He had ripped them off the table and was destroying them, just for funsies. I moved to stop him but remembered I was standing right next to his mother. I looked at her, waiting for her to handle it. She was laughing. I shit you not. LAUGHING. She even called him some pet name. Like he was funny and cute.

Not the adjectives that popped into my mind.

I stood there dumbfounded for a moment but as soon as she walked away I went over to the little hoodlum and took the decorations away from him, thinking “hey you little bastard, I’m poor. I reuse these things.” Plus, the landfills people. THE LANDFILLS.

I realize my kids are annoying (aren’t they ALL?), but as you know, I have a thing about manners. Plus, I’m so self-centered and egotistical I watch my kids like a damn hawk when we’re out in public, making sure they don’t violate generally agreed-upon social codes, thereby making me look bad. If I’m gonna look bad, I prefer to do it through my own poor decision-making, as opposed to the deviant behaviors of my offspring.

I have my standards, you know.

Here’s another one for ya: some awesome parenting. I debated forever, at least 45 seconds, about whether or not I should provide soda at the party. At first I thought “no, just water,” because kids will be there, and I shouldn’t be contributing to the ill-health of America’s youth. I envisioned hordes of kids running over to the ice chest, guzzling soda after soda, and then they all get rotten teeth and diabetes and I live in guilt for the rest of my life. But then I remembered “Janelle. People can parent their kids. Rocket knows he gets one soda on special occasions. Other parents are doing the same with their kids, so stop trying to control everybody.” Plus, maybe the adults want soda.

I mean, parents can parent their kids, right?

Yeah, I know. You’re already thinking it. I shoulda known better.

So I ended up buying a TON of water and a few small bottles (the mini ones) of soda. Most of the kids were handed soda instead of water but I was like “whatever. Rocket had one too.” But this one kindergartner comes back after finishing the first one in like 3 minutes and starts grabbing another one. I happen to be standing at the ice chest. I say “Oh, sorry buddy, each kid only gets one soda.” Yes, I fully made that up. But whatever. I thought the mother would appreciate it, so she didn’t have to be the one to tell him “no.”

He runs over to his mom and says with this horrendous whine “SHE says I can only have one.” Eye contact with the mom. Scowls from mom. I plaster my nice-girl smile and walk over, whispering to her “He can have another one, I just thought you probably wouldn’t want him having more than one, so I was trying to get you off the hook.”

And this woman looks me dead in the eye and says “Yeah, there’s no reason a kid should ever have more than one soda, but it’s easier than telling him ‘no.’”


I’m having an out-of-body experience. She gives him another one, and I die a little inside. I mean shit, I’ve been a horrible parent on more than one occasion, but if my offspring were demanding another damn soda and threw a fit about it when I said “no,” I would have one response: “If you continue throwing this fit we will leave the party now. I have no preference either way, so it’s your call, dude.” (And if they choose to leave, you get out of the party. SCORE.)

Problem freaking solved.

Oh, but friends. Neither of these kids (or mothers) had anything on a child we’ll heretofore refer to as Jane. No wait. Jane is too sweet. Let’s go with “Doris.” No idea where that came from, but I’m stickin’ with it.

Doris has needs. She NEEDS PEOPLE SHE NEEDS. When she first arrives she sees the helium tank and decides she wants to blow up balloons. But by this point the party has started. I put the tank away. First she tells Ava: “I want to blow up balloons. I’m getting the tank.” And she walks over and pulls it out of the box. Ava tells her “no, we’re not doing that now,” and puts it back in the box. At this point, Doris turns her sights on me.

Doris: “Rocket’s mom? I want to blow up a balloon.”

Me: “Sorry, honey, we’re done doing that. It isn’t a toy. I only had that out before the party.”

Doris: “But I want to blow up a balloon.”

Me: “Yes, I understand, but we’re not doing that right now.”

Doris: “Why not?”

Me: “Because I’m busy. I already told you. Why don’t you go play with the other kids on the play structure?”

Doris, scowling, raising her voice: “But I want to do the balloons and I want to do it right now!”

What I want to say is: “You’re a terrible child. Please go away.” But I don’t, because that would be wrong.

We go on like this for a good 5 minutes, while I’m trying to do whatever party nonsense I’m doing. Finally she leaves. Three minutes later the aforementioned conversation occurs again, VERBATIM.

And she comes up to me every 3 minutes the ENTIRE PARTY. “I want to paint my pot NOW.” “I want to put the dirt in my pot NOW.” “I want to blow up a balloon NOW.”

And each time I’m tripping out, thinking, “No really. You are the most annoying human specimen in the world. You must leave.”

I look for her parents for back-up. My eyes are begging “HELP ME.” They’re OBLIVIOUS. No idea their offspring is terrorizing an innocent human. No idea their kid is relentless.

They probably think it’s cute.

“I want to plant my seed. Where are the seeds? Why can’t we do the seeds? I wanna do the seeds! Rocket’s mom, I wanna do my seeds.”

It keeps popping into my head “Does this shit actually work for you at home?! My God, your parents’ lives must be miserable!”

Because to be honest, part of the reason my kids have decent manners is because I’m way too impatient to tolerate the alternative. I mean seriously, if my kid harangued me for 45 minutes about some event he thought he needed to happen…holy mother I’d lose my shit. Not only would I not do it when he wanted, I’d probably not do it EVER, just on principle, because he was so fucking annoying about it.

There’s nothing noble there. I just can’t take it. I mean, if I have a valid reason to be doing what I’m doing and not what you think I should be doing, you have no right to harass and harangue endlessly, hoping I’ll change my mind, or cave because I can’t take it anymore.

But then I started thinking about it and I realized that this sort of horrible kid behavior must, on some level, result in horrible adult behavior, which is way worse, since they don’t have the advantage of being cute and small, or the excuse of being five.

To illustrate, I made some flow-charts.





You know? That woman who just won’t take “no” for an answer? She just WILL NOT get the hint? You try to be subtle. She keeps on. You try a slightly less subtle approach. She still doesn’t get it.

And so, you give up. You just lay it out, “No, lady, I don’t wan’t to buy any of your fucking Avon. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not EVER. Did this work for you when you were five?”

Well yes, she responds. Yes it did.

Holidays. The bastards.

by Janelle Hanchett


For some reason, I still get excited about upcoming holidays, even though they pretty much always suck, at least a good portion of them. I anticipate what the day is going to look like even though IT HAS NEVER ONCE ACTUALLY LOOKED LIKE THAT.

There is a big, scary disconnect between what I imagine and what actually happens. Always is.

And yet, it surprises me every time.

Take Easter for example. Here’s how it went in my head:

I wake to the sweet sound of the kids in my bed, “Mama! Daddy! It’s Easter!” I feel energized and blessed.

We all hop out of bed (haha, “hop”, get it? like the Easter bunny?) and run into the kitchen, where we see three beautiful baskets of small, fair trade wooden toys I bought the week before, along with some raw organic chocolate.

I take pictures as my kids open their baskets, basking in the joy that is family life.

We eat a nutritious breakfast as a family.

We dye eggs together, laughing and playing.

Everybody takes a bath and gets dressed in their Easter outfits, anticipating the arrival of relatives and the trip to Grandma’s house.

My family arrives and we all stare at the beautiful dressed-up kids, taking pictures happily in the front yard and smiling.

We do a little egg hunt in the yard, the kids skipping around with their baskets in the sun. I take pictures.

Finally, we all pile in the car with grins and giggles to cruise over to Grandma’s house, where we will eat lamb and ham and 75 desserts.

The ONLY PART of that that actually happened was the last part of the last sentence.

Check it out. Here’s how it happened in reality:

I wake to sound of Georgia yelling “mama,” glance at the time and say “holy mother of god.” I bang on Mac and demand he get up, realizing almost immediately, of course, that that ain’t gonna work, cause all three of them are up. I feel like I’d rather saw off my left arm than get out of bed. I remember: “Fuck, it’s Easter,” which means I must behave, so I pretend I’m happy and I get up.

I roll out of bed in a confused haze and stumble into the kitchen, where we see three beautiful baskets of fifty-five different types of candy from Target and a few crap toys made in China. I didn’t have time to order the little wooden wonders I had in mind, nor did I have time to get the raw organic chocolate from the co-op, so I filled the baskets with stuff from Target, at 1am Easter morning.

I try to find my camera but can’t, so I just watch them carefully opening their baskets but mostly focus on making coffee.

They eat Fun-dip for breakfast. We eat eggs and toast. Georgia starts assaulting everybody’s baskets, diving for choke-able chocolate items and making the other kids squeal.

I find my camera and begin the photographic mission from hell, which will continue all morning. “Kids. Sit together. Let’s take a picture with your baskets.” They ignore me. I get louder. “KIDS, NOW!” They all sit together but one of them is looking away at any given moment.

Suddenly in a moment of terror I realize my family is coming over in approximately 4 hours and it looks like our house has been hit by an Easter-vomiting tornado. The panic begins. I demand immediate action. We spend the next 2 hours attempting to fix about six months of inattention to the details of our home, such as, the tops of bookshelves and corners.

By this point I’m beginning to hate my life. I’m racing around like a fucking banshee in attempt to bring my house even NEAR the point of acceptable, and while I’m doing so, my kids are taking turns rolling on the ground singing the Good-Luck-Charlie theme song and/or avoiding me. By the time I’m done with my cleaning rampage everybody wants to off themselves.


We go outside and dye eggs for about 10 minutes, since we’re now running late. Rocket spends most of the time throwing the eggs at the back fence. Ava spends her time screaming at Rocket to stop throwing eggs at the back fence.

I look at the clock and see we have ONE FUCKING HOUR before my family arrives.

I gather them up, we race into the bathtub, I start ironing. I’m barking orders and things are getting tight. Nobody wants to bathe. I threaten great bodily harm if they don’t just do it NOW. All parenting skill has left the building. I am now in psycho get-the-kids-dressed-up-for-a-big-family-event mode.

Rocket doesn’t want a belt. Ava’s shoes don’t match. Georgia hates getting dressed. Finally I get them in their outfits.  I feel like a ran a 5K. (I have no idea what a 5K is, FYI.)

My family shows up. I need a few pictures of the kids before they ruin their outfits. I get them all outside by the bush. Rocket is scowling. Georgia is screaming. After every shot, Rocket bolts off and I look at Mac, mouthing the words “I’m gonna fucking kill ‘em.” Ava is the only one who participates. I love Ava.

We hide eggs. The kids find eggs. I can’t get any pictures because they’re running around like bats outta hell. I’m trying to keep Georgia away from the candy filled ones on account of the dress she’s wearing. I succeed, but only because I’m chasing her around like an eagle and prey – and it’s not fun.

Running late, feeling like I’ve already lived an entire day, we pile in the car to go to Grandma’s house, but not before we run around trying to locate everybody’s play clothes for later, last-minute must-have items (purses and hats and diapers and Matchbox cars). Finally, we all pile in the car with stress and bad attitudes and cruise over to Grandma’s house,

where we eat lamb and ham and 75 desserts.

You see how I bolded that last line?

That’s because I focus on the positive.

That’s me, always lookin’ at the bright side.

Here’s the rest of the bright side…and what will keep me going, looking forward to next Easter like a delusional idiot…

Rocket picked out his own outfit, of course, from head to toe.




Until next year, people.


WTF? Wednesday

by Janelle Hanchett

I used to do this every week. And by “used to” I mean “for 3 months.”

It’s been so long I bet some of you have never even seen WTF? Wednesday, that special time when we contemplate and appreciate the verbal whack flowing from the mouths of babes. Or the brilliance. Mostly whack.

Let’s start with a cute one:

Rocket: “Mama, why do you have to go to school?”
Me: “So I can get a job someday.”
Rocket, looking very concerned and sincere: “But you already have a job. Your job is to homeschool Meeeeeee!”

Can we all just say it together…AWWWWWWW.


Ava: “I want to be a NASA engineer, a mom, a cook or a nurse. As a back-up plan, I’ll be the first woman president.”
Me: “That’s a solid back-up plan.”
Ava: “Well, by the time I’m big everything will be so messed up they’ll need somebody smart to fix it. To get elected, I’ll tell everybody what they want to hear, then I’ll do whatever I want once I’m president.”

Remind me not to vote for her if she’s ever running.


Ava: “Fourth grade is really a turning point. Kids are so much more mature. You know we say things like ‘not necessarily’ and appreciate lady Gaga and people don’t make farting noises as often.”

I don’t know, people. I just don’t know.


Rocket, trying to coax Georgia to come over to him…”Georgia, come hhhheerrrree….I have something for youuuuuu…it’s right here…look, you can choke on it…!”

Oh come on you know I couldn’t make this shit up.


Rocket, playing with Georgia: “You’re a cute 20 minutes!”

Me: “Rocket, what does that mean?”

Rocket: “She’s cute for 20 minutes. Then she’s annoying.”

Huh. That’s funny, that statement pretty much works for all kids, and most people.


Rocket: “I’m more of a lollipop kind of guy.”

Me: “Rocket, what does that mean?” (Yes, I say that a lot.)

Rocket: “Exactly what I said. I’m more of a lollipop kind of guy.”

Me: “Right. I got that. But you’re more into lollipops than what?”

Rocket: “Everything.”


Ava, as people drove by our house with super loud bass playing: “I bet Georgia has more teeth than those people.”

Me: “That’s not very nice. They could have a whole head of excellent teeth.”

Ava: “No, they spent all their money on that stereo and then couldn’t afford dental care.”

I have NO IDEA where she gets that inappropriate sense of humor.


Rocket: “Mama, could you please be less annoying?”

Me: “I don’t think so.”

Rocket: “Why don’t you just try to be less annoying one week at a time. That way you won’t get overwhelmed with the change.”

Gonna be honest, actually considered that suggestion seriously.



Happy WTF Wednesday!

The Guinea Pig Post.

by Janelle Hanchett


As I mentioned in my last post, apparently I was really bad last year, because Santa brought my kids guinea pigs.

Okay, fine. We got the kids guinea pigs. But let me explain. Rocket and Ava have been haranguing us for at least 8 months for a pet rodent of some sort – they started with hamsters and moved to guinea pigs – and like any rational mother, I denied their pleas with unswerving resolve, citing various reasons (all valid, I might add), regarding their uniformly inconsistent interest levels, which inevitably result in ME taking on the no-longer-amusing item, which in this case would be a rodent and therefore, not happening.

After a few weeks of this discussion, they suddenly ceased bringing it up. Instead, they started quietly plotting, together. All the sudden they were all into doing extra chores (for which I give them a little cash) and the next thing I knew they had SAVED THEIR MONEY and almost had enough for freaking guinea pigs. They saved for like 6 months. Uncool. Though impressive focus, I must admit.

It was precisely this focus which led me to consider that perhaps those kids meant business, and maybe, perhaps, actually wanted them. This realization came around Christmas, when I was already trying to figure out their “big” gift, and the whole guinea pig package really isn’t that expensive…soooo…yeah. Now we have two guinea pigs.

Ava’s is “Button.” Rocket’s is “Gus Gus.” They are both female.

So they were super happy on Christmas morning and we were all in love and whatnot AND I gotta admit, those things are damn cute. Like super cute.

And they don’t really make too much noise. They don’t eat or scratch my couch. And they’re cute.

So I didn’t hate them.

Until a couple days ago.

Now I kind of hate them.

So a week or so ago Rocket brings Gus Gus into the living room and puts her on the ground. She immediately runs under the couch. Luckily, I was doing something critically important and consequently didn’t have to deal with the guinea-pig-retrieval process. Mac did.

I heard various expletives coming from the living room area as he tried to get the little bastard out from under the couch, along with “ROCKET! You better not EVER LET THAT GUINEA PIG ON THE GROUND AGAIN!!!!”




Twenty minutes later the guinea pig is in her cage and Rocket promises with a solemn oath that he will never, EVER leave Gus Gus alone on the living room floor.

And he didn’t, until the next morning.

When he left Gus Gus alone on the living room floor. And she ran under the couch.


Only this time, Mac was not here to handle it. I was though, so that’s good.

Fucking shoot me.

This is precisely the kind of shit that solidifies my suspicions that I lack a critical mothering gene, namely the one that brings patience and poise and tolerance to moments like this.

When your son tells you he let his guinea pig get under the couch again and you realize you have to handle it.

So I get the broom. I lie on the ground and start sweeping the broom under the couch. Ava has positioned herself on the other side with a flashlight, telling me where the guinea pig is at any given moment. At her word, I sweep in the appropriate direction, at which time the bastard furry fucker scrambles over the broom to the other side of the couch and I yell something derogatory.

Rocket’s contribution is to jump on the couch and squeal.

This, of course, scares the shit out of the guinea pig, increasing her terror and scrambling. My annoyance is reaching peak levels.

Georgia found the whole thing utterly hysterical – everybody on the ground like that, the broom, the jumping. She particularly liked the fact that I was wearing elastic-wasted flannel pajama pants and squatting down, resulting in a prime opportunity to PINCH MY ASS as I attempt to retrieve this guinea pig.

So there I was, on my knees with my butt up in the air, trying to sweep this guinea pig out, with Rocket body-slamming the couch, Ava yelling “she’s here! Quick!” and Georgia with her hand down my pants trying to pinch my butt cheeks.

Please, somebody.

Fucking shoot me.

After an hour of this, I got up and said “Done, children. The guinea pig can live under there or die under there or a little of both.”

Luckily, my 10-year-old has more patience than I do, and apparently better broom skills, since she got the damn guinea pig, eventually.

I’m sorry, Santa. Whatever it is, I’m sorry. Now take ‘em away!