Things I’m supposed to care about but don’t, Volume I

by renegademama

I spend a good portion of my mothering life in a state of “What the fuck just happened?”

The rest of the time I’m like “Wait. I’m supposed to care about that?”

You know, I’m looking at magazines and headlines and websites and since they’re all saying the same thing it APPEARS that these things are central to motherhood and maybe, since those things don’t really interest me, I’M THE WEIRDO.

[Which we all know is true. I’m just sayin’ I don’t think it’s on account of my lack of interest Jessica Simpson’s birth plan.]

At first this bothered me. I thought I was the lost sheep among well-adjusted, um, mother sheep? Sorry. That went poorly. You know, like everybody was “in” on something and I was out. Like all the mothers are doing it, Janelle, what’s wrong with you?www.renegademothering.com

It was like high school all over again, when the popular girls seemed to know how to wear make-up and date boys and I was like “let’s drop acid and listen to some Dead.”

What is with me and the bad examples today?

Anyway I admit it, I used to think something was wrong with me because I didn’t give a shit about most of the things mainstream media seemed to say were inherent in the experience of motherhood. It’s not that I have anything against these things, it’s just that they don’t have much relevance to my actual life, my daily experience of motherhood.

But as the years went by and I grew more secure in my own marginality, sagging breasts and generally poor attitude, I started meeting more and more women who can’t relate to “The Very Best Jogging Stroller!!” and “The Mommy Spring Must-Haves!”

In fact, I now know there’s a whole shitload of us in the same “Yeah, sorry, don’t give a fuck” boat.

So, as a helpful little guide (I’m so helpful, right?), I have composed a list of topics I keep seeing but just don’t care about.

Its official name is:

Shit I Don’t Care About but You Keep Talking About Anyway.
(and by “you” I mean “media,” obviously)

  • “The cutest [insert holiday] Cupcakes” – Since I never, ever, EVER volunteer for any school-related event, celebration or activity, my need for appropriately themed cupcakes is pretty much nil. Furthermore, if faced with a cupcake need (beyond hormonally induced depression), I usually discover it approximately 8 hours before they’re due, resulting in an angry last-minute trip to the store and boxed cupcakes that are lucky to have frosting. If they have sprinkles I have achieved greatness.
  • Best Yoga Pant – I don’t do yoga (though I’m always going to start “next week!”). If I did, it would be amazing and my pride would overflow and I’d be running around telling my friends what a badass I am. The type of pant I’m in would be rather superfluous at that point, don’t you think?
  • “Matching Bras and Underwear” – If attending an event important enough that I’m contemplating my undergarments, I WOULD BE WEARING SPANX, which immediately renders the whole discussion meaningless. Do you see the problem here?
  • “How to Please my Man in Bed” – Totally got this one already: Have sex with him.
  • “How to Spice up My Marriage” – Have sex with him more than once a week. Why are we discussing the obvious?
  • “How to Raise Gifted Children” – Honestly, at this point, I’m just hoping they don’t end up crackheads.
  • “How to Plan a Week’s Worth of Meals” – I feel like we should start with 2 or 3 days and see how that goes before we get all carried away with “weeks.”
  • “How to Get Along with Other Moms at Playgroups” – Should be renamed to “How to spot the mom as miserable as you are so you can get together and talk shit.”
  • “How to Entertain Kids.” – NOT MY PROBLEM.
  • “How to Engage Kids in Imaginative Play” – Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose?
  • “Baby Sleep Solutions.” – Lies, all lies.
  • “Effective Disciplining Techniques” – Yes, thank you for the excellent ideas, which I will try so hard to adopt only to find myself 3 days later resorting to the old stand-by disciplinary technique of “yell, feel guilty, apologize, repeat.”
  • “Favorite Baby Toys” – As much as you keep trying to convince me my baby will like [whatever] better than cardboard boxes, cell phones, kitchen utensils and/or the small chokable item she just discovered on the carpet, years of experience tell me otherwise and I no longer believe you.
  • “Kate Middleton’s Maternity Outfits” – Also don’t give a shit about the maternity outfits of any other rich, skinny woman who looks better pregnant than I do not pregnant. Kthanksbai.
  • Come to think of it, I also don’t care about their baby showers, nursery décor, strollers, weird-ass naming choices, or the $89.00 onesie they just purchased (with the ironic hipster slogan on the front).
  • Any article with the word “vs.” in it (“Crib vs. Co-sleeping/Circumcision vs. Non/Bottle vs. Breast)” – WHAT DO YOU THINK I’M SOME SORT OF SADIST? All this article is going to do is result in the most insane horrific name-calling comment section you’ve ever seen. All the crazies come out for these fuckers. Please count me out.
  • “How to have a Smooth Transition back to Work after Maternity Leave” – Replace “smooth” with “the least horrifying” or “least traumatic,” and we can talk.
  • “How to Organize your House” – Reading an article as a first step to organizing my house is like sending an email to world leaders asking them to please consider world peace at their next staff meeting. NICE IDEA, completely ineffective.
  • “How to Keep your Car Clean and Neat” – I’m sorry. Come again?
  • “How to Nurse Discreetly” – Oh go fuck yourself.
  • “Things you Shouldn’t Say in Front of Your Children” – I guarantee you that ship has sailed.
  • “Food in the Shape of cute Animals” – I once made pancakes in the shape of Mickey Mouse. Then I felt weird inside for like a week. I’m pretty sure a vegetable panda would traumatize me for life.
  • “How to make memorable holidays” – Um, “memorable” is not the problem. “Enjoyable” is the thing I can’t seem to find.
  • “Easy Steps to Potty Training/Weaning/Sleeping alone” – Look, if you’re going to just make shit up, I feel like you shouldn’t be writing articles.

And now, my favorite topic of all time:  “How to be a More Confident, Guilt-Free Mother.”

This is pure beauty on account of the irony, because as we all know, the only way to achieve that is to STOP READING CRAP ABOUT MOTHERHOOD.

Boom.

I feel better already.

You?

more stuff I shouldn't have said out loud:

  • Shelley

    Oh my gosh I freaking love you!!!:)

  • Erica / Northwest Edible Life

    “STOP READING CRAP ABOUT MOTHERHOOD.”

    Oooh, bam! RM for the win.

    Most mommy-focused crap is like cosmo with stretch marks. Except no one admits to stretch marks on the mommy-focused crap either.

  • Celeste"

    “Easy Steps to Potty Training/Weaning/Sleeping alone” – Look, if you’re going to just make shit up, I feel like you shouldn’t be writing articles.”

    Okay, that really made me laugh. And you’re on the money with the vs. stuff to. Us vs them! And let the games begin!

  • Mel

    Great post! Soooo don’t care about anything on this list either, especially articles with ‘vs’ in them. They set up the idea that motherhood is an ongoing debate and you have to have a ‘position’ on everything. Here’s the only position you need to take: have kids vs don’t have kids. End of fucking debate. Oh, also don’t give a shit about Sophie the friggin’ giraffe and her plethora of accessories. Or wall decals.

  • Freya Hardy

    You’re sweary, I like you. I hate toilet tissue packs that say things like ‘8/10 mums prefer this’ Am I supposed to have an opinion about toilet tissue now? Seriously? Has motherhood made me THAT boring?

  • Marisa

    Hey wait! I want to know about yoga pants! I wear lots of yoga pants mostly because I don’t care what’s stylish and they’re comfortable, and I can climb around after my kid in them. I don’t actually buy them to do yoga.

  • jackie

    f’ing hilarious you crazy mamma! I loved the mickey mouse pancake thing hahahah! i want you to get into merchandising. could you come up with a t-shirt and sticker? I would put the sticker on my car and waer the tee. then i could identify the miserable mom immediately. but then it would get all cool to be badass and suddenly moms who aren’t badass would be stickering their cars, but get out wearing heels and have nice hair that they brushed that day, and sigh…where would it end? Still, might be worth something since i know you could sell to us suckers. sometimes you just have to ask and you’ll recieve. ask us fans for some moola and we’ll send it your way j-girl!

    • jessica

      YES! I would buy that shit.

  • angela

    I am trying yoga because I keep hurting myself running. I did it today in pajama pants, a tank top with a barely hanging on built-in-bra, and two kids, one of whom was wearing sunglasses. I am pretty sure my son only wore underwear for half of it.

    I keep waiting for someone to come ask me to make a DVD, but alas, it hasn’t happened yet.

  • Amy

    Holy shit. I think I love you. Hi, my name is Amy. 🙂 I totally believe the media is fucking up parenthood. All these articles should be titled: “Shit you shouldn’t care less about, but we act like you should and then you feel like you do and then you realize there really isn’t a manual for being a good parent other than to love them and pay attention to them sometimes so put this shit down and go have a cookie while you laugh at your pants-less kid running around the backyard gleefully screaming about his new pet worm and the bath tub. Or something.”

  • Kim

    Simply
    I…adore..you.Your stuff makes me laugh so hard i cry, and your stuff makes me cry.
    Thank you

  • Miriam Stone Wilson

    Please move next door to me so we can toss bottles of beer to each other from our porches while our children try to avoid traffic. Seriously, reading your blog brings me so much internal peace and satisfaction with being a good enough mother. You are just plain awesome. I am your adoring fan.

  • Mehereen

    Love, love love!!! and sharing so that other momma’s in my circle can laugh and discover the joy that this site:)

  • Eddie - The Usual Mayhem

    YES! Finally, I am not alone! I think it’s a stellar day if I managed to convince all three children to put on actual clothing and footwear.

  • Camille

    Can we also add “How to Spend 2 or More Hours Creating ‘Sensory Activities’ that will Entertain your Child for Less than 5 Minutes”? That and the cutesy food always kill me. Who has the time and energy to carve their carrots into figurines?

  • jessica

    You could make this a series…”Shit I don’t care about” Saterday. it could be a once a month thing? yes? Ok, great.

    And the cupcake thing…funny fact: I have a Pinterest board dedicated to cupcakes. I have only ever made cupcakes once as a mother and didn’t even bother to frost them. 🙂

  • Alison

    “Baby Sleep” and “Solutions” should not be in one sentence. Period.
    Thank you for the laugh!

  • Stephanie

    Dude. I would like a clean car. It’s a point of pride for me. Gah.

  • Katy

    I love this!

  • Heather

    I strictly only wear yoga pants because I can’t fit in anything else in my closet at the moment, which is in part because of the stupid ass cupcakes I buy at the store because like hell I am making cupcakes!! I am an advocate of cupcakes for the most part, but that is only because you don’t have to share a cupcake…and I’m not into that whole sharing thing. Which is why my ass can only wear yoga pants right now. Do you see the pattern here…And the meal planning thing…Yeah…okay, If I can get the pop tarts heated up in the toaster..it’s a good day.

  • erica

    ahaha the best part is that i’m reading this while listening to my darling beloved bathe and change and get our daughter ready for bed. while I carry on contemplating the enormous pile of dishes, the floordrobe, the undecipherable laundry, the multiple conflicting priorities, still wearing sweaty nylon blend clothing from several hours ago when I went for a ‘run’ and promptly broke the running stroller.
    where to start?
    when the bebe was teensy i had loads of time to spin myself into a deep rut of guilt and inadequacy about how I wasn’t doing it right, in any way, and could never imagine getting it right.
    Thankfully now she’s faster and funnier and I don’t have time to engage in that much self loathing. This kid is a better teacher than one million mothering magazine articles, thankyouverymuch!
    There is no guidebook and the sooner I remember that the better I just live in it.
    thanks for normalizing the rest of us! 🙂

  • lisaeggs

    My ship has sailed right along with yours! You can now count my husband among your regular readers. It was the valentines that got him hooked. He was laughing out loud. It was a moment!

  • Clara

    You had me laughing so hard at “that ship has sailed” lol. Thanks so much for your honesty and keepin’ it real around here, this is the type of stuff I need to read about motherhood! Good to know there are other sane, real moms out there who don’t do everything perfectly 😉

  • Angela

    RE: “Things you shouldn’t say in front of your children” I had to re-read that one and just for my own giggles change it to “I guaran-fuckin-tee you that ship has sailed.”

    I got to lol twice.

    Awesome post again. By degrees your posts are helping me feel less guilty and more in charge of the way I mother.

  • Kate

    BWAAAAHAAHAAHAHAHAHA! I LOVE YOU!

  • Erika

    can I get an AMEN?!!!!!!!!!!!!

    xoxo,
    Erika

    urthmama.com

  • Tina

    Yep, definitely feeling better over here. Cheers for that.

  • Bridgette

    As always, you nailed it! Love you. Every mom should read this.

  • Outsmarted Mommy

    hmm I’m pretty sure there aren’t enough media outlets for me to share this on!! I absolutely love every single thing you wrote. Thank you for being normal. 🙂

  • Cath

    Ok can I add one:

    ‘Best secrets to cover up those motherhood tired eyes’ or some shit like that.

    Sorry, I’d rather the world know how fucking tiring motherhood is and be more supportive instead of pretending it’s ok and being congratulated for ‘she’s looking so well’.

    If someone wants to look better to feel better themselves that’s one thing, the rest of the world can piss off.

    That’s my 2 cents, thanks for the laughs, you rock!

    • Heather

      I Love that you said the rest of the world can PISS OFF!!! My sentiments exactly! 🙂

  • Lucy

    Loved the nursing one,let them fly girls,let them fly.

  • N

    once a week??? I just realized yesterday I went from one period to the next with no action in between…first time commenting btw. I love your blog:)

  • Claire

    awesome – thanks as always for your perspective

  • paige

    Janelle. you are wonderful. in that way that’s like, you say what you want because you don’t give a fuck. people think wonderful and they think angels singing and choirs harmonizing and Raptor Jesus blessing us all. but you speak, and I think, wonderful, because it is.

    also, I thought of another one for “How to Please my Man in Bed”: show him your boobs. that’s my go-to at least…

    • Amy

      Raptor Jesus? Is there a dinosaur nativity scene I need to start collecting?

      • paige

        it doesn’t exist as far as I know, but I’d totally buy one if it did!

  • Victoria Mason

    This made me laugh so hard.I may write about fashion and beauty but I relate to everything you wrote, including the yoga pants.

  • Jill

    *f*ing love it! A lot of my friends are doing this “orange rhino challenge” ala pinterest pinned blog in which you do not yell at your kids for a year. I made it like 20 minutes 😉

  • Rebecca Hayhurst

    Amen!
    I want a t-shirt, please.
    Cafe press? I could shill them at my Back to School nights. Then you could see at a glance across the park who to sit next to and who to avoid!

  • Maureen

    Janelle, you are like the kid in the story. The one willing to announce loudly that the emperor is not wearing clothes. Thank you.

  • Cheryl S.

    Thank you for saying what I’ve been thinking! Here’s my fave:

    “How to Raise Gifted Children” – Honestly, at this point, I’m just hoping they don’t end up crackheads

    Or, like Chris Rock always says, he has a daughter. His entire job in life is to keep her off the pole.

  • Kimwithak

    Brilliant. Especially the spice up the marriage stuff. And the toy stuff. I haven’t found anything more interesting than my face and glasses for my babies yet. Not a damn thing.

  • Kendra

    LOVE this!!!

  • Athena

    I haven’t swung by here for a while and had forgotten how fantastically funny you are. It’s excellent to be reminded. Hooray for you.

  • Lisa

    I love you! We should be neighbours:) I personally believe that the mom explosion on the internet has contributed to depression. There is no way I can craft, make homemade bread, sew my kids clothes and sit on the floor and play with them all day. BUT some parenting websites will have you believe that is the only was for them to grow up healthy and balanced and that just isn’t true.

    • lisaeggs

      I think you’re right. Sometimes I have to remind myself: Even if I could do all that, would I really want to? Isn’t there more to life than killing myself to make crafty children’s goods and then posting it and making it seem like an effortless joy? Yes. Yes, there is. I’m kind of pissed off at myself for ever feeling like I had to apologize for not being that. But whatever. I’ve recently come back to planet earth. XOXO

  • Nedra

    You have become my hero. Seriously. I freaking love you.

  • April Kennedy

    I am completely shocked every time I read one of your blogs. I’m shocked because it is insane to me that there is someone else out there that thinks EXACTLY the same way I do. I mean it too. Everything even with your kids and what you said about their music taste. My kids have been raised going to see live music and love The Dead like most people love their religion. The way you write is just like the way I think to myself and talk. I don’t know if you’ll ever read this and I don’t know why I am going on a rant to you about it. I never comment on any blogs or read any for that matter. My sister showed me this page because it reminded her of me. I just can’t wrap my head around all the similarities.

  • Russ (The Stay At Homer)

    I just found your site, and I think you are a genius! I yelled “Yes!” to pretty much every one of the items on your list…except yoga…I don’t think I will ever need to worry about yoga pants. I have done yoga a couple times, and my concern is not my clothing, it’s my desperate fear that during an awkward stretch I will let out a loud fart.

    Great article! Thanks for making my morning!
    Russ

  • Kateri Von Steal

    Oh dear! I have missed you so STINKING much!

    I read this, and was nodding, laughing, and crying (due to laughter) at the same freaking time!

  • The Absent Minded Housewife

    I parented with guilt once…but then I discovered it was just gas.

    Oh, and I have three sons, and we circumcized every last one of them. Bring on the namecalling!

  • cortne martin

    If the editors at Glamour or any other mainstream media magazine wanted to be “real” they would publish this article.
    Spot on.
    Cortne
    cocoinmagnolia.com

  • Cathy

    Funniest thing I ever read online. Possibly because it’s entirely true!

  • Lisa

    I can’t even remember how I ended up here… it seems so long ago. Truth is I’ve only been reading your blog for 2 days. 2 whole days, every free moment. I’m a bit obsessed. Mostly because I could have written every word… if I had writing skills. You’re awesome and I just wanted to tell you so. That is all 🙂

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