This week…I’ve been repeating my mantra..and…it’s not really working.

by Janelle Hanchett


  1. For the past few months, I’ve had a mantra. It’s very complicated. It goes like this: “All you have to do is get through March.” I knew this month was going to be a killer one. I’m teaching 5 classes: 3 at community colleges in 2 cities and 2 high school English classes for homeschool students. And I’m 29 weeks pregnant. On Mondays and Wednesdays I’m gone from home for 12 hours straight, working. I used to “relax” and “rejuvenate” (did that make you laugh out loud too?) on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Fridays, but now I teach two of those days too. So basically I just want to off myself.
  2. Had I known this would be the month Georgia’s preschool would suddenly close, AND the month wherein we would decide to pull Rocket out of school, I would have just thrown in the towel on March 1. You win, motherfucker. I’m out.
  3. I wake up every day thinking “I can’t do this.” I can’t get up. I can’t get them ready. I can’t drive the hour it takes to get the three of them dropped off (Ava is still in school in our old town 30 minutes away, and Georgia’s preschool is 30 minutes away from that). I can’t prepare these classes. I can’t stand and teach. I can’t grade these papers or write or send those emails or find shit or do laundry. I can’t. I can’t do my life.
  4. And then I get up and do it one more day. Sometimes I text my best girl and she tells me “You’re already doing it.” And she’s right. Our greatest struggle, our hardest time, we’re often already doing it.
  5. Ava went to her first dance on Friday night. A 6th grade dance. She was worried her dad wouldn’t let her go so she told me “Hey mama I’m just gonna tell daddy it’s a ‘social.’ I mean it’s a 6th grade dance. It’s not like anybody dances at 6th-grade dances. People are way too freaked out for that.” I think it’s funny that I have a 12-year-old observing and analyzing the social dynamics of other 12-year-olds. That’s normal, right?
  6. We have pulled Rocket out of school. He is being homeschooled by his grandmother out on their ranch. We are working together but she has essentially taken it over. I am one lucky woman, and so is my son. There is no way he could be homeschooled by me right now.
  7. He was coming home from school with headaches every day, learning absolutely nothing and losing his soul (from what I could tell). Maybe it was a terrible classroom. Maybe the school just wasn’t right, but it doesn’t really matter who’s “at fault,” right? It wasn’t working. Period. In the week that he’s been home, for the first time ALL FUCKING YEAR he was excited about something he did at “school” and told me all about it… “Mama! Did you know yeast can grow without sugar! We set up this experiment…” and “So there was this guy who started this bird organization (Audubon) and he had a ‘lifetime bird list’ so Nana and I started one and I already have two birds!”
  8. It’s nice to have my boy back. I’m glad this disaster of a school year left enough of him that he can be rebuilt. Cheers.
  9. Georgia is obsessed with the baby exiting my belly (admittedly, I can relate). As I mentioned on Facebook, I explained it comes out the vagina, and she said something involving milk and vaginas and I was like “no milk is boobs” and the whole thing was slightly disastrous. There was some hope of comprehension this morning when she said “So the baby comes out the bagina,” but then she announced: “But the bagina doesn’t make milk because it doesn’t have the recipe!” Right. Sure kid. That’s exactly what’s up.
  10. Why are kids so fucking weird?

And is this not, friends, exactly what an 8-year-old boy should be doing for his “school day?” Hanging with his grandpa, eating an apple out in the country?


Ah, fuck it. I have no idea what kids “should” be doing and I have no idea what’s right or wrong or good or bad with any of this. I’m just trying really hard to keep my boy’s spirit and curiosity intact (or at least not diminishing before my very eyes).

I’ll do anything to not lose him.


Also, hey. In case you forgot (since it’s been so long), I used to write these “week in review” posts on Sundays. I’ve kind of gotten out of the habit (um, understatement?) but I’m going to start writing them again (maybe every 2 weeks?). And at the end of these, if I have a new sponsor, I’m going to tell you about that sponsor. And I’m really, REALLY excited to tell you about this one.

Heather Thorkelson is the founder of “Republic of Freedom.” Her title? “Architect of Freedom, Idea Generator, and International Sherpa.” Or, in fewer words: a fucking badass, real-deal life/business coach for people trying to build a livelihood rooted in freedom. For people like me who have a vision, desire that vision, know the vision is possible but have no fucking clue how to get there.

She helps us get there. She’s done profoundly interesting things. She is living a life most of us only dream of (um, she just got back from some crazy trip to Antarctica with some team of researchers or some shit and then she was in Peru and apparently her 2014 will be in “Canada and Europe”). But she started terrified, too.

I don’t call people “inspiring” because, um, most people aren’t. It’s a word so overused it’s degenerated into platitude. But when you see a human living a life of freedom, her definition of freedom, a life that she designed  rather than some other person’s version of “success,” well, that’s some actual inspiration.

She has helped me personally, and in a time when I was ready to throw in the towel on everything I was trying to do. (writing, etc.). Here was my email to her: “You’re amazing. I can’t believe you’ve just helped me like this, outta the blue. Thank you for carving a path for me. Helping me see shit. You really are fucking awesome and I am elated we’ve crossed paths.

Jesus. What luck. I feel empowered and alive.”

Republic of Freedom


18 Comments | Posted in weeks of mayhem | March 16, 2014
  • Jane

    I love you! I’m 20 weeks pregnant, have 3 kids, work full-time, in the middle of a huge renovation and feel like I’m losing my mind. Thank you so much for the laugh and solidarity! One day at a time is better than seeing another 20 weeks of this!

  • Tina

    Well first off, brilliant for Rocket to be able to do this! I am lucky enough to be able to afford sending our daughter (who has just been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome) to a small private school. She would find it just as hard in regular school than your son would, I’m sure of it. And homeschooling is probably what we would be doing if that hadn’t been an option.
    I do feel very sorry for you still having to work so hard at 29 weeks. How much time can you take off for the baby? I realize how lucky we are here in Austria, getting 8 weeks before due date AND 8 weeks after the birth to take care of ourselves and the baby. And then there is also paid maternity leave for up to 3 years, so that is amazing. I just wonder, do you have to work until you go into labour?
    I hope you do get a bit of a rest before baby comes, and wish you all the best for the rest of your pregnancy and the birth.

  • Kendra

    I’m so happy for Rocket.

  • Chelsea

    I am so excited for Rocket! Also, so very excited to see weekly blogs again. I am a brand new reader of your blog, and am currently reading all the old archives. Best part of my day sometimes 🙂 I am a new mom of nine month old twins and you are definitely my kind of mama. Trying my best, loving it sometimes, hating it sometimes, not taking everything so fucking seriously like so many other moms or society in general. Thank you so much for your honest perspective. You may hate the word, but you’re an inspiration to me!

  • Heather Thorkelson

    I love you Janelle. You deserve all the support in the world because you help people feel like they are enough with every piece of writing you produce. That’s huge. Thank you a million times over for your kind words.

    AND I’m so happy for Rocket – he’s a lucky kid to have parents who won’t be pressured into doing things the way they’re “supposed” to be done.

  • Ann

    You’re probably too busy to notice but March is over half, nearly two thirds over already. Is that any help?

  • Erin

    Yes! I love that you were able to work something out for rocket!! Way to go mom, dad and grandparents. That’s fucking amazing! You are a crazy bad ass mama! You are doing it and i hope there is an end in site for you and this crazy time. Simplify, on all levels! That’s my mantra. Love reading your posts! Thanks due the “inspiration”! Haha!

    • Erin

      Fucking auto correct

  • Jess

    That’s great for Rocket, and I love Ava’s quote about the dance. So spot on.

  • Tracy

    I just love how you up and did a 180 to help your boy like that. It’s brave and smart.

  • Marie

    Go you. That is EXACTLY what an 8 year old should be doing at school. Wish mine could too. You’re a lucky woman. Way to save your boy.

  • Katy

    Can your mum homeschool me please? I mean, I’m 24 next week, and I’m not even AT school anymore, but I feel I could do with some home-schooling, Rocket-rejuvenating, bird-listing times. Plus, I know loads of random facts, which I could share, because sharing is caring.


    I don’t know much about birds though.

  • Liz

    Thank you for putting your life and thoughts out there for the rest of us. I really needed this post today. I am pregnant and working and trying to be mom to our 2 1/2 year old and am currently feeling like nothing is working. I want to quit my life and go lay on the beach in Mexico and have someone being me food and drinks. Thank you for helping me feel a little better today by showing me I am not the only mama struggling just to keep it together.

  • Megan

    YAY for #8!!

  • jill (mrs chaos)

    I’m NOT pregnant and the first couple weeks in March made me want to throw in the towel and escape to someplace…well, some other place. Sometimes life is just overwhelming and hard and awful. And then other times it’s ok, and wonderful and rainbows shoot out of the ass.

    You ARE doing this. I’m so happy for you and your kids. This is a huge transition and it kinda sucks FOR NOW, but it’s time to shake things up so that when they settle back down they’re even more awesome.

    You got this. Love you.

  • Kristen

    Thank you for writing! I’m happy to hear about your boy’s new school! My son is 7 and his struggles to pay attention are bringing his work below grade level. We send him to my parents on his breaks to get out and play and visit a farm, etc. He is refreshed when he comes home.

  • Sherry

    I am just so happy for Rocket!! I love, love, love that he’s homeschooling. Like seriously love. Your little struggling boy has been on my heart a lot lately, which I get is kind of weird since I don’t even know you. Um, I promise I’m not weird! Well… not like creepy weird. Just over-emotionally-invested-in-the-lives-of-strangers-I-think-I-know-thanks-to-the-internet weird. Which I guess is a tad creepy? Damn. Well, anyway, Someone else said, “Way to save your boy!” and that’s just so exactly what it feels like you just did. I am thrilled, and can’t wait to hear how he does. Mad props to the g’ma!

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