Cheers to One More Milestone I Won’t be Celebrating

Janelle Hanchett essays

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One of the most baffling aspects of motherhood is the way it seems to obligate me to get excited about things I’m really just not that excited about. Like I’m supposed to get all into it because I’m a mother or something, but really I just watch other women get excited about it and wonder if I’m missing something.

You know like “When did that ship sail, cause seriously, I barely give a shit.”

For example, parent-teacher conferences. I hear women talk about them like they’re the biggest deal all year. You know what I think when I get that notice home? “Damn, how the hell am I going to wrangle the toddler while I sit through this thing?” Or, “Shit. One more thing to do.”

I mean I can write the whole thing for you right now anyway. Here it goes: “Your daughter is way above grade level in all subjects but has a hard time working with others and waiting her turn to talk. Your son is performing below grade level in all subjects but is a natural leader and a master at P.E. and everybody loves him.”

And all these “milestones” that I’m supposed to start jumping up and down shouting “yippee!” – first crawls, first words, first whatever—obviously these are kind of fun, and I’m excited in a “I’m glad my child is progressing” kind of way, but I’m not like tearing down the house with glee. Ya feel me? [Seriously, Janelle, rhyming?]

Because all these “milestones,” while glorious in their indication that all is well with the offspring’s progress, also mark whole new insane levels of work and chaos.

Crawling? Yipee! Now I have a MOBILE maniac.

Walking? Now I have a fast, mobile maniac.

Talking? Start of the slippery slope to the day when she NEVER EVER FUCKING STOPS TALKING. EVER.

But one of the things I felt comfortable in my disdain of, one of the “milestones” I thought I was safe to not get excited about, at all, in fact pretty much loathe, was potty training. I mean, who likes that? Nobody. It’s not fun. It’s not amusing. It’s not even cute. It involves crap and work and pee, and cajoling, and angry blog posts by judgmental women who hate the fact that I bribe my kid with chocolate chips.


So you can imagine my surprise when my homies emailed me an actual invitation to a “potty training party.”

A what what?

Oh yeah, you heard me. A party. Celebrating potty training.

Like, one you’re supposed to attend. Fiesta. Shindig.

You get it.

Here’s a quote, in case you don’t believe me: “Let’s get potty training started with a party! Come and join us for a day celebrating this inevitable milestone! We’ll have snacks and drinks for all, and a lot of fun!”

What the WHAT?

Beyond the excessive use of exclamation points, which already makes me want to die a slow death in a cold basement, the idea of celebrating POTTY TRAINING is about the most obscure concept I’ve ever heard of. It’s like oxymoronic. Or Ironic. It can’t be real. BUT IT IS.

It’s like having a party to celebrate menopause. Or hemorrhoids. Or how about a little shindig honoring a recent hysterectomy? (although wait. That one may have potential.)

You know what potty training looks like in our house? A naked toddler pissing on the floor then running up to us gleefully exclaiming “I peed in the potty!” Or Rocket laughing his ass off from the other room, barely squeaking out between squeals of laughter “Georgia’s pooping in the dollhouse!” Or it’s seeing the toddler begin to urinate on the couch, yelling “NOOOOOO!!!!” (like in one of those Hallmark movies where the dude protagonist watches the main chick die), and (in similar slow motion) bolting across the floor to stick her on the potty, which is, incidentally, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FREAKING LIVING ROOM (because potty training seems to turn you into white trash, TOO) meaning we all get peed on and the floor is covered but the actual potty contains approximately 5 drops of urine, the sad remains of the cross-room journey.

For obvious reasons, I delay this shit (ha.ha.) as long as I possibly can (because OMG the work involved), but eventually it becomes so obvious that it’s “potty training time!” that I start looking bad at playgroups (um, because I totally go to those), so I start sloughing the work onto my husband, telling him he better get on it and pronto, as payback for the fact that I carried the urinater in question in my womb for 10 months and now pee on myself when I sneeze. Also he still doesn’t know where we keep the strainer.

Only fair, says I.

Dude, I’m not kidding, we’re so bad at potty training the toddler HERSELF asks us to remove her diaper so she can poop.

Judge not. Or judge. Whatever.

So HOW THE HELL am I supposed to comprehend a PARTY celebrating the “inevitable milestone?”

It ain’t easy, I tell you.

After we commiserated for a bit on the bleak state of humanity (what has the world come to when we’re having parties celebrating potty training?), my friend did some sleuthing and discovered that the event in question is this thing created and “sponsored” by Pull-Ups (oh yeah, you thought it couldn’t worse, didn’t ya?), and if you want to have one of these little shindigs, you “apply” for it and Pull-Ups chooses you based on SOMETHING (I can’t even imagine) and they send you a bunch of Pull-ups for your kid and guests, party hats and all kinds of other nonsense. There’s even a “potty training DANCE” everybody can do together! I just vomited a little in my mouth.

So basically, in having one of these parties, you become not only a threat to all that’s holy, but also a tool for the marketing antics of corporate America! Gooooo Huggies!



Only I’m making my own damn invitations. Otherwise, my people won’t be interested. Here they are.

You coming?

This was originally posted on Janelle's blog Renegade Mothering. 


About the Author

Janelle Hanchett

Janelle Hanchett is a freelance writer in northern California and mother of questionable disposition to three children. You can join her in the fight against helpful parenting advice at her blog, .

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March 2015 – Celebration
To learn about having your own Mother's Day Eve Party go to: MDE Party
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