Sometimes you have to settle for standard human

by Janelle Hanchett

I have backed myself into a corner with this “truth-telling” thing. Here, on this blog.

You know, there really is no such thing in writing. As soon as the words come out they are untrue, because they seem to contain the whole, but they are never the whole. They appear but are never complete, full, entire, because they are only a manifestation, a creation, a curating, a picking and choosing.

They are the nebulous mess pinched and squeezed and formed into a linear string of words. They have no power to tell “the truth.” It’s not their fault.

We needn’t blame them. Or their creator, really.

It’s all just a question of which string I form, which piece I tell, which story becomes “the one.”

I get really fucking tired of the internet with its inspirational quotes all day. I think if people fail they should admit that they failed. That shit is inspirational as fuck.

My favorite is when people tell me about a failure then post inspirational quotes about the value of failure but never admit publicly their own failure.

I guess it doesn’t apply to them. Or something.

We are so fucking crazy.

Sometimes we just have to settle with “standard human,” you know?

Dear internet, Sometimes you just have to be a standard human.

But nobody wants that. That won’t get many likes. Even Instagram can’t filter that shit into glory.


Alright. You want the fucking truth?

I am lost. I am tired of the bullshit. I am tired of the internet. I’m tired of the thing in me that seems to let everybody in and then gets too tired to keep them here. The life-suckers. I’m tired of them. My  friend circle has shrunk to very few humans. I imagine that is something I should have done years ago, but it takes what it takes to realize you have the “let everybody in” disease.

I am tired of my social media near-addiction. I am tired of escaping into the small rectangular box of my iPhone. I am tired of my husband being gone and the realization that it won’t end for 5 more months. I’m tired of no time or space or privacy to write, of working at the fucking preschool when I want to be revising my book.

I’m tired of my 4-year-old saying NO to simple requests and the feeling I have toward her by the end of the day sometimes. I’m tired of nursing all night. I’m tired of my back aching, and the 50 pounds I want to lose. I’m tired of the way I turn to food to give me what it cannot.

I’m tired of my life right now in pretty much every direction and it feels relentless and boring and go ahead. Tell me how fast it goes.

I don’t know that. I don’t feel that every day when I realize my firstborn will be driving in 3.5 years and the baby I had 5 minutes ago is almost one year old.



A few nights ago Arlo was up for 6 or 7 hours straight, on my arm, dozing, crying, not feeling well. When he finally went to sleep I rolled over with the most profound relief and thought “oh thank God” and breathed and my body felt good and beautiful to be on its own, but just as I was drifting off he kicked me in the back, my ribs, his toes pinching my skin. It felt huge, violent, like a final kick on a broken body, a sucker punch. A last straw.

I wanted to cry, pass him off. Somebody take this baby!

But there was nobody else.

So I rolled over and nursed him again instead, since that kick was the beginning of awakening.

For him, at least. (Mine I hope is on its way.)

You think I don’t see this stream of self-pity? I do. You think I don’t know it’s ridiculous? I do.

I get it, as I fall apart.

This is not new. It happens occasionally. The only thing I know is that I will be rebuilt. I always am. The universe gives me what I need. But I am in the thick of it and I am only a standard human.

Sometimes we have to settle for standard human.

IMG_1964Usually I wait and write to you when I’m through it, when I’m looking back from the other side and have something hopeful to say, or pretty, or interesting, even. But now I’m just in it. Right there in the middle. Not one single answer. I could have chosen a different story but this is the hardest one to tell. This one feels “truest,” though even in telling it I realize it’s not enough, because I drove home today and that was waiting for me on my porch (that, over there, on the left).


I’ve developed a little faith in the brokenness, now, in the tearing down, in the decimation. I’ve almost got a little affection for the old bastard, the way he sneaks in and deconstructs, piece by piece, leaves me here looking ridiculous, lost, unstable, unsure and clinging. Everything I try feels wrong. I feel small and false and wrong.

I smile when I think about what maybe will come out of the wrongness.

A friend who knows I’m fucked right now wrote me this text: “I can’t wait to read what comes out of you during this time.”

I thought it was the kindest thing I’ve ever heard. Her compassion. Her faith. In me, in the brokenness.

(thank you, Sarah.)


I have tiny moments I can give you, the way Arlo holds his arm up every time we get in or out of the car, walk out of the house. He’s ready to wave “hello.” He waves “hello” at every passerby. He waves “hello” to his siblings as they play outside. He waves hello with his whole fist, opens and closes it rhythmically, sometimes with a smile, sometimes just staring intently, waiting for a response from the recipient.

If it’s a passing car, I feel a little sad that they won’t respond. I tell him “They can’t see you, Arlo,” and kiss his cheek.

There are times in life that are meant to be survived, trudged through, just one foot in front of the other into and through the gray. There are times when the world doesn’t wave back, and you don’t know why. You’re trying. You’re looking. Your arm is held up there stupidly, ready, for a glance back or a grin or laugh.

If you’re lucky, you get a kiss on the cheek as a consolation prize, and another day to get through, to carry you through, to the other side, again.

Until then we keep waving, with our whole motherfucking fist, telling the truth and lies, looking up, over, until time robs us into a new day, a new story of the same old human.

In that dawn we look back and can hardly remember.

It’s just too damn bright I guess.



hey Arlo just keep on waving


81 Comments | Posted in I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING HERE. | April 19, 2015
  • Jane

    Thank you.

    It means little – but I’m right there with you, from my tiny little space over the other side of the world. I have one, you have several, but the totally broken feeling echoes deep.

    I used to try and cheer my little girl up when she was crying relentlessly by telling her that there’s no crying in baseball. I’m glad that someone else has validated my choice of soothing techniques.

    Good luck getting through. Thank you for being brave (which sounds so fucking patronising, but there you go).


  • Phyllis

    Go through those times…in one now. It’s when I go back to basics. If I go to sleep and everyone is breathing…it’s a good day. If in the morning everyone is still breathing…it was a good night. Some months that is the best I can do.

  • Nicole

    oh the thick of it . It’s ok to have a pity party sometimes . Jeez when everyone around you needs something relentlessly .. It sucks . Keep swimming . Keep writing . The truth or the lies , it doesn’t matter I love to read what you write .

  • Mary

    Long ago, I had a friend who found out she had breast cancer. (No, this is not going to be some “at least you don’t have cancer” bullshit.) Everyone wanted her to find the silver lining (“it’s not that bad”, “they caught it in time”, “it could be worse”, etc.). She just wanted to say that it sucked and have someone let her do that. She would call me and scream “THIS SUCKS!” over and over. I lost touch with her (divorce means people pick sides) soon after, but I know she went through hell. And she died from it some years later. Sometimes life sucks. Even the little shit that isn’t cancer. And it’s ok to say so.

  • Carla

    I too have been feeling broken, I am trying to rebuild. My older one too sassy. The younger too needy. But both beautiful, so so beautiful and loved. The continental drift between myself and my man…now that is sad, exhausting and heartbreaking. How do we survive on these incomes, how do we make time for each other, how? UGH. Grieving for who I thought I would be in life, moving on and letting go. Life is hard.

  • Tessa

    They tried to bury us but they didn’t know we are seeds.
    Mexican proverb

    • Claudine

      Thank you for sharing that. I’m going to get some good use out of that proverb.

    • Laura

      Great one!!

  • Djahariah Mitra

    Beautiful, honest, moving writing. I’ve been feeling the same way and just wrote about my failures. Somedays I feel less than human. I’m a single mom and have just hit another wall and fell down, hard.
    Thanks for sharing your bits of truth that do reveal the truth, however curated.

  • itzybellababy

    When you start sleeping again… it will be better. Different, but better. I am sure of it. I didn’t sleep for a year. I was a zombie and breathing sucked. It got better.
    Hang in there!

  • Monica Taft

    Thank you so much for saying what I am feeling. This actually gives me courage to write my next post. Keep on writing, it helps more people than you can possibly know.

  • Shannon

    Thank you.


  • Meredith

    i love you. You’re stronger than most, and admitting weakness makes you tenfold. You’re a rational voice from a perspective few vocalize aloud, I wish I was as brave. You owe none of “us” anything. Write whenever and whatever the fuck you want. You know to take care of you and yours first. That’s a good thing.

    Thank you. Your words have meant a lot to me since I found you shortly after becoming a mother who struggles.

  • @caffeine_lights

    Janelle, thank you for writing in the middle of this.

    I often feel like “in the middle of this” is the time that I should write, but I don’t, I can’t. The words just fall away and don’t come any more. In response to something, sometimes, yes. But never when it’s just me.

    I borrowed your old format of writing a numbered list once a week on my blog, just to get myself to write something. I hope you don’t mind, it feels like it is helping.

    Tomorrow I have to phone my doctor and ask for an appointment to talk about why I am failing even the standard human benchmark. I have put this off for years, because I am really scared that they will turn me away and say no, you just suck, and that there is nothing. So there is that. I feel like depression is a little bit like a train heading straight to hell, but you don’t really realise that you’re on the train again until you’re on it. It’s always good to find that there are other cool people on the train. I mean, it sucks for them, too, but it somehow reminds me that it’s not my personal failures that bought me the ticket, it’s just random, it doesn’t really discriminate at all.

    So, thanks for writing a postcard from the train 🙂

  • Heather Bowden

    This gave me chills. Fucking beautiful.

  • Isabel

    Yes. This 1000x yes.

    I’m in grad school, working 20 hours a week, looking for my first “grown-up” job in a low-paying discipline (that I love), in a long-distance relationship, and planning a wedding. Sometimes I just want to break down, sometimes I do break down.

    I tell my fiance how incredibly stressed I am. He tells me he doesn’t know how I do it. I just want to scream, “but I’m not fucking doing it, I’M DROWNING.” And I’m only responsible for taking care of just myself.

    Sometimes the weight is so heavy that I forget just how good I have it, and even when I do remember, I just want to be able to continue to sit there and feel sorry for myself. Everyone is entitled to a little pity-party now and then.

    I love your blog, it’s one of the few things that will cause me to drop everything right this second to read.

  • katy allred

    i always find it’s the hardest, bleakest times in my life that are right before a breakthrough. it’s clear from your writing that you already know that, so i don’t need to tell you that.

    what i do need to tell you is that sharing from within the thick of it, before you are on the other side with a nice polishing cloth, with answers and new wisdom.. that?

    That’s baller.

  • Renee

    From one standard human to another! I’m right here with you sister.
    A near two year old who feeds like a newborn.
    I wake each morning feeling like something that’s been dragged
    Around the house. My back aches and my nipples sting. Im so tired I’m ready for bed at 630am. The monotony is a bitch. And I’ll just keep putting one foot in front of another. A reminder that the days are log and years are short! My firstborn is nearly 19

  • Dana

    Such an honest post! And such a gift for writing! “The Artist Way” book by Julia Cameron immediately came to mind and I am wondering if you have read this book? It is a life changer in the best, most authentic way possible..IMO.

  • Carrie Caldwell

    In regards to your addiction to social media and your phone. It’s an escape, but sometimes it leaves us feeling worse. It seems like everyone is doing much better than us. I think there should be a new social media site called ass book and everybody posts all the shitty things that they are going through. That would make me feel much better about my average existence!

  • Dana

    When I read that you volunteered at the preschool, I thought….Wha?? How?? Everyone needs time to ‘fill their own cup, and maybe especially writers/artists! Who are also moms! And the lack of sleep thing- that is a big downer. Sleep is such a basic need. I always went to my babies when they cried at night, every time, but I thanked the heavens for the crib!

    • renegademama

      Ha! That should have said “working at the preschool.” It’s not volunteering (I edited now). It’s a co-op preschool (best affordable option). Believe me I would not be doing that if it weren’t required! I mean, not now. It’s adorable, and I love being there for Georgia, but GODDAMN I need the time more. I’d be taking the 2.5 hours and RUNNING. 🙂

  • Patty

    our feelings are valid, even when we think we should be better than that feeling….I’m glad you can express them, I’m an SBS prevention trainer and the most important thing we can do is acknowledge our feelings for our own health so we can make sure our family is healthy…my oldest will be 33 next friday…it doesn’t get easier, just different….hugs to you

  • Kay

    Thank you. Just… Thank you. My third turns one in two weeks and I just asked my mom to come up and help me. Again. Because I am still in fucking survival mode a full year after her birth. What the hell is wrong with me? Shitty mom overload. I’m currently hiding in the baby’s room hoping my mom will have my older kids asleep by the time I come out.
    “Sometimes we have to settle for standard human.”
    Sometimes we have to settle for substandard and just pray tomorrow will be different.

    • SC

      Hey – historically, “standard humans” weren’t meant to parent in isolation. Traditional societies have a whole host of extended family and near-family available to help shoulder some of the parenting duties now and then. So it’s NOT abnormal to feel overwhelmed trying to do it yourself – it’s a construct of the mid- to late 20th century.

  • Jessica

    Thank you for your post. And thank you even more for Georgia’s hair. When I grow up, I want to be just like her.

  • Emily Parsons

    Just like everyone else I to am saying thank you to you, your awesome and you make me just want to keep making babies. We all crash and burn and hopefully are strong enough to get up. YOu help make it that happen. thanks Heaps.

  • JC

    You write the truth. Your truth. And that is exactly why I keep coming back. That and you aren’t precious, and you don’t idolize the precious. You show the hard, ugly bits of motherhood and life. It fucking sucks you are going through this. I know it fucking sucks because I have many of the same feelings.

    I have a 5 year old who challenged me at every goddamned chance she gets. She is my one and only and I feel like I am drowning daily. Nobody wants to hear that. Nobody gives two shits when they say “So, how have you been? What’s new?” If I unloaded how emotionally spent I am from a shit marriage and a kid who has more energy than a 100 suns people would back away slowly.

    The co-op? Yeah, it is the most fabulous school, and I love it. But I swear I could punch a child in the face by the time my day is done co-oping. And a huge shout out and a FUCK YOU to people who join a co-op and do jack shit so the rest of us have to pick up the slack.

    Rock on Janelle. Vent. Unload it. And know that when you are beyond exhausted and want to run away there are lots of us who would run with you.

    And then run back because they are too damned cute and sweet to leave. But at the end of the day you could choke them. But love them. The ambivalence of motherhood, sigh.

  • Phillipa

    So glad to know it’s not just me…..thank you.

  • Orana

    Oh the truth. The total and complete truth and it really gets most of us this brokenness and despair. Doesnt it? That feeling of not being able to take it anymore. I usually have a really hard time getting out of it and it just drags and drags and then drags the family along with it. Thank you for being so completely and utterly thruthful about it. I bet just writing it made you feel better.
    hugs, have a great day.

  • Jennifer

    The only untrue thing in this beautiful piece is that these feelings, and the resulting self-pity, are ridiculous. We all feel this way from time to time. Good luck finding your way through!

  • Heather Petro

    oh darling thank you for being real! have these days – those moments – more often than I care to admit. sometimes it all just sucks – sometimes they need so very much more than you want or can or are willing to give. sometimes you need to be done for awhile but oops! nope! you can’t! you are the mom = the one. i don’t know you at all but i love your honesty. thank you for crossing the cyber line and sharing with us.

  • Ti

    I am not nursing anymore, I suck at being a teenager’s mom. I just don’t want to deal with the rollercoaster of their emotions and the look of their hair and what “theotherkidsparents” and so on…. Nights are short because, at 15, why would you go to bed and not make noise at 3 am…I wish tomorrow I could reach the other side…. too bad, the nearly 12 years old is joining the team. sigh….

  • Jo Eberhardt

    Oh, I hear ya. So much. Right in the middle of it. And, you know what makes it worse? When someone says, “Yes, but you could .”

    It’s okay to feel like you’re drowning, like you’re losing yourself, like the world is too heavy to keep carrying all by yourself. It’s okay to struggle. It’s okay to breathe a sigh of relief when all the kids are FINALLY asleep.

    Sometimes it’s hard to silence the little voice in my head — the amalgamation of all those “helpful” voices in my life — that says, “There are children starving in Africa” and “There are people dying of cancer” and “At least you have a roof over your head and food to feed your children”. So hard to silence it long enough to voice the fact that, in that exact moment, life fucking sucks.

    So hard to silence it for long enough to feel the suck. To feel the disaster that is the life I’ve created. To be present in the moment of awful that makes the sun feel so muh brighter when it comes back out.

    And that, right there, that is what makes life worth living. Not the good times, but the contrast of good times with bad times. The contrast between the smiles of my happy children and the moments when I would do anything to make them just shut up and stop arguing and stop demanding my attention every freaking minute of the day. It’s the contrast that gives life meaning. If every moment were Instagram-good, would it really be good?

    Feel the bad times. Let them wash over and through you. They make the good times wonderful.

    • Jo Eberhardt

      Apparently part of my comment didn’t make it through. Let me try again:

      Oh, I hear ya. So much. Right in the middle of it. And, you know what makes it worse? When someone says, “Yes, but you could by ‘insert random worse situation’.”

  • Jenny, Bloggess

    Beautifully written. Relevant and relatable. Too relatable in some cases.

    Sending love.

  • Andrea


    Someone (if not ten other people) probably already wrote this, but I am there with you. Thank you for making me feel a little bit more human/normal. I appreciate the words and the feelings coming from them.
    Thank you.

  • donna

    I swear, every time I read one of your pieces, it is reiterating everything I am feeling in that exact moment! I love how real you are, it makes me realise I am not doing it all wrong, someone else is feeling the exact same way! Thank you!

  • justine

    Another one, right in the feels. 😉 Magnificent sharing. And thank you.

  • GoRoyBoy

    Great point about Internet Inspirational endless quotes.. Almost like Commercials..
    As an imperfect person, following your brutally honest raw blog at times is distturbing probably due the relatable content that get at least closer to “the truth” because of honesty.. Yours and a blog by a herion user … Keeps me grounded .. Peace

  • Heather Thorkelson

    Fuck yeah man. Right in the thick of it. Thank you for writing from that place. It’s totally ok, and totally shitty horse-shit-balls to be struggling.


    I have an Arlo of the same vintage and a strong, wild four year old. It is the lack of sleep that makes everything so much worse. Thanks for writing such beautiful words in the darkness. See you on the bright side where babies sleep for hours at a time and mamas have 32 hours in a day xx

  • Claire

    You can’t see it, but there are a lot of us out here waving back. Quietly, every day, just waving back.

  • Corey

    There’s a children’s story (song?) about a bear hunt, and every time the family reaches an obstacle, they say, “Can’t go over it! Can’t go under it! We’ve got to go through it!” Which maybe is not particularly inspirational to you when you’re stuck in the shit and you’re so completely exhausted, but it’s true, I guess. Sometimes you just have to go through it. I wish there was something more we (I) could do (take the kids for an afternoon, cook you a meal), but since I cannot, I’m going to choose someone I know in town with little kids and cook THEM a meal instead. I was once a mom to 6 kids under the age of 10; I get it. I know you can’t see it, but I promise there IS light at the end of the tunnel, and you will get here. xoxo

  • Shawna Henderson

    Yes. This. Very early on in my single, self-employed mom-of-2-under-10-yr-olds years, I decided that my standard-issue human ass needed to be given some visual reminders to be kind to myself. So I took my favourite, most brightest sidewalk chalk colours and I wrote, in 2 foot tall letters, two messages. I wrote them on the walls of my kitchen, which was/is my haven and the scourge of my life at the same time (as in: here is where I create massive amounts of goodness for, and share love with, everyone who walks through my door, but holy shit, will the dishes never fucking do themselves???).

    The only ridiculous thing we do to ourselves is determine that we are ridiculous to be at the extremity of our capacity to cope. Overloaded, exhausted, burnt out, stretched wayyyy to thin — describes nearly every woman and man I know these days. Those two messages? In teal blue and screaming neon green:

    Just breathe.

    Be happy with with what is.

    The other options are hurtful, no? Not breathing means, well, death. Not being happy with what is means you beat the shit out of yourself. All. The. Time.

    ‘Being happy with what is’ doesn’t require becoming some idiotic Disney character singing to the birds in an attempt to quash the gurgling mess of self-pity and loathing. For me, it’s a reminder that whatever ‘is’ is this moment’s serving of life, so that when I’m in the middle of everything and shit is piling up and going down and being flung on the walls and breaking my heart, I can simply be happy that I’m still able to see the message to breathe.

    Just breathe. And say your truth. ‘Cause there’s a shit-ton of us out here on the other end of the screen that totally get it. We can’t reach out and hug you, then do the dishes for you. But we’d like to help. <3

  • Charlotte Wise

    I feel every inch of this post. Thank you xx

  • Rachel

    Thank you for your honesty. I am dealing with toddler meltdowns and the fucking fours and I often find myself closing my eyes and chanting “This too shall pass”. I am sorry it is hard right now.

  • Heather Guymon

    I wake up each day and wonder why I keep doing all that I’m doing. My baby girl is just a couple weeks younger than Arlo and she’s currently cutting no less than 400 teeth at once (7, actually). I’ve got a kid on the spectrum, a 4 year old, and pre-pubescent type 1 diabetic who on the worst day can go toe to toe with me AND WIN. I dunno what I’m doing here. I dunno why I even bother getting up in the morning. Every day is the same for me. Every day is just as depressing as the last. Every night I try and escape myself but then I wake up because that bitch insomnia won’t leave me alone…and every day I grow more and more tired. I have zero identity left. My marriage is half falling apart. I can’t control my kids in public so we never leave the house. Why am I writing all of this? It’s my truth right now too, except I live in stupid Utah where it’s everyone else’s truth (to an extent) and they just manage to hide it really well. I don’t care to hide it. I don’t pretend everything is okay. I hate pretending. I need to go fold like three loads of laundry, oh and rewash the ones that got washed and then forgotten in the stupid washer. I suck at this mom thing most days. Truth.

    • Kimanne

      This about sums it up. Also, Janelle, thanks for writing while in the thick of it, where a lot of us surely are as well.

  • Sarah

    I need more meaning from my life, wish I weren’t less, that all the choices I made satisfied and fulfilled me in the way I thought they would when I made them. I’d love an epiphany to to make sense of all this ass hattery. It’s like Groundhog Day without all the awesome ice sculptures and dessert eating. Meh.

  • Nj housewife

    There are times when the world doesn’t wave back, and you don’t know why. You’re trying. You’re looking. Your arm is held up there stupidly, ready, for a glance back or a grin or laugh.
    -you just described how I feel sending out endless queries to literary agents!
    Your great! Thanks

  • Laura

    I dig this. A lot. Standard human.

    Keep swimming, lovely. XO

  • Renee

    We have all been there – from a nursing baby that NEVER quit nursing for 6 weeks straight, to being so damn tired that you actually pass out from exhaustion from taking care of the kids, to having no sleep because you’re waiting for your teenagers to arrive home from their night out, to bailing out your 20 year out of jail for an OWI! And on, and on, and on…….I hate to tell you but it never really quits; it just changes. Different scenarios, different outcomes but the SAME OLD SHIT!!! However, it gets easier; you get smarter. You figure out when to dig in and fight and when to take the high road. And the periods of tranquility – those blessed times when life is good, the world is perfect and the gods let you exists without any persecution. It’s just the way life is; we get through it – come hell or high water – WE GET THROUGH IT! And it is totally worth it! It is your life, your family, your personal hell and your personal heaven. Think about it, where would you be without any of it? You are strong, stronger than a lot of people I know. Pull yourself out of it (whatever your it is) and come out better than you started. Hang in there Janelle – you will get there.

  • Susan

    Holy shit. This is deep and raw. Thank you for saying it.

  • SarahC

    I am so grateful to other mama’s who keep it real. As I am awaiting the birth of our fourth baby (within 6 years), I am trying to hard to not be completely freaked the fuck out about what the future has in store for me/us/them. More often than I care to really admit (because that would be admitting failure, right?!) I wonder when in the fuck the nanny is coming to do something with these children. Except there is no nanny.

    Thank you for your honesty and your realness. Motherhood needs more of that.

  • Sherry

    For you to be able to write in the midst of all you have on you right now and make me actually remember and FEEL what is was like when mine were little is truly a gift. You are just so fucking talented.

    And that talent will still be there when you are through this. And you will write your ass off and it will be wonderful.

    I can’t wait.



    Thank you, for being honest, for sharing your talent of writing to express the rawness and brokeness and the hope of all us standard humans. I savor your blog posts. They are a special treat to me, I wait until the house is quiet then I sit and read and usually cry and usually laugh and always feel grateful I found your writings. I am thankful for all those who comment too, who encourage you and in turn can encourage me, help remember again that there is no aloneness in feeling broken, not quite good enough, falling just a bit short in each area. Hang in there when it sucks, I say to you, those who read your blog, and to myself. Resist the urge for all perspective to slip away. There is always the hope tomorrow will be an easier day, it may suck even more but hope has a way of keeping me going. Thank you for entangling your writing talent with the truths of your life to create something beautiful, something I look forward to reading every time because it hits me where it matters.

  • Kellie

    Just wanted to let you know that another mother over here is reading you, loving your words and hoping that we both make it through this time.

  • Mary

    Even your “standard human” is beautiful and articulate and TRUE, Janelle. I know that doesn’t make it any better, but there it is. Thank you for sharing that with us while you’re in it.

    When I looked at that photo of your family, it almost took my breath away how much your big kid looks like you now. Even as someone who doesn’t know you or your family but has only seen your hand drawn profile picture on the internet, your light is shining from her face.

    You just keep on trudging and know that one day it will all be too bright to see this dark place again. I hope that day comes soon for you.

  • Jetha

    broken souls we are, Janelle.
    Your vulnerability is brave and true, not to mention inspirational.
    You give us all strength – thank you for your honest words.

  • megan

    Thank you. I feel the same. I think you would enjoy my writing too.

  • Mandy

    You are SO brave! Thank you for sharing your raw, honest, truth. I fall apart regularly and feel so alone. Too big and ugly to share with anyone else. Nice to know I am not alone.

  • Kathy

    i don’t feel “better” after reading this but in a way I do. Depression sucks. Being overwhelmed by responsibilities sucks. Crying all the time and wishing I were dead sucks. what the hell is wrong with me? And something is wrong with me. I’m tired. I’m depleted. Feel like the world has squished me flat. Trying not to isolate myself and do some self care. Stop asking why did I scream so much at my first child and roam the mall crying looking at other people with their babies? Why was post partum worse with second child. Need to get better so I don’t worry about my daughter worrying about me while she’s away at college. Im sick of this shit. Eat, exercise, go to yoga, try hypnosis (?), listen to apps, whatever. (And scariest of all–launch myself back into the job world not knowing what’s out there). Go thru the to do list and focus on getting better. Carry on struggling moms and do what you have to do. Thanks for listening without judging y’all.

  • Carolina

    Agree. Sometimes sub standard is the best stuff we’ve got.

  • J B Caeruleus

    Love you.

  • Alex

    Hang on .. so you’re married to Aaron K’s twin?

  • Rachel

    This might piss you off Janelle, sorry if it does, but your post made me think of it. A super cool english teacher I had shared it with me years ago
    I fail all the time – and keep trying to get back up despite what people say

    The Riders in the Stand – AB Banjo Paterson

    There’s some that ride the Robbo style, and bump at every stride;
    While others sit a long way back, to get a longer ride.
    There’s some that ride like sailors do, with legs and arms, and teeth;
    And some ride on the horse’s neck, and some ride underneath.

    But all the finest horsemen out — the men to Beat the Band —
    You’ll find amongst the crowd that ride their races in the Stand.
    They’ll say “He had the race in hand, and lost it in the straight.”
    They’ll show how Godby came too soon, and Barden came too late.

    They’ll say Chevalley lost his nerve, and Regan lost his head;
    They’ll tell how one was “livened up” and something else was “dead” —
    In fact, the race was never run on sea, or sky, or land,
    But what you’d get it better done by riders in the Stand.

    The rule holds good in everything in life’s uncertain fight;
    You’ll find the winner can’t go wrong, the loser can’t go right.
    You ride a slashing race, and lose — by one and all you’re banned!
    Ride like a bag of flour, and win — they’ll cheer you in the Stand.


  • Amanda

    I also feel a little heartbroken when random strangers don’t wave back at my baby. Common, man, look at this adorable smiling baby and give him a tiny bit of love back. I usually have to beg for it and here he is just giving it away!

  • Stephanie

    I needed this so much today.

  • Crystal

    Regardless of the ‘story’ – you’re an excellent fucking writer. Keep it coming when the feelings strike. We’re all going through some bullshit & it’s lovely to hear yours sometimes. And inspiring when you’re feeling inspired. That’s the beauty in writing… You take us on YOUR ride… Whatever that ride may be at the moment.

  • Jessica

    This is one of your best and most beautiful posts. You have put into words my exact feelings down to the core, feelings I didn’t even realize could be described. I always feel so alone when I’m in the thick of it, but your posts help me get through every time, so I thank you.

  • Kaiell

    Thank you. To you and all the commentators here, thank you.

  • Erin Osborne

    Thank you, your posts are so therapeutic and cathartic for me. I truly appreciate you for not being scared to say things out loud. I spend a lot of time as an adult wondering why nobody talks about the shit that sucks!!

  • Meggan Bradshaw

    Thank you. I really appreciate you and the non-need to be “besties” while we can completely commiserate on the horror and wonder of these years. Just, thank you. There’s really nothing else that can be said. You know all the other things I’m thinking about it. A-fucking men.

  • Kristin

    Thank you for being so refreshingly honest about this stuff. You remind me that some of the most challenging moments of being a mama, when we give it all we have and more, are not cute instagram moments. They wouldn’t get any likes on facebook. But we deserve a fucking trophy for this kind of love 😉 Thanks for being awesome.

  • Liz Henry

    This post. My god. It’s everything. I love you for writing it and sharing before the after. Before the broad strokes and perfection. Before whatever happens, happens. You may one of the last true telling liars out there. 😉

  • Rae

    Just another mom commenting: thank you for this – I’m right there with you. Yesterday I got so frustrated with the internet. Don’t these people’s kids ever act like jerks? I love my babies more than the universe, but it’s hard, and I am tired, and my 3 year old is testing boundaries and un-potty training herself, and my newborn is a spit up geyser – like use an adult bath towel, not a piddly baby spit up rag- geyser.
    I needed your posts today. Thanks for the laughs, tears, and reminder that human is okay.

  • Erin

    Life sucks and parenthood makes it more difficult. Your posts often coincide with events that I am going through as well. You’re real which is refreshing and the few friends you do have still are very lucky.

  • Josie

    I’m listening.

  • J

    Thank you. I don’t have a lot of clever, beautiful words to comment with, but I just wanted to say thank you. I know there are probably so many of us out here in the real world of parenting who are constantly touched by what you write and who sit before a cold monitor with tears streaming down our faces just thinking, “thank you.”

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