Five years ago yesterday I started writing

by renegademama

Five years ago yesterday I wrote the first post of this blog. I had been crafting it on my drive to work and in the shower and back again and all around. In fact, I had been “writing in my head,” also known as “thinking,” for many months. All the things I’d like to say about motherhood. All the things I’d like to read but can’t because nobody seems to be writing them.

Rocket's mohawk that became inspiration for the logo

the original logo was Rocket’s head

Five years ago yesterday I couldn’t take it anymore, so during my lunch break and possibly a little after, I hid in my cubicle and put a blog together with one of those built-in WordPress themes and I wrote the words that came to me.

At the end of that first post, I said I was going to write a book someday on motherhood.

Yesterday, I sent off the final draft of my book proposal.

So life, because it’s a wily-ass-motherfucker, planned it all out that exactly 5 years to the day after I sat down to write my first post, I would take a huge final step toward publication of my first book, which I promised in that very post. Now what kind of bullshit is that?

Also, spoiler alert: The proposal may not be final. These things have a way of evolving. Also, the book is not published yet. It’s not even bought yet. I am not at the end. There is no end. There is no arrival. That’s the way with writing. And probably life, right?

But there’s something about this marker, something about the synchronized moments of the beginning and its promise and this big step. Please don’t tell me about “intention.” Please don’t tell me I willed this with my motherfucking dream board. This was work. That’s all. Boring old work. Maybe intention kept my feet moving, in the form of there’s enough of me that believes this is worth my time so I’m going to keep going, but most of the time I couldn’t see TOMORROW, let alone a “dream” or endpoint. I was just writing.

 

I decided I would only write when I “felt inspired” and that I would write two posts a week no matter what. It’s a good thing I only followed through on the second decision, because inspiration left sometime around the end of year 1, when I had exhausted most of the rants and raves and figured it was about time the world recognized its next literary genius.

But it wasn’t. Assholes.

“Nobody will ever read this. It’s a waste of time,” I’d explain to my husband Mac, usually on a drive home from somewhere, late at night, with all the kids asleep in the back, when it all feels a bit heavier than usual.

“No. Keep going. You’re a great writer. Aren’t you getting more subscribers each month?”

“Barely,” I’d whine.

“Doesn’t matter. It will happen.”

Or he’d get fed up with me and say “Yes Janelle it is a complete fucking waste of time. Stop doing it. Shut the whole thing down.”

He’d call my bluff.

He's still taking the kids out of the house so I can write. He did it last night. All 4 kids to Rocket's Boy Scout event. I finished the proposal and sent it off. My mom sent me this photo.

He’s still taking the kids out of the house so I can write. He did it last night. All 4 kids to Rocket’s Boy Scout event. I finished the proposal and sent it off. My mom sent me this photo.

No matter what though, I knew he thought what I was doing was valid and real because not only would he say it but he’d prove it with actions, taking the kids to the park so I could write, encouraging me to go to a coffee shop, helping me make “I need to write a post” a real and actual priority in our home. Even when I had 100 readers. Even when there was no money in sight. Even when I had a “real job” that had no writing in it. Even though it “took time away from the family.” Even though all of that, we just did it, together, he and I. I don’t really know why.

Love, I guess.

And you, the new reader, I’d cling to the message you sent, telling me this is the first time you’d ever felt seen as a mother. That you thought you were alone. And I’d think “Okay. I’m writing for her.” Even though there’s only like 10 of her. 

And I’d do it again.

 

I wrote mostly when the kids went to bed. I’d write a post on the couch at night and then I would publish it and then I would go outside and smoke a cigarette* and read it over and find typos. Then I would fix them. Then I would go to bed and sometimes I could hardly sleep because I couldn’t wait to see the email notifications on my phone that somebody had commented. Every fucking one felt like a gift.

I couldn’t believe people were reading my writing. Strangers! Amazing.

If it was positive, I’d feel good about myself and interesting and capable.

If it was negative, I’d craft the perfect rebuttal in my head over the next 12 hours, finally type it, then regret it immediately.

I’ve come a long way since then.

 

But no matter what, I’d write again. I’d get back to work. Writing those two posts a week became a working part of my life and I just did it. Whenever. However. No matter what happened.

I wrote when I was homeschooling and Mac was working out of town and I was working at a law firm and going to grad school. I wrote when I was depressed. I wrote when I was not. I wrote through pregnancy and tragedy and moving and I wrote when I was bored. BORED of myself and my words and the internet and all of it. I wrote when I was sure I had nothing left to say and wasn’t funny and found myself TOTALLYFUCKINGINSPIRED.

Why?

I’m not really sure. I guess because I had committed to do something and I got just enough attention to feed my ego so I kept going. I don’t know. Who fucking knows why we do anything?

I had something to say. I thought I’d lose my mind if I didn’t say it. Then nobody read me and I felt sorry for myself but didn’t quit. And when I wanted to quit I clung to the people around me encouraging me and one or two new readers. And then it kind of grew. And I quit my cubicle job and then the teaching job and now, here, 5 years later, I send off the final draft of my book proposal.

I wish writers would stop being so precious about writing. I wish they’d stop acting like there’s some system or routine or method that will Make You a Writer and that there’s a right or wrong way to do it. Just fucking write what you want to say and hope for the best.

When nothing happens, write the next thing.

When big things happen, write the next thing.

And keep writing and going until little by slowly, through events so mundane you don’t even notice them, you look around five years later and realize your life looks completely fucking different, and it’s all because you decided to write the things you thought about motherhood.

So, hey. I think you should say the thing you want to say even if you’re sure nobody is listening and I think you should say it in the way you want to say it because it doesn’t matter that they all like us.

It matters only that a few like us in their bones.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

 

 

*I have since quit smoking. Hallelu!

**There is no ** asterisk in this post. I just used that as an opportunity to tell you that this title is misleading. I didn’t start writing 5 years ago. I started writing when I was 9. I wrote damn near constantly until I was too drunk to do so. When I started again in 2011, I hadn’t written anything in 5 or 6 years (outside of academic shit), but it’s like riding a bike. I guess. I don’t know. I suck at bike riding. But it takes a long time to find your voice. I know that. It took me about 20 years, I think. So fucking write a lot. That’s my point.

79 Comments | Posted in what the fuck is a writer | January 27, 2016
  • jnl

    “I wrote when I was homeschooling and Mac was working out of town and I was working at a law firm and going to grad school.”

    Fuck, dude. All at the same time??

    • Kathleen

      I am glad I found you. I am on the far end of motherhood. I am a Nunnie, and I am passionately in love with my grandbabies. (I love them more than anyone and I mean anyone, (my kids ncluded lol)) anywho, I love your take on motherhood, I laugh out loud and then call my sister to read your post and literally have tears. Keep at it, you are inspiring many other “young” moms and all of us not so young moms.

  • Katrina

    Well I for one, am so glad you started writing! I’ve felt it so many times when I’ve read one of your posts that just really resonates wih me. I’ve felt that ‘wow, so it’s not just me’ or ‘god it’s nice when someone just speaks the open honest truth instead of just pretending everything is sunshine and rainbows’. And I know I’m not the only one. You’re really doing something here, you’re helping people.

  • Rebecca mccormack

    I love your writing. It has made me laugh and cry – often at the same time! It has made me hold my dear ones closer and be kinder to myself. I sincerely hope you get your book published and as I definitely want to read it. Good luck.

  • Erin

    Congratulations! Writing of any kind–I write academic shit for a living–is a never-ending process and nothing is ever “right.” KUDOS on perseverance and success. The blog is a smash of course…and submitting a book proposal is HUGE. You’re right, it’s not “done,” but it’s huge nonetheless. Many people never manage to get to the point of moving something forward. It’s much easier to hold onto whatever you have. No achievement, but no rejection. Safe. (Which is how I am about a lifelong wish to write creatively. Maybe someday I’ll take the leap; for now I’m talking to another university press about the next monograph…)

    All of this is to say: I am one of many, many people out here who are thrilled to hear this news and hoping that it’s smooth sailing for you.

  • Lydia P

    I found you about 3 years ago. You enlightened my motherhood experience. The laughter, the tears, the ups, downs… etc. You made me feel ALIVE! Normal. You were saying what I was thinking…. motherfuckers and all… except no one knows I think those words. But you! You validated all of that icky motherhood stuff for me. Now… 2 kids later, I’m pretty sure I’m almost a PRO. THANKS FOR GIFTING ME THAT! XOXO

  • Amanda

    Janelle, I look forward to your blogs each week! Keep writing, keep going, you’re awesome!

  • beth

    Can’t wait to read your book. You are the shiz.

  • amber

    I could never think of myself as a writer it’s something I think I’m not “worthy” of. But the urge to write has always been in me. Your blog make me feel like I could possibly be a writer. That I could be worthy. Does that sound weird? I am writing this comment while my boy is rambling on about watermelon candy.

  • klk

    I’ve been stealth reading your blog for almost 2 years, after my mom-friend at work told me about it. I want you to know, your blog is a treat I give myself every week. My kids are older, but the need to demystify motherhood/parenthood and tell all of the truths we hold inside … share them and laugh, nod, forqive, just listen.
    I’m listening, and reading, and I will buy your hardcopy book some day soon. I will share it like you are my personal friend, and I will enjoy your success.
    Maybe I’ll even write my book. You’re an inspiration. Don’t ever stop writing.

  • Marian

    This past month, I started my own blog. Your writing has been a huge inspiration to write what I want with no efs given. Thank you so much for writing. For not stopping. I relate to the beginning of your post so much because it’s exactly where I’m at. Even if it doesn’t go anywhere, whatever. It’s liberating AF. I love you, Janelle!!

  • yvonne Hill

    I just my computer fixed and this is what comes on my screen first! ☺😤😄 congrats dude awesomeness. I want to write my life story!! So I will take this post as advice from you the best mommy writer no f that the best writer ever, u go girl. Woo hoo 😆😤😊😀👡💄🎩

  • Anne

    Congrats! I want to read that book!

  • Aimee

    I can’t remember when I first started reading your writing, I do however remember the one that made me sane again. Your post about post partum made me admit a lot of things I never wanted too. It was heart breaking and hard to read, but it feels like you wrote it just for me. And it helps knowing other moms go through it.The world is getting better at recognizing post partum issues and I feel it’s people like yourself helping move things along. When my friends become pregnant, I send them that link and I resend it after the baby comes. It’s probably the most important thing I ever read regarding mothering, its all very real. And I love it.

  • Cheryl

    I like your writing in my bones. Your words are so similar to mine in my head, and have been reading them awhile now which has made my journey as a mom feel less lonely. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And good luck!

  • Erin Loomer

    Janelle, I love your writing and I look forward to reading every time. I tell my husband you are my secret/ don’t actually know her/ American badass mom friend. He just nods and smiles. Haha. Keep at it and I can’t wait to buy your book!

    Boom
    Erin

  • Christina

    So glad you did. Can’t wait to read any book you write!

  • Karyn

    I feel like I’ve written this every time, but here it is again… Thank god you could put into words all of the pain/love/regret/frustration I was feeling. Thank you for making me feel understood. Good luck to you, keep up the hard work. It’s worth it xx

  • Rae

    i sat on the edge of my bed, still wrapped in a towel from my shower, and read this post. I cried and all the things that ache inside me screamed “YES!”. And damn it, you do this so often to me. You say it true and you hit hard where i need to feel it and you wave it all in front of my face so that I can’t lie to myself and say I don’t see it. I don’t even remember how I ever came across your blog in the first place. I just know I’ve been reading it for a long time. I’m not a mum, but I’m human, and your writing makes me want to be a braver and more honest one. So Thanks, I think. You scare the shit out of me and that’s a crazy brilliant gift. Please don’t stop.

  • Amy

    Janelle, I’ve been reading your blog for almost 4 years now and almost every single post has strongly resonated with me. Another kid (4 total now!) and an almost-done divorce later and I’m still with you, finally courageous enough to write my own stuff. So very glad you’ve kept at it. Can’t wait for your book!

  • Lyndsy

    Janelle,
    Your writing us a pure gift to me. I only started reading when you were pregnant with Arlo, and I too was scared shitless–pregnant with my fourth….
    But EVERY single time it comessage to my inbox I find a way to disappear–if only for a few minutes and unwrap my gift. The world could literally crash down outside my bedroom/bathroom door (wherever I’m hiding) and sometimes it does. But it’s something I NEED and you give me that–10 minutes….often when I’m finished reading your post I come out changed…emotionally raw…but always I feel that THANK GOD THERE IS SOMEONE OUT THERE THAT GETS IT.FOR REAL.

  • Debra

    I think “Jack Daniels” to myself sometimes and feel comforted that there are people out there who I know would get me. Thank you

  • Kirsten

    I for one (and apparently i’m not unique in this) am so very fucking glad you never quit!!! I’d definitely buy your book…and a few extra for when I wear out the first ones.

  • Susan

    Happy 5 years!!!

    I literally check your blog every day hoping you wrote a new post. You have no idea how excited I am for your book. I will probably totally fan girl… Did I just say that out loud?

    I really appreciate your honesty and your awesome sense of humour.

    Also, in honour of your 5 year anniversary you should make funny T-shirts that only readers would undertand. For example, “I want off your parenting team” or “Jack Daniels”.

  • Sam Pereira

    Yaaaayyyyy!!!

  • MK

    I think about commenting much more often than I actually do, but if I’d known that it gave you a little boost in any way, I’d have commented every time. I love your blog and your perspective and seeing your heart and head poured out on the page. I look forward to getting the email that says you have posted something new. Keep up the good work, being a kick ass momma, and being such beautiful gift to the world. Congrats on getting the book in. 🙂

  • E

    So very grateful that you started writing and still are! Big fan from Australia here.
    The honesty and beauty in your writing shoots straight to my heart every time. There is something magical and completely unfathomably mental about acknowledging the hard, rough edges of motherhood while simultaneously honoring it for it’s sheer wonder and crazy depth of love and emotion. And you do it beautifully every time.
    I share your posts with all the new mums i know – i have devoured every one in this first year of motherhood.
    I wish there were more people admitting to the challanges of motherhood without feeling as though it is somehow a threat to the love of their child and family. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you don’t love it, and love them beyond measure.
    Reading your posts has helped me rediscover what I already knew – acknowledging the hard stuff, being with it, letting it sit, and not trying to change it, makes those insanely beautiful moments even more wonderful. It’s a crazy nonsensical ride.
    I’m so excited about your book!! Can you tell us more about it??!!

  • Cambria

    You’re the best kind of hero, the kind that encourages everyone else THROUGH HER ACTIONS (not to mention her words) to be their own hero. You make me cry like, erryday.

  • AJ

    I’ve enjoyed your blog for the last year or so, and it’s truly helped me more than I could ever express. I’m raising my first child, and hoping like hell everyday that I don’t fail him some how. I stopped drinking to have a family, and a future, and happiness. The happiness doesn’t always come so easily, and motherhood can be so lonely. Your posts have helped me connect with that little voice inside that says, “it’s ok, you don’t suck so bad, keep going.” So, for that, thank you a thousand times. Good luck on your book, and honestly, you’re a wonderful mother.

    • Paesan

      Janelle is making it work and so you are you AJ. I started reading when I was in the depths of postpartum anxiety. Just knowing someone else out there was struggling, but CHOOSING every day to make it work helped so much. AJ, you will be in my mind and heart. Janelle can do it. I can do it. You and do it. We can do it.

  • Claire

    I love your blog for many reasons. Like many others who comment, I find it often it seems we’re thinking similar things at similar times and this yet another example! Thanks for this post. I’ve just clocked up ~2 years on my blog and I was actually wondering if it’s time to stop. But I have 57 followers, which is kinda nothing, but actually would have seemed an amazing achievement when I started. So I guess I’ll keep on keepin’ on… 🙂

  • Kylie

    I’m so very glad you write. If I wasn’t all the way over in Australia I would so love to do your workshop. Keep it up!

  • Momtothree

    Hey Janelle,
    Your decision to write was in fact a gift to us all, I think. I discovered you a long while back (quite how, I don’t remember, but the Universe pointed me to you). I am so grateful for all the stuff you post. The sad, the celebration of life, the anger at how we are misled into so many false truths and pushed in so many false directions. All of it. The doubt, the guilt.
    I have said it before, but you really built a community around your writing. People who couldn’t find the truth as they see it (myself included) anywhere else. That in itself is huge.
    Your voice has inspired others, encouraged them to be heard, to question. I hope the book deal comes through, that they let you have free rein (including the f-bombs) and are true to your vision.
    Motherhood is a hard gig, but you make it easier. Just through being you. Thank you.

  • kate

    no. it WAS the motherfucking dreamboard. it WAS.

    snort.

  • Leah Noble

    “Don’t tell me about intention.” YES.

    Although, I do have intentions, and I do think they’re worth something. But the main ingredient is WORK.

    Your post about Meg Ryan and marriages is one I read every few days. NOT KIDDING. It saves me and my relationship every time.

  • Agata

    As everyone posting above already said, we are all dead grateful you kept writing. Don’t you dare underestimate how much reading your stuff means to us. I’m definitely one of those who felt less alone in this motherhood soup after reading your posts, because they matter. They matter.

    You’ve changed things for some of us.

    Thank you

  • Daddy Scratches

    Congrats on finishing your book, and thanks for the pep talk. I needed it.

  • LBM

    I stop what I am doing and read your stuff whenever I see the post. Thank you. Please keep it gong

  • Kory

    Thank you for being you, I don’t have kids and I still read this blog religiously. You don’t only speak to parents out there, but to anyone trying to navigate through this crazy life that is willing to look at all sides of the journey, the good, the bad, the crazy shit that’s almost beyond comprehension, all of it. You’re a REAL HUMAN who shares your true thoughts and feelings and I just love that. You inspire me to try and be my most authentic self in everything that I do. The world would be a better place if we had more folks like you.

  • Crazy Threes

    That is how you get shit DONE! You just do it. I love this not a ‘real plan’ just a goal and do what you have to do to get shit DONE! All this dream big, make a plan, you don’t plan to fail you fail to plan shit gets under my skin. You know if life you just gotta DO sometimes. Nike was on to a good thing…Just Do It….who knew

  • Mary

    I’m not a writer (although I had to write a lot of shit in grad school…and I have a lot to say). I’m an artist of another type (visual) and I absolutely love and resonate with pretty much anything you write. My kids are grown ups, so a lot of what I think is about how much I could have used your blog when they were little. But there wasn’t an internet then. Shit I’m old.
    But this particular post hits home with me, because I teach art and those kids suck the creativity out of me on most days, inspire me the other days, but I still try to produce my own work. I NEED to. My “vision board” (hahahahahaha) is my sketchbook and I struggle after a day full of teenagers angst to get into my studio to work. So just a little rant to say: your writing hits me and fills me up, especially when I feel empty.

  • hillary

    When your book is published, I will be buying multiple copies. A copy for all my current mommy friends and a copy for all my soon to be mommy friends! I can’t wait! Thank you for being you and for sharing you with us!

  • Inga

    If you hadn’t kept writing, I would have never been able to enjoy it! So glad you did! You are my reality amongst the bullshit and I truly truly get a lot out of your writing. Thank you!

  • Tatiana

    Congratulations Janelle! I want you to know that I found your blog about 2 weeks ago (while doing a little pointless googling about having a 4th kid…we decided to go for it btw…God help me) anyway, I practically binge-read the whole thing in one weekend. You’re a great writer and brave as hell for saying half the stuff you say. I’m so excited to hear you put out a book proposal and I wish you the best of luck. I’m also a writer (of sorts), except I’m attempting children’s books. Not sure if you’ve ever read Stephen King’s book “On Writing” (great book about writing, and I don’t even like stephen king) but in case you haven’t, I just wanted to share this with you. He writes…“The nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and kept on writing.”

    Keep on writing Janelle. You’ll get there. I’d bet money on it.
    😉
    Tatiana

  • Dawn

    Just fabulous as usual Janelle!!! Can you tell I am not a writer but very grateful you are.

  • Elaine

    Hi Janelle,
    I feel like I’ve been there with you for quite a while. I found your blog when I was searching something on Waldorf moms (or something like that, I think it was a salad word like Waldorf). So it has been some time! And you’ve struggled and shared and sometimes I want to hug you. Sometimes I want to tell you to just get over it. LOL. But I am always glad you share.
    And of course you are successful, you’ve earned it! Hard work and commitment does pay off. Sounds like you’re sticking around and I’m glad to hear it! And I can’t wait to read your book.
    All the best in all ways Dear Janelle,
    Elaine

  • MB

    So happy you continued to write. I get really excited now whenever I open my email and see that you wrote a new post. It usually leads to me getting lost in older posts, and it’s awesome.

    Rock on, Lady.

  • Maxine

    Congrats…

    not just on 5+ years but for the upcoming book (which will definitely grace our bookshelf as soon as the ink hits the paper)

    Finding your blog made me realize that all the sh*t that I hear in my head regarding parenting is probably normal even if other people never actually say it out loud.

    Thinking “chardonnay” (or “jack daniels” in your case) at 10am on a weekday is pretty normal, especially when you have been up since 4am trying to comfort a niggly baby, trying to let your husband get a few hours of sleep as he only got home at 1am from night shift and planning the rest of your domestic chores in your head before having to put on a brave face as you head to work at 7.30am for a full day, knowing that you are missing the little monkey and all you want to do is rush home to bury your face into their sweet, milky smelling neck and let them pull your hair and give you that big toothless grin that says “it is all ok, I love you anyway”.

    … and that millions of other mommys feel the same. The world just doesn’t tell us about it…

    Thank God for people like you who tell it how it is… and leave me nodding in agreement!

    keep writing, because I will keep reading!

  • Jen B

    I love you so much! That is all!

  • Rachel

    I appreciate your humility, your passion, your recovery, your writing, and your beautifully foul language.

    xox!

  • Betsy

    When I read your posts, I get instant affirmation that I am indeed not a dick, not a bitch, not a bad mother, not a bad wife. I’m a human.
    I’m so glad there are others like me out there.
    Keep writing, mama.

  • Angie

    I’m 31 this year and two weeks ago I began taking prenatal vitamins to “prepare” (like you can prepare your body for a parasite) my body to conceive my first child. As weird as it sounds, I wouldn’t be here at this moment, about to embark on the scariest shit I’ve ever faced, without your blog. I’ve spent the majority of my life knowing I wanted kids someday but growing more and more terrified with each passing year as I realized there wasn’t ever going to be that moment where I was READY, where I felt like I had a handle on the adulting thing and could be confident in bringing a new life to the world that I was responsible for. Adding to the fear of my own ineptitude was the constant barrage of friends, family, and strangers having babies and spewing their “Love and Logic”, organic, essential oil, anti-vax shit all over the place making me believe that I had to drink the koolaid in order to be a good mother in this century.

    And then I found you, Janelle, and your amazing, wonderful, inspiring blog. I remember the day at work and getting to the point where I felt like I needed to decide if I wanted kids once and for all because that damn biological clock just keeps getting louder. I sat at my desk and Googled things like, “mothering advice for non-Stepford women” & “a cursing Sailor’s guide to parenting” until I found the magical combination that brought me to Renegade Mothering. I’ve been a subscriber since and I’ve recommended you to many friends and family members who have started following you also. Your words about being a mother, about how you slog through the fucked up bits and you push past the sleep deprivation and annoyances of day to day life to get to the good stuff, were exactly what I needed to hear to know that I can do this without losing who I am. I know even now that I will never be a “normal” mother, if such a thing even exists. I’ll be crazy and loving and loud and politically incorrect. I’ll swear and cry and scream and comfort and support. And above all, I’ll be me. I’ll do my version of motherhood because I know that no matter what that my children will know unconditional love and acceptance and support at the end of the day and fuck the rest of it. I think that’s the best any of us can be expected to do.

    So, thank you. Thank you for sticking with it. Thank you for sharing your life, your family, your ups and downs, your secrets, and your advice with all of us. You’ve made a big difference in my life and I know there’s many others that could say the same. I thank your beautiful family too, for being the kind of people to support your work and your dreams and to let you share your stories about them with all of us. I wish you the best of luck with your first book and everything the future has in store!!

  • Britt M

    This is a great post. My husband is a song writer (and a stay-at-home dad, and a traveling musician, and a realtor) and I try to encourage his writing all of the time. He gets burned out. I think this would be a great post for him to read. Even if he never makes any money out of it, I think it’s great for his soul and it’s great for our son to see. Thanks for having the only blog I’ve EVER subscribed to… It’s pretty great!

  • Chenay

    Holy hell, I am so effing proud of you. When I read that you’d finished your book, I swelled with pride and a huge smile spread across my face. But I kinda feel like a weirdo because I don’t actually know you, but in some way I feel like I do because you document your life so well. Thanks for being real, and congrats!

  • Allison

    I found your blog by accident 3 years ago. I’d google searched, ‘what to do when you want to quit being a mom’. I was hiding in my room at the time, crying quietly so my 2 kids wouldn’t hear. I was feeling so desperately inadequate and so unprepared.I didn’t have all the answers to questions about different kinds of clouds in the sky or about our solar system or why, exactly, baking soda reacted when vinegar was added. My dad had the answers to those questions when I was a kid. I could ask him anything and he’d know and he’d tell me. My kids had a mom who had to Google it and who yelled at them when they were just being kids. I felt incredibly insecure and ashamed. I would constantly think to myself, they deserve a better mom, a mom who knows what the hell she’s doing. I wanted my kids to have what I had as a kid and they didn’t and it was because I couldn’t provide it.
    The post I read on your blog that day provided some relief to what I was going through. You got it…you understood. You were either going through it or had just gotten out of it and were sharing your experience. It put things into prospective too. My husband, kids and I had a home and food and clothes and everything we needed. I had bad days as a mom but the good days far outweighed the bad. My kids knew that I loved them and that would never change.
    I sent you an email not long after, thanking you for your candor and how much it meant to me. To my surprise, you actually took the time to write back, reaffirming my feelings and telling me that I was not alone.
    Since then, I’ve never missed a post. Each one has offered me reassurance and helped me feel less alone.
    Your writting has taken me out of some scary dark places. And for that, I cannot thank you enough.

  • Nj housewife

    Thanks janelle, I needed that!
    From
    A fellow writer who has just received her millionth rejection letter ;( ….and still trying.

  • Travis

    My wife and I always look forward to your posts. We love the feeling that there are others like us. Thanks so much for your writing!

  • Larissa

    I love you in my bones. Thank you.

    When I was in the 8th grade my Social Studies teacher had on the wall, “A writer writes, always”. I don’t recall who it was attributed to, but it has stuck with me lo these many years. Reminds me of you. Also this:

    “Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper.”
    —Ray Bradbury

  • Christina

    “I had something to say. I thought I’d lose my mind if I didn’t say it. Then nobody read me and I felt sorry for myself but didn’t quit. And when I wanted to quit I clung to the people around me encouraging me and one or two new readers. And then it kind of grew. And I quit my cubicle job and then the teaching job and now, here, 5 years later, I send off the final draft of my book proposal.”

    Here is where I am with my blog. Thank you for writing this…your words are encouraging!!!!!!!

  • Megan

    I so admire you for your perseverance. Your writing is insightful, engaging, and hilarious. I love it. Keep at it (although, by this time, I assume you don’t need anyone to tell you that). I’ll be here, reading in my office and laughing and crying along with you.

  • Kate

    That is so wicked awesome! Your peeps up in Canada love you too and are so grateful you didn’t bail.

    Boo-Ya!

  • Elaine A.

    That’s the key right there, to just keep writing, the words will come. And apparently the books too! 🙂 You’re awesome and inspiring, Janelle.

  • Amy

    YES!!! I love your writing and you inspire me all the time. I think about you, over there writing and loving your family and being brave enough to put it all out there and I feel brave too. And so I write when I hate it and when I love it and I read other writers like you who make me feel like I’m part of this magical place where my words can make a difference- even if it’s just to me. Rock on with your bad self. I will too. 🙂

  • Margot

    You speak to my soul, chick. I LOVE reading your blog. Sometimes I will try to go without for a little while so that I can binge read it on my lunch break. I only have two kids but lately I’ve been feeling like a complete fucking failure as a mom. At 6&7 yo they’ve become so fucking fresh, disrespectful and super shitty listeners. But I fucking love them. Ugh. Your blog helps me feel less lonely in this motherhood thing. Thank you.

    Oh, and not sure if you’ll find this as impressive as I do but I know EXACTLY how I stumbled across your blog. I was following P!NK on Twitter and she posted a link to your blog. I’ve read every single piece since then. 😘

  • Stephanie

    Thank you. Just thank you.

    You so often put into words what I can’t formulate for myself. And I forward the post to my husband and I say, “This. This is what I’m feeling.”

    And he gets it. He gets what I can’t say because YOU JUST SAID IT.

    Thank you.

  • Ankita

    I have never read any parenting book (I have a 9 month old boy). But, your book, I will definitely read and gift my friends as well. Each and every blog post of yours on motherhood makes so much sense and is helping me pass the usual difficult times with my infant without losing my mind.

  • Kristen

    I am thankful for your writing. I have two-year old twin girls, a three-and-a-half year old son and I’m 22 weeks pregnant with our fourth and final. I’ve struggled with life… with anxiety, with being a straight A student until I graduated, with being with my husband for 10 years prior to getting married, to going back to school and staying home full-time with the kids, with realizing that NO ONE TELLS YOU HOW DIFFICULT being a parent, mother, wife, person, adult actually is.

    Every time I read one of your posts, I wish that you were my BFF who lived a few blocks away and I was part of your tribe. And I don’t feel so alone.

    Keep writing, please.

  • Deborah Seidner

    Janelle, I am not a mom. I am a teacher so I see a lot of parents…and obviously a lot of kids. I feel a thrill when a new post of yours arrives in my inbox. I crack up at what you have to say, and I sometimes get watery eyes and sometimes I shake my fist in the air and say, “EXACTLY.” Even though I am not a mom. You are a captivating writer. I feel like I love you even though I don’t know you. I started my own blog about a year and a half ago and this particular post was just right for me right now. I am going to start saying THANK YOU to you right now and keep going until I wake up tomorrow morning to go to work. You are the bomb.

  • El

    67th comment – I hope you still get a kick from receiving them!
    I would absolutely love to read your book, and also promise to buy it for my friends too.
    Keep going Janelle, even though you sometimes make me want to cry (even with this blog post, but that may be mostly because I’ve just left my 19 month old at daycare for the first time…) I am absurdly happy when I see you have written a new post.

  • Maya

    Thank you so much.

    (From a new mom who discovered your blog a few months ago and is just trying to figure out how on earth to be a mother and a creative person all at the same time.)

  • Véronique

    Hi Janelle,

    I found your blog two and a half years ago, by Googling ‘fuck SouleMama’ in the middle of the night.

    At the time, my third baby was 18 months, and I hadn’t slept longer than two hours at a stretch since his birth. I was recently divorced, depressed, homeschooling my two eldest, and single-handedly financially supporting myself, my three kids, my new boyfriend, and half his family.

    Your words were a beacon of light that night. And they have saved my sanity many times since.

    You inspired me to have a fourth child (CRAZY MAD INSANE PLAN!!!!!) which I’m about to pop.

    You also gave me the courage to write a book about motherhood. About the ragged edges, the pain, the confusion, the shit nobody wants to talk or hear about (except they do, they do, they do). So many times, your words helped me to get over myself, and just keep writing. Never mind my own melodrama, never mind how tired I am, or how sorry I feel for myself. Just keep writing.

    Funnily enough, I just sent off my manuscript to a bunch of proof-readers yesterday (in the nick of time, as I am 38 weeks pregnant and it feels like it could be any day now).

    Oh, and you are the closest I have ever come to having a crush on a celebrity ;-). I think you’re gorgeous.

    Can’t wait for your book to come out. So grateful for your voice. Don’t stop writing. Ever.

  • Anne

    Oh My! I love this post! I mean I love all your posts, but this is so great. After years of writing my blog in my head, I finally started writing it for reals. On a crappy wordpress page. With a goal of one post a week. But guess what? I’m writing! So there. But then I get discouraged. And I come here and read this amazingness and I think, Yes! I should be writing! And Imma keep on keepin on! Thank you so much! Exclamation points!!!

  • Aimee

    Thanks Janelle for this post. It was exactly what I needed today.

  • Rae

    Dear Janelle,

    You have absolutely kept me sane during the beginnings of motherhood.
    Your writing style and content are awesome.
    Your honesty is a blast of fresh air to my brain.
    You seem like one fucking amazing mamma. I too have a little girl who loves dinosaurs, trains, football, dancing and currently has no concept of whether she is a boy or girl. I look at your gorgeous Georgia and think, I hope that is the future of the whole world.
    Thank you.

  • Amy DuBois

    I am SO glad you write and grateful to have stumbled upon you! I instantly started following you (’cause I’m a creeper like that) and have laughed, cried, commiserated (sometimes all at the same time). Like you, I’ve written from a very young age – heck, I won “Best Writer” in 6th grade; and I still have the damn certificate tucked away in a box of childhood treasures lest anyone question my mad skills 🙂 I began blogging a year and 3 months ago without a friggin’ clue what I was doing. Facebook friends kept posting, “You need to write a book!”, “You make me laugh.”, “You make me feel normal.” and that was enough for MY ego to start blogging. It’s a tiny little blog, I’m an undisciplined, sporadic poster, but it’s therapeutic and a few people actually follow me. All my best to you on the book! (That’s a selfish wish…I just can’t wait to read what you’ve written)! Thank you for being an inspiration.

  • Josie

    Janelle, I don’t have to subscribe because i check your blog every morning.

    Preach it sister!

  • Bekah

    Hey-just found your blog today and I really love it! Your style is so perfect. I really click with moms who understand that cursing heavily and babies go hand in hand. 🙂

    I used to write also, when I was young, and now, two babies later, I’m finally starting again. I miss it and it makes me feel like me. Thanks for sharing this story and motivating me to keep it up.

  • Liz

    I love your writing. It reminds me of my own writing, or at least how I used to write. I used to cuss like a sailor. I was told it was unattractive, and I think I almost believe that it is. I’m not sure. But to “hear” you say what I’ve said cracks me up, and so I wonder: is it really so “wrong” and “unattractive” to say/write whatever comes out of my mouth? I don’t know.

    I also admire your bravery in your writing. I, too, have a story that I want to share on my own blog, but I am scared shitless (oops, I swore. How ugly of me! HAHA!) to write it. It kinda goes a little something like this: I was married to a man who was emotionally abusive, except while we were together, I did not realize this. And then he died. After “only” a few months of grieving, I was ready to get back up on the dating horse, and I did. And I felt extremely guilty. Because I did not miss my dead spouse. In fact, I felt some relief that I was “finally free”. I know of no other single person who has lost their spouse to death that feels this way. Instead, they all lament and continue to grieve for their long-lost spouse. I dunno– maybe I’m jealous of those people; jealous because they had good relationships, ones in which they miss. But anyway…I have not shared that story anywhere but here (and to my mom, dad, and sister)…and I so badly want to tell it….and I’m so frightened that I will hurt someone if I tell it. It is through my telling that I am hopeful that I will find someone who is in the same boat as I am. That kind of camraderie would lessen my guilt and fear, and make me feel less “alone.”

    Like I said, I admire your bravery to give zero fucks about what anyone else thinks. Say– I swore again. I’m so ugly. HAHAHA!

  • Natalie

    Um, how the fuck does any body write anything with small children around? The first complete thoughts that cross my mind are after they’re in bed and the only thing I can think to do after the dishes are done is stare at whatever stupid thing my husband has on the teevee, race cars and idiots racing cars on streets and digging for gold and diving for gold and thinking hey,cool, at least somebody is doing something. I know now that I’ve given up on the creative writing degree that I quit when I was pregnant, I had already felt like such an ass being thirty three writing poetry next to twenty year olds I sure as fuck wasn’t going to campus every day for more incomprehensible English Lit lectures while having to pee every thirteen minutes. And college writing had already made me hate writing. I created a word press account and ‘theme’ four or so years ago when I thought I was figuring out this parenting thing and actually had something to say then I was probably up all night with a puking or croupy baby and realized I knew nothing by the next morning…I’ve always thought moms who were writing must have childcare. And jobs, with responsibilities that require more than responding to demands, cries, poop, spills, snacks, playing w legos etc. Jobs that required speaking to other grownups and regularly having coherent thoughts.

    Wait. Why the fuck am I washing dishes while my husband watches cable TV?

    Okay, that was helpful, thanks.