Posts Filed Under …..I make bad decisions…

16 Ways I’ll Probably Ruin Christmas

by Janelle Hanchett

I love Christmas. I love all of it. I love the gifts and the candles and the lights. I love the horrible music. I love the movies and eggnog and excitement and decorations. I’m slightly pathetic about the whole thing, actually. But it doesn’t matter how much I love it.

I’ll probably ruin it anyway.  Chances are good, at least. The more important the day, the more likely I am to fuck it up with my questionable behavior.

I made an infographic to visually summarize this phenomenon.


But this year I thought I’d give my family a nice, clear, fair warning about how I’ll probably ruin Christmas. I’m thinking this might help.

So here we go.

  1. I’ll probably stay up too late the night before wrapping the fourteen thousand seven hundred and fifty three gifts I bought for the kids because when I was a kid we were pretty broke, and my mom every year said “This Christmas is going to be small, kids,” and I smiled and felt a little pang but didn’t show it, but then on Christmas my big brother and I woke my mom up and trotted into the living room and the gifts were tumbling over themselves in a massive insane heap and it didn’t feel small at all. So now I do the same, and it’s shallow and materialistic and unenlightened but I couldn’t possibly give fewer shits about that. I freaking love it.
  2. But because I stayed up too late I’ll be irritable and you’ll be bouncing off the walls so I’ll probably snap at one of you. I’ll snap at you as I watch you in your Christmas pajamas and think about the next gift I have for you, that one you’re not expecting, because I know you’re just going to love it and it’s the little ones like that make my stomach flutter and Christmas becomes the same as when I was you. I’ll snap and feel immediately terrible and apologize and think “You can’t do that! It’s CHRISTMAS!”
  3. I will for sure say something stupid though. Once I opened a gift and said the first thing that came to my mind and it was the wrong thing to say and it made my mom’s face fall and I knew I ruined Christmas then.
  4. I’ll probably say “tits” at the Christmas table and regret that immediately too. On the way home I’ll ask Mac why I always have to sit by the classy people in the family and he’ll say “Right. That’s the problem. The seating arrangement.” And then he’ll tell me it’s not a big deal, Janelle, and I’ll be vaguely grateful it wasn’t an F-bomb.
  5. My mouth ruins a lot of Christmases.
  6. I’ll probably overbook the day because rather than learn from mistakes I like to keep doing them over and over again a few hundred billionty times because you never know it may work this time and then when we’re all wrestling ourselves off the couch and into nice clothes I’ll probably ruin Christmas by being angry and frustrated and kicking myself because I want to stay home and swore last year I wouldn’t do this again. I’ll wonder what the fuck is wrong with me.
  7. No. We’re staying home this year. I WON’T RUIN CHRISTMAS THAT WAY, KIDS.
  8. I used to ruin Christmas by drinking too much. Once I ruined it by not even showing up at all. There was one when I found myself alone for a moment in the bathroom after all the gifts had been opened and as I was getting up from the toilet after peeing I thought for the first time that my kids would be better off without me and it was my first and perhaps only real thought of suicide and it was shocking in its anticlimactic nature and the smoothness with which it passed through my brain. I thought about it like I might think about an item we needed from the grocery store. It was matter of fact and plain and clear. In that it terrified me. I went outside and watched my son who’s now 9 ride around on his new Hot Wheels in his footed Christmas pajamas. I poured some whiskey in my coffee and didn’t die.
  9. I’ll never ruin Christmas by not being there again.
  10. I’ll eat too much and practically bust out of my clothing though and that won’t ruin Christmas but I’ll feel like a cow.
  11. I’ll get mad at you for not looking at the camera.
  12. I’ll forget your tights. I always forget the tights. Damn tights.
  13. I’ll yell, probably, because really JUST LOOK AT THE FUCKING CAMERA FOR 12 FUCKING SECONDS KID. And then I’ll bribe you with See’s Candy and win at parenting.
  14. At the end of the day I’ll probably go out on the patio with your dad and I might start blaming him for the ways Christmas was ruined because that’s easier than realizing I ruined Christmas by being overtired and cranky and the stakes are just too high. And I’ll want to stop but I won’t because there was his pain and my mom and brother and I and my dad, and my grandmother who’s gone now, and the way I used to wrap presents for her every year, and the ache in my gut and brain and eyes to see her again and the wrinkles in her hands and tell her goodbye, mostly, or even thank you. And there are those thousand Christmases of them and me and you and those to come and I’ll feel it all right then. Through the lights strung on the porch that you hung badly. I got a little mad when it happened (because the neighbor’s are perfect) but laughed when I realized poorly hung Christmas lights are a fucking family tradition at this point. It’s our Griswold moment.
  15. And I’ll ruin Christmas when I lie down at night and think of you the oldest kid in your bed and you and you and look down at the baby, 6 months old, and watch him nurse and know he will be you, the first, 13 years old, so close to gone. And I’ll shut my eyes with the memory of snapping at you as we sat around the tree. And I’ll wish I could go back there. This year’s gone already. Next will be later still. Further still.
  16. I’ll ruin Christmas because it’s never enough. I’m never enough, for you. For this. How could I be? How could I be the light to make a day perfection? The mother bustling about the tree. The one with the gingerbread and sugar cookies. Oh these stakes are just too high.

Damn you, Christmas. The perfect, ruined day, every year. You just keep getting better. In my mind, my heart, you get that much better every year. And you, kids.

I can’t wait to see your faces.


37 reasons I’m having trouble “embracing the moment”

by Janelle Hanchett

Sometimes I complain about motherhood.

Shocking, I know.

And every time I do, somebody somewhere somehow gives me the same sage advice:

Enjoy it before it’s over.

Live in the now.

Soak it up.


And generally speaking, my urge is the same. I basically want to punch them in the face. Not because it’s bad advice. It’s not. In fact it’s the best advice ever. It’s solid fucking gold. It’s true and real and exactly what I should be doing.

This, of course, makes the advice that much more annoying, since I know they’re right and yet I can’t seem to pull together this much-desired full-moment-embrace.

At least not always.

There are various reasons for this during any given day. I’ve decided to compile a few.

So here you go: 37 Reasons I’m Having Trouble Embracing the Moment

  1. I’m so tired I recently told somebody I had a baby girl. Yeah. My baby has a penis. So until further notice, I had a boy.
  2. It’s tough to really be present when your consciousness is sustained through 12,000-calorie, 25 grams of fat, 40 tablespoons of sugar, 6-shot iced coffee drinks.
  3. No for real, there’s a time each day when I think I may actually die from this exhaustion, but then, like a beam of hope and light and truth, comes the drive-through espresso place and I know I’ll make it ONE MORE DAY.
  4. But then I remember I will never lose the 30 pounds I’ve got attached to my ass if I keep drinking that shit. But I do it anyway because survival.
  5. Speaking of shit, I’m pretty sure there’s baby poop under my pinky nail.
  6. I made eggs for breakfast but my toddler “Only eats eggs on TUESDAYS!” So she screamed and wailed for approximately 30 minutes (even though she has no idea what day it actually is). Obviously.
  7. It’s so damn hot I can’t stand wearing the “quality” nursing bra to support my 15-pound-each breasts – it’s so ITCHY! – but the cheap ass (comfortable) one from Target gave me a clogged duct and if I don’t wear the 6 feet of “quality” material around said boobs (and nursing pads), milk drips out of them and onto my clothing.
  8. So basically, my choices are: uncomfortable, hot and itchy or uncomfortable, wet and milky.

(Embrace that, bitch.)

  1. I’ve been taking my placenta pills like a motherfucking boss but sometimes I wake up and I’m sure I have A.) Ruined my life and B.) Permanently ruined my life.
  2. My toddler just peed on the pool deck.
  3. Sometimes, my 12-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son bicker so long and so hard about something so stupid I actually pack up the insane toddler and screaming newborn and go to the park just so I don’t have to hear their voices for 15 minutes.
  4. When we get there, they sit on the bench beside me and whine that it’s hot.
  5. While my boobs itch.
  6. Then I usually say something horrid like “GO AWAY NOW.”
  7. And feel guilty about it because I know time flies and carpe fucking diem.
  8. I embraced motherhood 15 minutes ago. Now I want to sit on this bench and play Candy Crush and pretend I’m still 21 and hot and living in Barcelona.
  9. I have so many people demanding things from me ALL DAY LONG your voice has just become ONE MORE VOICE in the long line of voices asking me to do things and consequently I don’t hear you, at all.

But really, what part of “join me in the fight against helpful parenting advice is unclear to you?” Why can’t you just say “Yep.” When I bitch about motherhood? Why do you have to give me helpful words or whatever the hell that is because you know what I hear? All I hear is “If you were a better mother you’d be enjoying every second!”

18. Well shit. Now I can’t embrace the moment because you just told me to “embrace the moment” and now I feel guilty for not embracing the fucking moment.

19. And this leads me to think about how my tween will be 18 in 6 years and instead of living “in the now” I’m wondering where the last 13 years went and how come I didn’t “live in the now,” then, when I still had a chance and she was younger and nicer.

20. I’m thinking about money. Namely, the way we have none.

21. I’m wondering how that article that’s due this evening is going to get written when my baby decided that the only palatable life activities are nursing, sleeping against the boob (because I DIE WITHOUT THE NIPPLE MOM) and pooping.

22. I’m crying over nothing.

23. I’m answering questions from my kids about why I’m crying over nothing.

24. I’m making a mental note not to watch rescued-elephant videos ever again.

25. It’s 4pm and I just realized the circus needs to eat. Again. Why must they eat so often?

26. The dog ran away, out the broken fence. We need to fix the fence. He’s a sweet dog. I love that dog. I need to pay more attention to the dog. Sorry, dog. (No worries. We found the dog.)

Hey. Hey you. I AM EMBRACING MOTHERHOOD, just not at this moment. Why isn’t that okay? I ENJOY MY KIDS, just not at this exact second. Why is that a problem? Aren’t all jobs annoying at some point? Don’t all jobs have some aspects that suck? I mean if I were a lawyer and I hated doing time entry would you be like “Enjoy it.” Embrace it. Time flies. Someday you’ll be too old to record your time.” No. Of course not.

But this is motherhood, you say. Motherhood is precious. It’s all so precious!

NO. No it is not.

Sometimes it’s not precious and I really, really think we’d all be better off if we stopped telling mothers to “enjoy every moment” when some moments are really, really (sometimes literally) shitty, full of nothing more than grit and dirt and work and grime (with a hint of cuteness).

27. I was up until midnight writing an article. My baby woke up at 3am and wouldn’t go back to sleep until 5am. At 6am my toddler woke up and bounced into my bed “I’m here to cuggle (cuddle)!”

28. It’s hard to embrace something when your eyes won’t open and your head is pounding and your arms are stuck under an almost-crying newborn and a flailing 3-year-old.

29. It’s 5am and I’m torturing my newborn with that snot-sucking device so he can finally sleep, FINALLY.

30. But I can’t sleep because I’m 97% sure he has whooping cough.

31. Better get on Google and explore whooping cough. What time does the pediatrician’s office open?

32. Oh great. It’s 6am! Here’s Georgia! Toddler cuddle time!

33. My kitchen smells vaguely of vomit and mildew.

34. My voicemail is 90% full. I fucking hate voicemail. Text, people. TEXT.

35. I have 17 flagged emails in my work inbox that need attention and my auto-responder says “Just had a baby” even though it’s been 5 weeks and they hover in the back of my mind like the most irritating buzzing fly you’ve ever heard.

36. My kids are eating mac and cheese again. I can only imagine what the processed cheese-like substance is doing to their brains.

37. We need to go to Costco but the tired. Oh. My. God. The tired.

And this baby.

And these kids.

THEY’RE JUST EVERYWHERE. And it never, never ends.

the haircut in question.

the haircut in question.


Eventually I give up, fuck it, park my ass on the chair and watch some 30 Rock reruns. For a minute I laugh, we all laugh, as the baby tries to nurse Rocket’s nose. And Georgia did her swimming lesson without crying. Came out beaming “I was SO GREAT in that pool, mama!” And the dog jumped in the kid pool like it was his own personal Raging Waters and my husband got an amazing haircut that makes me want to, ahem. And the grin on Ava’s face when she got her prize for reading 4 books at the library’s summer reading challenge. Oh, the innocence. It was almost as if she were 6 years old again.

I saw it for a second, just a second. My second, and hers.

As her smile hits my heart, I hear an explosion in Arlo’s diaper and something wet on my arm. I change him in the back of our hot SUV while the kids argue about who sits in front and Georgia removes her clothes, again, because that makes sense. I see my coffee in the stroller like a silent beacon of hope.

So there. 37 reasons I’m having trouble embracing the fucking moment.

And 1 or 2 that keep me trying.


Now please, for the love of God, stop telling me to embrace the moment. I’m embracing what I can, as best as I can, along with every other mother I know. And besides, 


To the new mom traumatized by BabyCenter: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

by Janelle Hanchett

Look, I know how it goes. You pee on that stick and you’re all “OMG I’m having a baby!?” but you can’t tell anybody because the obligatory 12 weeks, so you go to the one place you can get excited and talk safely (OR SO YOU THINK)…


You log on, create some cryptic name for yourself, find your “Birth Club” and start reading. You think you’ll find some like-minded women in the same stage of pregnancy as you and you can all commiserate and stuff.

But all you see are acronyms. Lots and lots of acronyms. What the fuck do DD, DS, BFP and FTM mean?

Who are these people? Do all mothers speak in acronyms? Why are they all using acronyms? HOW COME I’M THE ONLY ONE NOT USING ACRONYMS?

After reading a few posts and having no clue what the hell they’re saying, you sheepishly Google “BabyCenter acronyms” hoping nobody sees and praying to God there’s some sort of guidebook for this new world. I mean you’ve only been pregnant for 47 minutes and you’re already incapable of joining the mother crew?

It ain’t looking good.

Rest easy, friend. As a woman presently enjoying her 4th child’s limbs flailing against her bladder, I’m here to tell you in absolutely no uncertain terms that YOU ARE NOT ALONE and no, despite appearances, mothers are not some sort of weird gang wherein language is reduced to communication-via-acronyms, as if baby-in-womb immediately results in the inability to write words out completely.

DD is “dear daughter” and DS is “dear son” and DH is yep, you guessed it, dear husband. And yes, I’m with you. Why the hell do I have to add “dear” to the beginning of my kids’ titles? Isn’t that sort of contained in the word “son” or “daughter?” I mean it’s my SON OR DAUGHTER. Sons and daughters tend to be “dear” to their mothers. Usually. For at least a couple hours a day.

Husbands, on the other hand, are another story and I’m still confused about what sort of twisted 1950s throw-back decided all husbands have to be referred to as “dears.” Perhaps they’ve never actually had a husband, or cohabitated with another human at all.

But I digress. FTM is “first time mom,” which basically means certain non-FTMs will tell you all the things you don’t know and will never know until you’ve reached the pinnacle of motherhood (as they have). It’s also a flag to signal to the douchebag judgmental mothers “I’m new here. Please don’t attack me for my question.” (Edit: Also, FTM means “female-to-male” and, on this blog, “Fuck the Man.” Good times.)

Incidentally, we don’t all know things you don’t. In fact, some of us admit to not knowing shit and even, perhaps, knowing less with each child. Perhaps we have a little more experience with not knowing shit, but meaningful, universal parental advice? Yeah, for some of us that died a little more with each baby, along with the stamina of our pelvic floors.

I mean I’ve been a mother for nearly 13 years and all I have to offer is that I think the excessive use of acronyms should be classified as some sort of disease, particularly when it’s used to turn regular words into cute words.

The worst acronym is BFP. “Big fat positive.” Oh god help me. Just say “positive pregnancy test” and move on.

Maybe I’m just a bitter skeptic.

No, for sure I’m a bitter skeptic. And if you’re still reading, you might be one too.

So anyway you read the acronym list and you’re “in” and stuff but now that you know what people are saying, you’re actually more terrified than you were before. It turns out that access to the content of these posts is actually WAY WORSE than the ignorance you previously faced.

You read things like “Hey, FTM here. I just got my BFP and I’m wondering…is it possible to get pregnant from a blow job?”

You read it like 7 times, lest your eyes deceive you. You tell yourself you’re making it up. It’s a joke. Somebody’s joking. THIS MUST BE A JOKE.

But then the next post is titled “Am I pregnant?” and you’re like “Well hmmmm, I fear I may not be the correct person to answer such a question, particularly since I’m not a motherfucking pregnancy test.”

Who answers the question “Am I pregnant?” by logging on to an online forum? In other words, a place 100% unable to provide a reliable answer, particularly when a reliable answer is available for a few bucks at the local grocery store?

And then you start to wonder if perhaps you’ve entered some strange twilight zone in which all the people are insane, and the ones who aren’t insane post things like “Abortion is MURDER” and then wonder why they get so much “backlash for sharing their opinions.”

Wait. Maybe they’re insane too.

You read on, sure you’ll find your people. Sure you’ll find people who are just kind of regular ol’ humans who just found out they’re pregnant but instead you find people asking about baking soda and urine to determine the sex of their baby (at 5 weeks pregnant). You decide to give it a break and try another day, for the good of your own mental well-being.

A couple weeks later you wonder when you might feel your baby move. You log on and read this: “I felt my baby move at 6 weeks. It’s all a matter of how in-tune you are with your body. I do yoga so I’m sure that’s how I felt it.”

And you’re like “What the fuck is wrong with this broad? You moron your “baby” is like the size of a goddamn pea – and it has no limbs yet – but rather than own the fact that logic has clearly vacated your brain, you’ve somehow managed to turn this around to look like a deficiency on MY PART. (You know, because I’m so out of touch with my body I can’t feel the flutters of practically nothing.)

Look, FTM, all I really want to say is that you aren’t alone. BabyCenter and Pinterest and shit, they’re fun, I like them okay sometimes, but I assure you you’re not the only one who reads words like “I haven’t yet committed to a nursery theme” and feels a strange sense of existential angst. There’s nothing wrong with you because your “nursery” is an office you were supposed to deal with a year ago, or a corner in your bedroom, or a corner in your bedroom of your parents’ house. There’s nothing wrong with you because your “nursery theme” is the stuff your sister gave you, or you look at that empty bedroom and realize you have absolutely no taste. None. No decorative style/ability/decorative talent up in here. So basically you buy stuff and put it in the room and hope for the best.

There’s nothing wrong with you because you’ve gained 36 pounds at 29 weeks and the BabyCenter humans are all “I’ve gained 12 pounds and I’m 38 weeks and I just feel AWFUL!”

You’re not the only one who reads posts about “still satisfying my man even when I’m pregnant” with an eye-roll and mumble “Satisfy my man? Huh? He’s lucky he gets it once a month. I’m creating new life, piss on myself when I laugh and have a baby pressing against my cervical wall and I waddle – WHAT THE HELL DO I CARE IF MY “MAN” IS GETTING HIS ROCKS OFF?”

There’s nothing wrong with BabyCenter.  That’s not true. There’s a shit-ton wrong with BabyCenter, but of not everybody there is psycho. And it’s damn entertaining. I still go on it sometimes, for funsies, to watch the drama, to read things like “HELP ME! I can’t find a perfect GOING HOME OUTFIT!!!!” and enjoy it for what it is while being okay with the fact that my baby’s “going home outfit” is not the central focus of my day, nor will it ever be, because I just don’t care that much about things like that. Yeah, when I had hospital births it was fun, but it was never life-changing. So few of these things are ever actually life-changing: The crib, the diaper bag, the nursery theme, the carseat system thing.

For a long time I felt like a freak because the only damn thing that really mattered to me was the baby, and possibly the fact that it was in my belly and needed to exit. I didn’t get excited about cupcakes or baby sprinkles or gender reveals or cute baby announcements (have yet to send those bastards out) and I was sure I was defective somehow. I’m a subpar homemaker with rooms that don’t match and the idea of “coordinating” things makes my stomach hurt.

But truthfully the only think I’ve really learned over the past 13 years is that THE ONLY DAMN THING THAT MATTERS IS THE BABY.

It’s the only part that’s life-changing at all. The rest can be fun, but it’s superfluous, and it’s okay not to care and in fact, many of us don’t.

So yeah, you may feel like the silent lurking freak on BabyCenter, but you are not alone. There’s a shitload of us.

Just wanted to let you know.

Um, my baby's "nursery." It's next to my dresser. Inside is Georgia's doll and pillow. Tied to the leg is our dog's leash, because he chews shit at night if he's not tethered. Pin that shit, baby!

Um, my baby’s “nursery.” It’s next to my dresser. Inside is Georgia’s doll and pillow. Tied to the leg is our dog’s leash, because he chews shit at night if he’s not tethered. Pin that shit, baby!

Basically Kerouac lied

by Janelle Hanchett

You know, I always thought it would be cool and romantic to be a poor Bohemian writer. You know, give up stability to follow your “Art.”

I mean Kerouac sure made it sound fun.

It’s really not that fun. Of course I’m not a Bohemian or a beatnick, also I’m not sure you could call this “Art.”


And I write. So there.

A few years ago I had a job in a law firm. It was a great job. The best part of it BY FAR was the fact that every two weeks (notwithstanding some disaster on account of my drinking habits), a check arrived in my bank account, like clock work. It was amazing. I got up and went to work every day, and in return, money appeared and I could use it just as my little heart desired.

Do you catch the yearning in my voice?

Good. Cause it’s real.

But as the years passed, this weird itch started forming in my gut somewhere. I started writing this blog thinking it would fix it, and it did for awhile, BUT THEN IT GOT WORSE.

It’s like I tasted writing, I tasted the sweet nectar of f-bombs and honesty (cause really that’s pretty much what this thing is, right?) and then all you people came into my life and I fell desperately in love and fell over one day in awe that all the sudden people were reading this blog, and they are fucking awesome people.

I thought I wanted to be an English professor. I quit my job at the law firm.

I was getting my M.A. in English and planning on pursuing a PhD. But then this post happened in February and some writing opportunities came and I started writing for Parenting magazine (they were sold to Parents and I lost my gig) and allParenting (I have a column there called “My Outside Voice” in which I get all political (cause like a good friend I mostly keep that stuff off this blog)). And Brain, Child published a couple pieces on their website, which was my dream, but mostly you people keep happening and I want to write, to you, for me, for us, not because I speak for you or because what I’m saying is important or profound or whatever, but because you seem to hear me, and me you, and there’s something fucking real there that shouldn’t be ignored.

You have to understand I didn’t anticipate any of this: I just wrote because it was in my heart and I wanted to, and I had to, so I did, to kill that incessant itch. And I’m amazed and overwhelmed at the opportunities that have arisen from that “itch.”

Ok let’s stop talking about itches. It’s starting to remind me of STDs. OMG Gross.

I graduated from the M.A. program, but I didn’t go to PhD school.

I devoted my life to writing, because of all that above.

I had two writing gigs and was a consultant for the firm and it seemed like this would all be fine. Ah, but I lost the Parenting magazine job (they were sold to Parents and the blog was discontinued) and the consultant job in the same month, which means I lost 2/3 of my income and yeah. Now we’re broke. OH COME ON I’m not going to ask you for money.


I like you people, but I sure as hell don’t need to be beholden to the interwebs. Can you imagine? One day you’d be reading this and you’d be like “You stinky whore! I just gave you $20.00 via Paypal and now you’re at a fucking BLUEGRASS SHOW IN MONTEREY?”

And then I’d have nothing to say except “Yeah, sorry, dude. We only appear to be grown-ups.”

It’s a really strange feeling to devote your life to something because you feel deep in your gut something is there, something can happen, and it takes TIME to make it happen. I can’t run out and get a full-time job because I’m working on a book proposal (shhhhhhh).

But friends I’m gonna level with you: Sometimes this is totally not fun. It’s not glamorous or sexy or cool at all. It’s not even really interesting.

You know what this is?

A FUCKING DUCT-TAPED SIDE-VIEW MIRROR (that’s kind of falling off anyway)

No really, this is my car.


Hot, right?

Ah, I’m not complaining. Well actually yes of course I am.

But we’re eating (CLEARLY). We’re paying a mortgage (sometimes barely, and 10 minutes before it’s due) and thankfully have a small life. We’re learning to have a smaller one, but there are days when I wake up and all I want is the security of a bi-monthly paycheck, that softness in my gut that knows when the next check will come: the way clear, the path carved. I spend my time looking for part-time work or holing myself up, removed from my family – one more afternoon alone at a damn coffee house, wondering what the fuck and why and for what  – pushing my terror aside for a few minutes to write the proposal, submit more writing, build a platform to prove myself.

And it all hinges on unknowns anyway. It’s weird to work your ass off and devote your life to something that may or may not happen. It’s really quite stupid when I think about it.

If I were smart I’d get a full-time job, right? I’d do what it takes to buy more things for my kids and get them in better schools and pay for more lessons and sports. Right? I mean I’m a mother of three kids and I need to PUT MY FAMILY FIRST.

But I’m not smart, and I’m not stopping until I’ve at least tried.

My kids are just fine. Money never made for a happy childhood anyway, and you know what’s crazy? They’ve never once noticed the fucking duct-taped mirror.

I’m writing this so we can go through it together, and laugh one day, looking back, when this is just the storm before the glorious clearing. (Or I’m back at the trusty cubicle, enjoying the bi- monthly paychecks and general malaise, planning my next exit strategy, looking back with nostalgia on my days as a crazy poor aspiring writer.)

Either way, this whole thing is your fault. YOUR existence is the reason I feel all compelled to keep on writing. YOU and your damn encouragement and support and brilliant fucking comments that lead me to believe we’ve got something going here.

I’m really grateful for you. This really isn’t your fault, and we’ll just keep on keepin’ on, you and me.

Because really, at this point, is there any other option?

I know I’m lucky as hell. I know I’m living a dream. But everybody’s gotta whine sometimes.

There’s this Rumi poem that says “Let the beauty you love be what you do.”

This is the beauty I love.

So fuck it, I’m doing it.




To all you married people in their 30s “getting ready” for a baby…lemme tell ya somethin.

by Janelle Hanchett

When I was a kid, I used to say I was going to wait until I was 30 to get married. Then, a couple years later, I was going to have a kid or two, when I was all mature and stable and shit.

As you know, like most of my plans, that didn’t go well. I had a kid at 21 with a dude I had known for 3 months. Score!

So I realize my perspective may skew my understanding of the idea of “planning for a child,” or “waiting until you’re ready,” but I have to say, I find the whole process of “waiting until you’re ready” to be one of the most ridiculous endeavors ever invented, mostly because it’s an impossible task, and creates the horribly misguided idea that one can actually “prepare” for parenthood, or “become ready” for something that inherently negates any possibility of preparation because it involves a real live human baby.

It’s absolutely ridiculous. When was the last time you met a predictable human?

(Your mother DOES NOT COUNT.)

I’m not saying every 16-year-old should have a kid, or people without jobs or homes should be reproducing at random and hoping for the best. UM DUH. That’s way too much work. For them and for us.

What I’m saying is this: If you want a baby for real but you’re not doing it because you think a better time will come, let me be the first to tell you: THE TIME WILL NEVER COME.

You will never have enough money.

You will never have a stable enough marriage.

You will never feel grown-up enough to serve as the guiding light of hope and direction to a small innocent child who’s insane enough to think the sun rises and sets over your pert little ass.

Speaking of pert little asses, you will never be ready for pregnancy.

That’s a LIE! You’re ready now! Your weeping uterus is probably all “I must have baby,” which is precisely why you’re in this predicament in the first place.

But you won’t be ready to piss on yourself and do that throw-your-legs-over-the-edge-of-the-bed thing when you’re 8 months pregnant and need to get up for the 12th time that night, to pee, and your partner’s next to you snoring, undisturbed, and you’re like “Maybe if I smothered him nobody would notice?”

You won’t be ready to not see your toes for a couple months, or the look in your partner’s eyes as your boobs expand like porn balloons. Do those exist? Whatever.

You won’t be ready for the day you can’t buckle your own goddamn sandals anymore.

And friends, you won’t be ready for the body contortions and noises that resonate from the depths of earth and your soul as you push a baby out of a barely participating vagina.

You will never feel “good enough.”

When you meet that baby, you will no longer suspect you aren’t good enough. You will KNOW IT, because how could anything be good enough for the first perfect creature ever born? (Incidentally, that whole “perfect creature” thing will totally disintegrate by age 2, but I digress.)

Your ducks may be all lined up now, honey, but they’ll fly like feathers in a tornado the day that baby enters your world. Try. Give it a shot. Try to wedge that newborn into YOUR schedule and parenthood into YOUR vision of “the way it should be” or “the way I intended it to pan out.” Try to mold your kid into just what you had in mind and your partner into the perfect other parent, and you, chip away at yourself until you carve yourself into The Perfect Mama.

And then find yourself some whiskey, benzodiazepines, and a good shrink, cause you’re GONNA NEED THEM.

Do I sound negative?

Good. I am.

I feel like there’s a lot of misconception about child-rearing, much of it arising from bullshit societal notions that:

a.)    Having kids is fulfilling. It’s not. Becoming a whole person and being true to yourself is fulfilling. Kids only serve as a substitute for self-fulfillment for people who haven’t figured that out yet. There’s a line in a Margaret Atwood book (The Handmaid’s Tale?) where this girl says to her mother: “I am not justification for your existence.” BOOM.

b.)    Having kids is noble. Nope. Not noble. Just reproductive. Saving kids from a burning building? That’s fucking noble.

c.)     Everybody wants kids, or should want kids, and if they don’t want kids they’re a self-centered asshole. The only people who “should” have kids are the people who WANT THEM. How is that complicated? Personally, some of the people I know who have chosen not to have children have done so because they are TOO SELFLESS to bring a kid into what they believed was not the best situation. Self-centered? Nooooo. You know what’s self-centered? Bringing a kid or 12 into the world and then acting like you did THEM a favor by birthing them, like you’re some sort of martyr for a choice you made. Though I feel sorry for myself on occasion just like the best of ‘em, my kids don’t owe me shit and neither does the rest of the world. I’m not special and neither are childless people. Wait, hold on…gimme a minute….okay here we go…

“You are not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We’re all part of the same compost heap. We’re all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”

d.)    People without kids are missing out on a life with depth and meaning. Well, I guess that depends on how you define “depth and meaning,” but as far as I can tell, a life of depth and meaning is that which a person defines as “deep” and “meaningful.” And parenthood, of all the fucking endeavors of the world, is not inherently “deep” and “meaningful.” In fact, it appears some parents are actually detracting from the good of the world by reproducing. It’s as if they’ve gone out of their way to REMOVE depth and meaning from parenthood. Wait. Sorry. Was that my outside voice? MY BAD.

e.)    A kid is this thing you add to your existing life. Now this one’s gonna get me in trouble, but check it out: You don’t ADD a kid to your life like some sort of really expensive accessory. A kid transforms your life into an entirely new life, whether or not you are participating in this transition. [If you’re confused as to why this will get me in trouble, I’ll tell ya: People, guided by companies making A LOT OF MONEY off the idea, have convinced themselves parenthood is something that can be predicted, controlled and navigated in pleasant ways if you only buy, read, and do the right things. What are the “right things?” The idea that parenthood is a giant shit-storm of ever-shifting ground (LIKE THE REST OF LIFE) terrifies people, so they get really mad when you say things that threaten their fragile construction of security.]

And so, here it is, my dear friends waiting for the day…talking talking talking about kids, and waiting for that glorious moment when all the stars align perfectly and there’s just not a single thing left undone: All the places have been visited, all youth expired, the pinnacle of marital felicity reached along with a near-Yogi state of self-awareness, calm, patience. You’re in the best health of your life. Your 401k has hit $200,000 and your house is half paid off. Your car has an oil change and your diet is totally organic.

Here’s the thing…you can keep waiting, or you can realize the kid you have will be the perfect kid for the mess of your life. The perfect little crazy being to fit like a glove over the glaring deficiencies you were sure would ruin you. Not to fix you. But to hang out with you, just as you are, if you let him in and drop the fucking act. Just BE who you are and see you had everything you needed already, and maybe you were always “ready,” or as ready as you’ll ever be, for this kid, the perfect one for your family.

When I was pregnant, my midwife used to tell me I was the perfect mother for this baby. I believe that to be true, though please don’t ask me to ever raise somebody else’s baby. My kids have grown accustomed to my insanity, THANKYOUVERYMUCH.

Like the missing piece you never knew was missing, your kid will just lock in and lock on and turn you into the human you had no idea you could become. And yet you’ll remain exactly the same, cause you are only you, after all, and your job is to love and support and teach until the day you let go again.

And no, you won’t be ready for that either. I sure as hell am not.

But if you want it, the universe is telling you: You’re already perfect for the kid you’re waiting for.

You’re a disaster. You will remain a disaster after your kid comes.

Together you will be disasters, together.

But you’ll be in love, and it’ll be alright, and maybe one day you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about.

I mean it is, after all, just a real live human being. disaster