This week…I’m doing it and thriving! (and by “thriving” I mean “drowning!”)

by Janelle Hanchett


  1. I haven’t written one of these “week in review” posts in so long I barely remember how to do it. Seriously it’s been like three weeks. Somehow I think you all have survived, though I, for one, have missed it. Where the hell else am I going to record the trivial events of my life and share misguided, slightly ridiculous musings?
  2. So first I think we should address the elephant in the room. Oh yeah, that’s the one, that post I wrote that “got big,” or at least for me. The “dying to live” post. Check it out: before I wrote that post my busiest blog day was 2,500 visits. The day after I wrote that post, 35,000 people came to the blog, and in the days that followed 250,000 more came. TRIP OUT. Let me just say “welcome” to the new people. Thank you for sticking around. We’re glad to have you.
  3. The good news is that the post brought a lot of new readers, the bad news is that post brought a whole shit load of crazies who called me all sorts of names all over the internet and accused me of being all sorts of things, including but not limited to: melodramatic, anti-feminist, anti-gay/male/adoptive parent, a whiner, etc., and I was feeling all weird and violated for a minute, like “DUDE. I just wrote about a FEELING. How can a FEELING be attacked?” And I wanted to crawl back into my safe hole with you people. But then I remembered that only about 5% of the feedback was negative, and most of the people who read it were like “thanks for saying it,” and that made me feel like maybe I was of some use to some women, and that’s an amazing feeling.
  4. But isn’t it weird how a huge percentage of feedback can be positive, and yet your mind focuses on the negative?! More proof that my brain is unreliable, and quite possibly out to destroy me.
  5. In other news, pretty much my whole house smells funky. It’s sort of this weird aroma not totally unlike vomit, though not quite there. Ask me what I’m doing about it.
  6. In the last two weeks, my kids have had rotating illnesses – colds, norovirus, ear infections, yay! – but never on the same fucking day. One gets sick, then better, then it moves to the next one. They can’t all be sick on the same day. THAT WOULD BE TOO EASY.
  7. On April 13 I’m taking the comprehensive exam for my Master’s program. It’s no big deal, I just have to somehow pull from the recesses of my already struggling brain sufficient information to write 3 essays in 6 hours based on pretty much any text since the beginning of English literature.
  8. Okay I’m exaggerating a little. There’s actually a 2-page, single-spaced reading list that I must know. But there’s British literature on it. I don’t know British literature. I ONLY DO AMERICA DAMN IT. Fuck Keats. [I don’t mean that. Please don’t send me to hell, literary gods. I’m just frustrated. It’s not you. It’s me.]
  9. In short, people, I’m terrified. I can’t fail this exam.
  10. On a completely unrelated, actually happy vein, the other positive fallout from the “big blog post” is that I may have a couple opportunities to write for some online magazines, which means you’ll have more places to read me! Try to contain your excitement. No really. Do it. Stop pole dancing. OR DON’T.
  11. Anyway at the risk of sounding sentimental, I really want to tell you readers, old and new, how much I appreciate you. I started this blog a couple years ago because I felt like an outsider in the mothering world, and I thought I was this weird island of ineptitude. That feeling has not vanished, because DUH I STILL HAVE KIDS, but at least now I know there’s a whole crap load of mothers just like me – struggling and loving and getting pissed and trying really hard not to destroy the whole gig. You and your brilliant comments, every one of which I read (even if I don’t always have the time to respond), make this ridiculous feat of mothering way, WAY better, and I mean it. I know that if I could hang out with most of you, and it would be like we’ve been friends forever.

Anyway, here’s some Instagrammed glory of our lives. These pics make my life look so hipster-cool-happy.

So please keep in mind while you look at these, MY HOUSE SMELLS LIKE VOMIT.

And I’m doing nothing about it.


We went on a trip and Rocket forgot socks and underwear, but remembered this stuffed dog.

We went on a trip and Rocket forgot socks and underwear, but remembered this stuffed dog.

It's been sunny in 77 degrees...

It’s been sunny in California…like 77 degrees…


Don't worry. It'll rain this month.

Don’t worry. It’ll rain this month.

my husband shaved off his beard but is growing a porn-star 'stache. Yay.

my husband shaved off his beard but is growing a porn-star ‘stache. Yay.


still trying to train this lil bastard

still trying to train this lil bastard

dressing up, making period-appropriate faces...

dressing up, making period-appropriate faces…


Seriously, Keats. WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?

Seriously, Keats. WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?

And how is that dimple so big?

And how is that dimple so big?

Have a great week.


48 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized, weeks of mayhem | March 3, 2013
  • Erica / Northwest Edible Life

    Go read this right now:

    And then read it again. And again. It’s that wonderful.

    So, last few weeks was like the ass-hat brigade over on my site too. I seriously think that meteor that crashed in Russia exploded Pissy Powder into the atmosphere or something. Anyway, you have my condolences for the 5% negatives and for the vomit-smelling house.

    • renegademama

      The ass-hat brigade, YAY!!!!!

      I do love you, Erica. On my way to read that comic.

  • Melissa

    Ugh. My kids have been doing that since October. I keep thinking it has to end soon, but then another month passes.

  • Mel

    What the what the? How could people get their knickers in a knot over that fabulous post? Writing about nuances, paradoxes and complexities in motherhood is anti-feminist? Are you fucking kidding me? Is there no end to the nut-baggery of the interwebs? Oh well. They’re missing out. The island of ineptitude rocks! (As does Ava with that parasol).

    • renegademama

      Island of ineptitude, FOR THE WIN! love you, Mel.

  • Sara Kidd

    When He is older he will curse that dimple every time he shaves.Why ? Because he will nick it and have to leave the house wearing toilet paper on his face…. I’ve seen that already..

  • sarah

    Hey, I’m sorry you had to deal with so many negative people. For the record, that post is absolutely beautiful. It’s something I wish someone would have told me before I had kids.

  • sarah

    I feel ya on the stinky house… Mine recently smelled horrible for 2 weeks- turned out there was a opossum rotting away in the Florida heat inside my attic…. And it onlytook the pest control people 2eeeks to find. Yay! (talk about nasty… ) i tried some of those “odor eliminating” candles (just made it smell like floral animal carcass- lovely) but it might work for your delicious vomit smell…. Good luck!

    • renegademama

      Busting out laughing at “floral animal carcass.” Where do you people live and WHEN CAN WE HANG OUT?

  • Gigi B

    If by ‘drowning’ you mean, well folks I ONLY wrote 3 sizable blog posts with photos then you are killing it in my book. New reader in Boston here, maybe 3 weeks in, drilling down on all your past posts, and drawn in by one on the subject of horrific birth stories no pregnant woman wants to hear, ever. But I’m sticking around because you keep me company on my train commute which is now less of a drag : ) And so I thought for sure I was going to run out of hilarious things to read but you kept ’em coming last week. Can’t wait to try out making body scrubs – could be the new ‘signature’ b-day gift for all my peeps this year. Thanks for the inspiration and for FTM Fridays. Yay!

    • renegademama

      You’re right. I’m kind of full of shit. I’m not actually drowning. I just feel like I am, inside. But readers like you keep me staying up in the middle of the damn night instead of sleeping, which makes me feel like I’m drowning…maybe I’m just tired.

      I should sleep.

      Except I have to make some fucking body scrubs because I have a problem.


  • Marina

    I shared that post on my fb and had scores if women posting in tears saying yes yes this! Great job, great great job.

    I love that poem and teaching in in Freshman lit was always a semester highlight. I wish we could chat about out but my brief guide is: we are not supposed to believe that last line, Keats credibly doesn’t, and thinks such a worldview is pernicious. All the action i n the poem is incomplete and unfulfilled, Keats would sooner grower old, imperfect, and get to actually kiss the girl. He ironizes Romantic insistence that Art is somehow superior to life, and disagrees. I mean look art how many times he repeats the word”happy”!.yeah, he it’s mocking something there!

    Sorry, got a little carried away. Good luck!

    • renegademama


      I didn’t just copy that paragraph and put it in my notes. I totally didn’t, because that would be plagiarism. 🙂 You just made that poem come alive for me and I’m probably going to email you so we can chat.

      THANK YOU.

      The women on this blog never, ever cease to amaze me.


  • Carlisle

    I was wondering how insane your traffic got after that post. There were so many comments! I must’ve shared it with a million people (six actually read it). I assumed everyone else shared it with at least one other person. Who in turn shared it. Blah blah, etc.

    SPEAKING OF WEIRD SMELLS: A little backstory, my room is the coldest in the house, I think there is a black hole in my closet(even colder than my room). Seriously, it’s a strange sort of suction, which brings me to the smell. The scents of dinner dissipate in the rest of the house in maybe 2 hours. AND CONGREGATE IN MY ROOM. Paired with stale laundry smell and manly sweaty musk and some baby poo odors and sex(even if we haven’t done it in the bedroom in weeks.) I hate it. I DON’T UNDERSTAND. I share your pain.

    • Glasswench

      Oust odor neutralizing spray. That shit is amazing.

    • renegademama

      I AM DYING, Carlisle. DYING.

      And Oust may be my new best friend. Behind Carlisle, of course.

  • Stephanie

    Congratulation. That’s wonderful. You deserve the success. And you’ll do fine on comps. Nothing at all to stress about.

  • Stephanie

    CONGRATULATIONS. GAH. You know what I mean.

    • renegademama

      Of course. Thank you, Stephanie!

  • Hi, I'm Natalie.

    Huh, never read the dying to live post before you pointed it out – thank you, it rang very true to me.

    A little tidbit to let you know we’re all drowning some days: Wanna know what my primary floor-cleaning tool is? His name is Waimak & he thinks having messy kids in the house is The Best. (I don’t know how people with self-feeding babies survive without having a dog lurking around.)

    • melissa

      I’m a cat person, but I regularly fantasized about getting a dog just so I didn’t have to clean up the food splats. I could even hear that lapping sound when they’re really tonguing the floor. I love cats, but let’s face it… they don’t move in to do you any favors. If they could sit on your lap and somehow keep all the warmth to themselves, they so would.

  • Mehereen

    Listen, you need to tune out those people. Your post was a brutally honest look at motherhood and you said a lot of things MANY of us struggle with but cant eloquently articulate. Seriously, woman, reading it was the perfect “aha” moment for me and it just clicked. So those 5%er can stick it where the sun doesn’t shine!(unless you are a nudist!)

    As a fellow grad student, I feel your pain! hang in there ok? Keats just like to “ode” everything anyway! so just wax poetically about a flower or something;)
    Sending you many, many positive vibes from way up north in Canada:)

  • One Funny Motha

    Love your comment policy. I think I’m gonna institute that. Actually, I thinkI’m gonna make that my subtitle. Sounds like a pretty eventful week, and now I gotta check out that post. Why didn’t you link to it? Congrats on the stats & writing opportunities. That’s excellente. You know what the best day on my blog was? Like 5 ppl. Good luck on the exam!

  • Alana

    IN-FUCKING-SPIRED! Thank You once again J… this little Mama has started writting again after a whole year of writting only loving muses in her “baby journal” I have FINALLY started telling the truth again in my own (thas is correct, i get tohave my OWN complex cocktail of emotions and perspectives that are at times totally unrelated to my son… (sometimes-totally-unrelated) that I get to reflect and freak out over!) UGH…. and I feel ya on the 5% and your brain being the enemy, but stay strong and use the mantra (go fuck yourself) to those nasty ghosts CUZ you have ROCKED My World in the most positive way and I feel so greatful girl!

  • Helsbells

    I shared your blog post with some facebook groups I am part of because I thought it was brilliant, there was a lot of positive feedback so hopefully the haters didn’t come from my direction.

  • Kelly

    My house smells like wet dog, even when the dogs are dry. Could be due to the eleventy million inches of snow in the backyard, and shorty mcshorty dogs, with longish hair. The snow is taller than they are.

    But they won’t poop in the area that I shoveled for them. So it’s their fault they are stinky. So they should figure out how to bath themselves.

  • Knitting with Olof

    Got chicks yesterday and this is the first 24 hours since I got them and they are 3 weeks old and now my kitchen smells like chicken and not in a cooking way. ewww. Hubby is working hard to finish the chicken tractor so we can get these smelly things out of our kitchen. Thankfully the only thing that has been going around my family is a cold.

    I’m so happy your blog got a big break. I’m surprised the morning talk shows haven’t called you up to do a piece on you.

  • Breezebot

    New reader here! One of my friends shared your “Dying to Live” post, and although I am not a mother, I loved it. Loved it a lot. So I started reading. And reading. And reading. And now I’m in love with your blog. Your writing is so genuine and I love it. Don’t let the bastards get you down (in response to the negative comments).

    • renegademama

      GAH! You just said the bastard thing too! Clearly, we’re soul mates. Thank you so much. I’m on my way to check out your blog.

    • Andria

      Me too! Me too! I’m not a mom and I got hooked on that one post and read the ENTIRE blog from the beginning in one day. Kinda wished I’d actually spread it out. . . now I crave your posts! You are HI-LA-RI-OUS and so straight with it all. Thank you 🙂

      • renegademama

        I’m flattered. Thank you, Andria. Thank you. And welcome! We’re super glad to have you.


  • Heather

    I would read your writing on a plane…and I would read your writing on a train….in a house and with a mouse, …well….not completely sure about the mouse! 😉 You deserve ALL the success there is. You reach people on a level of equality and understanding. What is the point to all of this if we can’t be real and connect with each other anyway. As mother’s especially because so many of us feel lost, and just knowing that someone else was there…and is actually surviving…even if barley, makes it easier on this journey. So KUDOS to you!! and forget the trolls. I have been trying to start a blog for months now, and it is because of the trolls that I haven’t started yet. In the end though….as I have said before….Fuck em!! Eeek…sorry again…

    • renegademama

      Thank you so much, Heather. And WRITE THE DAMN BLOG.

      Don’t let the bastards get you down.

      And we can fight the trolls together.

      • Heather

        Thank you Thank you Thank you!! That may have been the push I needed. Just hearing that we can fight them together!! I was worried because I kept saying “fuck”…( I have no idea why I just put that in quotes) every time I would comment on your blog. The thing is, it is who I am. I say Fuck! probably too much, and not in front of the kids…mostly…:/ anyway you have made it so easy to share here, and really be REAL! It is inspiring to me. I have been reading you for a long time…and you are an INSPIRATION! It is the ones like you that I want to fill my life with. Thank you! 🙂

  • Kate

    I’m so glad I started reading your blog a few weeks ago- I absolutely love it. I’m not a mom yet, just 7 1/2 months pregnant- but somehow by reading your words I feel a little less lonely and scared about motherhood. Pretty awesome stuff. 🙂

    • renegademama

      Thank you, Kate! And welcome! So good to have you. Congrats on the baby. You’re in for a wild ride! Hang with the women here, they’ll see you through! 🙂

  • ange

    I am new here, I found you via the die to live post and I loved it. It makes me misty whenever I read it and I’m in love with your blog. Keep up the great work.

    • renegademama

      Thank you, and welcome! It’s so good to have you.

  • Sara

    Thank you for giving me the confidence to say fuck you to anyone who judges me for co-bedding. It works for me and my baby. She sleeps for 5 hours in a row in my bed. Why didn’t I let myself do this earlier?!?! I’m sorry lil J. Sleep tight, right next to mama.

    • renegademama

      Absolutely! Our 7-year-old still sleeps in our room/bed. He starts on the floor then moves into our bed around 2 or 3. Whatever. He needs it, obviously, otherwise he wouldn’t be doing it. And I’ve never known a kid to say “Yeah, sorry. I can’t go to college. I JUST COULDN’T LEAVE MY MOM’S BED.”

      ya feel me?

      they’re here for such a short time. WHY NOT CUDDLE?

  • Marisa

    I heart you. That is all.

  • lisaeggs

    Hi Janelle. This is a great post. I’ve said that about the last three posts. I’m kind of worried about sounding like a big ass-kisser, but I do love it and I’m really glad I found your blog. Sometimes I just feel like an enormous mom failure, but screw that, my kids love me and I love them and we all just do our best, even in there are no knitting needles in sight. I’m going to (try to) just read your blog and not make crazy ass-kissing-ish comments every time, but if I just can’t keep quiet I’ll leave one 😉 Thanks for writing all this stuff. -Lisa p.s. I read the “dying to live” post and I LOVED it (of course).

    • renegademama

      Lisa, THANK YOU. This is not ass-kissing. My students engage in ass-kissing. This is the way I feel too, about the women who read this blog. I read this brilliance they write and I’m like “HOW AM I SO LUCKY TO HAVE THESE PEOPLE IN MY LIFE?” But I realize if I say that I’m going to sound like a stalker, so I’ll just pretend to not be super freaking excited by the things I read here, and the caliber of women who’ve gathered in this dark, twisted, GORGEOUS corner of the internet (if I may say so myself).


      • lisaeggs

        Thank YOU Janelle. I’m happy to be able to be a small part of it all. xoxoxo, Lisa

  • Mia

    I shared your dying to live post because i cried when reading it. I read some of the lame comments too and they obviously don’t get it. There is a physical (and mental and emotional) transformation that takes place in a woman when she has a child. It’s different for men, it just is! I wish the older generation wouldn’t be so static in their interpretations of what is “right”, isn’t that what the point of feminism is? Anyway, my friends call me supermom often (I’ve had four kids in four years–one set of twins–and even though I thought I was prepared fo rmotherhood I was not!) but I flounder and flail all the time just like everyone else and I love reading about your flailing– it reminds me that awesome parents/moms/women are out there messing it up just like me!

    Thanks, keep writing (and ps. i’m waiting for my FTM recipe for the week!!!) <3

  • Athena

    In reference to point 2: holy crap – that is a truckload of people! Beautiful blog posts travel fast I guess. I used to work with an amazing woman (nuts, but amazing) who always said that the term ‘postnatal depression’ should in many instances be rephrased to ‘postnatal expression’. That is, it is perfectly normal for women to express grief, anger and/or general weirdness at the loss of their former, pre-baby selves without being pathologised into having an illness. I hope she is one of the squillions of people who got to read your post. (Which now has been rewired into my brain’s shorthand system as ‘the elephant’).

  • Kristina

    I just found your blog when a friend sent it to me and thought we had the same life. I, too, have three kids the same age as yours and feel like you are describing my daily life. I also took that lit Master’s exam 10 years ago. I almost puked during it and wanted to walk out. I stayed put , wrote the essay, forgot half the characters’ names and still passed. Don’t stress it – you will be great!