Hi! Welcome! Please take off your shoes.

The benzodiazepine bar is in the kitchen -There's a bottle of Klonopin open, but I also have Valium, Amy brought Xanax, and Rachel's on her way with the Ativan.

And the pizzas are on the sideboard - there's a whole pizza for everybody so don't be a little bitch and stop at 4 slices.

We all know why we're here. Now let's try to fill that bottomless hole inside that aches all day long, okay?


On the night before Buster turned three, he turned his rosy, plump little baby face up to me and cooed, "Hewwo beautiful girl. I wuv you. Sweet dreams!"

I smiled down at him. "Sweet dreams to you, my angel." For he was an angel. And he always would be.

Or so I thought.

The next morning, when I heard rustling behind his door, I went in and sang out, "Happy Birthday, my darling boy!"

He pulled his face from the pillow and turned to look at me.


The soft, pink, cupid's bow lips with which he kissed me good-night only hours before had been devoured by a snarling pig-mouth monster, capable only of emitting the range of noises you might experience when putting gravel into various bladed kitchen appliances, or playing an accordion while dying of TB.

GRRRRRRR (coffee grinder)

UUUUUNGH (blender)

AAAAAUGH (disposal)

And his eyes? The night before, they were rich brown pools of warm comfort, twin chocolate baths inviting you to come in and surround yourself with liquid unconditional love. At 2, he had puppy eyes. But on the morning he turned 3, they had chilled, sharpened, and hardened, and they glistened like the eyes of a chocolate lab gone rabid. The eyes of a man-killer.

At 2 years, 364 days, he was a snuggler. Trademark catch phrase? "I want kisses!"

At 3 years, he became a sulker. Trademark catch phrase? "Ugh, nobody CARES, Mom."

is that watermelon?


What the fuck?

2-year-old Buster stroked the downy cheek of a newborn baby with the same perfect, gentle smile that I imagine illuminates the face of Jesus Christ himself every time a puppy falls asleep and begins to snore.

3-year-old Buster slapped a baby at his own birthday party. SLAPPED. A. BABY. ON. THE. HEAD.

And then, as the infant's mother inspected the curvature of her baby daughter's head for dents, Buster stomped away with slumped shoulders, leaving a trail of "UUUUUNGH" in his wake, and successfully creating, for all of the guests, the story they will tell about our son should he ever be convicted of puppy milling or first-degree Internet mansplaining (because, seriously, that will be a crime someday. I have a dream.)

What the FUCK?

A kindly Asian grandma waved to him at the supermarket. He bared his teeth and wrinkled his nose in the international sign of "I AM AN ORC," and the woman clutched her own hands and shrunk away. I crouched down and said, "Dude! What's going on? She was just saying hi,"and he hissed in a hoarse demon voice I'd never heard before, "She was ssssstupid."

I considered getting him a custom-printed straitjacket in safety yellow that says:




Or possibly one of these:

i mean
i wouldn't cinch it up or anything

Actual conversation today:

Me: (singing softly in the car)
(car honks)
Buster: When you sing, cars start honking.

My 3-year-old has reached shade level: Toddler Rihanna.

And there's only so long you can attribute the savagery of this side-eye to dropping a nap or not enough crackers.  (But girl, more crackers can't hurt.) You can't deny it. You have a threenager.

At a certain point, three things become terribly, mercilessly clear in your mind:

1. There is for sure a 14-year-old dorkwad sneaking into your child's room at night and whispering asshole teenager things to him.


Who else could have taught Buster how to say "You're the worst," and "This dinner sucks," and "Shut up, stupid," and "Ack, lame," and of course his trademark catch phrase, "Nobody CARES, Mom."

What, did those words just emerge from his subconscious? Is spontaneous teenage assholery a normal developmental leap, like the ability to hop on one foot and roll his eyes when I speak?

no they did not
you fuckin shit stain

nice face btw
where's you get it
the butt store

2. This is not "an opportunity."

You know, like "throwing food" or "making a choking noise on purpose when he's eating nuts and then smiling at you when your heart stops." This one can't be empathized or boundaried.

This is not a "teachable moment," where you can explain how words hurt people's feelings.

This is not a "cue the piano" moment. Uncle Jesse can't do SHIT for you. And Uncle Joey can fuck right off too, him AND his beaver.

all i see is a stupid face
also that puppet

i'm sorry dave coulier
i'm not mad at you
i'm just
i'm so tired

Threenagers need to be guided, of course, but they don't allow you to GUIDE them.

They need help, but they ask for help by screaming "NO DO IT MYSELF" when help is offered, then melting into a rage-puddle on the floor when they cannot, in fact, do it themselves.

Your work is necessary, but it will not be satisfying. Because threenagers need you to just stand there in silent prayer like a statue of Gandhi while they are the human equivalent of everything that can happen with a fingernail. (Nails on a chalkboard. Nails bent backward. Nails slammed in car doors. Nails with bamboo needles shoved underneath them. NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS WITH NAILS.)

This is not an opportunity.

This is a stress test.

And sooner or later, everybody breaks.

3. You are a terrible mother. 

"You are a terrible mother," is the parenting equivalent of the ending of Planet of the Apes - it might be a dystopian hellscape, but fuck me sideways if it doesn't make HELLA GOOD SENSE.

You might see it right there with your own eyes and think, "No... no... that could never happen..." and yet there it is. THERE. IT. IS.

Shit, that explanation ties up EVERY SINGLE LOOSE END in this, your life, if your life was the worst movie you have ever seen. (Honestly, where was the editing? How many times do we need to see the main character eat cake while she stares vacantly at a reality show she doesn't really care about?)

Of course, no matter how true your terribleness feels, as irrefutable as a statue half-buried in the sand, you know that's just some made-up shit, right?

Your kid's the captain of a speedboat stuck at full throttle careening toward the reef through a titanic shitstorm. And you're just the lighthouse. There's only so much you can do, friend. He's got to zig, zag, splash and sputter a little for a year or two. That's not a reflection on your parenting, just a fact of biology.

To paraphrase Louis CK, this is a hurricane. Tape up the windows and wait for that shit to pass.

In the meantime, do your work, say your prayers, have some Xanax and chase it with a pizza.

You're among friends.


It was strange to prioritize my own ease, pleasure, and enjoyment this week... like I'd borrowed my friend's shoes, and even though we wear the same size, the feel of the sole is odd, and every time I take a step I am aware of that step in a way I wasn't last week. I think, "Huh! Another step. How novel."

It was extra strange because it was a big week - Chicken graduated pre-k, and it was his special week at school so it was a double-whammy.

Buster also took his shot at the crown with sudden, operatic separation anxiety (because I needed more things), and this weekend Ryan went camping solo so I was planning to be on my own Saturday and Sunday.

Straight-Up Shortcuts & Hacks

- Dinner.

Fuck off, sweet potato enchiladas. GTF outta here, black bean soup from scratch.

I served canned soup, take'n'bake pizza, bags of salad, microwaved frozen peas, pre-cut veggies and fruit instead of whole, pre-shredded cheese instead of the brick. I stopped just short of Stouffer's but that was last week and tomorrow's a whole new ballgame.


- Separate corners.

At the first sign of conflict between Chicken and Buster, I separated them. HARD.

I did not fight the good fight. I did not seek to deepen their understanding of the importance of compromise and communication. I avoided the shite out of those conflicts and I don't regret it for a second. I alternated which kid went to the bedroom with a toy of his choosing. I turned on an audiobook, and I closed and locked a door between them.

- Please don't hate me, because I'm about to say something that is so cliche but it was true this week so I feel like I have to be real here...

Instead of exercising, I just got outside and ran around with my kids. I mean, I RAN tho. My kids are fast. I broke a sweat 4 days out of 7. We played Dragon Tag and Robot Hide and Seek and Airplane Catcher. These games sound complicated but they're like cocktails: the Boulevardier, the Old-Fashioned, the Manhattan, the Sazerac... yo that's all whiskey with a garnish. And all those games are some blend of chase, catch, tickle, scream, release. It was honestly SO fun.

Treats and Specialities

I indulged this week.  How, you ask?

How DIDN'T I indulge this week? I made my daily stuff YUMMIER.

Put it this way... every morning for breakfast I made a toasted everything bagel with sharp cheddar cheese melted on top in the broiler. And I discovered a profound truth about life and happiness and salty bread and melty cheese... THEY ARE ALL ONE AND THE SAME. #LiveEveryDayLikeItsCheesyBagelDay

There was wine! Cake! Daily pounds of cheese! Creamy night moisturizer! Every water was a can of Kroger-brand sparkling water! But most importantly, I gave myself permission to eat the delicious organic berries and cherries that I buy for the children. And oh, those berries were SWEET.

I also treated myself to a babysitter this Saturday morning while Ryan was hiking and camping. I got a haircut and went grocery shopping for the week while the sitter ran my boys into the ground, handled the negotiations around the cool new Paw Patrol water squirter, cooked them lunch, and dealt with Buster's nap.

Shit I Skipped

- Laundry.

I know I said I was going to do 1 load a day. Buuuuuuut I maybe did 2 loads this week. Every time I passed the growing pile of grass-stained, oatmeal-crusted, hose-water-soaked Osh-Koshes, I was like


- E-Mail.

I just... didn't. That's a luxury and a privilege, to be able to basically ignore emails this week without fear of losing my job or my 40% off code at Shutterfly. But who are we kidding, if you ever pay full price at Shutterfly (or shipping, for anything, EVER) you are a damn fool who deserved to get taken.

- Small-talk with my regular weekly small-talk people.

You know the people you see every week - the other mom whose kid sees a therapist at the same time yours sees your therapist, another mom in the parking lot or the gymnastics class waiting room, Brandon at Starbucks drive-thru? I didn't this week. I smiled, I nodded, I wasn't rude. But I didn't put my energy into trying to connect with them. I didn't feel like it. So I didn't.  I took my own side in that debate. "You don't want to, and you don't have to. You don't owe this person anything. Pay for your coffee and be on your way."

Counter-Intuitive Master Strokes

- One morning I woke up an hour before the kids. 

KATIE. How is LESS sleep Easy Street?? I'll tell you how. In that hour I watched 2 episodes of Kimmy Schmidt, decided I'm kind of meh on this season, made myself a hot breakfast, packed lunches, made the class treat for Chicken's special week, and by the time the boys' alarm clock light turned green I was 3 cups of coffee deep, talkin' fast and trembling lightly.

- One night for dinner I made bruschetta. 

I know what you're thinking - that's a shitload of dicing for someone on Easy Street! Well, yes, but CHECK IT. I walked that street with a glass of wine in my hand, watching The Handmaid's Tale, and there was cheesy oil-soaked bread at the end of that street.

- Ryan and I got it on even though we were both tired.

Listen, I know a lot of our relatives read this blog and I don't want it to get weird but y'all know where our babies came from and it wasn't a berry-bush. It was a P in V and we're M and W and that's how it goes down sometimes. (I mean, more than sometimes...)

ANYWHO, you know how they say the hardest part of going to the gym is putting on your shoes? That's kind of my point of view with good old-fashioned marital relations. The hardest part is deciding to. Once you lace up it's good clean sweaty healthy fun and you're almost never like "Oh man, I wish I'd just watched another episode of Kimmy Schmidt instead."

And that was my experience this week.

Me Time

I tried to find an hour every day, whether that was after bedtime or in the middle of the day, when I could tune out and do my own thing.

- I took a HIKE on Sunday. And then I went to a MALL. And then I went to DINNER. And saw a MOVIE. With a FRIEND. Not a drill, not a joke, not a dream.

- I packed the iPad for long drives into the city with the boys, and let them listen to their audiobooks in the backseat while I listened to mine up front.

- I took a long walk during Chicken's appointment on Monday.

- After bedtime I made bruschetta for myself, or I had a cup of tea and some cake with a good friend who came to visit at the new house.

I enjoyed shit that was just for me.

Lesson learned: Easy Street is a beautiful boulevard to walk, especially when you can strike that balance between handling some shit and deferring other shit.

So now what?

Well, obviously I'm going to keep going down Easy Street. I've had a taste of my kids' berries and I'm not going back.

But Week 2 is going to be tricky.

- School's out for summer, which means I am excused from 2 hours of daily drive to and from Seattle (hallelujah), but my attendance is now mandatory at "my children" 24/7 until September (wait what).

- Remember that camping trip Ryan took? Welllllllll he came home with some stitches and bruises after he fell halfway off a mountain. Don't worry, my man is THE man and he never falls halfway off a mountain without paracord and leather-palmed gloves for rappelling, so he rescued not only himself but also aided in the rescue of 2 others who found themselves on the same rocky cliff only a couple of hours later.

But he's sore, swollen, and touch'n'go when it comes to things that I usually take for granted like "Can the children please sit with you for stories," or "Play that game where the boys hit you repeatedly with pillows, they need it, it's either that or we chain up a goat and lock ourselves in the car."

- I can't put off the laundry anymore. I'm wearing the terrible underwear right now.

So stay tuned for more info about Easy Street: Week 2.

And I continue to invite you to join me.

Too often we don't give ourselves one-time breaks because those are breaks we can't do ALL the time.

"I can't order pizza on a Tuesday; we can't afford takeout every night!"

Nobody can! But can you afford it tonight? Are you exhausted? Is it 45 minutes to dinner and you'd rather spend those minutes trying out Dragon Tag than dicing an onion for homemade stew?

I hereby tell you to go for it. I hereby give you permission, not that you need it, unless you do, in which case PLEASE TAKE THIS PERMISSION and go enjoy some shit and relish the delight of not doing the shit you thought you had to do!

Even though it's going to be hard to make time for myself with the kids home all day, I'm sticking with Easy Street. Because I deserve to eat the good berries and write my little blog. Because I have this one wild and precious life. And because my happiness trickles down (and not just because of these terrible underwear) (ew I know) (sorry) (sorry not sorry).

Leaving you with that image byeeeeee!


Have you ever been on a play date where the other kids are like #IWokeUpThisWay?

(this will make sense in a minute)

You know if you have.

Your friend's 2-year-old walks up to her mom and says, "Mama, water?"

The mom says, "Sure baby, you know where the cups are."

You watch the child walk to a low cupboard, remove a single cup, walk to the fridge door, press the cup into the water dispenser until about half-full, and then bring the cup to her lips to drink.

You watch all of this while holding a bottle of water - not a sippy-cup, a BOTTLE - to your 2-year-old's mouth while he stares vacantly and bangs two blocks together like a monkey that flunked out of cosmetic testing school.

Oh my God, you think. It's already too late for this one. Good thing I'm pregnant again. We'll just call Barney our rough draft.

You say something to your friend. Perhaps, "Wow, Angela. That was amazing," or maybe, "I bow before your majesty, o enchantress of Seattle," or possibly even, "What the fucking fuck, girl."

She laughs, but in an awesome self-deprecating way, like your friend would obviously not be bragging about how gifted her child is without a sprinkling of kindness, because she's fucking perfect and shit.

"Oh, yeah, that. You know, we just got lucky, honestly. And we have to really enjoy these few months while she's outpacing her peers in 'drinking water.' That shit doesn't last forever, you know? I mean, at some point other kids catch up on that one. There is a ceiling, right?"

Everybody laughs.

Angela smiles over at Mandy, who is counting softly in Mandarin while she holds a flawless dancer pose.

Angela looks back at you and holds painfully kind eye contact as she says, "But wow, Barney, his hand-eye coordination is amazing! He's going to be a baseball player!"

You look at your child, who goes to bang two blocks together and misses and falls over onto his face and can't figure out how to let go of the blocks to pull himself up again.

"Yeaaaah, that comes and goes," you say.

You go home and vow that by next week your child will be drinking water from a cup with no lid.

Or probably with a lid, let's be honest.

Or holding his own bottle.

There's a reason they call them "baby steps."


I still measure my kids against their peers when it comes to soft skills, the character traits that are complex, never-acquired, and fluid. Bravery, kindness, leadership, ability to articulate strong feelings, ability to control impulses... These genuinely valuable skills are tricky as hell to measure, because some days your kid is a champ and other days he's a Trump, and the difference-maker is whether he got a snack on time.

However, I've long since stopped measuring my children against their peers when it comes to what I call "parlor tricks."

Parlor tricks are the flashy, adorable, and meaningless gestures of coordination or sophistication that have little to no relationship to your skill as a parent or commitment to your work.

Parlor tricks are finite accomplishments, and they are all skills that neurotypical and able-bodied kids eventually master, so whether they do it at 4 months or 6 months, or 1 year or 2, chances are that your kid will arrive at some point.

Parlor tricks include:

- saying multi-syllable words
- clapping
- drinking from a cup
- using a fork
- trying salmon
- putting on their own shoes
- riding a bike

What does it matter if you first put on your shoes when you were in Mater diaps or Power Rangers briefs? Are we really going to believe we're failing at the thing we're working the hardest on, just because our kid isn't that into forks yet? With the gift of time and perspective you can take a deep drag on your Parliament and exhale a great big "fuuuuuuuck no."

But early on, your confidence is still a seedling, the tender growth you can't quite lean on yet. You watch other people's kids and care, deeply, about where you and your child exist on the spectrum of peers. Based on parlor tricks.

I wish our self-worth weren't quite so negotiable.


Angela didn't wake up one morning and say to Mandy, "You're ready, daughter. Follow my instructions very carefully." Angela didn't talk Mandy through filling a water cup at the fridge door ONE TIME and then Mandy had it on lock.

(Actually that for real could have happened because we might as well start calling Mandy Madam President right the fuck now, that girl has powers y'all.)

At some point, between the moment of parlor-trick-inception, and the moment of play-date-demonstration, that shit was a puddle on the floor.

Parents have to make choices every day about when to "teach skills" and when to "take care of shit." When we're feeling strong, our kids can crack the eggs for us. On rougher mornings, not so much.

We have to make choices every day about what skills we must prioritize - those skills are influenced by our values, our environments, our friends, and our needs. Swear to God, the only reason Chicken learned how to pull on his own pants was because Buster was teething and wouldn't get off my boob, and we were late for a field trip to the zoo, so we talked that shit through. I was like Jeff Daniels in Speed you guys.

okay okay
on the front of the pants there should be a button
what kind of button?
it's a button
a pants button
look for the only button
on the--
thank you
so you've got the button

beneath the button
are two hollow cylinders of fabric
those are the pant legs
sit on your bottom
and slide your legs
feet first
into the pant legs
until your feet
come out the bottom
is the button in the front or the back
where is the button
ok stop
just stop
let's go back to the button
If you watched Chicken get dressed today, you might think that kid had been putting on pants since his first Cheerio, but don't ever forget: there was a day (a month of days, in fact) that "pants" was the thing that fucked my day up, Monday through Friday, and "pants" was the thing that fucked Ryan's whole weekend. Pants was a PROCESS at our house. We chose pants to make our lives easier.

We didn't choose "drinking without a lid," until one day I was feeling strong and tried that shit. (Pro tip: Put like a half inch of water in the first time, you guys. Don't be like me.)

Here's how the cycle goes in our house:

1. I feel strong. (And/or situational chaos mandates a massive and rapid skill acquisition for my child. See also: Pants.)
2. I decide to try something I've seen other children do. I pitch it to the kids.
3. They're psyched. They LOVE SKILL ACQUISITION!!!
4. I talk them through the process while preparing the necessary supplies.
5. I present the necessary supplies and repeat, very clearly, the first step.
6. It all goes horribly wrong.
7. I have to make the choice: I want to bail and try again in 5 years, but now they've had a taste of man flesh, and they won't stop until they've feasted. I must choose between suffering their outrage that I'm pulling the plug, or repeating this exercise (while swallowing my own growing desire to run, just run, just run far far away) for however long it takes until they can do this damn skill without staining the drywall.

doesn't believe in forks right now
it's super fun
after the rice and peas incident of tuesday
i have vowed to serve him only dry cereal
and cut up string cheese
until he stands down

I'm writing this today, because today Buster asked for a banana.

1. I felt strong.
2. I said, "Sure, babe. You know where the bananas are. Go ahead and get one."
3. He was so psyched. He slid the door open and walked into the kitchen.
4. I called after him, "Pull one banana off the bunch and come outside to eat it, ok?" He called back, "OK mom!"
5. A moment of silence later, I checked in. "Everything ok?" He called back, "I'm just picking!"
6. I went in to check on him.

he didn't pick these

Listen, it wasn't a catastrophe. If the cost of my child's growing independence is 3 bananas I have to bag and eventually put in smoothies, I'll pay that PLUS tax (I'm assuming tax is 9.6 blueberries) every single day until the kid can go for one banana, and return with one banana.

My point is that the next time you see a kid go get a single banana without opening every other banana, know that at some point, not so long ago, this was a thing. It was a WHOLE THING.

The next time you see a kid tie his own sneakers or successfully place a pretzel inside his mouth on the first try, know that you are witnessing the result of someone's absolutely batshit crazy, invisible, thankless, drive-you-to-drink labor.

When you see a child, take nothing for granted.

Every glorious thing a child can do (and every horrendous thing a child does not do) is the result of  - yes - that child's hard work, but also 729 mopped up water spills, 411 bananas we had to put in the freezer, 9 million reminders to "take your finger out of your nose" that were met by 8,999,999 mischevious smiles and flicked boogers.

The point is this:

Everything is a process.

Kids are so much hard work.

You don't see most of the work that other people do.

They don't see most of the work that you do.

Whenever you're tempted to complain about a whiny kid, or a spilled drink on the table, remind yourself that children are born with only the instinct to gulp the life out of human bodies and dig their tiny sharp fingernails into human flesh to ensure they don't get left behind. If that didn't happen to you today, that child's parent worked fucking hard on that, so slow the fuck down with your snark and have some goddamn gratitude.

Let's stay nice out there.


If you enjoyed this post, read my blog regularly, or think you might want to start, please consider supporting my writing through Patreon. $2 or $5 a month might not mean a lot to your wallet, but to me, it means that other people care about this work as much as I do.

I write this blog because I believe that parents deserve writers who love, understand, and celebrate all their hard work. We need writers who will laugh with us after even the worst of awful, scream-in-your-pillow, cry-in-the-car days. This is the best way I can show up for other parents.

I'm grateful every day for the people who read, share, comment, like, and support this work. That means if you're reading this, I'm grateful for you! Thanks for showing up for me, too.

I am currently one week into a four-week intensive parenting challenge that I'm calling "The Gauntlet."

Not only are we (I) still dealing with the aftershocks of moving a family of 4, but we're (I'm) tying up the school year, celebrating 75% of the family's birthdays, and sending Ryan off for a much-deserved weekend of solitary camping and fishing. And we're (I am) doing it with a nasty summer cold and at least one verifiable case of pink eye in the fam.


Here's my question, and it came to me as I was hauling the recycling from Buster's party out to the curb this morning.

How easy can this be?

I have a lot of shit going down for the next few weeks - events, parties, travel. And all that is on top of my regular skipper duties, keeping this family on course and upright.

So I ask again:

How easy can this be?

A yoga teacher was the first person who ever asked me that.

We were holding an impossibly long chair pose, and she walked around the room looking at all of our grimacing faces and curling toes. "You are all working really hard," she observed, taking her life in her hands. (If you think about it, tho, it wasn't that big a risk. Our quads were shot. She could have outrun us by walking at the average pace of a Target shopper who has left her kids at home that day.) "What if this wasn't hard," she asked. "What if this was easy? How easy can you make it?"

(The answer, btw, is "easier than it was before she said that," but "not as easy as sitting in an actual fucking chair.")

I asked myself the same question years later when I was in labor with Buster. As the contractions got stronger and pinchier and twistier and barfier, I muttered the question like a mantra:

How easy can this be? How easy can this be? How easy can this be?

(The answer, btw, is "easier than if I hadn't said that," but "not as easy as druuuuuugs y'all.")


"How easy can this be," is a hard concept to apply to parenting, for a few significant reasons:

1. With very few exceptions*, kids aren't easy. 

They simply are NOT. They declare a state of potty emergency as soon as you get on the highway at 5:20 pm. They wake at nocturnal hours, scream in libraries, run away from home, inquire loudly about the unexpected size, shape, or color of other human beings, bite you in front of the new neighbors.

They're HARD.

*Exceptions include when kids are under the influence of Benadryl, high fevers, or European parentage.

2. There is so little to opt out of. 

We don't choose hard shit to raise the bar; our lives are hard shit, and we have to meet that bar.

We have the number of children we have - we can't surrender the tough kid on days we're feeling frayed. I know I have 3 kids, but Horcrux has been such a dick lately... I think I'm just going to leave him in his room today. That way I'll only have 2 kids. I can do 2 kids.

The kids need to eat and wear clothes and attend schools and see doctors and therapists.

They need something from us approximately once every 8 seconds (there are numbers on this, people). This is the bare minimum of our days: meeting someone else's need every 8 seconds.

And that's just the needs that your child articulates (in either words or orc-screams, depending on the age and saturataion of bloodlust in your child).


There are other needs - a birthday party next weekend means you have to suck it up and take a trip down the toy aisle at some point, and you know what that means!!!

orc screams
it means orc screams
at target

You have a water bill. And a bladder. And overdue books.

To which of those things can you simply say, "No, thank you."

I'm really asking.

3. Fuck it today means fucked tomorrow. 

Fuck it, I'm not doing laundry this week!
...  hope you can make it out of the house next week. Literally. The mountain of crusty oatmeal shirts will likely block all points of egress from the structure. I'm not saying don't do it. I'm just saying, like, get extra band-aids and bottled water or whatever. Or wait, did you think someone else was going to do your laundry? You didn't think that, did you? Oh, honey. No.

Fuck it! Sure you can watch 2 movies this afternoon! It's nice to relax in bed together.
... let me know how that goes when the second movie ends and you have to transition their volted-up, overstimulated little brains into "blocks" and "puzzles" just in time for the 4:30 suck pocket.

Fuck it, okay, crackers for lunch.
No that doesn't mean crackers for dinner. 
No, that doesn't mean crackers for lunch every day. 
EAT AN ORANGE, for the love of God.

4. We really do give a thousand fucks.


It's not an act.

We really do stop and run back inside for our canvas grocery bags.

We really do pause to read the nutrition facts on a cereal bar. 16 grams of sugar? Is that okay? We think about it.

We would love to go back in time and take back that we said that if Buster says "stupid" one more time we won't be going to the zoo today.


We would love to be deaf for however long it takes a toddler to spit out two syllables.

The lunches are packed. The sunscreen's applied.

But we can't.

We made a promise, not just to our child today, but to the adult we hope our child will become. We promise that grown man, "I will not let you become a bullying, entitled, sugar-addicted, cavity-ridden douchenozzle wearing a gas mask to work because the Earth is barely inhabitable anymore. I promise you. I will raise you right, kid."

5. Easy long-term is so fucking hard short-term.

Sleep training, for example. You want the dream of putting your kids in bed, saying good-night, and leaving the room, followed by the sound of nothing at all because your child is already asleep? Who doesn't! But that long-term ease of sleep means that tonight you have to start making some boundaries with your kids that they are not going to like AT ALL. And you know what that means.

Me: No more drinks. No more stories. No more playing. It's time for bed.



But even though "ease" isn't built into the daily life of parents, it is an important unicorn to seek.

We are, after all, only human. And we can shelve our own needs in 8-second increments for ONLY as long as it takes to either pee our pants or lose our minds.

So this week I'll be taking easy street, and I'm inviting you to come along with me. 

Let me be clear: Easy street is still a street. It's not a cruise or a hammock or your bed. You still have to get up, get shoes on, and walk it.

But it's just... easier.

Easy street doesn't mean locking your worst kid in the closet and turning up Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. (Yeah, I just wrote "worst kid." I'm evolving as a parent and as a human and I can say "worst kid" because I know now that a) Everyone has one; b) That title shifts from kid to kid based on who's dropping a nap and/or who has just called the cashier at Target "penis"; and c) Everyone knows you love your worst kid just as much as your best kid, obvs, nbd.)

Easy street means taking a hard look at the parts of your day that you usually check out for, and asking yourself if you can add or subtract something in order to make them easier.

Doing the dishes? Add a glass of wine and an episode of Seinfeld.

Just finished putting the kids down? Subtract cleaning up the toys on the floor, and add a walk in the evening air and a phone call to an old friend.

Come with me, friend.


Here's our first assignment:

1. Identify 1 thing that you're dreading tomorrow.

2. What can you add or subtract to make it easier?

There are no rules here. Add a latte or a brownie or a midweek pizza night. Subtract saying hi to judgey moms at pickup, or fucking bath time. They're not THAT dirty.

Comment below with your dready thing and your addition or subtraction!

See you tomorrow!

Do you have a preschooler who fights sleep with all his might?


Is he or she finally falling asleep at 10:30 pm, yet still rising at the regular wake-up time?

Is he or she acting like a depraved psychotic demon from hell because he or she is so fucking tired?

Don't worry!

I have a simple seven-step plan to get your child sleeping like the angel he or she used to be, in only ONE NIGHT!

And if that plan doesn't work?


I've got Plan B locked, loaded, and ready to tranq-dart your little sweetie-pie face-down into the dirt/dreamland on night 2.

And if that plan doesn't work?


Hell no! Because I've got PLAN C waiting in the wings, and Plan C is just like our country, young, scrappy, and hungry, and is not throwing away its shot to neutralize your child's late-night nutties on night 3!

And if THAT plan doesn't work?


You know why?

- Because we are smart, strong, and we stick together.
- Because we can solve any problem.
- And because out of sheer necessity and my all-too-human need to feel in control of shit that I absolutely cannot control, I have exactly the same number of bedtime plans as I do nights left of my life.

SO! Who's ready to get some SLEEP?

Or at least, who's ready to get their kids down by 8, 8:30, so they can binge-watch Netflix while matching socks and drinking, like, possibly a little too much wine for a weeknight but it's fine just pretend you're Spanish.



1. Begin by drawing a warm bath with soothing essential oils.

2. Turn on the sounds of swinging in a hammock under a warm blanket by the ocean.

3. Hum "You Are My Sunshine" as you slip buttery-soft pajamas over the silken skin of your fresh, clean, yawning child.

4. Read 3 stories in the velvety voice of an NPR host.

5. Lay the child in his bed and draw up the covers.

6. Give him three kisses on his forehead and whisper in his ear that you love him to the moon and back.

7. Lights out.


1. Begin by drawing a warm bath with... "CHICKEN? WHERE ARE THE OILS? DID YOU TAKE THE OILS?"

2. Turn on the sounds of swinging in a hammock under a warm blanket by the ocean. Turn it on LOUDER.

3. Take deep breaths as you jam your child's octopus arms into pajama sleeves.

4. Read 3 stories in the velvety voice of an NPR host on meth.

5. Drop the child in bed and pull up the covers.

6. Give him three kisses on his forehead and whisper in his ear that it's time to sleep now, so stay in bed, I'm not fucking around, stay in bed, seriously.

7. Lights out.


1. Begin by drawing a warm bath with dish soap.

2. Turn on the sounds of swinging in a hammock under a warm blanket by the ocean, so loudly that your child's mouth is just moving to the sound of waves and creaking.


3b. "I could not have been more clear about the window you had to pick your pajamas."

3c. "If you wanted fire truck jams you should have picked them when I told you it was your chance to pick. Now you're wearing dino jams and if you want fire truck jams so badly you can pick them tomorrow night when it's time to pick. Because if I don't draw the line here, then where? Where, child? WHERE?"

4. Over the sounds of your child screaming "FIRE TRUCK JAMS," read 3 stories in the velvety, yet not-quite-hidden-rage voice of an NPR host interviewing Paul Ryan.

5. Point to the bed. Point to the covers. Oh, come on. You're not a monster. The child has hands, for God's sake.

6. Give him three kisses on his forehead and whisper in his ear that you heard scraping and growling sounds under the bed earlier and you pray you'll see him in the morning.

7. Lights out.


1. Begin by drawing a warm bath. Drop a washcloth in the bath and then use that washcloth to wipe the face, hands, feet, and butt of your child while he stands naked on a towel. This was his request. You are raising the next generation of hobos.

2. Turn on the sounds of swinging in a hammock under a warm blanket by the ocean and realize for the first time that it sounds a LOT like a human woman who is literally at the end of her rope. She sounds so peaceful, now.


4. Call to your partner in an eerily calm voice and say, "I am hollow. The light that once shone inside me has gone out and I am a cold, dark, empty shell of a person. It is your turn to read the books."

5. Leave the room, pour a scotch, and assume that your partner has put the child in bed.

6. Stare into the mirror at a face you no longer recognize and believe that your partner has both kissed and whisper-threatened your child to stay in bed.

7. Lights out.


1. Invite your parents to come visit. When they ask what they can bring, ask them to bring over pizza for dinner.

2. When they arrive, lock all the doors behind them and then say, "Wait, I forgot the salad in the car! I'll go grab it."

3. Go out (DON'T forget to lock the door behind you again), put the Subaru in neutral and push it down to the end of the driveway. Grab the duffel you packed and stowed in the bushes at naptime today, then get in the driver's side and wait with your hand on the key.

4. Wait for your partner to crawl out through the bathroom window, dash to the end of the driveway in evasive swerving maneuvers, and tuck and roll into the passenger seat while you pound the steering wheel shouting "GO GO GO!"

5. Turn your cell phones off.

6. Return at midnight. Apologize to your parents and offer to host Thanksgiving in recompense. Assume that because the kids are both alive and asleep, they must have done fine. Text your partner's parents and ask them if they want to visit tomorrow.

7. Lights out.

i love them so much
when they're sleeping

One for real recommendation though:

This thing

I can't even describe...
it's like
Manchurian Candidate
Good Night Moon.

You're welcome.


If you read this far, you must have liked this post (either that or you're breastfeeding at 3 am and you've got like 15 minutes of free time on your hand.)

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Thanks for reading, comrade! 


It's like they think birthday parties JUST HAPPEN.

Sure, they might see you taping a streamer or stuffing a goody-bag. They probably helped you do some of that stuffing with a non-chocolate component like stickers or temp tats. #MyKidsHelped #WishTheyHadn't #StillUnclearOnTheRulesSurroundingApostrophesInHashtags

Sure, they understand that Mommy "sets up" the party.

Sure, they get that you set out the plates.

But they seem to have no fucking idea whatsoever that the plates had to be ordered at least 2 business days prior to the party, unless you had an insane fucking theme like Elf Nachos in which case Mommy had to special order your shit from the one Mexican family in New Zealand 3 weeks ago. #ThanksOliverGarcia

They seem to have zero understanding of the fact that even if you had a standard theme like Trolls or Trains, Mommy STILL has to make an Evite at least 2-3 weeks  before the party if you have a summer birthday LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE, which means that Mommy has to know:

a) The date
b) The time
c) Who the kid wants there
d) A sketchy outline of the activities planned for said gathering

TWO TO THREE WEEKS before that tape hits the streamer. This is a month of labor, you guys. It might not be 24/7 but don't get it twisted, unless you are the Duke and/or Duchess of Seattle and you send out a text 24 hours beforehand casually inviting people to a "BBQ, nbd" with 1,000% confidence that you'll have an 85%+ response in the affirmative, you are WORKING on this party for a month.

Kids don't get that.

They also don't get that if they want dinner they have to leave me alone long enough to chop a goddamn onion.

It's a problem of relativity, I think, at the end of the day.

I took Buster to TJ Maxx today to look for some goodies for his birthday party, which will be super small because:

1) He is the second child
2) He is not yet in a school class that would necessarily expand the invitation list to 18 families that we may or may not know/like/have dads that we are able to pick out of a lineup.

We're seriously looking for water squirters and a rainbow cake topper. These are the requests of an almost-three-year-old. These are the days of my life.

But Katie, you're surely thinking, you can find those things with a few keystrokes on Amazon. Why on earth are you pretending it's 1997, store-hopping in a crew-neck daisy-print tee while humming TLC's Waterfalls, when you could solve this problem with seriously 7 minutes of Internet?

Katie here, with a response.

1) There are many parts of 1997 I'd not choose to repeat. I was 13 in 1997, 'nuff said. But the prevalence of the daisy-print baby tee is one of the few elements of my burgeoning (ugh that word) adolescence that I do not regret.
2) I see no rainbows, yesterday, but too many storms have come and gone leavin' a trace of not one God-given ray
3) If you didn't just say "Is it because my life is ten shades of gray" in your head, just STOP. Stop what you're doing and go listen to T-Boz, Left Eye, and Chilli BREAK IT DOWN.
4) Chicken still goes to a school 45 minutes from our new house. Buster had the shits this morning so he stayed with me. What the fuck else we gonna do with that 3 hours? When your life becomes out-pricing Amazon.com you know you have to think hard about your commute.

ANYWAY, Buster was so pissed we were at TJ Maxx, and that was after I let him pick the squirters and sprinklers and the gift wrap that we will use to wrap HIS BIRTHDAY PRESENT.

And later that day Buster would start crying - not screaming, whining, or yowling, not an expression of aggravation or pettiness, but rather the bone-melting sobs of genuine grief - when I wouldn't blow on his Starbucks sausage breakfast sandwich WHILE MERGING onto the highway in moderate traffic at 65 mph.

And I FELT LIKE A MONSTER. I reached my hand back to pat his knee and he took my hand and pressed it to his eyes. So I could feel his tears. All I could see from beneath my beast-paw was his little pink mouth, the lower lip still jutted in the universal expression of adorable sadness.

He seriously didn't even understand WHY I took him to TJ Maxx? WHY MOM? WHY?

And it's not just the birthday parties.

It's like they think CHRISTMAS just HAPPENS. They want Santa/Jesus' magic but whine when you get on the laptop to make sure Crate and Barrel has the right spelling of their names for the monogramming.

It's like they think WEEKDAY MORNING FROM SCRATCH BANANA PANCAKES just HAPPEN, and they're pissed as fuck that you're fucking around looking for a spatula. If my sons had a FB there would be a pic of me in PJ's looking in kitchen drawers muttering "The spatula goes right by the stove, Ryan, COME ON," and the caption my sons would write is Just wanted banana pancakes, why is everything so hard?


It's like they think LUNCH just HAPPENS. They want PB&J but do not understand why you're lollygagging around the cabinet with a g-d jar of PB in your hands.

It's like they think bike helmets just HAPPEN. It's like they think VITAMINS just EXIST. It's like they think CLEAN SOCKS are the horny bunnies of that one hamper.

it's like they think

It's like they think SAFE OPERATIONAL TRAINING WHEEL BIKES are a GOD-GIVEN RIGHT, and when the handlebars go wonky and you need the special wrench to fix it and you can't do the ride you promised this afternoon, it's because you're CHALLENGING THEM to a duel of ASSHOLERY, but nobody wins that duel. Nobody.

Because after you convince Chicken to do the bike ride because Buster already has his helmet on, and you pull out the balance bike from the back of the garage and sure he's sitting a little low but he can ride it, in fact he can ride it all the way out into the street while you're running behind him screaming STOP STOP STOP CHICKEN DON'T MOVE BUSTER I SAID DON'T MOVE and Buster's sitting on the corner outside the post office, so alone, watching you drag his big brother off that bike 4 feet from the intersection with the mph posted at 45, and after you march Chicken home with his upper arm in one hand and his bike in the other hand, and you put him in his room until dinner, and you get Buster set up with a puzzle, you go out on the porch and you fix the handlebars on that pedal bike.

Like I said, nobody wins.

It's 11:19 pm on a Wednesday and I'm half a bottle of wine deep, and I worked so fucking hard today to do nice things for my kids and in return I got Buster's silent tears, Chicken's teeth, and scared half to death at that intersection.

I always try to think of their ingratitude as a compliment - they are so well-loved that they believe banana pancakes can exist on a Wednesday morning.  I am such a great fucking mom that my kids are like "Uuuuugh mom no raspberries" when they open the fridge door and reach for a cold sparkling water from the #ContainerStore #CanRoller. THEY EXPECT RASPBERRIES IN FUCKING NOVEMBER. That's how fucking amazing I am. That's how fucking off the chain their sweetass lives are.

But no matter how I try to spin it, some things will always be true:

- Waterfalls is truth.

- Kids will never understand how much fucking work goes into the events that we WANT to feel effortless.

- Parents are the fucking unsung heroes of our societies. We get shit on nonstop by family members, strangers, and thinkpieces shared to FB by non-parent friends who are like "I think this non-parent dietician makes some really good points about how many spinach and mushroom smoothies our kids should be eating."

And we now have THAT VOICE added to the chorus in our heads singing a constant opera battle like from Bohemian Rhapsody:

Me: I am fine.
Dude Chorus: YOU. ARE. NOT.
Me: I am fine.
Dude Chorus: YOU. ARE. NOT.
Lady Chorus: GOOD ENOUGH!
Villagers: Oh Mamma Mia Mamma Mia you are not doing enough

But we show up every fucking day with our scratch pancakes and our "saving our children from fatal car accidents," and we message @OliverGarciaNZ on Etsy about those clutch Elf Nacho plates. Three weeks early.


Birthday parties are streamers you bought at Target while the kid was whining, and grapes you washed while the kid watched one more Paw Patrol, and goody bags you stuffed while your kid was like MOM TEACH ME CHESS. RIGHT NOW.

Hey, Mom?



Love you. Good night.
Reader Question:

Do you ever miss being young and single? I mean not actually, because UGH... I don't want to be back there living that life, but I'm sad at the realization that I will never be there again.


and by "there"
do you mean

There was a summer I lived in New York
with another single girl
in a dorm.

I had a fake ID
and a Metrocard
and the city took me deep.

Even now, more than ten years later,
I can smell
the ginger and garlic and hot oil at Yummy House,
and the sour garbage baking in shiny bags on the street,
and warm beer breath,
and the rosewater perfume I was wearing
and the cold, air-conditioned spaces
where we met for cranberry vodkas
or frappaccinos.
(I was young.)

That summer I was not grateful
for the freedom to walk
8 blocks at my own pace
to the bodega with the good salad bar.

I went to the movies three times a week,
mostly alone,
but sometimes treated by a guy
who almost always annoyed
or bored me
no matter how nice and interested I tried to be.
There were no second dates.

We tumbled, a tight crew of girls with straightened hair
and go-to Friday night shoes,
from cab to bar to cab to bar
to cab to couch
to diner the next morning
where we drank coffee
and ate pancakes and potatoes
and passed the chapstick
and laughed.

Do I miss it?
Sweet Jesus.
Every day.

You have to understand that I'm writing this
on the same couch
(the same cushion in fact)
where I sat
eating scrambled eggs and watching the clock,
and leaking amniotic fluid
onto a waterproof medical pad
after my water broke.

I sat on this exact cushion
sticky, miserable
and breastfed my son on the left,
as I pumped on the right.
(The right nipple cracked and bled the first night.
You have to let it heal.
And you also have to keep up your supply.
That's why I sat on this exact cushion,
strapped to a baby
and a machine,
both pulling.)

You have to understand that I'm writing this
surrounded by plastic trucks,
mismatched socks,
and a green apple with one brown bite gone.

You have to understand
that I fell in love with my husband
that summer
13 years ago.

I am not unhappy with my life.
I am roundly,

But I do not understand the people who say
"I don't remember what my life was like
before the baby was born."
I do.
Because it was fucking awesome.

I went where I wanted
when I wanted.
I ate what I wanted
when I wanted.
I wore what I wanted.
I did what I wanted.

I was the goddamn
before she takes the crown.

Maybe what they're really saying is,
"I don't accurately remember
what my life was like before the baby was born.

Because when I look back at that life
all I see is the absence of human shit,
and the graceful way I simply got into the car
and then
back out again.
Without bending back my thumbnails on car seat buttons,
or getting an infant finger in the eye
or having to run back inside
for a binky.

I must not be remembering what my life was
because I do not remember ever feeling free
but when I look back now,
the freedom is all I can see."

I'm trying to look back at that summer
and remember it,
I remember having fun
and feeling lost
and terribly small
and ordinary.

I had broken up with someone all my friends loved
and I was dreading going back to school.
I didn't know if I'd have friends anymore.

Some of the guys
took more than was offered.

Some of the guys
took less,
a half-portion.
An embarrassing wealth remained on the plate.

And there was the trip to Planned Parenthood.
Which was kind of exciting,
for me.
It was just for Plan B
for my friend,
whose date had assured her
he always wore condoms.
(He did not specify
for how long.)

I was afraid
that I was really untalented.
I was afraid
that I was dull.

I had a summer classmate
who wouldn't leave me alone.
She followed me around
and drove me bat shit crazy.

I hated the people who hurt me,
embarrassed me,
or made me feel small.

I was so young,
thrilled and tender,
easily bought,
and easily wounded.

I don't want to go back.

But what I understand now is
how free I was.
I did not know how free I was.

The people who wouldn't leave me alone,
who drove me bat shit crazy?
I wasn't married to them.

The people who hurt me,
embarrassed me,
made me feel small and powerless?
They didn't call me mommy.

I do not miss caring so much about
what boring guys thought of me.

I do not miss hiding my eagerness
or deciding
who to be

I miss the time in my life
before I made choices
that cannot be undone.

What's funny is,
I'm pretty sure I felt trapped then, too -
what a silly child I was,
to believe I'd already built four walls,
so young.

What's funny is,
of course my choices can still be undone.

I could leave.

I've thought about it,
in the abstract:
How simple it would be
to shop for groceries
that only I wanted to eat.
How my home would be full
of the things I loved
and no Legos.
How I could always
get to the gym.

Of course I've thought about it.
But not really.
Because some things
cannot be undone.

What's funny is,
I'll look back on this little collection of words
when I'm in my sixties and laugh.

"You silly child.
The whole world was open for you then.
You were strong and smart and independent
and your feet were truly under you for the first time.
You had the chance to have
a hell of an adventure
every goddamn day
with the loves of your life
who still followed you around
(remember when that drove you crazy?)
and hurt you
(and healed you)
and reminded you
how small you were
in the whole great deep beautiful fucking world.
Why the hell
did you spend so much time imagining
all the ways your life was already over?"

I just did.
Because even though it was silly,
it was also sad.
Because young and single is fun,
and gone.

Maybe I'm the average
of the person I was
and the person I'm going to be.
Maybe that's why
I'm still afraid of the dark
and no longer afraid of alone.
Maybe that's why
when I am invited to a baby shower
and I know exactly
which spring salad
I will make,
I feel proud
and claustrophobic.

Maybe that's why
I look back at being young and single and feel
and repelled.

When we ache,
looking back on our younger selves
and remember how good we had it,
how ungrateful we were...
When we shake our heads
without the compassion that will eventually grow
for those kids we used to be,
when we say
that youth is wasted on the young
we have to remember

we are still young enough.

exhibit a