jannica merrit

humor. honesty. sometimes both.


October 2016



As usual, time has gotten away from me and a holiday is fast approaching.  I was going to dress up as Supergirl for Halloween; mostly because I have the costume and there’s a television show about her.  Then it hit me…why not dress up as myself?


I manage two little lives, taking care of all their needs and many of their wants.  I give boo boo healing kisses.  I run our home, which needs a ton of work, but is still standing.  I work full-time, plus some each week.  I drive long distances so my kids will be with people I trust while I am supporting us.  I keep my title of “Mom” by earning it with sweat and diaper-changing equity.  I don’t go out “adulting” often because I prefer to spend my time with my babies.  I even keep our many pets fed and watered, if not played with often enough.  Surely I qualify?

But before I put on my cape and start strutting around proudly, my doubts creep in.  I think of the times I am short tempered; and I feel bad.  The times I expect my four-year-old to do things above his age and yell when he doesn’t do them.  Sure, most of the time, I don’t yell and am calm, but sometimes I do and I cringe inside afterwards.  The preschooler who somedays challenges me on everything, and argues his way of thinking, even when clearly wrong.  “Mommy, red light means go.”

My amazingly active toddler who some are already trying to label as ADHD.  She is on top of every available climbing surface, and her definition of what is an acceptable climbing surface is so much broader and braver than mine.  With her brother as her spokesperson (“Sister wants ice cream!”), and her own language that she would prefer we learn, over her learning common English or sign language.

These are the best of times, and the tiredest of times.  There was a novel about that by Charles Dickens wife, I believe.  I wouldn’t trade a minute of raising my kids, getting to see them learn and grow and develop, because even at my most exasperated, they are my heart and soul.

Super tired Mom.  I think that is more appropriate.  Is there a costume for that?  And does the cape come with a pillow and someone to watch my kids so I can take a nap?

An Ode To Peeing Alone

One bright sunny afternoon when the birds are happily chirping outside my open window and it is not too hot, nor too cold, I am with my children playing in the living room.  I look at the tiny humans who have filled my life and living room with blocks, balls, stuffed animals, a Thomas the Train Take and Play, a small nonfunctional (but realistic sounding) Little Chef kitchen, both a Pillow Racer and a Buzz Lightyear ride-on toy, and so much more.  They are playing with each other in that special way they have, communicating sometimes without words, laughing when they aren’t beating each other up with a ferocity a UFC fighter would respect.  Our dogs are playing out back and our cats appear to all be sleeping on their cat tree.  An idyllic, if slightly messy, day of parenthood.

My slightly vague ‘fifth-episode-of-Bubble-Guppies-in-a-row-don’t-hit-your-sister-with-that-toy-firetruck’ mind, gets the signal from my sacral nerve that it is time to empty my bladder.  I look slightly nervously at my children, who seemed occupied by their game of my oldest child sort of gently pushing his sister repeatedly into and away from the wall as she sits atop her Buzz Lightyear toy.  Neither are looking at me.  A tiniest germ of hope fills my mind.  Could I really pull this off?  It would be an historic moment, if I could make it work…

Thinking of the possibility, I dare to begin to dream…the idea starting small and slowly building steam in my mind.

Could I actually leave the room unnoticed and make it all the way to the bathroom and…

(drumroll in my mind)

Pee alone?

I don’t let myself become too attached, for the crushing fear of disappointment.  But, like climbing Mount Everest, if you don’t take the first stride, you will never taste the victory of success!  I take a tentative step, and then another.  No loud cries urging me to “wait!” are announced, nor do I see a little eagerly crawling diaper-clad body…

To have a bodily function without a quiz of, “What are you doing?” followed by the ever popular, “What’s that?” is the stuff of my life pre-children. I honestly don’t know how long it’s been.

I make it all the way to the bathroom doorway, one careful step after another.  I pause, looking around, wanting to savor the moment, but not for so long I blow my chance, metaphorically leaving my Golden Ticket in the pocket of pants I sent to the dry cleaners.

I savor the thought of peeing alone, and without explanation of which particular bodily function I am undertaking at that particular moment.  The moment is upon me.  I pull down my yoga pants, anticipation settling in…


And here lie the shattered remnants of my dream, lost in the immortal words, “Mommy’s making pee pee.”  Maybe next year…

If Everyone Were Honest…

It occurred to me the other day how often we tell white lies…and outright lies.  What would the world be like if we were all like young children—saying exactly what’s on our minds, without trying to people please or save anyone’s feelings?  What would we say to the everyday questions?  And what comments would we add unsolicited?

“How are you?” is a common enough question, but one that is rarely answered with the truth. What if we answered, “Well, I stayed up too late playing Call of Duty and eating chips and bean dip and now I am overtired and gassy. I am also hoping no one can smell that I slept late instead of taking a shower this morning.  How are you?”

There are unlimited areas the truth could change things.   Dating is another.  “I had a great time tonight! Would you like to go out again?” could be answered with “I would rather cut off my leg with a rusty saw than spend another hour hearing about the golf game you watched on television or smelling your mothball-scented breath…and for the love of God, don’t lean in for a goodnight kiss!”

At work we could tell our more obnoxious or demanding customers, “Thanks for coming in our business—thanks for your money, that is—and would you please go to our competitor next time because dealing with you is just not worth it?”

Job searching would sound like, “I am looking for something else because my current boss is a cheap jerk who wants more and more work, drives a brand new BMW, and hasn’t given me a raise in two years.”

And our friendships would probably not be enriched by, “No, actually your new haircut looks like it was done by a crack addict in withdrawal with dull scissors.  I do think it might look okay in six to nine months after it grows out, though.”

Casual conversations with people we somewhat know and run into at the grocery store would start with, “Oh, what’s even your name?” and end with, “I wish you would stop talking because you are boring and I need to go to the bathroom!”

New parents would be always remember us when they heard, “Wow. That is one ugly baby—I knew your two sets of DNA should never have combined!”

Teenagers talking to their parents could add, “I have no intention of following your rules and am, in fact, desperately searching for a loophole that I can use to justify going to my friend’s big brother’s party Friday night.”

Don’t even get me started on, “Does this make me look fat?”

Inspiration for the Days You Want to Quit

Some days nothing—absolutely nothing—goes right.  The days you desperately need things to go smoothly…and they don’t.  Every single thing you try to do is like swimming upstream through maple syrup with zip ties holding your ankles together.  Wide-open doors are suddenly slammed shut in your face.  Friends mean well, but don’t understand or are busy with their own lives.

A good self-help book could provide comfort; if you could still your mind long enough to read it.  Because really, there is no one but you with boots on the ground.

How do you keep going when doors are slammed in your face at every turn?  It isn’t always easy, but I have assembled a guide of my most helpful strategies and resources for when times are toughest.  I hope at least one can help!

Chocolate, pizza, or any other high calorie, low nutrition food of your choice.  The key is to take a bite every time you feel stressed or depressed.  The next part—and this is crucial–do not stop if you feel full or bloated!  If you are one of “those” people, I want to affirm that celery or carrot sticks don’t count!  A “food coma” marks success here.

Alcohol.  Like the first recommendation, excess is the key here, as well.  Because if there is any hint of that pesky sobriety then drinking your way to happiness may not work, so keep drinking until it goes away.  Until everything goes away!

Gambling.  Preferably this is done at a casino, though online can be substituted in an emergency.   High stakes games are the best; nothing takes your mind off your problems as much as new problems—such as how will you now pay the mortgage after gambling away the paycheck that was earmarked for it.

Shopping.  Even if you aren’t up to leaving the house for a little “shop therapy” can still be achieved as long as you Wi Fi is still up and running.

Computer Games.  Pick your poison on this one.  Something old school like Centipede or Space Invaders or something new and like Pokemon or Call of Duty.  One million computer nerds can’t be wrong!

Chain smoking.  Pick a pack of cigarettes, any brand, invest in the forty-or-so dollars they cost after taxes, and light one up one after another.  The cloud of smoke will surround your troubles and help you choke them out of your life.

Jerry Springer.  Whatever is going on in your life, you will be hard-pressed to beat the over-the-top drama of a Springer guest.  You will also probably have a much lower fistfight to conflict ratio than any of their guests.  Take a couple episodes and call me in the morning.

You can get through the tough times in life!  You can do it!  And my handy guide will stock your resiliency toolbox for just such tough times.


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