The Stages of Parental Degradation in the Grocery Store

by renegademama

Hey lady. I see you. Staring me down in the condiment aisle while my 10-year-old blocks your view of the stone-ground mustards. Look. I get it. I’m there with my 4 kids at 4pm, one of them on my hip, the other climbing the cart, the other in your way.

I told him to move. You got your mustard. But yeah, my voice probably lacked a certain vigor you were hoping for. Or maybe you just glared at me because there are so many of us. I feel that, my friend.

But you gotta understand something here: I didn’t start out this way. I didn’t start out broken and weeping by the organic kale. When I walked into this place I was full of hope and promise, just like you. When I put my baby in the cart and purse in the basket, I wasn’t staring down the barrel of 15 years of questionable life choices culminating in four dirty-blonde children circling me like those bastards ‘round the fire in Lord of the Flies.

I was setting out on some good ol’ fashioned excess in the chain grocery store!

Perhaps you don’t have children, or perhaps you have children but are one of those mothers whose kids never act like Tiny Adorable Crackheads due to your excellent parenting, or maybe you don’t take them to the store because you have a nanny taking care of that sort of nonsense, or maybe you’ve (gently, lovingly of course) coerced them into submission, or maybe…yeah. I don’t know. Maybe you’ve forgotten?

At any rate, you need to understand the stages of parental degradation in the grocery store so next time you see a forlorn jacked-up mother (not like ON DRUGS just TIRED) you can eke out a tiny fake smile or even no face at all in place of the death eyes you threw me last week.

Stay with me here.

Stage 1: Hope and Promise.

Here I am, going to the store with my kids, getting groceries for dinner tonight, looking forward to our friends coming over. It’s 4pm. They’re coming at 5:45. Plenty of time!  Just need to get a few simple things. Ohhhh look at that cute baby and damn I missed them today. Sure! Get the Dubliner! I love cheddar!

“Georgia. Put the bread back. We already have bread.”

“Please stop poking the tortillas.”

“No skipping, please. Not here.”

“Where the hell is Rocket?”


I realized around the time I passed the bread aisle that Georgia was in “one of those moods.” It’s hard to describe. It’s a 4-6 year old thing. Around the hours of 4-6pm, before they’ve eaten, after a full day of school. They’re tired as fuck. They’re hungry. They’re WEIRD. They look at you with these sort of glazed-over eyeballs and you wonder if perhaps you’re talking to somebody who’s had a few too many. You touch their arms to get them to engage but, like drunk people, they start crying and you realize the only thing to do is GET THIS PERSON HOME before they wet their pants.

Or piss on your couch. Wait. Are we talking about college? No! Where am I?

Store. Right. So within just a few moments I realize we’re going to have one of those trips to the store and I move from “Hope and Promise” to Stage 2.

Stage 2: “Parenting”

Janelle, the kids are tired and hungry. They’ve been at school all day. They’re worn out. If you speak to them with kind-hearted reason, they’ll totally respond because they love you and aren’t total fucking sociopaths.

“Georgia, I told you that if you run around the aisles you have to get in the cart. So please come get in the cart.”

“I can’t. It’s full.”

“Rocket, please stop riling up the baby. I really need him to sit in the cart as opposed to squeal and flail uncontrollably.”

“Georgia, okay. Come here then and hold my hand.”

“Ava, can we talk about this later? I’m really trying to focus and I don’t want to forget anything.”


They are not responding to reason. You’ve said the same sentence 9 times. You’ve been interrupted distracted and physically assaulted (by the toddler) at least 10 times. What the hell is happening here I am so tired my back hurts I don’t have this in me WHERE IS THEIR FATHER?


Time for Stage 3: Parenting with subdued rage

You are breathing rapidly to contain the irritation while trying so fucking hard not to forget the shredded Parmesan cheese. Fuck parenting. They’re all terrible. Fuck learning moments. This shit sucks. I just need to get out of the store so I can tell these kids how bad they were and punish them somehow in some really effective method I’ll think of when I get there.

“Georgia I swear if you don’t come here RIGHT NOW (gritted teeth non-yell) I am going to…(what? You have nothing but empty threats and she knows it.)”

“Put your hand on this cart AND DO NOT MOVE EVER.”

“Fine. Just give me the baby. I’ll just hold him.”

“No we cannot get seaweed, that grind-it-yourself peanut butter, more bread, eggnog, chocolate, flowers for daddy, balloons for daddy, anything for daddy, a succulent for nana, a coconut, some small peppers, or Altoids. NO WE ARE NOT GETTING ANY OF THAT SHIT BECAUSE YOU ARE ALL ASSHOLES AND I HATE YOU.” (Oh god I don’t hate you please never leave me.)

But what comes out: “No, kids.






NO. We’re not getting that,” as you smile at the old man who thinks your baby’s cute as he walks by.

“Actually, Rocket. Get the eggnog. Good call.”


Stage 4: Resignation to a failed life

This is where you come in, mustard lady. I’ve been here for 20 minutes with 3 hungry bored tired Americans and a baby who hasn’t nursed in 8 hours, currently on my hip making the milk sign, wailing intermittently, and pulling my shirt down. My 5-year-old is holding the cart as directed but attempting to fling her legs over the side while the 14-year-old holds the cart down telling her to stop and my 10-year-old is staring blankly at some condiment RIGHT IN YOUR WAY and I know it, and I tell him, but I’m resigned. I’ve surrendered.

He moved. Sorry for getting in your way. You’ll be fine.

Did you really need to throw me the death glare?

You think this is the moment I imagined? You think I’m enjoying this? I’m for sure not. This is a moment I endure to get to the next one. I’ve moved through the parental stages of degradation and now I’m in full-flight from reality FUCK IT ALL I don’t-even-care-anymore-get-me-outta-this-store mode.

When I finally make it to the checkout line, I realize I’ve forgotten the Parmesan cheese. When I send my kid to go, he runs down the motherfucking aisle, like a wayward 5-year-old, even though he’s 10, which proves to Georgia the great injustice of existence and she’s crying. While the baby tries to nurse and I try to pay and Ava gets pissed at Rocket for just being so annoying on purpose all the time.

When we get into the car, I whisper “Jesus Fucking Christ” under my breath but definitely loud enough for the kids to hear. Then I inquire “WHY WERE YOU SO BAD IN THE STORE TODAY?” and demand that nobody make a single utterance – accidental or otherwise – until we get home.

Then I move into Stage 5: Pretty much okay again.

Let’s make dinner. We have eggnog!


So what I’m trying to say here, lady, is that sometimes you catch people when they are not 1000% winning at life and most likely, they’re struggling with their reality as hard as you are struggling to understand how somebody could possibly suck this badly at life.

Most likely, the loser in the grocery store with the unruly kids will be back to Stage 2 (“Parenting”) or even Stage 1 or 5 within mere moments, and we can all just move along in our respective lives without Laser Eye Death Beams.



Well forget you then.

I’m at Stage 4 in this relationship.



Hey! Let’s stop telling women to have sex against their will! Sweet thanks!

by renegademama

I don’t have a problem letting the internet know I drank Ancient Age whiskey alone in my Ford Taurus for two show-stopping years, but talking about sex makes me feel weird.

Leave me alone I was raised Mormon.

But it must be done. Take this is a sign as my love for you.

The first time I heard it (what I’m about to say, not sex) I thought I had entered some anomalous reality where women forgot it’s not 1953. “Or,” I thought, “Maybe they were dosed by their Mormon grandmothers.”

THAT WAS A JOKE. Mormon grandmothers do not dose children.

Or they’re super religious themselves. Like this guy, who explains (complete with scriptural “evidence,”) all the things a “Christian man” should do to his wife (call her out in front of people, stop taking her out, deny her finances – basically abuse her psychologically) if she fails to perform her godly wifely sex duty.

One can only hope a beaver mistakes his penis for a log and has at it.

Small log?


But it appears my assumptions were wrong. Turns out there are actual, non-dosed, non-religious-zealots out there who think a woman should provide sex whenever her husband wants it because it’s her duty as a wife and if she doesn’t do it he’ll start boning his doctor. (See how I didn’t say “secretary?” Overturning gender stereotypes at every turn!)

Thus, in the interest of a lasting marriage, the Traveling Vagina must be open for business at all times, should the Brave Penis come a’knockin’. So many puns, so little time.

Recently heard a woman tell a room full of other women that wives should “suck it up for 15 minutes” and “get it over with” because it “ain’t that bad” and “he needs it.”


Call me old-fashioned, but I’m pretty sure we should not be telling women what to do with their bodies or casting them in the undisputed service of other bodies because those other bodies are more important than theirs.

That is, perhaps, not the finest sentence I’ve written. But I digress, because I’m nervous.

I’m pretty sure a woman’s body IS HER OWN and if she doesn’t want a penis in it, SHE SHOULD NOT HAVE A PENIS IN IT, even if it ruins somebody’s day.

What the hell is wrong with people?

I’m trying to like you, humans, but you make it so hard. (See what I did there?)


Dear teenaged girls: This is your body. You own it. It’s yours. You have total and complete agency over what happens to it. UNTIL YOU’RE MARRIED AT WHICH CASE YOU LOSE ALL RIGHTS HEREIN BECAUSE YOUR HUSBAND’S DICK IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU.

 Look, I’m married with four kids *edging toward that uncomfortable feeling*. I know every time a married couple has sex it’s not hanging-from-the-sex-swing exciting. We’re old. We’re tired. I know there are times when one partner or the other isn’t super into it but we’re like “alright cool let’s do this” because it’s cool. Let’s do this. We love each other.

But that is the exception, not the rule, and it’s certainly not out of a sense of threat, obligation, or duty. It’s out of a place of “Well I’m not SUPER into it but I’m not NOT into it either.” The way these people depict it, it doesn’t matter if you have zero interest and the idea of sex sounds as appealing as a root canal without anesthetic, you do it because he wants it. Full stop.

Yes, that’s right. You submit to him no matter what. Whenever however forever.

I’ll be damned (and in the eyes of some, that’s in the bag) if the only factor in the do we or do we not have sex question is “Does the male want it?” And the woman’s job is to “suck it up” because she’s been told her marriage is at risk if his rocks aren’t blowin’ off enough times a week.

He was 15 once. HE’LL BE FINE.


It is a lie that men will die without sex. It is a lie that they can’t control themselves. It is a lie that they are hapless victims of penile drive and just can’t help it because biology. Until they prove that unused semen travels to the brain and starts consuming life-giving tissue at an alarming rate, you won’t convince me that a dude can’t just take a visit to the shower on occasion.

Not only is it a lie, it’s the root of rape culture. It reinforces “Well, she was drunk. There was an unprotected vagina just lying there! What’s a boy to do?” mentality, which perpetuates and justifies rape, placing the woman’s body under ownership of the man while reducing his conscious act of violence to “an uncontrollable urge.”

This is why nobody likes you, humans.

Maybe, instead of telling women it is their duty to provide physical gratification to their partner no matter how they feel about it, we suggest that couples ask themselves and each other what the problem is if one person is routinely not interested in sex.

I’m no genius but I think if a husband or wife loses interest in sex, there may be a problem that needs to be addressed in the marriage. 

Go ahead. Hire me for a life coach. I charge a lot though. We can talk about everything except sex because sex talk makes me uncomfortable.


Why don’t we try to get to the root of the problem rather than look at it as merely some deficiency on the part of the human in question? I don’t know. Maybe get some counseling. Maybe there is something emotionally lacking. Maybe depression. Maybe one of the people sucks in bed (obviously not in a good way). I feel weird.

I don’t fucking know. I know approximately four things about marriage, and three of them are questionable. One of them though is for sure that the solution to sex problems is NOT “have sex against your will.”

Grow up, people. Women want to get laid. Men want to get laid. Some men want it more than some women and some women want it more than some men, whatever, but I don’t see too many essays telling men that it is their job to meet the sexual needs of their wives at all times whether or not they feel like it.

So don’t fucking tell me this isn’t rooted in patriarchy and the assumption that women don’t have sexual needs but rather a whole bunch of fee fees. FEELINGS. Women are overly emotional, illogical creatures. Men need sex. Women need heart-to-heart talks while sipping chamomile and watching their tiny special snowflakes play in the sand. Duh.


But wait. If that’s true, and we’re all about equality, then there should be lots and lots of literature, articles and religions and “godly leaders,” telling men that if they don’t cater to their wives’ every emotion they aren’t doing their duty as a husband and she’s gonna run off to bone her secretary because he’s cute. AND CARES ABOUT HER FEELINGS.

Right? Where is that stuff? Oh that’s right it doesn’t exist.

Because women are looked down upon for this alleged/invented/bullshit “irrational, emotional” nature. Men don’t need to cater to it because it’s a weakness. A fault. A shameful sad thing that makes us unfit for politics, capitalism, and STEM. But virility, oh, manliness, oh, the mighty dick, that is a “need” and if it’s not satisfied, obviously you have to go bone your favorite computer engineer.

Newsflash: I am for sure irrational, emotional, and sensitive. Just like my husband. I am also fiercely intellectual, logical, and insensitive. Just like my husband.

Why? Because that’s how brains work, asshole.

ALL OF THEM. All the brains. Penis or vagina downstairs. No matter.

Okay. Pull it together, Janelle.


So let’s break this down. Here’s what society tells women about marriage. (I just want the young girls to have something to look forward to):

Ladies, you have profound emotional needs but men don’t need to meet them because they’re a sign of your flawed brain. We value reason and logic in this country. Act like an American! If you go out and find a man to be with because your emotional needs aren’t being met, you are a lying whore and family-ruiner.

Men have profound sex needs and you must meet them because you have a vagina and they want it. If you don’t give them that vagina, they will have no choice but to run out and find another vagina. This will be your fault because you locked away what’s theirs. Way to be a family-ruiner.


You know what? If a person is a cheater (I’m assuming we’re into the whole monogamy thing here) – man or woman – they’re a fucking cheater and no amount of listless sex is going to save that. And if a person is devoted to you and your marriage they’re going to invest in some quality shower time and ask you WHY you don’t want to have sex rather than finding the nearest willing human to cheat on you with.

So please, please stop thinking of people in isolated cells of definition: “Men will die without daily sex.” “Women will die without daily heartfelt sensitivity.” We all need sex. We all need sensitivity. We have got to let go of these rigid and arbitrary definitions that frame women as swooning feelers and men as walking virility, constructing whole societies recasting natural gendered variation as twisted, wrong, and defective.

Our problems reflect our individuality, our humanity. The solutions must reflect that too.

Anything short of that is a discredit to us all.

Wanted to close with something about “blue balls” but couldn’t quite fit it in.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Twigs. Beavers. Logs. Leave me alone.


hey look two married people. (no idea what photo to use)



I know you’ve got something to say. You just have to figure out how and where and when to say it.

Write with me in January. We’re all afraid to say what we need to say.

But we can learn together to do it anyway. 


47 Comments | Posted in cohabitating with a man. | November 17, 2015

On balance and not being awesome

by renegademama



“Please tell me how you balance 4 kids, a husband, writing, and everything else you do. Are you an alien or something?” – Sammy

“How do you stay so damn awesome? And how do you find time and energy to keep being awesome every day?” – Charlotte


Dear Sammy and Charlotte,

I figured these were good questions to answer today because today I feel like giving up. It happens, usually out of sheer exhaustion. Last night I slept 4 hours. This week I haven’t slept more than 5 or 6 hours a night. This month we all had strep throat. Then most of us got it again, including me, this week.

As I write this, my head is pounding, my eyes are droopy, and my cheekbones ache. It’s a headache, I guess, wrapping around my face and skull, concentrating in my temples. It burns the side of my face. My eyes want to sleep. My brain, though, has other plans. I know that. Fucking insomnia.

They say “take power naps.” That sounds amazing. Somebody explain to my brain that power naps are a good call. “Nah, I’d rather THINK,” it says.

Okay, asshole. Let’s go.

I thought when I leased an office this would get easier. And it probably would have, had I not taken on a couple college classes as a last-minute decision, for reasons I’m not quite sure about.

For reasons in and out of my control, right now I find myself teaching college classes, teaching writing workshops, writing this blog and other projects, and taking care of four children every morning and every night, virtually alone. My husband has been working 2.5 hours away since February. He’s rarely home.

And today, today I want to give up.


I don’t, though. I don’t in the same way and for the same reasons none of us give up. How do I do it? How do we do it? We wake up and put one foot in front of the other, or maybe drag one foot in front of the other.

I’ve told my husband this year that his job has ruined my life. I don’t mean that. I said it in a fit of furious desperate exhaustion.

I do that. I say irrational things and feel sorry for myself.

I’ve yelled at my kids on the way out the door, with a hint of crazy, circling rage in a way that rocked me. I didn’t mean that. I sit down and explain.

I do that. I get angry, blame, lose my patience. Act terribly.

I get down. I get back up.


I write one blog post a week. Lately I’ve been pushing it to the 7th day. I used to publish on Tuesday. You’ll note today is Friday.

I do that. I push things to the very end of the possible deadline because I FUCKING DON’T WANT TO because I’m uninspired and sucked dry.

I write badly. I publish things I don’t love. I don’t take myself too fucking seriously. I cut myself some slack. I trust I’m learning from all of it, that every piece of writing makes me a better writer. I write silly things. I sing in the car. I act like a fool.

The B.S. will pass.

It’s hard to create anything in the meantime, in monotony, the exhaustion and frustration, when all I want to do is watch “Mindy Project” and play Candy Crush. But I do it anyway, because if I sat around waiting for inspiration to strike I’d never write a fucking thing. If I waited for the muse to tap me on the shoulder I wouldn’t have written a word the whole of 2015, because the muse is hard to see through the haze of self-pity. Sometimes, as Stephen King says, we have to get down in the basement and do the fucking grunt work SO THAT the muse can visit us. We think she shows up uninvited. I believe we have to ask her to come, every day.

My job is to do the work in front of me and trust that the magic will show up.

(You got a better idea?)

I do that. I check out. I zone out. I whine. Then I show up again.


I’ve gotten a bunch of frozen food from Costco. We eat it when I’m too tired to move at the end of the day. My mom helps me drive Rocket to swim practice, Georgia to dance, Ava to piano. The laundry mocks me from every basket. I sit on the floor and read a story to Arlo. He makes the “milk” sign and I make a face. He nurses for 1-minute intervals. By the 6th time we do it, I’m done. I feel guilty. I haven’t seen him all day.

Why can’t we just read books? Why can’t we just hang out? Shit.

I get up off the floor, because I don’t have it in me to nurse my flailing toddler every 70 seconds. I’m sorry, baby. I look at the clock. 5pm. Mac won’t be back for another hour. Dinner. Fuck. Dinner. I try to cook. Arlo clings to my legs, “me me me,” he says, to hold him. Me. Hold me. How precious. So goddamn precious. His tiny baby voice. I can’t, baby. I have to get some dinner on the table.

“Ava! Come and get the baby please!”

5:30pm. He’s never coming home. Damnit I need help.

The house, thrashed. Dishes from last night. Kid shit everywhere. Why won’t anybody pick up after themselves? Homework. Georgia jumping on the couch. My phone dings. It’s someone reminding me of something I was supposed to do today. Swimming is in 15 minutes. He didn’t do his homework again. Are the animals fed? Ava, I’m trying to listen to you tell me about 8th grade. But can you please take this baby? I don’t want him to get burned. Get ready for swimming. Eat your dinner. Get off the back of the couch.

6pm. The traffic must be bad today.

I stare into the distance or at the stove and curse the whole damn thing.

I do it badly. I do it strangely. I do it thrown-together-at-the-last-minute. I do it checking Facebook when I shouldn’t. I do it with the fraudulent filters of Instagram. I do it after the deadline. I do it without a clue. I do it with rage. I do it with gratitude. I do it with joy.


But I never, ever, do it with “balance.”


In fact, I’d like to drop-kick every motivational speaker out there who insists that if we would just FOCUS and GET OUR SHIT TOGETHER, life would roll out in smooth rhythms of creative genius and equilibrium.

Fuck their rhythms. Fuck their Earl Gray and candles. Fuck their rituals and “time-saving tips.”

My life is a cluster and my emotional state jacked up, anxiety-and-depression-prone, and the circumstances of my existence are about as consistent and predictable as a 3-year-old on hot chocolate. (If we were braver, we might all admit that life is just this way.)

Does this mean I don’t get in on the creativity? The art? The beauty?

No. Because this is where my humanity lies, and the great truth and freedom of my life is that even in my brokenness, my weakness, my contradiction and inconsistency, I get what I need. I get what I need to love my children. To work as a partner to my husband. To be an okay mom to a few beautiful okay kids.

I get what I need to write the words. I get what I need to take a breath, kiss, hug, cry, feel the softness of my baby’s palm against my skin.

I can’t see it today. I can’t hold it and I can’t define it and I can’t even remember it sometimes, but there is a power, a love, that keeps me going, picks me up, lifts my voice over the gray and haze.

In the end, no matter what, I know I have what I need to speak my truth, right here on the ground with the laundry and dust and baby, even if my voice cracks in tiny whispers, it’s enough.

It finds its way to you.

You throw me some magic in return. And we both keep going.


Join me for a writing workshop in January.

Let’s write through the mess together.


46 Comments | Posted in Ask Janelle | November 13, 2015

Yes I’m a goddamn sailor and yes I will continue to ignore you

by renegademama

Perhaps you’ve noticed I swear, sometimes a lot, in this blog. Over the years I’ve received lots of helpful suggestions, admonitions, and earnest warnings regarding my immoral and classless approach to life.

They’re all the same, these “arguments against swearing.”

Condescending, illogical, holier-than-thou bullshit founded on nothing beyond an unverified sense of superiority.

I wish they’d come up with something new, these righteous-diction types. But they don’t.

And since they’re always the same, my responses are always the same. That’s logical, right?

I love logic. Fucking great stuff. The internet should try it sometime.

Anyway, I think it’s time I address these claims, once and for all, so I can just link people here when they send me their heartfelt and irate diatribes.

“Swearing is a sign of a limited vocabulary.”

Lies. It could be a sign of a limited vocabulary, or it could reflect choices the writer has made based on her purpose, audience and context.

I have a master’s degree in English. I can write academic analyses about Foucault and Fanon AND say “fucking douchecanoe.”


Because context, motherfucker.

If you’re so smart and linguistically accelerated how come you never consider the context of writing? Why are you applying the norms of FORMAL ENGLISH to INFORMAL ENGLISH and calling ME the fool?


To clarify: Sometimes we write academically, in which case we probably won’t say fuck. Sometimes we write for our jobs – probably won’t say it there either (unless you’re the Coen brothers). Sometimes we write conversationally, in which case we MAY use the word “fuck,” if that’s how conversation looks for us.

Not you, us.

You don’t have to say it. You can say “fudge” or “frick” or “darn it all” when you stub your toe. I grew up with Mormons. I know there are lots of ways to cuss-without-cussing.

Nobody cares.

No, wait. You care. You care lots and lots. You write me emails about it and craft essays wherein you pontificate on misguided judgment of other people’s speech patterns.

“Swearing is trashy.”

According to whom? You? Well you’ve already lost credibility since you don’t know the difference between formal and informal English so who gives a fuck what you think?

Okay fine. Let’s talk about this. What do you mean by “trashy?” Poor? Uneducated? Beneath you?

So, basically what you’re saying is you’re a dick.

And by “uneducated,” you must be referring to people who lack knowledge…is that kind of like people who don’t know that the “appropriateness” of language is contextual?

See, now I’m a dick. I’m making fun of you for calling yourself educated when you never learned a basic tenet of verbal communication. Not that cool, is it?

Let’s both stop. Let’s hold hands and be friends. Let’s skip under rainbows saying “fuck” and “frick,” respectively.

No? You’re still going. Okay.

“Swearing is immoral.”

Nope. You don’t get to lay down arbitrary morality rules for the rest of us because you have a religion or cult or deeply held personal belief regarding God and vulgarity.


Haven’t you read the bible? It talks all about sacrificing children, trading daughters for goats, drowning everybody in floods, and all kinds of other vulgar stuff. I hear you, though, he did not say “fuck” even ONCE in that entire narrative.

Good thing. Otherwise it would be super offensive.

“You’re just trying to be edgy to get popular.”

But but but the people I’m writing to talk like this too so they don’t think it’s edgy. Dude DUH.

“You’re isolating readers with your swearing!”

Wait WHICH ONE IS IT? Am I going to get popular or am I isolating people? You have to pick one you are so weird WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING HERE?

Oh right. It’s both. Because all writing has specific audiences and you are decidedly not mine, yet strangely you feel the need to “fix me” even though I, as the writer, am not writing to you at all ever even on Sundays.

See? You don’t like me. I don’t really like you.

Let’s just move on. Call it a day. Click on the cat video and chill.

No, you’re still on it. Fine.

“But you can get your point across without swearing which would appeal to the most people.”

Yes. Absolutely. And when I write something in which I want to appeal to the most people possible, I don’t swear.

You see how fancy this whole “considering audience and context” thing is? You should give it a shot, particularly right before you comment on my blog.

“You’re not acting ladylike.”

Lick my balls.


“You’re setting a bad example for your kids. “

Not really. My kids are smart enough to understand context. Ahem.

“But I don’t like swearing.”

Yeah well I don’t like fruit-flavored soda but I don’t go around demanding that others drink what I do because it’s obviously right since my taste is my favorite (ever heard of cyclical logic?). I realize that some people like that crap even though I find it foul and wrong on multiple levels and cringe at the mere scent of it.

In other words, my friend, all you have is a bunch of opinions about swearing that are just that: personal choices regarding how to talk. That’s it. Full stop.

I’ve made different choices. Neither of us is better than the other.


The problem is that you go out of your way to belittle and diminish people because they see the world differently, come from a different place, write to a different audience, hold different opinions on morality and depth, even though they are not harming you in any way whatsoever SINCE NOBODY IS GLUING YOUR MOTHERFUCKING EYEBALLS TO THE PAGE.

You call us unintelligent.

And yet you provide not one logical or reasonable argument to prove your point. Your whole platform consists of: “I know how you should behave because I like myself a lot.”

This is not a convincing argument, even to my immoral unfeminine trashy-ass intellect.


Go ahead. I’m fricking waiting.

You see that? Feel better?

Me either. We can’t be friends.





149 Comments | Posted in I'm going to get unfriended for this | November 5, 2015

I invented a pumpkin patch challenge. Maybe we failed. But probably not.

by renegademama

I love October and I love pumpkin patches. Can’t really explain why. Some things attract you for reasons unknown. Like Mick Jagger, for example. He’s not hot. And yet he is so hot.

Maybe it’s the simplicity (of pumpkin patches. Not Mick. I don’t know Mick that well.)

Maybe it’s the month marking the end of the relentless Central Valley of California heat. It’s still 80 during the day, but the nights. Oh god, finally the nights are cool.

It’s the rows of orange and the corn mazes. It’s everyone picking out just the right pumpkin. It’s the wagons. It’s definitely the wagons.


So this year, while driving by our favorite pumpkin patch announcing its opening, I told my kids with not a small amount of glee that we will be visiting the pumpkin patch nine times this year. George was all FUCK YEAH but my older kids were like “come again?”

“Yes. Nine times. It’s happening GET INTO IT.”

Then I called my husband and told him my idea and he too was into it because he’s beautiful and why have kids if you can’t mess with them. I decided seven times was enough. I posted on Facebook my brilliant idea but a friend told me he’d unfriend me if I didn’t do nine and since he posts the best photos ever of guinea pigs in capes I couldn’t let that happen. So nine it was.

I made up a hashtag called #kidpumpkintorture.

Mac and I calculated we would have to go twice a week. And we did.


For a week. One week.

Then we got strep throat. One by one.

We made up for it by going to three places in one day.

Then most of us got it again. That was last week.


Now it’s November 1. We’ve been to seven. Maybe we can get to a couple places this week, when they’re still open, or maybe we missed the goal of our made-up pumpkin patch challenge.

Seven is pretty good, though, considering we were sick for two weeks and my husband is home three hours a day five days a week. It’s been that way since February. I’m fucking tired of it. Over it. Done having our family torn up. Done feeling sorta alone. We’re a team, goddamnitmotherfuckers.


On trip #4 the baby bawled and wailed on the tractor. Sometimes Mac and I argued. Sometimes the oldest raged. Pretty sure the whole strawberry field heard me when I yelled “Get back here!” as she stormed off to the car. The 5-year-old lost her shit when Mac combined her half-eaten basket of cherry tomatoes with the other basket. We had to listen to that all the way to trip #6.

It was like everything we do as a family: So perfect in advance. So messy in execution.

Still, many evenings after work and school this month we’d look around at the crap all over the floor and dishes in the sink and say “Well we’re never going to meet our goal if we don’t go today.”

So we’d head to the corn bath.

It was silly. It was frivolous.

It was really freaking fun. Sorry. I can’t do my ‘adult’ work today because I made up a pumpkin patch challenge and I’m oddly attached to it.

That’s it. Just fun. Done for the sake of doing it. For the fucking hell of it. Because we can. Because it’s weird. Because we’re together and we’re a family and there’s NOT ENOUGH WEIRDNESS EVER.

It all feels redundant, you know? Monotonous. Yeah, I’ll say it: It gets BORING.

I drive. I cook. I clean I write I post on Instagram and it all looks clean and well-filtered and as promised. I wake up so tired my face hurts. My eyes burn. I stare at the road and my eyes blur for a moment. Another 1.5 hours of driving around picking up and dropping off kids. 17,345 loads of laundry.

Monday Tuesday Thursday another day week month. Fuck it let’s get lost in a corn maze.

It’s a small and maybe cliched thing, but as I walked out the door to spend two hours at a pumpkin patch with 150 other things “to do,” I remembered my power in creating my own reality, that we’ve got to throw some fucking nonsense into the mix.

So much reason, all the time. Work. Work. Pay bills. Repeat. Someone suggested I “live for the weekends.”

Oh fuck me sideways there’s not enough time for that. On earth. In life.

I guess sometimes I need to get a little ridiculous with the people around me, devote myself to made-up things, watch my kids’ faces as we drop responsibilities to meet the requirements of a “meaningless” invented Facebook challenge.

This wasn’t about my kids, though. This was about all of us.

As we walked in one of the last trips, I said “Aren’t you kids glad we’ll always have the memory of the Great Pumpkin Patch Challenge of 2015?”

The oldest two immediately responded “What do you mean? We’re totally doing this next year.”

So much for the torture portion. Oh well.

Why have parents if you can’t mess with them?

Really, why even be alive?

IMG_6912 IMG_6791 IMG_6736 IMG_6734 IMG_6676 IMG_5862IMG_5852  IMG_5413

IMG_6920 IMG_6919-2

37 Comments | Posted in weeks of mayhem | November 1, 2015