Some days you just cannot parent for even one more minute. Like after a week-long sickness, for example.
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The Parenting Mic Drop

Some days you just cannot parent for even one more minute. Like after a week-long sickness, for example.

By Matthew Koehler of

Sometimes I’m just over parenting. That’s it. I reckon you fellow parents feel the same way.


There are times when we become acutely aware of the wrought chaos of parenting: the ubiquitous toys, dismantled art projects (evidence of recent tantrums), clutter, laundry, clothes, old bits of food stuck to the ancient carpet, foul smelling underwear, the messy kitchen (a chronic struggle), and the monster itself.

I want it to disappear for a few hours. For a day maybe. Perhaps a week.

I try to recall what it’s like to not be perpetually frazzled, but I can’t. My toddler is all consuming (as designed by evolution).

Most of the time this is just a passive observation, but some days every mundane task becomes an epic, tedious struggle. All the tiny facets of our day no longer fit and there is conflict after conflict after conflict. I stand outside myself, watching our mutual frustrations grow for one minute or several thousand—time is flexible in the presence of our little angels.

I can’t even tell a story without a correction every 5–10 seconds.

You know what, sweet child? Tell yourself the story, I’m out.

This all seems pretty selfish and petty of a parent to say, and I would agree with that sentiment. But it’s not like I, or many parents, feel this way all the time. We feel this most when our absolute authority clashes with infinite stubbornness. When the sacred routine, including your hard-won free time, simply vanishes with no immediate return in sight, you start to bend. After nights of sleeplessness, days of never-ending crankiness, bad appetites, constant pacification and struggle, you start to break.

If I could cautiously borrow war terminology here, I would call this trench-warfare parenting.

“I’m over this shit”: a mantra that repeats over and over and over again.

Not permanently, mind you, just for now. For this day, or the next few days, a poor soul could do without the toddler’s never-ending demands of daddy, daddy, daddy, “Daddy?!!?”


“Don’t get frustrated with me, Daddy.”

Aw, how cute.

I probably sound like a complete asshole now, don’t I?

Listen, I said these occasions were rare, but nothing brings this parenting sentiment on more than a weeklong sickness when neither of you can escape each other’s presence. Then your significant other gets sick and you find yourself sleeping on the couch. Not by request of your loved-ones but out of self-preservation. You can’t fix them; bad colds just have to run their course. You mentally prepare yourself for the week ahead, but this is an intellectual understanding, not a day-to-day experience.

The first day, Sunday, I felt horrible for both of them.

On Monday, I wanted to do whatever made the toddler happy. I made her favorite food, just so she’d eat something. Pancakes all damn day. I even let her have lots of screen time—all damn day.

Kid happy, me happy.

By Tuesday, I was zoned out, my patience supply not properly replenished. The kid had been sleeping in the bed the previous two nights, which never works well for the adults. Co-sleeping is just something she does when she’s sick. It’s either that or she’ll come to the bedside every hour, screaming bloody murder in my ear.

I powered through.

Wednesday: What happened on Wednesday? I don’t recall but she was still sick, so no playgroup (she’s part of a co-operative playgroup). Chronic fatigue had set in and the weather sucked. I was having difficulty remembering what day of the week it was. My hope was that by the following day, I’d be able drop her, snotty nose and all, at the co-op for a few hours so I could sit on a park bench and stare at the clouds in peace for an hour or two.

Thursday: What’s my name again? Ah, it’s Protozoa. I’m a mindless organism that survives on instinct. All higher functions, including my sense of humor, were gone.

Friday: The meaning of the word “nebulous” was lost to me. I wasn’t sure, but maybe I was just a vast nebulous region of mostly disconnected thoughts. I relinquished my fatherly duties at 9 am that morning, only to take on the mantle of babysitter to another toddler (to help some friends out who’d just had a baby).

I could no longer adequately communicate to others of my own kind.

Saturday: I transformed. My gracious wife granted me a reprieve and I headed to a whiskey social (no, I didn’t pay for it, I won tickets). After each glass of wine, and later a few 14% beers, the nebula of me slowly congealed to form a magnificent inebriated star. I had returned from the nether regions of space.

On Sunday, I gazed upon the fruit of my loins, and I recalled what an amazing little person she is. I looked at her as only a parent could, with endless joy and love.

“Hey, baby! Get over here. You have boogers coming out of your nose. No! Don’t wipe them on your sleeve! Lemme get ’em!”

“No, I goddit, Daddy.”

Aren’t they cute?

All was right with the world again.

This post was originally published on


About the Author

Matthew Koehler is currently a freelance writer and dad who formerly worked as an ESL teacher in Nagano, Japan and Washington, D.C. When not trying to keep up with his five year daughter, he chronicles his fathering experiences in blog form and is always on the look out for obscure beers. For the time being, he resides in the ever-changing SW neighborhood DC, just down the street from Nationals Ballpark. Read more at