15 Reasons I Need Plastic Panels in my Mom Jeans

by Janelle Hanchett

I will admit, at first I was unsure how I needed  “slick plastic panels” to “bare my knees for a futuristic feel” in my “mom jeans,” but now that Nordstrom has mentioned it, I’m discovering the ways my mom life could benefit from such a thing.

What are “mom jeans” exactly? Oh, glad you asked: They’re jeans signaling the degradation of fuckable woman body, characterized by a large, flat ass, marriage and a minivan, and complete surrender to never being hot again.

The jeans themselves are characterized by high waist, tapered legs, and throwback denim from the 80s. These exact jeans are considered hip and trendy on other bodies, so the real key to recognizing “mom jeans” is the ability to apply a misogynistic gaze to determine if the wearer is still meeting the requirements of “hot thin young woman,” or not. Give it some time. You’ll figure it out.

Anywho, back on topic.

As I mentioned, at first I was unsure how and why I needed plastic panels on my knees, but since the advertising guys are always correct, I simply put my mind to it and realized there are at least 15 ways I can benefit from strategically placed knee panels:

  1. I can’t lie. I have on occasion been disturbed by my wardrobe’s total lack of “futuristic” allure. I mean there just isn’t enough sci-fi space vibe to my daily attire. I feel so present-day earthy. Total drag. So Nordstrom, for a mere $95, really spoke to the exact sartorial motif that’s been missing in my life.
  2. Now, not only can I be spacey cool, when my kid vomits on my legs, I can simply Windex that shit.
  3. Also if I happen to piss on myself and it gathers in the knee area. You know what? That’s a stretch. I never full-on urinate in that manner in my own jeans.
  4. Or if I need a spot to do a line of cocaine.
  5. Please forget that last one. I am simply brainstorming potential uses.
  6. I can also have more consistent knee visibility during colder months when shorts aren’t an option. One of the big problems in my life is that I can’t see my knees at all times. I need little windows to my knees.
  7. Why? Well, to assess whether or not I need to shave, or maybe they’re fat. Do I have fat knees? I should go running. Nobody likes fat knees. Little knee windows allow me to assess fatness and hair density and length, allowing me to more fully meet the expectations of how you think I should look.
  8. Wait omg. Also OTHER people can assess my knees. Hallelujah! Freedom!
  9. It also sounds fun to sweat against the plastic during hotter months. If I sweat, will the windows fog up? That sounds fun. I hope they sell anti-fog knee-panel spray and that it’s available on Amazon Prime.
  10. Plastic knee panels would serve as a tiny adorable slide for my toddler, turning me into a living play structure!
  11. Also, my kids may enjoy covering the little panels in tissue paper and glue, like little stained glass pieces. That way, I could wear my child’s art at all times, which has always been a goal of mine.
  12. Or, I could tape things to the inside of the panels, perhaps little Post-it notes with my shopping or to-do lists, or daily affirmations such as, “You are a bright shining star.” Happy reminders, you know, to stay positive while I make a casserole and wait for my husband to come home.
  13. But most importantly, plastic knee panels help me remember that I am a unique individual. I can be a mom and wear funky cool things and really stand out, like in high school when I decorated the soles of my Doc Martens with black permanent marker. My individuality has not been erased by these kids. Thank you, Nordstrom, for understanding that. Thank you for seeing the ME in here.
  14. Um, well, hmmm. I’m working on more uses. A portable plate for my toddler to eat off of! (Easy clean-up too!) No grass stains! The ability to teeter on my knees on wet grass without my jeans getting wet! That’s something I often want to do.
  15. You know what. That’s all there is. There are only 14 potential benefits of plastic knee panel mom jeans, but that’s good enough for me, because if you tell me something’s cool and necessary, I AM WITH YOU ALL THE WAY, AMERICA.


Look, the key to a meaningful life is writing ridiculous lists of useless information. Find out how! Let’s do it together!

Two spots left in my online writing workshop! 

We start on April 5! Join us! So many exclamation marks!

I found this a year after I named my workshop “write anyway,” which basically means I am Junot Diaz.

  • daniel pelfrey

    I am surprised these highly functional leg coverings were not established for the working dad first.

  • Claire

    I kneed these. Thanks for articulating why. If only I could get them in Switzerland!

    • Brooke

      I fully intend on just cutting the knees out of my perfectly good jeans and hot-gluing Saran Wrap to the exposed area.

      Because why not.

      • wendy

        Why not exactly – you are onto it!

  • Valerie

    You’re hilarious! Thank you! I’ve been following you for a few years and just needed to say something. You make me laugh even when I feel like screaming. Cheers mama!

  • Alexandra

    Just read this post to unwind as I was already in bed ready to call it a day (I live in Belgium so yes, 4pm CT in the US is a totally acceptable time to go to sleep haha), and I had such a hard time not waking up the kids next to me with my muffled snorting-laugh ???? I love your posts and am so glad I found your page! Thanks for making me laugh and making me feel that I am a “normal” mom just the way I am ????

  • Gayle

    Lol, you forgot about dry erase markers…a different message every day for each knee! Maybe “whatcha looking at” or even your shopping list!

    • Colleen

      I LOVE IT!

  • Liz Higgins

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Second paragraph… laughing too hard to continue!!

  • Jen

    You completely missed “my kids can now use dry erase markers to create their art directly on my clothing”,and the more practical “I can write my shopping list on my knees with dry erase markers and reuse indefinitely, so really it’s better for the environment than all those little papers I write my lists on now”

  • Sim

    It’s the corporate version of the “ripped” jeans look, isn’t it? The “I really want to look cool and funky in my deliberately ripped, excessively expensive jeans”, but will less upkeep (kudos/style/cachet/credibility). Will there be mini windscreen wipers available as an accessory to wipe away the knee sweat which is bound to accumulate? I really like that they are 7/8th length too – not quite short enough to flatter, not quite long enough to cover, but just the right length to display your cankles as well as your chubby knees. Win/win!

  • MaryEl

    You are now my fashion guru. I’ve been needing one. Please write another post soon telling me why I should wear high heels.

  • Itzybellababy

    I am befuddled. No. Just. No.

  • Rachel

    The comments on Nordstroms page are so great too, seriously, there are tears.

  • Joy

    You’re missing the point. It’s obviously so that when you kneel on the floor for the millionth time because your toddler refuses to stand up to get dressed like a normal person, the lower seam digs right into your knee thereby cushioning you from developing those annoying knee calluses that – according to Dr Google – require regular and dedicated exfoliation to get rid of (because clearly the harsh abrasion of the carpet is not what caused them in the first place…)

  • Marion

    Staying on the erasable / easy cleaning of this fabulous garment: easy wipe-off after feeding the kids!
    Remember to self – I actually need to change jeans today for that exact lack of feature!

  • Kathleen Hamilton

    I will only consider these when they have the mini-blind option – don’t want sunburned knees when I’m rocking these at the beach.

  • Rachel

    I am definitely laughing, but also crying. And, I so needed that.

  • Rachel

    As of May 21, 2018, the Nordstrom site says that these jeans are sold out. I’d like to think that it’s because of this blog post. And, that Janell got commission for selling so many pairs of them. Janell, I asked my Mom to buy me your book for a gift, so I hope she did and I will read it as soon as she gives it to me. God, I really need to read your book.