Posts Filed Under over-sharing is my talent

I went to the mountains and remembered why we have kids.

by Janelle Hanchett

Sometimes I get so full of self-pity I think maybe I could cut it with a knife, were it to materialize outside my body. Like a giant gray mass with indiscernible edges, and me, sitting in the center, looking at Instagram feeds of expat women living in foreign countries, or in big Craftsman homes with plants on the porch that aren’t dead and grass and bricks and stuff, or on farms in Vermont, or really, anybody doing cooler shit than I am.

Why the self-pity?

I don’t know why.

Because I’m a self-centered immature sot.

Because I’m an ungrateful wretch.

Because because because.

Because I’m a bad human being and you’re a better one.

Yes. Let’s get that out of the way. Cool.


Usually there’s some catalyst to my sadness, slight depression, profound sense of WHEN AM I GONNA GET SOME OF THAT GOOD SHIT?

This time it was losing my last source of income: the column I wrote over at allparenting. Ah, financial insecurity, old friend. Fear, my old buddy.

It just felt like too much. Suddenly I looked at my little baby and 3 other kids and thought “UH OH.”

But I can’t complain because I was the adult who decided to have a 4th child. I can’t complain because my choices got me here.

You can’t complain either. None of us can complain.

There’s always somebody worse.

That doesn’t help.

Fuck off.

(Can you follow the voices in my head? Yeah, neither can I.)


I hear you, Complainer-for-No-Reason.

Do you hate yourself for it, a little?

I do.

I know better.

I want to be better.  But I’m not. So let’s just sit with that. Shall we?


My husband’s been working seven days a week. And I’m here, with the four kids, that I can’t complain about. Because I had them. And I love them. And they’re gorgeous and healthy and we have a great house with wood floors and a red door in California, in the United freaking States of America. And we own it. I mean, sort of. We’re buying it.

There’s nothing wrong with my life. I know this.

I’m a lucky ass bastard.

I know this too.

Six years ago I was sitting alone in a Ford Taurus drinking Ancient Age whiskey and smoking Pall Mall cigarettes, about to get a divorce, staying in a room in my mom’s house, seeing my children occasionally.

What sort of piece of shit human gets ungrateful and full of self-pity after surviving alcoholism?

Well me, I guess.

I know my life is the best it could ever get.

Because I wake up every day free, or mostly free, and not dying so quickly, and like a normal human being.


But my heart and gut say otherwise, folks.

My heart’s all “This shit is meaningless. ALL OF IT.”

My gut says “When are things gonna not be so hard? Why did you have that last kid, moron? You clearly can’t afford these kids.”

I don’t fucking know why.

Because newborn breath. Because siblings. Because family. Because maybe I make crazy decisions. Because maybe I just did.

Because your logical-financially-sound-thoughtful decision making bullshit lifestyle doesn’t make much sense either. It doesn’t really seem to work either.

I know some people with money coming out their diamond-kissed ears and you know what they do?
THEY BUY MORE SHIT. They buy things until there’s nothing left to buy and then they look around and say “Is this it?” And they’re REALLY screwed because they’ve got nothing, and realize way late they were sold a big, mean lie.

And others, they make well into the 6-digit incomes and you know what they freak out about?


The wrong private school. The wrong this or that or whatever the hell. Paralyzed with fear these rich-ass human. They can buy the best of everything this town’s got to offer and you know what they do? FREAK OUT ABOUT CHOOSING THE WRONG BEST THING.

So your way sucks too, grown ups.


I don’t want to talk about it because it’s wrong, and I know it. The way I have this strange sense of being unfulfilled and a little bored, exhausted and uninterested, the persistent feeling that life was going to be more. I try not to think about my year in Barcelona, when the world opened to me in a way that made me feel so alive I would smile walking down the street like some broad in a motherfucking Hallmark movie.

Or when I was 19 and it all seemed so goddamn possible, so there. Just waiting for me to decide.

I don’t want to talk about it because it makes me an utter and total asshole, and that’s a tough thing to face.


So instead, I feel pangs of self-pity, moments of dark gray, when I see somebody who I think has it better.

I yell at my kids more. I cry sometimes. I wonder if it’s depression.

I wish I were healthier. More patient.

I wish I hadn’t gained so much weight.

I wish I lived in the forest. At the ocean. Anywhere. Somewhere.


Eventually I get so sick of myself and my wallowing and self-pity I drag my ass to the motherfucking wilderness.

While there, I see my nearly teen go fishing, catch a trout, clean it with her dad. We fry it up and eat it at dinner.

I see my toddler naked for all the warm hours of the day and the Labrador curled up next to her.

I watch my kids learn to play poker with their dad.

I tell my nearly 9-year-old stories about this and that when I was a kid and he sits riveted to my face. He looks at me like he wants to look at me all day for the rest of his life.

I see my husband smoking his pipe in the sweater I bought him 10 years ago, because he says it’s the thing to do when we’re at the cabin, the cabin his great-grandparents bought when his grandfather was a boy. His grandfather who was born in the 1920s. There are pictures of his dad as a baby on the wall.

I tease my husband because his shirt came up when he wrapped the baby on. He pulls it up higher. We have a smoke after the kids go to bed. I feel oh so bad. At 3am Rocket pees outside and looks at the stars for a minute. I do too.

I row onto the lake on a little fishing boat and I’m rowing backwards. The kids laugh at my idiocy. I jump in the cold mountain lake and feel 30 years of mistakes roll down my back as I get out of the water.

I watch the smile of my baby.

I watch the smiles of my other kids in the eyes of my baby.

I watch the fire throw strange light on the faces of these tiny sleeping humans.


And I remember.

I remember that this pain is mine and mine alone and it isn’t because of this life, now, these kids, this house, the money we don’t have.

It’s the ache in me that’s lived forever, down down down and it’s the one that reaches out to you, you there mother, yes you, and says I hear you.

Talk to me.

It’s the one that laughs hysterically, sings terribly, old 1980s songs, while the sun hits the kids’ dirty scruffy little heads and we row, back into life, to family.

Cracking the hell up, because have you got a better plan?

I didn’t think so.

So just talk to me.

I hear you, mother.

And I fucking love you, too. We’ve got a thousand beautiful things to see.

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Don’t mind me, I’m just lost (in the existential sense, thanks)

by Janelle Hanchett

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know I get lost sometimes.

And then again. And again.

But I don’t want to write about that. I’m tired of writing about that.

I’ve written it all before.

I don’t want to write about anything, really. And that’s not new. I’m sick of myself. Do you ever get sick of yourself? Your story? Your “insights,” the shit you keep giving the world, even your humor or other things people like about you?

Does it ever begin to feel false and wrong or just simply totally uninteresting? Like it’s all a gimmick? A bunch of bullshit?

Or maybe that’s not even it. Maybe that has even too much definition, too much clarity. Maybe you’re just floating up in the air at random like a balloon 400 feet in the air and wind and clouds.

That’s where I am.

I think.

How the hell am I supposed to know?

I haven’t written anything here for a few weeks.


I’m struggling. When I’m struggling a little, I write a little.

When I’m struggling a lot, I write nothing.

(And worry all day about the fact that I’m writing nothing (because I’m never going to write again, obviously.))

I get ideas, but they don’t seem right. I start things but I don’t finish them, because it all feels like a lie.

It all feels so wrong I eventually determine I’m just fucked.

But maybe I’m not fucked. Maybe this is just new motherhood, again, when I’m rearranged and my life family home brain is recreated. Destroyed, and reborn, though I kick and scream and worry I won’t get found again. Maybe I’ll stay lost this time. Maybe I was never found at all, but rather just found some groove that felt comfy and cozy and allowed me to delude myself into thinking I had some control, like my life was moving in a direction that made sense, that I’m a grown-up.

I’m not trying to be deep.


I’m fucking


I want to be “authentic” but I can’t find “authentic.”  What the fuck is authentic?

I want to be “real” but “real” is a series of days that knock me flat. How do you write about that?

I can’t get anything done. I NEED A MOTHERFUCKING ROOM OF MY OWN.

I get, you, Virginia.

Actually, at this point, I’d settle for a corner of the bed.

“Authentic” is that I’m so exhausted I can’t think of simple words and I wake up feeling like a bolder is flattening my forehead and my eyelids weigh approximately 12,000 pounds each and I’ve got 3 kids and a newborn in the house all day and night and it’s summer and every time I “finish” the laundry every hamper is full again.

But that’s not it.

My tired is a relentless tired, one that smashes me every single day, and keeps happening because Arlo goes to sleep at 11pm or so but I NEED SOME FUCKING SPACE so I hang out by myself in bed and read or play on my phone for an hour or so which puts me asleep at 12am or 12:30 and he wakes at 3 or 4 and then Georgia wakes at 6am and it starts all over again. I have a tired that makes me want to sit down and cry sometimes, or throw a temper tantrum, which I do occasionally, then I feel guilty for acting worse than the children I’m trying to raise. Sometimes I realize it’s 3pm and I have eaten only 4 bites of Cheerios, but not on purpose.

But there’s more.

I have ONE article due each Tuesday and it takes everything I’ve got, people. ALL OF IT. All the creativity. All the energy. All the mental faculty. Is that pathetic? Probably. But it’s real. There’s no time for creativity, for art, for spirit.
I’m an insane overly sensitive irritable zombie milky ass human.

Nah, not that.

IMG_0963I’m a mom hanging out with 4 kids, happy as hell to be home with them, loving her house and dog and backyard hens, grateful for the article-writing gig (virtually my only income right now). And in the evening when I give my baby boy a bath he coos and smiles at me and it’s just him and me and sometimes I hold him naked against my chest and I almost cry I love him so much and I’m so grateful for him and his milk sweet breath.

And we’ve been going to the library every week, which is a new thing, discovered because it’s hot as fuck and we’re broke and it’s free and cool. Ava thinks she wants to grow up to be a librarian. Last year it was a NASA engineer. I find that wonderful.

I told Rocket Arlo is getting his shots soon, so every day he asks “Is it today?” Finally I asked him why he keeps asking and he said “I just think I should be there.”

Those were the words, but the look on his face said “I don’t want my brother to hurt without me.”

And I thought about the way Mac always said he wished he had a brother and now there are brothers in our home and it’s gorgeous.

That’s true, too.

Georgia turned 4 and I enrolled her in a little nursery school around the corner. We got a cedar play structure as a gift from my inlaws and Georgia taught herself to swing. This morning I looked out there and she was naked, swinging in the sunlight. The light hit her gold hair and body and I just stood there watching because it was beautiful.

We have 4 hens. The kids named them all “Tina” so they can yell “Tina you fat lard come and get your dinner!” The labrador has made friends with Tina. Yes, that’s correct. The 90-pound dog kicks it with the chickens.IMG_1239

Rocket is begging to go back to regular school because he wants to be with the rest and he always wants the opposite of what he has, but did I mention he learned to read FOUR WEEKS after leaving school? Four weeks, people. Four weeks of homeschool and he went from knowing maybe ¾ of his letters to reading at a kindergarten level. By 8 weeks he was at a 1st grade level. And now, sometimes, he reads some 2nd-grade-level books. The pressure and anxiety of that classroom were literally destroying his ability to learn. It’s so hard for him.  He worked so hard to read. My God he worked so hard. I knew public school was slaughtering him. I knew it, so I responded, and he thrived. Sometimes I don’t blow it. What.

But he wants to go back to school, and we live in a better (read: wealthier) district so we’re giving it a shot, again.

I’m terrified though. And it’s probably a mistake. But as my friend said, “If he’s going to make it in public school, it will be this one.” So here we go.


Yes, here we go.

Please don’t tell me I’m depressed, or need help, or whatever the fuck. Maybe I’m a little depressed, but depression is an abyss, and I’m not in an abyss. I can see out, and I know it won’t last. This is different. This is right. This is life knocking you around, making you uncomfortable.

I’m just lost, so every story I try to give or say or write sounds not quite right, because if you’re lost you can’t wrap life up into some package, to be delivered and opened and consumed. You can’t turn it into something contained and palatable and friendly. It’s only messy and rugged and spilling wide open, everywhere, until it finds new edges, and contains itself a bit, and you open your eyes wider to a world you thought was much smaller, before.

And you’re glad you didn’t settle for the old, comfortable version. All worn out and tired.


Now the baby is crying. He was asleep.

I had a few minutes. Those few minutes are gone.  More will come.

Georgia is singing to him, trying to soothe him: “It’s okay, I love you, you love me, all the bad animals are gone….”

Kids are insane.

This shit is nuts.

I’m a fucking maniac.

Nope. Not that.


Here I am.




brothers, found.


A letter to my newborn, while I’m still a damn near perfect mom

by Janelle Hanchett

Dear Arlo,

I was looking at you today and thinking about how right now, today, the day you turn 3 weeks old, I’m a damn near perfect mother to you. I think this is why I love, crave, the newborn stage. Maybe it’s just biology, evolution. But for me, I think it’s more, because for me, it’s the only time I truly feel like a 100% capable mama. Like I’ve got this shit IN THE BAG. I’m a knock-it-out-of-the-damn-park newborn mama.

My job is defined. My role, clear. I nurse, clothe, bathe and hold you. I give you the breast to comfort you, whenever you want. I don’t have to think about it. I don’t have to wonder. I don’t believe it can be done “too much.” In fact I think that’s the biggest crock ever. I wrap you up and carry you against my chest. For hours. Sometimes I lay you on your back so you can kick and look around and I can watch you and coo at you and smell your head. This is what we do, round and round, I know it and love it and own it completely (because you’re my 4th!). I’m tired, oh, so tired, but I know how to mother you now.

I know just what you need. I know what to try.

And this, I know, will fade.

You cry. I change your diaper, clean your little umbilical wound, wipe each little roll of your legs and pick you back up. Kiss, kiss, kiss. 

Your brother Rocket is 8 years old. The other day at camp another boy made fun of him because his toenails were painted. The boy taunted him then ran around telling the other boys how “Rocket has painted nails like a girl.” They all laughed. When I asked him what he did in response he said “I just walked away.” I wanted to die for a minute, because I can’t fix that. I see my son and his dropped eyes and the feeling of rejection and horror as all the other kids laugh. And I’ve got no moves. No arsenal. No sound or breast or wrap to pull that pain to me and make it go.

Your crying almost always subsides when I hold you close and kiss your temple.

But in that moment with Rocket I feel only a rage that’s useless, the desire to pummel some stranger assholes raising asshole kids. I’ve got nothing to offer my boy. The clichés don’t work. I want to beg him to stay true to himself no matter what the other kids think or say, but is that real and true and valid? At what point do we fit in because it’s easier, or, and this is the saddest part, SAFER?

When you stir, I pat you, rock you, nurse you again. Again. I check you when you’re sleeping, feel your nose and toes to be sure you aren’t too hot or cold. I keep you at my bedside or on my arm, against me. I know you should be right here. Now. Nowhere else. I do not question.

Your sister Ava will be 13 in November. Sometimes she looks at me and I almost can’t find my child anymore. She’s changing so fast and sure I’m left in the dust, where I should be, and I can’t stop biology. Soon the teenage years will come then she’ll be gone. I yell at her sometimes (man she enrages me!) because my God she’s just like me and I simply can’t stand it, the thought of her inheriting the ways I suck. I lie down at night and think of the ways I’m failing her, how I could be better. How soon, soon…

I do not fail you, newborn. Not yet. I’m your perfect mother.

You cry, I hold. 

Feed. Change. Rock. Bathe.

Two days ago Georgia had to have dental surgery because her 2-year molars came in with virtually no enamel and they all needed root canals. One was extracted. I saw her in that surgery gown holding her Tigger and I had not one single move to keep her near me, to fix it. I had to let her go, down the hall, to be put under anesthesia, endure pain. They said it wasn’t anything I did. Or maybe it was medication I took while pregnant or breastfeeding. Doesn’t matter, does it? I cannot save her from that which is coming her way. I have nothing up my sleeve. I watch and love and hide my tears so she won’t see I’m terrified.

When you take a bath I put a warm washcloth across your belly and chest and legs to keep you warm, tell you I’m here. You cry anyway when I wash behind your ears. You’re so dramatic with your wailing. But in the hooded towel you find your tiny fist and I say “It’s okay, little buddy” and it’s enough.

It is enough. 


So hey, newborn, Arlo, I think I just want to thank you, for these few weeks of damn-near-perfect motherhood, while you’re just barely detached from me and my job is so clear.

Thank you for this time of meeting all your needs, pretty much all the time, or at least knowing how, more or less, to do so, without my personality flaws getting in the way. Your personality doesn’t clash with mine. Your whining doesn’t drive me around the bend. You don’t irritate me. I don’t irritate you.

Not yet.

You haven’t gotten sick yet. You aren’t defiantly yelling “no” for no apparent reason. You aren’t losing your shit because I gave you the blue cup instead of the red. Your hormones aren’t raging. My temper hasn’t screwed up our day. My impatience hasn’t snapped at you when you ask me the same question fifteen times. You don’t want to play board games I can’t muster the energy for. You don’t need camps I can’t afford. You aren’t worried about the bullies in junior high. Or the bullies anywhere. Nobody cares that you can’t read yet. Other people’s douchebag kids aren’t near you. Nobody makes fun of your baby acne.

You are only you. And I, I am only me. We’re just these two physical beings – still kind of primal and raw and distilled – so now, just for now, I’ve got everything you need.

Tomorrow will begin the series of letting go, and I’ll be ready for that, I think, or actually not at all, but I’ll do it anyway because it will be my job then, but it’s messier and harder and uglier than this.

This is simple. I’ve got this.

One day I’ll see you and I’ll have no move for you, either, no way to fix it, soothe it, clean, calm, or make it alright.

But not today.

So yeah, little one, thank you for these few days of perfect motherhood.

I guess I had forgotten I had it in me.

You’ll forget I had it in me, too.

But for now, we’ve got each other dialed, kid.

You and me.



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Once again, thank you Sarah Maren for the photos. Sarah took these portraits on June 8, when Arlo was 4 days old. It was a fucking lovely afternoon of our families hanging out. She’s an artist and a dear human and wonderful friend.


NEW SPONSOR: Have you ever wished you could support local businesses when buying (or creating) baby registries instead of big ass chain stores? Yeah, me too. Check out NEARBY (no seriously, do not the coolest people advertise on this blog? I’m genuinely impressed.) I’ll let Allison explain the rest:

“The concept for NEARBY was dreamed up when owner Allison Grappone got married in 2009. She and her husband were frustrated that they weren’t easily able to support their favorite local businesses through the traditional gift registry model. The couple created their own, allowing friends and family to purchase goods that reflected the couple’s personalities. The registry was a hit, and for the next two years Grappone spent her spare time researching what it would take to make her vision a reality.

In 2011, Grappone won a $25,000 award for her business idea through Manchester Young Professionals Network in New Hampshire, where NEARBY is based. This was the kickstarter for her business and she put a great team of collaborators together to launch NEARBY.”


I wish they’d stop calling this “sacred.”

by Janelle Hanchett

I’m feeling ill-equipped for motherhood lately. I can’t stop being an asshole to my kids.

I’m yelling too much. My patience is almost always already gone.

I lose it over nothing. Them. Being kids. Doing annoying kid things. Leaving their shoes on the couch one more time. The 5th time I have to ask him to get dressed. The bickering again about the dishes. The flailing in the back seat.

I know it’s me, you know. I know it’s my exhaustion and profound discomfort and the weight of this baby on my back and bladder and heart.

I realized the other day I haven’t had time to love this baby. Does that make me a monster? That probably makes me a monster. I feel distant, disconnected. Though I feel her (him?) against the deepest swells of my body, and the little pushes and jabs comfort me, I only barrel forward through the days. I only wonder how it’s possible to pee so many fucking times a night. I wonder how many thoughts can awaken me at 4am. I wonder why I screw around on my phone until 10:30pm when my whole self needs only sleep. Maybe it’s the privacy, the silence. Maybe I’m just not equipped for adult life. Maybe the responsible decision will always elude me. Or it will sometimes, at night, when I should be asleep.

I want to settle down and wonder at my baby.

I feel the weight when I rise, go down, roll over in bed. Every time I get up I wonder how so simple a task could be so hard. The pressure shifts. My joints barely cooperate.

My kids drain me. That’s pretty much all.

I do it one more time. I do it a hundred more times.

I should be in better shape. I should have taken better care of myself. I should eat disaster

You think I’m feeling sorry for myself.

I am, though it doesn’t manifest in inactivity. I wake up in the morning and think “I can’t.”

But I do.

Not because I’m some fucking martyr, but because there’s no other choice. It’s a job. You get up and fucking do it.

I look at the calendar and wonder how much longer. How much longer will I be teaching these classes? Standing for hours at a time. Standing until my hip and thigh go numb. I took on too much, I guess. I took on too much but we need the money. A woman in Austria told me pregnant women get 8 weeks standard time off before the baby comes. I went to Austria. Austria is nice. Do they take Americans?

They say “You should feel blessed and lucky to be 30 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby.”

What a lovely family you have.

What a sacred thing.

Well, it doesn’t feel sacred now, motherfucker.

It feels like work. Grueling, brutal work. It feels like relentless work, like the kind that robs you of your air and laughter and body. It feels like taunting teasing heavy heavy labor.

I wish they’d stop calling it sacred.

I wish they’d stop talking about motherhood like it’s some sort of gentle rainbow across a bucolic meadow. I wish they’d stop telling women like me who are barely doing it that “motherhood is the most important job in the world.”

Is that true? Is that really true? Then what does it mean that I suck right now? What does it mean that I just cannot pull it together and I probably won’t for at least 2 more months?

I am failing my kids. Myself. My husband.


The weight of the souls of 3 kids. Their futures. Their whole beings: It rests on me, right now, ME this broken human who hurts and took on too much and can’t or won’t do much of anything beyond getting through, barely, trying not to get mad today, to keep it under control when all I want is for it to end – RIGHT NOW – this pregnancy – this job – the finances and futures and laundry – I’m crushed under it all (And what were we thinking anyway? And will it be worth it and how will we handle it all?)

Are these lives really on my shoulders, right now? Am I all there is?


No. I don’t think I am, and I wish you’d stop making that shit up.

The fact is that motherhood is important, and my role in the lives of my kids cannot be diminished or overlooked or ignored, but it’s also a fact that sometimes humans suck and my kids will be just fine.

Sometimes this shit is sacred.


Sometimes it’s day after day of just pulling through and wondering when things will chill the fuck out again. Sometimes it’s wondering what exactly you were thinking. Sometimes it’s searching for the meaning in all this work, just like any other job.

Only with this job, you’re raising America. With this job, you break souls. With this job, the world looks at you and yells “YOU DID THIS TO YOURSELF. Figure it out.”

Do you realize how insane that is? We tell women “motherhood is the most important job in the world” but then bash them for struggling with it.


Incidentally, it’s not the most important job in the world.

Let it go, people.

I am a mother, but I am a whole lot of other things, and right now, I am a woman who is totally and completely NOT FEELING IT.

Will that ruin my kids? Probably not.

Will that crush their little hearts? Doubt it.

Rather, they’ll probably learn that people struggle sometimes and battle personal demons and sometimes you don’t get the “best” version of a person. You get a piece of them. You get glimpses. You feel their love in splintered fragments, as it’s always been, because this is humanity. These are humans. This is as good as it gets for us.

Right now, I am the mother who doesn’t read stories.

I am the mother who can’t cuddle for more than a minute or two.

I’m the mother not tucking you in…getting you late to school, letting you watch too much TV, feeding you questionable dinners.

I’m the mother who doesn’t want to hear stories or endless toddler questioning and “what happened at school today?”

I’m the mother who doesn’t care.

I’m the mother not RSVP-ing to parties, forgetting commitments, not helping with projects.

I am the one irritated with the way the kids eat, the one telling them to brush their teeth because damn! That breath. Foul little creatures, really.

I am the mother finished, demolished, pulling herself up with nothing.

I go to bed.


I’m the mother in bed, who lies down at night and feels the weight of all these things, hears her own yells rattling in her gray brain, wishes she could be a woman who holds her fucking tongue and lets it go.

To preserve the sacred family. To stop messing with goddamn rainbow meadow and shit.

In 5 years she’ll be 16 years old. My first, nearly grown.

I turn my giant body and flinch at the pain of my back, and that thought.

In 10 weeks my toddler will gaze into the face of a new baby. She stomps in each morning “Can I cuggle (cuddle) with you?” I hold her though my bladder protests violently. In 10 weeks a baby will be in this bed too. Where will she fit? There will be times I cannot hold her. There will be times she is not the center anymore.

I close my eyes and hold those mornings.

I listen to my son breathe as he sleeps on my husband’s chest. I wonder how his first 2 weeks of homeschool went.

I realize it’s 5:30am.

I’m so tired.


I wish my love were enough, enough to make me the kind of mom who doesn’t cave sometimes, into some place only time can dissolve. I wish my love were enough to make me “strong enough” or good enough or pure enough or whatever the fuck it is that makes women capable of doing all this and feeling all this and finding themselves pinned to the ground by life and still, not yell at their kids. Turn off. Shut down. Crawl away.

Yesterday I read them The Tale of Tom Kitten.

Today maybe I will make some stir-fried chicken.

In 10 weeks I’ll birth a baby and find myself reborn too, with a gush of waters I’ll enter this family carrying a new extension of my heart, my blood, my life.

I’ll watch my family enfold him as they’ve done me, and I’ll kiss their heads with a whisper of thank you, for holding me as I trudge humanity. Motherhood. The shattered sacredness of today.


because they look like little rocker warriors.

because they look like little rocker warriors.


Where the hell is my glow?

by Janelle Hanchett

I’m 27 weeks and 1 day pregnant. You would think I’m in Peak Glow Zone. But I’m not. I think somebody has stolen my glow.

Somebody has stolen my glow and replaced it with hemorrhoids.

What? Too much information? TELL ME ABOUT IT. It’s too much information FOR ME and I’m the one dealing with it. I know things about myself I’ve never wanted to know. Regions of my body that should be ignored at all costs have become the central focus of my day.

I have an idea. Maybe we can stop talking about this for a minute or two and instead, you can shoot me.


Oh that’s right. Old people and lucky pregnant women.

So you call your midwife and she’s like “Don’t use that over-the-counter stuff it’s got mercury in it” (you hang your head, having already used it for two days you are sure you ruined your baby with mercury poisoning) but then she suggests potatoes and you’re like “You want me to do WHAT with potatoes?”

I’m sorry. Is this unpleasant? Of course it’s fucking unpleasant. This is what I’m trying to tell you. I’m supposed to be glowing but instead I’m being told to do ungodly things with potatoes.

One thing I know for sure: My glow has definitely not been dimmed by sleep problems. I mean, provided I meet a few simple conditions, I sleep like a damn baby.
You know, as long as

I’m on my left side or my right side (but not either side too long)

and I’ve got a pillow between my legs

and one under my belly and

one to hug,

and I have eaten recently but not too recently because heartburn

and we have the rear bodily region taken care of

and I’ve peed within the last 15 minutes and

it’s not too hot and

there are no weird smells in the air

and my husband isn’t snoring

and the dog isn’t snoring either and there aren’t offspring taking up the bed and making me really super fucking hot and the

baby isn’t poking my bladder with one of its 12 limbs

and it isn’t between the hours of 2 and 4 because those hours are for thinking not sleeping dumbass,

I sleep fine. I sleep great. I’m out like a motherfucking light.

Now that I think about it, there may be a small sleep issue harshing my glow.

Or maybe it’s the fact that my 3-year-old has recently learned the word “Never!” but not just never like standard never, she’s learned the never that’s stretched out, like “Neverrrrr!!” You know, the dramatic one yelled in response to the enemy force demanding that you “Surrender!” but instead you charge forward in brave defiance, wielding a sword and screaming “NEVERRRRR!”

And Georgia now says it about 174 times a day.

“George. Put on your socks.”


“Georgia, come eat your dinner.”


“Georgia. Say you’re sorry for ramming your finger up Rocket’s nose.”


That shit will fuck with your glow, I tell you.

I should be a soft picture of maternal beauty, but at some point my softness morphed into a walking ball of STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING NOW or I may kill you. The other night at dinner I was literally going around the table telling each member of my family how they were eating wrong. As I was doing it, I knew it was insane.

Now ask me if I stopped.


Speaking of not stopping, maybe the glow diminishes with every empty carbohydrate you consume. If that’s the case, we have discovered the problem, folks. I’ve gained 35 pounds already (FUCK OFF SCALE) and it’s not healthy weight. I know this because I’m not eating healthy food. I mean I do sometimes. It’s not like I’ve consciously eliminated healthy food. I just supplement it with the occasional almond croissant. On occasion. Occasionally. Somewhat regularly.

Somebody give me a glow.

I haven’t bought any baby stuff because Jesus who has time for that shit?

I want to get excited but all I am is uncomfortable and tired and trying to figure out how the end of the third trimester has come 2 months early and how it is that my entire lower region is being held together by strings (that’s what it feels like, not actually what’s happening) and WHAT, exactly, compelled this whole circus.

I want to be glowing, but I’m a dim flickering bulb, barely doing its job and annoying the shit out of people.

The other day my husband watched our 3 kids walk out of the room and with a very serious face asked “Why did we think we needed another?” and the truth is I really couldn’t answer and NO it’s not that I don’t want this baby and NO it’s not that there’s any doubt in my mind that the second this child locks eyes with me and I inhale his (her?) heaven breath and watch the petal mouth root for my breast that I will think to myself “Oh. There you are. How did we make it this long without you?”

But for now, when I’m supposed to be “committing to a nursery theme” (we have no nursery) or joyously picking out a “going-home outfit” or planning a “baby moon” (what the fuck is a “baby moon?”) or laying around fantasizing all day about fingers and toes and dimpled elbows I’m like “Leave me alone so I can soak my ass in some Epsom salts.”

And then I hop onto Old Navy to buy my svelte little body some maternity clothes and I see this broad:


and while she’s skipping all joyous and shit like some sort of blond happy swan I’m like “Where’s the Metamucil, assholes?”

It’s all so hot. I’m just so hot.

My glow, it’s everywhere. In all the places.  Can you feel it? I’m a radiant ball of reproducing glory.

Somebody hire a photographer so I can take those maternity shots where the mom makes a heart with her fingers and holds it in soft sunlight over the gorgeous arch of her womb.

Yes. Please. Let’s do that. That will be cute. I feel so cute right now.

Can’t you see it in my face? The double chin? ANYWHERE? (No seriously I couldn’t even muster the energy to look away from the damn phone or attempt to “smile for the camera!” Couldn’t be funny. Couldn’t be cute. Could only push button.)

the face of joy

the face of joy

I’ve got 13 weeks to get my motherfucking glow back.


Think I can do it?