Posts Filed Under stupid shit mothers do

“Thank you for sharing that horrifying birth story!” Said no pregnant woman ever.

by Janelle Hanchett

A friend of mine is expecting a baby any day. Thinking about her, about the last couple weeks of pregnancy, the days passing like the melting of arctic sheets (before climate change), each contraction offering hope (“could this be it?”) only to find yourself still pregnant 24 hours later, wondering the same damn thing, feeling like a turtle on its back – so damn powerless – sure you’re the first woman in history who will actually stay pregnant forever.

And all the assholes keep texting: “Have you had that baby yet? My goodness you must be READY TO BURST!”

I’ll kill you in your sleep if you call again, bitch.

So of course I sent her a text about how much the last days of pregnancy suck ass, and she agreed, but also responded with a text that surprised me. Apparently mothers were sending her messages about how hard breastfeeding is.

What the hell?

Why would you tell a woman about to give birth how “hard” breastfeeding is? Particularly if it were something she wanted to do?

Why do mothers feel compelled to “tell their stories” as if it’s universal fact anyway?

For every breastfeeding horror story, there is a beautiful one. Take mine, for example: my mom was a La Leche League educator. She showed me how to nurse my baby. Of course I did it wrong for a while, and my nipples felt like my own personal burning milk volcanoes for a couple weeks, but we pulled through and it was all good and the baby nursed til she was two. Is that beautiful? I don’t know. But I’m sure it wasn’t “hard.” Or maybe it was a little hard, but it wasn’t deal-breaker hard. And then with my other two kids, nursing was the easiest thing on the planet. I love nursing babies. I miss it sometimes.

But here’s the kicker:  that is just my experience with breastfeeding. I don’t know about your experience with breastfeeding. How the hell would I know? Maybe it will totally suck for you, or it won’t work, or you’ll hate it.

I’m not you. You’re you.

I’ve had experience being a wife but I have very little insight on your marriage.

I lived Texas for a while, but I have no idea how your trip to Austin’s gonna pan out.

I’ve lost a shitload of weight doing certain things, but I don’t know what you and your body need.

Um, DUH, right?

Yeah, it seems like “duh,” until you enter the presence of that special person who has just got to share her horror birthing story EVERY DAMN TIME SOMEBODY’S PREGNANT, or mentions birth, or thinks about mentioning birth, or thinks about getting pregnant, or knows somebody who once thought about getting pregnant.

“Oh my God, birth was the most traumatic experience of my life!!!  I was in labor for 9 days. No really. NINE DAYS. I didn’t eat food or drink water that entire time so when I went into the hospital they all thought I was going to die because I was so X, Y, and Z, and then they gave me Pitocin and I was in SO MUCH PAIN but they accidentally put the epidural in my calf instead of my back so I got NO relief. Finally I was at 10 and the doctor was like “PUSH! PUSH!” but there were nineteen interns in the room and I was trying to push but I couldn’t feel anything on account of the leg epidural, so I pushed for 5 hours until the doctor said “this baby is just too big to birth and the heart rate is declining,” so they rushed me in for an emergency ceseran and I passed out during it due to exhaustion so I didn’t even see my baby for 48 hours, which caused me PTSD and night terrors. And now I also have hemorrhoids the size of golf balls and the veins in my eyes are permanently popped and my calf is numb and half a hospital staff has seen my vagina. Basically I had rather stab spend the rest of my life stabbing myself in the eyes with bamboo shoots than give birth again. But good luck with yours!”

Oh COME ON. You know I’m barely exaggerating.

Seriously, what’s wrong with these people? How do we become so self-righteous as mothers that we think we KNOW The Way it Is, failing to recognize that all we know is our own tiny slice of life – a miniscule speck, a nothing. How have we become so self-centered that we believe it necessary to spew our horror stories across America, into the laps of hopeful, brave, capable women trying to carve out their own path in this crazy motherhood gig?

Is it empowering? No, it isn’t fucking empowering.

Does it help anybody in the world? Hell no. (Unless you count the storyteller’s ego.)

And I don’t know if you’ve noticed that these storytellers generally have one kid, maybe two – but probably one. Why do I think that?

Because after you’ve had more than one, you know that EACH BIRTH IS DIFFERENT and each nursing experience is different, and nobody can tell you what to do to birth your own baby.

And most importantly, you realize you don’t know shit.

Not that you won’t tell your birth story. That’s an actual god-given right and addiction and obsession of every mother. It must be done. Can’t be helped. But it can be done in a way that’s like “well, this is my experience,” rather than “This is the experience you will have and therefore this is what you should do.”

[Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I pretty much always tell my good friend Cara Lyn the gory details of all my birth stories, because it’s just so fun to watch her squirm. Plus, she isn’t pregnant. YET.]

But basically, the people who offer unsolicited apocalyptic stories need to remove their heads from their asses and get over themselves. (in my humble opinion – HA!)

Let a woman create her own damn horror story. Or, better yet, not.

Because check it out, psycho-horror-birth-story moms: For every dreadful traumatic birth story, there is a Rocket-birth story…
where you labor 6 hours at home with contractions timed perfectly apart, where you fall asleep (literally) between contractions, and you sway and rock and get in the shower, and you’re riding the waves of a gorgeous blue ocean, so whole and contained in some primal Eden, until your husband says “we have to go,” and you get in the car and drive to a birthing center, where the nurses think you can’t possibly be in hard labor – because you’re so just too CALM  – but they check you cause your mom insists (you could care less) and you’re at 8. You have 2 more huge contractions and forty-five minutes after arriving you get in the birthing tub and push three times, birthing an exquisite 8.5 pound baby boy.

The midwife says “Turn around, pick up your son.” (because you gave birth on your hands and knees)

So you turn and see him there with wide open eyes and outstretched arms, pushing the water like the fins of a little fish, until you scoop him up and pull him to the surface – to you to life and to earth – watch his eyes blink and lock on yours, his petal mouth draw its first deep breath while his body floods pink and your heart explodes then, for him.

And there isn’t a sound in the room.

There isn’t a single ripple in the entire universe to disrupt the waters of this one moment.

A midwife whispers “how do you feel?”

And you answer with a smile from your belly, “elated.”

OR, you can have a birth like Georgia’s, where you flail around the house screaming like a fucking hyena, wishing you’d die, until you finally, after 2.5 hours of pushing, birth a nearly 10-pound baby in a funky position (in a horse trough in your living room, FYI).

Both of these stories are “truth.”

But the thing is they’re just my truth: small and unique and mine.

You know what I think we should be telling women who are about to become mothers?


Just that.


Welcome to the path that’s never been tread before, leading to a place nobody’s visited, a spot carved out for you and your baby, where the two of you fit, just right – like a motherfucking glove.

[So don’t stress when they scowl at you, muttering “Damn, that looks uncomfortable.”

You got this.

So just keep on keepin’ on, new mama, we’re right here with you, walking our own dusty roads, hoping you’ll steady us as we steady you.

And welcome, welcome to motherhood.

Come on in.

The water’s fine.


The Holy Grail of Parenthood (and why you can keep it)

by Janelle Hanchett

Four days ago Georgia decided she was no longer interested in “self-soothing.”

What do I mean by that? Well, she stopped going to sleep by herself in her crib.

Maybe it’s because she was sick. Maybe it’s because she’s 2 years, 3 months and 28 days, when that One Developmental Thing happens that causes that one behavior we’re all terrified of, when, rather than passing out on her own, the baby demands YOU.

She was crying in her crib. She was launching herself out of her crib. She was screaming “MAMA!”

My keen deductive reasoning skills lead me to the profound conclusion that what she wanted was ME. And so, as I’ve done with all my kids, I picked her up, brought her into bed with me, and fell asleep.

But as I was doing this seemingly benign task, the voices came, as they ALWAYS DO in moments like this:

“But, she’ll NEVER sleep in her crib again!”

“She’ll NEVER go to sleep alone again!”

“She’ll forget how to get herself to sleep and she’ll always need me every single night and I’ll never sleep again or have sex or enjoy my life until eventually I stick my head in an oven Sylvia-Plath style because I can’t face the misery of my own existence!”

MY GOD she’ll forget to SELF-SOOTHE!!!”

But, as I’ve also always done (though I do it better now and with more confidence), I joyfully tell the voices to go fuck themselves then go about my business. I do whatever the hell I want, with my baby, in the manner that feels right to me. And in this instance, it felt right to pick up the baby crying in her crib, the baby who has put herself to sleep for months now (in a glorious, simplified process she established herself (she’s my only kid to do that, FYI)) – it felt right to “risk” obliterating our ethereal bedtime routine, and curl up beside her in my bed, where we kissed each other and said “I love you” about nine thousand times, between my “firm declarations” that it really is time for “nigh-nigh.”

Why? Because WHY THE HELL NOT? I felt like it.

A reader of this blog, Mel, sent me an email describing “self-soothing” as the “holy grail of parenthood.” (Someday I shall travel to Australia and she and I will meet and be friends.) And indeed it is. Like if you attain Full Self-soothing Status, you have reached the pinnacle of maternal existence, the Promised Land – the Eden of parenthood, where each night is joy, and each morning a radiant sunrise.

But if you don’t reach that place, if your kid is one of the hundreds of freaking thousands, like my first and second, and Georgia for the past 4 days, who needs boob to sleep, or rocking, or bouncing, or some delicately balanced, insane combination of all those things


You didn’t teach them to soothe themselves. You lose.

You could have done it when they were younger, but you didn’t, and now that ship has sailed, so – it sucks to be you.

Basically, you’re fucked. Throw in the parenting towel, homie, cause it’s over for you.

What you should do is get online and read the gloating stories of the women who established perfect sleep routines with their baby right outta the gate! (resulting in a toddler who now puts himself to sleep every night, blissfully soothing himself into slumber, with nary a squeak!)

And compare their experiences to your own, the hour-long bedtime rocking routine, the co-sleeping, the marathon nursing, the midnight soothing sessions. The toddler, in your bed, again, with a foot in your mouth.

And beat the hell out of yourself. Just really go at it. Your failures. Your inadequacy for having “created” one of the those “clingy” dependent models.

Or, you can tell the voices to go fuck themselves and go about your business, realizing the Worst Possible Outcome of a baby who won’t self-soothe is that you will be doing the soothing, possibly for 2 years or so, but really? Here’s the thing:

Why is that such a big deal?

I’ve never fully understood it, why we’re all so desperate to not soothe our kids.

Sleep deprivation? Um, yeah. Sleep deprivation comes whether or not your baby “self-soothes.”

Irritating bedtime routines? ARE THERE ANY OTHERS?

Teaching independence? Bullshit. You can read my feelings on that Dr. Spock drivel HERE.

Because my child is trying to control me and I must make it clear that I’m boss! Double bullshit. See above re: Spock.

Because if I put the work in NOW, I’ll never have a tough night again? Wrong. Just when you think you know you’re kid’s routine, he’ll change it.

Private time in the evenings? Sorry, but that particular ship really has sailed. Or it will, once you have more than one kid (and that will be why you stay up until 2am every night, which will in effect render your baby’s “self-soothing” useless, since you aren’t sleeping anyway.)

It’s going to go on forever, because once I establish this dynamic my kid will NEVER EVER go to bed on their own, which will leave me in the awkward situation of trying to rock a 15-year-old girl in the rocking chair. I mean, how will she even FIT?

Oh, right. That’s it. That’s the clincher. They don’t do this forever.

They won’t need it forever.

They need it for a year or two. Maybe three?

And yeah, we’ll be tired. And yeah, we’ll look at them some nights and just beg them to go the fuck to sleep. And yeah, some nights we’ll go SCREW THIS and we’ll put the toddler in the crib and let her wail, because seriously, what the hell kid?

I can’t take it anymore.

And we’ll curse the day we ever had kids, and we’ll wish this shit would end, and we’ll feel like it will never end.

Until one day you wake up and your baby is 11 years old, standing by your bedside whispering “Mama, I know Santa isn’t real,” and you think back to her little foot in your mouth and the way she used to reach her arm across the bed to touch your skin, or toss herself against you to nurse, when she was too old for that kind of thing, and should have been “self-soothing.”

And the next night, when your two-year-old “perfect sleeper” suddenly yearns for her mama’s bed, to have her face against her mom’s bare chest, you’ll feel a little relieved, to have a couple more days, a couple more days with a baby who just won’t self-soothe.

absolutely no self-soothing up in here…

The Bitch-Speak Translator [and other helpful tools]

by Janelle Hanchett

Hemingway used to say he had a bullshit detector.

You know what I have? A bitch-mom detector.

No, I’m serious. Within 30 seconds I can tell if I’m next to one.

All she has to do is start talking.


It happened recently at that harvest festival. Georgia, practicing her social butterfly act [and sadly lacking the bitch-mom detector I have so carefully honed] makes a beeline to the offspring of a woman who…well…let’s just say we probably wouldn’t evolve into BFFs.

So Georgie cruises up to this toddler and I notice she’s in one of those $700. hovering Euro spacecraft things. Whatever. That’s not a deal-breaker. I know some amazingly rad rich people. At least I think I do.

At any rate, ya can’t judge looks and money.

There are way better things to judge. We’ll get to that.

Admittedly, however, my Detector started quietly beeping when I observed that this woman was at a harvest festival at a FARM, in the DIRT, looking more put together than I do on my “fancy” days. Full make-up, perfect body, immaculate jeans with a perfectly ironed top, some token “country” item like unused, $400 leather boots… sipping a glass of chardonnay.

Her baby was equally immaculate.

Whatevs. I have an open mind. Open like a fucking parachute.

So she comes bounding up to me all peppy and shit, looking like something out of a BabyCenter ad, and I’m standing there with my ripped jeans and love handles,  questionable attitude and bad hair. Of course, I’m wearing flip flops, because duh. So my feet are black. I’m wearing no make-up.

A win, as usual.

My toddler is equally filthy. Her hair is insane and in her eyes (as always), speckled with various items found on the ground. She’s covered in dust and not wearing shoes. Having just consumed about 75 cherry tomatoes, she has actually managed to create mud on her cheeks and nose. When the mother says “hi” to me, I observe my offspring trying to feed her kid the rock she’s been carrying with her for the last 20 minutes.

I am sure this interaction is going to be a success.


As I’m fielding Georgia away from choking the toddler on a rock, the talking portion begins:

Her: “Oh, how old is your baby?”

Me: “just turned 2.”

Her: “Oh, wow. She’s so SMALL. I guess I forget how big my baby is!! She’s only 18 months and already wearing 3T clothing!”

And with my forced grin I realized that we were now entering what I like to call “The Female Version of ‘Who’s got the bigger penis?’”

It’s like a game show for mothers, only usually there’s only one contestant who wants to play.

I try to pull Georgia away, mumbling “yeah,” and something about finding my other kids.

She says “Oh! You have other kids here? Me too. I have an older one, but she and her friend are totally bored with all this art stuff. They go to a school where all they do is art, so they’re like ‘yeah, whatever, we do this every day.’”

And as she’s talking, I realize she’s doing bitch-speak: certain words are coming out of her mouth, but what she’s actually saying is something completely different. She’s saying “My kid goes to art school;” what she MEANS is “I’m rich and I need you to know it.”

I felt like saying “Yeah, wow. My kids think this is the best thing in the world, because they go to a public school with other poor people where they do worksheets and take standardized tests.”

But I didn’t, because that would require further involvement. I smiled and picked Georgia up, trying to book it the hell outta there before my bitch detector became audible. I said “have a good time, see you later.”

Mac saw the interaction and commented “You didn’t look like you were loving that.”

And I spent the rest of the day translating bitch-speak in my head.

Because I’m a weirdo.

But you guys have to feel me on this one…you know, those moments when mothers get all competitive, engaging in these weird, complex pissing matches, but ALL IN CODE. We do it, but we do it in bitch-speak. And this chick walks up to you all nonchalant, acting as if she’s sweet like honey, when really she’s interested in eating your young and using you as the pathetic backdrop to her own excellence.

It’s BITCH-SPEAK, and it’s REAL.

To illustrate, I made a chart. Please enjoy:

Bitch-Speak Translation Chart

And the best part is, we get so good at it, the bitch-speak translation, that we don’t even hear the actual words…our detector goes off and we’re OUTTA THERE.

As fast as we came.

And then, we call our friends, and translate together.

But don’t get me wrong. We’re all bitches too. We just don’t say it in code.

We say it outright, as it is. And then, we laugh like hell.

Cause we know who’s got the bigger penis.



[OMGI’mdyinglaughing. And you have to tell me about your translations. I can’t be the only one who does this.]


This will not be cute when he’s 40.

by Janelle Hanchett

So, as formerly mentioned, we had a birthday party for Rocket last Saturday. He invited everybody from his class. That’s right. Everybody.

But, thank my lucky stars, only 10 came.

It was fun. I mean, I guess. As fun as a party can be with a bunch of people you hardly know.

And their fucking kids.

Dude. People. There are some seriously terrible children in the world. I think I’ve grown accustomed to my own offspring, and that of my friends, or haven’t had much access to the general population recently…or something. Whatever, there are some BAD kids and even worse parents out there. That’s all I know.

While speaking to one woman, I heard a commotion. I looked over and it was her 4-year-old son JUMPING on the decorations. He had ripped them off the table and was destroying them, just for funsies. I moved to stop him but remembered I was standing right next to his mother. I looked at her, waiting for her to handle it. She was laughing. I shit you not. LAUGHING. She even called him some pet name. Like he was funny and cute.

Not the adjectives that popped into my mind.

I stood there dumbfounded for a moment but as soon as she walked away I went over to the little hoodlum and took the decorations away from him, thinking “hey you little bastard, I’m poor. I reuse these things.” Plus, the landfills people. THE LANDFILLS.

I realize my kids are annoying (aren’t they ALL?), but as you know, I have a thing about manners. Plus, I’m so self-centered and egotistical I watch my kids like a damn hawk when we’re out in public, making sure they don’t violate generally agreed-upon social codes, thereby making me look bad. If I’m gonna look bad, I prefer to do it through my own poor decision-making, as opposed to the deviant behaviors of my offspring.

I have my standards, you know.

Here’s another one for ya: some awesome parenting. I debated forever, at least 45 seconds, about whether or not I should provide soda at the party. At first I thought “no, just water,” because kids will be there, and I shouldn’t be contributing to the ill-health of America’s youth. I envisioned hordes of kids running over to the ice chest, guzzling soda after soda, and then they all get rotten teeth and diabetes and I live in guilt for the rest of my life. But then I remembered “Janelle. People can parent their kids. Rocket knows he gets one soda on special occasions. Other parents are doing the same with their kids, so stop trying to control everybody.” Plus, maybe the adults want soda.

I mean, parents can parent their kids, right?

Yeah, I know. You’re already thinking it. I shoulda known better.

So I ended up buying a TON of water and a few small bottles (the mini ones) of soda. Most of the kids were handed soda instead of water but I was like “whatever. Rocket had one too.” But this one kindergartner comes back after finishing the first one in like 3 minutes and starts grabbing another one. I happen to be standing at the ice chest. I say “Oh, sorry buddy, each kid only gets one soda.” Yes, I fully made that up. But whatever. I thought the mother would appreciate it, so she didn’t have to be the one to tell him “no.”

He runs over to his mom and says with this horrendous whine “SHE says I can only have one.” Eye contact with the mom. Scowls from mom. I plaster my nice-girl smile and walk over, whispering to her “He can have another one, I just thought you probably wouldn’t want him having more than one, so I was trying to get you off the hook.”

And this woman looks me dead in the eye and says “Yeah, there’s no reason a kid should ever have more than one soda, but it’s easier than telling him ‘no.’”


I’m having an out-of-body experience. She gives him another one, and I die a little inside. I mean shit, I’ve been a horrible parent on more than one occasion, but if my offspring were demanding another damn soda and threw a fit about it when I said “no,” I would have one response: “If you continue throwing this fit we will leave the party now. I have no preference either way, so it’s your call, dude.” (And if they choose to leave, you get out of the party. SCORE.)

Problem freaking solved.

Oh, but friends. Neither of these kids (or mothers) had anything on a child we’ll heretofore refer to as Jane. No wait. Jane is too sweet. Let’s go with “Doris.” No idea where that came from, but I’m stickin’ with it.

Doris has needs. She NEEDS PEOPLE SHE NEEDS. When she first arrives she sees the helium tank and decides she wants to blow up balloons. But by this point the party has started. I put the tank away. First she tells Ava: “I want to blow up balloons. I’m getting the tank.” And she walks over and pulls it out of the box. Ava tells her “no, we’re not doing that now,” and puts it back in the box. At this point, Doris turns her sights on me.

Doris: “Rocket’s mom? I want to blow up a balloon.”

Me: “Sorry, honey, we’re done doing that. It isn’t a toy. I only had that out before the party.”

Doris: “But I want to blow up a balloon.”

Me: “Yes, I understand, but we’re not doing that right now.”

Doris: “Why not?”

Me: “Because I’m busy. I already told you. Why don’t you go play with the other kids on the play structure?”

Doris, scowling, raising her voice: “But I want to do the balloons and I want to do it right now!”

What I want to say is: “You’re a terrible child. Please go away.” But I don’t, because that would be wrong.

We go on like this for a good 5 minutes, while I’m trying to do whatever party nonsense I’m doing. Finally she leaves. Three minutes later the aforementioned conversation occurs again, VERBATIM.

And she comes up to me every 3 minutes the ENTIRE PARTY. “I want to paint my pot NOW.” “I want to put the dirt in my pot NOW.” “I want to blow up a balloon NOW.”

And each time I’m tripping out, thinking, “No really. You are the most annoying human specimen in the world. You must leave.”

I look for her parents for back-up. My eyes are begging “HELP ME.” They’re OBLIVIOUS. No idea their offspring is terrorizing an innocent human. No idea their kid is relentless.

They probably think it’s cute.

“I want to plant my seed. Where are the seeds? Why can’t we do the seeds? I wanna do the seeds! Rocket’s mom, I wanna do my seeds.”

It keeps popping into my head “Does this shit actually work for you at home?! My God, your parents’ lives must be miserable!”

Because to be honest, part of the reason my kids have decent manners is because I’m way too impatient to tolerate the alternative. I mean seriously, if my kid harangued me for 45 minutes about some event he thought he needed to happen…holy mother I’d lose my shit. Not only would I not do it when he wanted, I’d probably not do it EVER, just on principle, because he was so fucking annoying about it.

There’s nothing noble there. I just can’t take it. I mean, if I have a valid reason to be doing what I’m doing and not what you think I should be doing, you have no right to harass and harangue endlessly, hoping I’ll change my mind, or cave because I can’t take it anymore.

But then I started thinking about it and I realized that this sort of horrible kid behavior must, on some level, result in horrible adult behavior, which is way worse, since they don’t have the advantage of being cute and small, or the excuse of being five.

To illustrate, I made some flow-charts.





You know? That woman who just won’t take “no” for an answer? She just WILL NOT get the hint? You try to be subtle. She keeps on. You try a slightly less subtle approach. She still doesn’t get it.

And so, you give up. You just lay it out, “No, lady, I don’t wan’t to buy any of your fucking Avon. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not EVER. Did this work for you when you were five?”

Well yes, she responds. Yes it did.

Mother Earth called. She wants you to stop being such an asshole.

by Janelle Hanchett


Have you ever noticed that some of the most terrifying mothers out there are the super-pumped eco-friendly ones? They’re like MEAN. But not with their mouths. Only their EYES…

But they still say it:

What? You don’t dress your kid in all organic hemp?!?!? What is wrong with you? They should call CPS.

Are you driving a freaking EXPEDITION? What are you, Satan? Where are your horns? Where’s your hybrid? Your Prius? Your bicycle, Goddamnit.

Do I detect a PLASTIC BAG in our presence? I’m sorry. We can’t be friends.

Um, your baby is holding a non-wooden rattle. Aren’t you going to DO SOMETHING? DO SOMETHING NOW BEFORE SHE DIES!

Not all of them. Obviously. But some. You know what I’m talking about.

Sometimes I feel this grip of fear when I pack plastic Pampers in my bag, headed to a mother’s group, for fear of the eyeballs that may bore down into my soul — oh my god. The landfills. THE LANDFILLS PEOPLE.

And I know they’re right. But still. No need to be a dick.

Some of us are horrible people who can’t be eco-friendly ALL THE TIME.

And some of us are perfect.

You know who you are.

Recently I Googled “eco-friendly party favors” because Rocket’s 7th birthday is coming up and I would like to not buy a plastic goody bag full of plastic crap made in China that costs too much and nobody wants or plays with anyway. I’m trying to do my part, people. I am.

Anyway, I found a blog post on the topic and read through the comments. One of the comments was this one:

“NO, my son does NOT come home with green favors, not even from parties given by hybrid-driving, organic eating folks. And, I’m somewhat well known for my “Just Say No to Cheap Plastic Crap” post about environmentally unfriendly party favors. So I just stand there at the parties, trying not to look too exasperated or to be impolite…judge not….but yikes, it makes me crazy what my son brings home.”

And I was thinking “holy hell, lady. That’s so uncool. But I know you. I’ve met you. And you suck.” and then I thought ” Mother Earth called. She wants you to stop being such a douchebag.” But I changed it to “asshole” because I thought maybe that’s more appropriate.


Because here’s the thing. Even if your cause is hip and noble and right, if you walk around belittling and dehumanizing people for not backing your cause completely – or not doing it well enough – you’re still a dick.

And in my opinion, there is nobody more annoying than an enlightened dick.

Because it’s the jerk shrouded in education, depth, profundity. It’s Asshole with an Edge. It’s mean people with data and goodness and “progressiveness” backing their game.

I just vomited a little in my mouth.

Standing there at somebody’s birthday party clothed in an impenetrable air of superiority, looking down on the miserable specimens handing out crap plastic party favors, makes this woman part of the very problem she claims to be working against. To me, there is no difference between the snobbery displayed in the materialistic label-whoring types who figure earth can go fuck itself because we’re all here to grab what we can and die… and that of the super-powered eco-friendly attachment parenting Nazis. It’s self-centeredness and judgment and superiority. Period.

Allow me to illustrate:

Woman 1: “Oh my God. Your purse isn’t Prada. Your car is cheap and old. Your kid is dirty and dressed in Old Navy. I’m so much better than you.”

Woman 2: “Oh my God. Your purse isn’t recycled materials. Your car is not a Prius. Your kid is eating non-organic food and wearing Old Navy. I’m so much better than you.”

You see? Same damn thing.

New label. Same douchebaggery. New angle. Same ego.

And I happen to have evidence that the good Mother Earth thinks these people are douchebags. How do I know? Because she told me.

She told me by pouring her rains on the eco-friendly and the polluters alike. Her flowers don’t shun the faces of those who choose “plastic” at the check-out line. Her oceans cool people who eat fast food and Whole Foods, without regard. And her mountains call to the SUV drivers just as clearly as to the Prius drivers in North Face and Tevas, eating homemade granola from locally sourced oats. Or whatever.

Oh yeah, I said it. I geeked out on you, completely. Damn hippie. But I love this planet. I believe the earth is the source of my soul and my spirit and someday I’ll return to her arms. To me there is no division between the words “god” and “earth” and “love.”

What? You didn’t know I was a total and complete freaking hippie? That’s probably because there’s Dawn on my kitchen sink and not the biodegradable stuff. Whatever. Dawn gets the stains out of my wool carpet. DON’T HATE.

Is it hypocritical for me to say I love the earth while driving an SUV? Maybe. But check this out. I’m also just a flawed human. I am hypocritical and contradictory and confused and lost and just trying to make small changes one minute at a time, slowly do a little more a little better. And in the process, I’m trying not to be an asshole.

I have a friend, Penny, who is very passionate about her family not being exposed to chemicals. Rather than use plastic bags, she like made these wrapper things out of muslin and beeswax…she’s created all these super inventive ways to not use chemicals. But you know what? When she tells me about the shit she’s doing I feel inspired, enlightened, empowered. Like I’m being taught something, shown something new and exciting and compelling. She doesn’t judge me for using Ziplock. She doesn’t stare at me in disdain when I whip out the Cheetos. She has chosen to live her life in a certain way and if I want to hear about it, she tells me about it, without hatred or pretense.

And that, I think, is what makes change. We do our best in our small circles, create ripples in the waters around us, lead by example, teach with patience. And when we’re standing there at a party and some kid hands our kid a goody bag full of junk, and he’s smiling and proud to be giving that gift, we take it, with genuine joy in our hearts, because we get to be there with humanity and live and receive…and we redouble our efforts. We love a little harder. We devote ourselves more to the cause we know to be true and right. And we trust that our efforts are making some difference, somewhere. Or they will, someday.

Cause I’ll tell you what. I want to be more like my friend. I hear about her super interesting solutions for bathing and cleaning and eating and I’m like “Dude. Janelle. You should try that. She’s telling you how to do it. Try it. See what happens.”

Mother Earth called about her, too. She said “Rock on, sista’. That’s what I’m talking about.”

Really, it all gets back to my trusty comment policy and life philosophy: Try not to be a dick.

And by the way, I found a great idea for cheap, “green” party favors. We’re painting little clay pots during the party and putting plants in them for the kids to take home.


Take that, evil party-favor lady.