Kidz Bop Karen is wrong… unless…

If you haven’t heard of Kidz Bop Karen yet, meet her now.

This woman, who apparently stopped traffic to in the middle of Manhattan earlier this month to yell at a Lyft driver and his passenger after a near-accident, has been meme’d, doxxed and all-around shredded by the youths on social media. And rightly so. KBK’s tirade wasn’t just rude, it was high comedy. But while the TikTok teen re-enactments are very much deserved (and fairly entertaining), as an oft-exasperated mom of young kids myself, I have to give an assist to KBK here. Like, that is not the face of a well-rested woman.

And by all means, no, I have never, and of course, would never, stop traffic to stick my head into another person’s car window to call them a “bitch ass hoe” … unless… well, let’s say you’ve had a day. Not just any day, but A DAY. Maybe your toddler woke up and immediately had a tantrum because he put his underwear on inside out and you forgot to tell him it was inside out even though you weren’t even in the room when he put them on but still, apparently, it’s your job to be the all-knowing queen of right-sided underwear, and so you’ve failed miserably and your kid spent the majority of your day’s first waking hour crying and screaming at you. Not to mention, your other toddler, who refuses to stop nursing literally ALL NIGHT LONG despite being almost two, had you sleeping in 90-minute increments. Then maybe, maybe those toddlers teamed up to see who could get the absolute most peanut butter stuck to the goddamn ceiling and, oh my sweet savior, how is that much even possible?! Then not one, but both kids managed to shit through their diapers/inside out underwear and gOOD LoRD, MY DuDeS, ThE pOTTy IS LIteERALly RIghT TheRE!!!!

Now, imagine you have to get both of them into a car. You have to wrangle them to put on their pants, socks, shoes, maybe coats. You have to get them both out the door and strapped into the car seats. And now — roughly two excruciating hours later — you’ve finally done it and what’s that they want? The Kidz Bop version of “Old Town Road” on repeat? Oh my God, is this hell??? (It is!)

Then you’re driving when a Lyft driver, who may or may not know where he’s going, forgets to check his blindspot and that’s a wrap. Your lizard brain takes over: You pop your crazy head into another person’s car in the middle of New York City and you call a lady without any kids in the backseat a “bitch ass hoe” because, well, how dare she flaunt her childless freedom in front of you like that?! The next thing you know, you’re giving a quick shout out to Kidz Bop and cementing your place in the Karen Hall of Fame.

And perhaps the moniker “Karen” is well-deserved here. After all, I don’t know KBK. Maybe she’d been having an entirely normal, lowercase type of day. Maybe KBK just sucks. But maybe — maybe — she’s just a normal, cromulent parent, like me or you, and she just had a very unfortunate, incredibly rude, nearly certifiable few moments caught on film. For the sake of road safety, here’s hoping it was the latter.

P.S. KBK: If it is the latter, are you and your kids available for a playdate? You can ride the train to D.C. so you don’t have to worry about driving. Mama is real desperate for friends here. I promise I’m not a bitch ass hoe.

Nats closer Daniel Hudson knows what’s up: Fatherhood > baseball

If you ever want to feel terrible about humanity, log on to Twitter. That’s where you’ll find hot temperate takes like this one from a former MLB team executive:

Nah, brah.

A little background: Nationals’ closer Daniel Hudson and his wife welcomed their third child, a girl, the morning of the first game against the Cardinals in the seven-game National League Championship Series. Because, it seems, Hudson is a decent person, he decided not to scamper off to St. Louis with the Nats, but stay home to support and celebrate his wife and newly enlarged family.

So, back to David’s tweet. Like, sir, I quit my whole damn job for my kids. And that’s after I did my part and squeezed them out of my loins. (Well, one of them. The other was ripped from my uterus after it was sliced open.) So, forgive me, David, but I think your hot take is the motherf*cking worst. It is not “unreal” or “inexcusable” for a man to miss a single day of work to see his baby being born. In fact, being there is the very least he could do for his wife whose body just spent the last nine months turning his cells into a human being. This shouldn’t even need to be explained, but playing a baseball game, no matter what the stakes, pales in comparison to birth.

And this isn’t a lesson that I suspect just David needs to learn either. The number of times the broadcast announcers mentioned Hudson’s absence and why led me to believe that if the Nats blew their 2-0 lead in the ninth, they too would’ve made Hudson’s absolutely correct life decision a thing.

Luckily, even if it did become a larger thing, I don’t think I’d be alone in calling out this ridiculousness. Although Twitter more often makes you doubt humanity, it can be encouraging from time-to-time, as well. Returning to David’s tweet, that man got ratioed hard with almost 3,000 replies like these:

Hopefully David, who Wikipedia tells me is married with three kids of his own, can take a break from his terrible takes and reflect on what’s really important in life. Baseball games — even post-season ones — can happen again and again. The birth of your kid is literally once in a lifetime.

Boogers, sand and a surprise

Live picture of me right now.

Oh, hey! I’m still here. Which is kind of a miracle after the week I had. And by “week,” I guess I actually mean “three-and-a-half years,” the age of my oldest kid, because ever since he entered the world, life has pretty much been lived with a one-day-at-a-time mentality.

While I’ve certainly had worse weeks (my son’s third week of life, which he spent in the hospital recovering from bronchiolitis, comes to mind), this last one was no picnic. My two kids came down with whatever gloopy, goobery cold is currently slithering it’s way around preschool playgrounds, which means I spent a gross (literally) amount of my time cleaning up the trails of slime streaming from my children’s orifices.

And because life is like a box of chocolates a bunch of boogers, I knew exactly what would come next: I WOULD GET THE COLD! So. Many. Bodily. Fluids. In. My. House. Right. Now.

Add my tears to the mix, and well, I could both metaphorically and literally use a life raft. Of course, being a stay-at-home mom, there’s not even a buoy in sight. I mean, for real, because my 1.5-year-old is still choosing to nurse, I can’t even take normal cold medication. All I’ve got is my goddamn grit.

Speaking of grit — sand! SAND EVERYWHERE! Since my still-boogery, but no-longer-feverish kids are now on the mend (who cares about me, right?), I’ve been having to take them back outside, and they just so happen to love sandboxes. What idiot invented the sandbox? Oh, look: a 19th-century man (of course), so probably definitely not the person responsible for keeping kids, their clothes and the household floors they frequent clean.

On second thought, perhaps the sand’s a blessing. Like peanut shells on the floor of a saloon, the sand can sop up some of the snot globules that shoot out of my kids’ noses at 100 miles per hour when they sneeze. No, really, according to someone authoritative enough on boogers to be quoted on WebMD, “Sneezes travel at about 100 miles per hour.”

And with that, my friends, we have discovered my first godawful parenting tip: Cover your floors in sand when you and your kids have colds.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go cry again. BYEEEEEEE!

A wild mindf*ck of motherhood

There is some very bizarre, f*cked up sh*t that happens to your brain after you have a kid. And I’m not talking about postpartum depression, which is also the definition of “f*cked up sh*t.” What I’m talking about isn’t even a mental illness, actually, but more of just a wild mindf*ck. I’ll elaborate about what I mean with a recent example.

So, my husband is weird and likes to camp. And he wants to pass down this bizarre love of prehistoric living to our kids, so he made plans a few weeks ago to take our three-and-a-half-year-old son to the woods for 36 hours. Upon hearing this, my logical mind was ecstatic: 1) I’m always happy to see some solid father-son bonding happening, but more importantly, 2) 36 HOURS WITH ONE LESS WILD HYENA IN THE HOUSE?! DID I WIN THE LOTTERY?! OH, LOOK! I’VE ALREADY PACKED UP ALL YOUR BAGS!

And so, Saturday morning at 8 a.m., with their bags all ready to go for weeks, I should’ve been happy as a clam — a clam without the burden of keeping two children alive and entertained for the next 36 hours. Instead, though, I was on the verge of tearing up.

“Are you sure you want to take our son?” I asked my husband.

“Uh, that’s why I’m going.”

“But, like, are you sure? Because he could stay here with me and his sister.”

“Are you…okay?”

I was not okay. After weeks of thinking gleefully about the prospect of halving my parenting responsibilities for a day and a half, I felt an intense need to keep both my kids close.

Quite frankly, this is lunatic behavior. I mean, really, at any given moment on any given day, I am usually daydreaming about all the things I could do if I didn’t have my kids around. (Sleep, sleep, sleep, and… lemme see, sleep.) However, as soon as one of both of my kids are about to scamper off, even if it’s just to grandpa and grandma’s for the day, I preemptively start to miss them. It’s insane.

Luckily for me, this feeling doesn’t last. About 30 seconds after my husband and son left to go live in the Dark Ages for the weekend, I breathed a sigh of relief. I may have even sang and danced a little. There could’ve been a celebratory high kick in there, I don’t know. Unfortunately, this feeling of freedom didn’t last too long.

“Mommmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyy!”

Oh yeah. Dad didn’t take both of the children camping. As if on cue, my 19-month-old let me know she was still around. And so, with no time to spare, it was time for me to start daydreaming again, er, I mean, thoughtfully parenting.

But for real, does this happen to other moms or dads? ‘Cause this sh*t cray. Please let me know.

The liveliest, loneliest job.

Hey kids, do you dream of feeling profoundly isolated from adult life when you grow up, all while still being surrounded by people? Well, girl, do I have an offer for you! Just follow these three simple steps:

  • Step 1: Work very hard in high school to get into a “good college” before going on to get an advanced degree.
  • Step 2: Next, work your way up your respective career ladder and then, as soon as you can see the top, feel that biological clock ticking and go ahead and have you a couple of kids.
  • Step 3: Jump off that ladder! It might seem tough at first, but don’t worry, America’s piss-poor parental leave policies combined with its male-dominated work culture will give you all the nudges you need to commit that career suicide.

Congratulations, girl: You’re a stay-at-home mom now! And if you’re in a place like DC, you will never feel more alone. Why? BECAUSE YOU’RE LITERALLY THE ONLY ONE!

Okay, that’s not entirely true, but it’s close. Here’s a fact: In the nearly two years I’ve been doing this, I have met precisely three other stay-at-home moms. THREE! THREEEEEEEE!

No one wants this gig here. Which means I’m mostly surrounded by nannies all day. And it’s fine, I guess. The nannies I’ve met are all really nice and cool, but there will always be a weird vibe there. I mean, here I am, rearing children because I threw away, er, pushed the pause button on my career; the nannies are here because rearing children is their career. So it’s kind of like living a real-life version of that episode of “Seinfeld” when Kramer starts working for free. All the nannies are the real employees of Brendt/Leland then there’s me, Kramer, “Oh, no no no. I don’t want any money. I’m doing this just for me.”

It me.

And this is only half the story because then there are the feelings of nighttime and weekend isolation. Talking to my peers is hard, man, especially working parents because they naturally want to talk about the kids. I mean, sure, I’ll do it, but for me that’s like grabbing a snack after I’ve been dining at an all-you-can-eat buffet all day. (The buffet is filled entirely with yogurt packets, dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and me trying to convince everyone this homemade watermelon popsicle is a goddamn treat.)

Then there’s my husband, whom I love dearly and truly believe is the best dad ever. I know he intellectually grasps what I go through to raise our kids because I explain it to him in excruciating detail each day, but until you’ve lived in the sh*t yourself, you don’t really get it.

So, you see, being a stay-at-home mom is a lonely, rather crappy volunteer position.

There’s an obvious simple solution here: Go back to work. I’ve explored that, trust me. I even applied for and got an offer for a job earlier this year. It was a great job, too, with decent pay — slightly more even than what I was making before — excellent hours, and the promise of eating lunch without my table mates throwing their food on the floor for me to clean up. But most enticing about returning to #worklife: I’d be a liar if I said ditching my kids for eight hours each day to interact with adults in a meaningful way didn’t sound downright dreamy. Alas, when it came time to hop back on the ladder, I couldn’t do it.

You see, while #momlife sucks when it comes to feeling like part of the larger world, it’s the absolute best for connecting with the world you literally created. This can’t be explained in a pithy sentence, or even a paragraph, so until I write those posts, you’ll just have to trust me.

The TL;DR version is that I’ve learned to think of full-time parenting as a compound investment.

“It’s going to pay off,” a friend of mine who reared two kids into amazing adults told me. “You’ll only know you made the right decision when your kids aren’t assholes and still want to talk to you when they’re in high school.”

Cool! So, here’s to rejoining the world in… 12 years?

(I’ll accept your thoughts and prayers now.)

Holy hell. Here we go again.

You may remember me from such blogs as The Anti DC and The Anti Wedding. Or perhaps you know me as Marissa Payne, Washington Post staff writer, and occasional talking head. Here I am on MSNBC talking about something important.

Yes, people, I had made it. I was living the dream, rocking high ponies on national television and becoming one of the most-read writers in the Post’s sports section.

Then one day I quit.

Why, you ask? Because I’m a woman who decided to have a couple of kids and everything anyone has ever told you about work/life balance is a goddamn filthy lie.

There is no such thing, at least in the news business in Washington, D.C., where the hours are long and the pay is sh*t when you’re facing a daycare bill of nearly $4,000 a month. (Yes, it’s no coincidence childcare centers in D.C. don’t post their rates online.)

But aside from the fact that I’d have been netting less than minimum wage if I’d decided to remain at work, the more important factor in my decision to lean out of my career was because I wanted to spend more than a few waking hours a week with my spawn. I mean, I made these kids, right? I might as well raise them.

When I was working full-time, which included being on the clock for at least eight hours each weekend, I had only one full day a week to devote to my family. And because some of the events I covered happened late at night, I’d often find myself too tired to even enjoy that time. But to be honest (and I always am), it was probably the realization that my son’s daycare providers were spending more quality time with him than I was that pushed me over the edge. I mean, #YOLO, right? (Are the kids still using that hashtag? I haven’t blogged since 2012.)

Anyway, so here we are, roughly two years later, and now with a daughter, too, I have been parenting so hard, ya’ll. Morning, noon, night. All day, erry day. Am I the most amazing parent you’ll ever meet? HAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA HHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHHAAHAHHA. No. I am 100 percent sure there are millions of parents who are more skilled than me. Lots of those parents probably hold down jobs, too. Good on those robots. 

But really, this blog isn’t about passing judgement on other parents’ — and, particularly, moms’ — choices. And it’s certainly not about trying to brag about my own. I just think it’s important to tell you why I traded my hard-earned spot at one of the world’s premier newspapers to become a lowly stay-at-home mom. And let’s get real: This job is hard, like, way harder than reporting news. Like, I knew I was signing up to be around my kids more, but 24 hours a day, seven days a week is A LOT. News reporting sounds like a goddamn vacation sometimes.

Which is where this blog comes in. I’m not totally sure of its purpose, except maybe to serve as some free therapy, but I know one thing for sure: I hope to write stuff that makes people laugh, while offering up a useful parenting tip or two. 

Welcome to Perfectly Cromulent Parent.