Because her mom thinks she’s fat.

by Janelle Hanchett

The other day, while enjoying a cookie, Ava says “Mama, wanna hear something sad?”

And I’m always up for a little sadness, so of course I respond “Yes.”

And she says (and names have been changed to protect the innocent) “Jessica doesn’t eat sweets. She isn’t allowed to because her mom thinks she’s fat. Today at school she wouldn’t have a cookie and when I asked her why, she told me that.”

Oh boy.

A “fat” nine-year-old girl.

And one of those women.

I want to cry a little, rage a little, break a couple faces.

Because first of all, I know this girl, and she isn’t fat. She’s isn’t a rail, she’s not one of those super scrawny kids, and perhaps she’s holding on to a bit of that baby chub, but SHE IS IN NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM FAT. I’ve seen obese kids. She ain’t one of them. She’s healthy, normal. The non-rail shape of her body is clearly, um, just that, the shape of her body.

In a word, she’s adorable. She’s lovely. And perfect – as most kids are, when fed decent food and allowed exercise and access to the outside.

And I’ve seen her mother. Her mother is a rail. Her mother wears tight jeans, small tops and heels pretty much always. Her mother is gorgeous; she turns heads. Very sexy. Very into her appearance. Lots of make-up, always put together – the type of mom I look at and compare myself to, thinking “Damn. I remember 10 years ago when I was hot like that. Wish I still was.”  And I feel not quite good enough, which of course is my own issue and another blog post.

And obviously, her daughter just isn’t quite good enough.

She isn’t the vision her mother expected. She isn’t the dashing beauty her mother had hoped for. She isn’t the stunner her mother is. And she’s disappointed.

So she begins her attempt to mold. To create. To construct. To form her into…what…what was it? Oh right…her idea of beautiful. Of sexy. Of hot.

Forget the child’s soul. Forget her spirit. Forget her value as something other than a body, a dude magnet, a little hottie.

Forget all that. Teach her that what matters is her appearance. Her sexual prowess – her outsides –the way the world views her attractiveness, rates her, judges her.

Teach her to rely on her sexiness and good looks, teach her to define herself completely through something that will ultimately abandon her, fade, whither, leaving her wondering “wait. I’m not the hot girl anymore. I’m a mother with a bit of a pooch…I’m an older woman with saggy boobs…WHO AM I NOW? WHAT AM I GOOD FOR NOW?”

Now don’t misunderstand me. Avoiding a lot of fat and sugar and junk food is (obviously) an excellent and critical habit to teach a child  – but because it’s HEALTHY. Because it’s good to have an active, thriving body, energy and stamina, and a clear, alert mind.  Clearly our bodies should be nourished and treated well and respected. But telling your young daughter that she can’t eat a particular something because she’s FAT will never end in good.

The take away for the child is singular: my mom thinks I’m ugly. Not good enough. Defective.

I’m pretty sure that the mother’s emphasis on her daughter’s weight will result in the exact outcome she’s trying to avoid: emotional eating, dependence on food for something other than nourishment…and obesity. Or anorexia. Or bulimia.

It will result in self-hatred.

Because right now that little girl is still trying to please her mother. When all the other kids are eating a cookie in celebration of a birthday, Jessica denies herself, because her mom thinks she’s fat. But one day in the not too distant future, Jessica’s going to take a look at her mother and say to herself “Who the fuck are YOU to tell me I’m fat? Who the hell are YOU to judge me?” AND SHE’LL EAT EVERY DAMN COOKIE IN A 5 MILE RADIUS, just to prove a point.

But that message will remain, deep, deep inside: I’m ugly. Not good enough. Defective.

Might as well just keep on eating. Or starving. Or binging.

Because I wasn’t good enough for the ONE PERSON WHO MATTERED MOST.

How could I ever be good enough for me?


….Oh, man, let me tread lightly with my little girls – help them see the light burning within them. Untouched, undiminished, unchanged by the passing of time, by the sagging of boobs, by the stretch marks, by the belly that pooches a little…falls over our jeans in all its unsexiness, though it falls in the shape of a cradle, of the womb that once held her in sweet whole embrace. my own chubby, perfect daughter.

Wait. I’m supposed to play with these kids?

by Janelle Hanchett

I created a new category called “things I shouldn’t say out loud let alone publish on the internet.” This post, my friends, falls squarely into that category, and may actually redefine the term “over-sharing.”

I actually considered not writing this, even though I felt compelled to do so.

Because this borders a little too closely on something I may want to pretend doesn’t exist. Something I may deny. Something my ego hates to admit.

But in the first post I wrote for this blog, I asked “where do the bad mothers go?” (Wait. Did I just quote myself? Wow, that’s a new low.)…and that got me thinking…I already admitted I’m a bad mother, and I don’t mean “bad” in the “ha ha ha aren’t I funny because really I’m a great mother and we all know it” kind of way…I mean “bad” like for real bad – like people may wonder if I have a heart bad. Like screw you, Janelle, bad. Like I’m not proud of this but it’s true, bad.

And since I already admitted it, why back out now from telling this shit the way it is?

There’s no reason.

So here you go…

Most of the time, I pretty much can’t stand playing with my kids.

You see? What the fuck. Bad.

Sometimes the stars align perfectly and I’m in a great, playful, carefree mood, and I can play with them and sing and be goofy (like recently when I walked around Walmart with underwear on my head – (I was buying them, they weren’t dirty)…and the kids were in hysterics and we played sword fighting with the foam pool noodles, right there in the aisle…and it was fun and we laughed and I felt like an alright mom for a minute.)

But say…oh…I don’t know…say the kids ask me to play with them, and I’m not in that kind of mood. Say yesterday happens, when I had been cleaning the house for 6 hours and was finished, but was suffering from allergies and feeling not quite right…just a little uneasy…just a little depressed…just a little, wait…what was it? Oh right. Self-pitying and self-centered and DOWN. That’s right. Uninspired. Over it. Fuck this family crap. Down.

But they are kids and they deserve a mom that plays with them.

And they’ve been asking me all day.

And the game’s all set up.

And I should do this for them.

But what I really want to do is leave. Be by myself. Not clean. Not listen to kids. Not be in this house for one more damn second.

But I have that pull. I hear that voice “Janelle…you should do this. Mothers do this. Just fucking do it.”

So I sit down to play Monopoly and they are bouncing. Bouncing. Because mama’s playing a game with them. Mama’s involved. As a courtesy they pretend to buy my plastered smile.

They even put cushions down in my spot, so I would be more comfortable on the floor.

Those kids are damn angels.

But check it out. Everything they do irritates the hell out of me. The way they slam the board when they’re moving their tokens across it…the way they lean over and knock the money piles everywhere…the way Ava directs everybody’s every single move…the way Rocket won’t focus and rolls around constantly…the energy…the time it takes… all of it. My skin is crawling. I act terribly. I’m a straight asshole to those kids, telling them what to do, demanding they do things my way.

Demanding that they not act like kids.

As I’m doing it I hate myself.

What the hell is wrong with me?

I’m there. But I’m not there.

I try, but I can’t snap out of it.

If you’re reading this and your kids are in college now and you’re thinking about how much you miss them, please don’t tell me how I’m short-sighted and should cherish these times because wow they’re SO QUICK and before I know it they’ll be out of the house and soon I’ll give ANYTHING to have these moments back .

Don’t tell me that.

Because I already know it.

I felt a yearning for that Monopoly game 5 hours after it happened.

I realized the beauty of what I missed while lying in bed that same night.

Right now I feel the sacredness of playing a game with my non-stop director daughter and goofy distracted son. I feel it. I know it.

And YET it doesn’t change it. It has no effect on The Now – when I need it. And all the self-talk “Oh come on, Janelle, be patient. Be kind. Chill the fuck out. These are your KIDS…”… all of it withers in the face of…well…I don’t know. Whatever the hell it is that makes me act like that.

It’s only the next day and I wish I could go back. But as one of my favorite songs says… that’s a “no-go for this hobo.”

I wonder how many times I’ll feel this before I learn.


Sorry, guys. You got dealt a mama who ain’t that good all the time. In fact she’s pretty shitty most of the time.

She’s a bad player.

But she loves you. And she’ll keep trying.

Hang with me little ones.

"I know Alcatraz stopped taking prisoners a while ago, but do you think they'll make an exception for that bitch mother of ours?"

“Mama, why aren’t you in the PTA?”

by Janelle Hanchett

Not too long ago Ava asked me that question:  “Mama, why aren’t you in the PTA?”

Awwwww. That kid. So sweet.

There I stood in the kitchen with my tattoos and questionable attitude, throwing together some jerry-rigged meal of non-organic clearance items while yelling at the 5-year old and the husband simultaneously, singing kid unfriendly music between rants, trying to convince myself that 8pm is in fact a reasonable time to start dinner, wondering what sort of hellish after-school activity will plague me tomorrow …and she wants to know why I’m not in the PTA.

 Sweet innocence.

I figured “well, this conversation was bound to happen someday.” –  Kind of like the sex talk. You don’t want to have it, but you must. It’s just one of those things.

So I laid it out for her: “Ava, there are two kinds of mothers in this world: those who are in the PTA and those who are not. You come from a long line of women not in the PTA.”

And I left it at that, hoping she’d drop it.

But she didn’t drop it – because she’s Ava. She never drops anything. Except her stuff as she’s trying to get in the car with 75,000 items NOT IN HER BACKPACK (though oddly, her backpack is one of the things she’s dropping, as it bangs around, (since it’s empty and therefore floppy), whacking other items out of her arms and onto the ground). Damn. Nine-year olds are weird.

(Don’t you wish I could stay on topic? Yeah. So did my high school English teacher.)

So of COURSE the dreaded question comes next “What do you mean?”

And then I have to decide…truth? Kid appropriate bullshit? Truth? Kid appropriate bullshit?

That night I chose edited truth. “Well, some women are into that sort of thing. Some women are all PTA-ish – you know, they dig that stuff – the organized mommy movement and such. They fit in and like planning and cheerfulness and whatnot. And perhaps more importantly, they usually don’t work, which means they have time and, most likely, money, (or insane drive and devotion) – and since I have neither, I’m not in the PTA.”

The unedited truth would have sounded something like this: “well, Ava, I hate organizational meetings. The only thing I can imagine worse than an organizational meeting is an organizational meeting of mothers debating which gift is the appropriate one for Teacher Appreciation Week or who should bring the gluten-free cookies to the next open house – because there’s just so much talking and so little action and I inevitably find myself asking the same glaring question: WHO.GIVES.A.FUCK. Basically I’d rather stab myself in the eye with a spoon than get involved with something like that.”

But I didn’t say that. Because that would be inappropriate. 

Though even my edited version seemed to hurt her feelings a little, so I explained further.

“It’s not that I don’t want to be involved in your education and school. It’s just that it isn’t really my ‘thing,’ as much as I’d like it to be. Part of growing up is realizing what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. And I’m not very good at that sort of thing. I tend to scare people with my bad attitude and general disdain for group activities (That was a thought. Not an outside voice item.). I prefer to get involved other ways.” (Um, yeah, still looking for those “other ways,” but I’m sure they exist. Somewhere.)

I mean the PTA emails ALONE irritate the hell out of me. 

For example, I was not joking about the Teacher Appreciation Week. It started out with a seemingly innocuous email by the lead PTA person…”Hi it’s [upbeat PTA woman]….blah blah blah….teacher week….etc…we decided that every parent should give $30.00 to buy gift cards for the teachers.” Hmmmm. I considered this. Here were my thoughts:

  1.  Dude, $30.00? That’s a damn lotta money. I don’t really have $30.00. Screw you for assuming everybody has an extra $30.00, you damn out-of-touch yuppie. What happened to the good old $5.00 limit?;
  2. Why should I pay $30.00 to show my appreciation anyway? I show my appreciation by paying the freaking tuition each month; and
  3. Moreover, how the hell does MY paying $30.00 show my KID how to demonstrate appreciation to those who help her, which is allegedly the point of this exercise?

And then, of course, my final thought: “There is no way in hell I’m participating in this activity.”

So I write a (very) edited version of the aforementioned thought pattern and [wrongly] assume that I won’t hear any more about this, having decided with Ava that we would make beeswax candles for her teacher and write her a letter of gratitude, possibly giving her some roses from our front yard (if they’re not “gross” by then).

But OH NO it’s not the end. It’s not the end because people don’t understand the “reply-all” function (or they are hell-bent on making me bash my BlackBerry into the ground until it falls helter-skelter into 5 crushed pieces of plastic), which means I will receive no less than twenty-seven irrelevant and superfluous emails registering in favor of the $30.00 gift card scheme or  acting as ‘friendly reminders’ (which are not friendly at all, just annoying) or asking deep critical questions such as “what about the specialty teachers?” “what do they get?” “what about the after-school aids?” “how much does each one get?” “do we have the kids sign a card?” “if so, what sort of card?” “who’s going to get the card?” “what about the teacher’s husband’s mother?” “does she get a card?”


Say it with me people…





And that, my friends, is why I’m not in the PTA.

Cause I can’t even handle the cyber decision-making.

How to get unfriended on Facebook…

by Janelle Hanchett

I’m writing this post because I’m a bad person.

And this list is not comprehensive.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s get to it…

How to get unfriended on Facebook…or at least annoy the living shit out of people.

  1. Post more than 5 times a day. If possible, give us a run-down of where you’re going, especially if it involves running errands. Because that is really interesting stuff that people want to read (dude WAH?): “Going to post office;” “Headed to the park!”; “getting my nails done!”; “leaving work. TGIF!”
  2. Write about your cat. Sorry, but nobody gives a shit. If your cat dies, that’s sad. You should post that. If your cat vomits on your face, that’s interesting and you should definitely post that. But if your cat is just cute and you feel like sharing, or it has feline behavioral problems (oh yeah, they exist) or the sniffles, you should not write about that because I’m pretty sure about 1% of the population gives a shit, and those are really poor odds.
  3. Call your pet your “baby.” Your pet is not your baby. Even if it’s a puppy, or a kitten, it’s not your baby. I know this for a fact because the last time I left my actual baby outside with a bowl of water, some food and a scratching post, I got in BIG trouble.
  4. Try to sound smart. Say profound stuff. Talk about your graduate degrees. Impress us with your stunning intellect and piercing creativity by dropping quotes of obscure philosophers and applying them to your daily life. Because we are impressed. Because everybody appreciates your insights. Fucktard.
  5. Post inspirational quotes and cute, happy little sayings about friendship, flowers, love, looking on the bright side, new doors opening and other such ridiculous meaningless feel-good crap. Use smiley faces and exclamation points. A lot! 🙂
  6. Play Farmville. Send requests to people who don’t play.
  7. Use your relationship status as a retaliatory tool against your partner. Perhaps you think we don’t notice that you go from “married” to “single” to “in a relationship” 5-7 times a year, sometimes within the same month. But we do notice. We do. And every time we see it, we think you’re an idiot and wish you’d figure your shit out once and for all so we can finally stop reading about it.
  8. Post a lot of pictures of yourself. Post a lot of pictures of yourself all dressed up, in cool, exotic, fancy places – and make sure you are the only person in each photo. In each picture, make the exact same “I’m hot” face and if you’re a female, show cleavage. Tilt your head down and slightly to the left. Have a small lock of hair fall strategically over one eye. Look coy. Repeat.
  9. Post politically charged, highly controversial statements that trigger raging arguments between 300 idiots on Facebook who don’t know each other or anything about the topic at hand. Say things like “keep your laws out of my uterus” or “the institution of marriage is sacred and it’s between man and woman” or “Go Dodgers!” or “I think breastfeeding in public should be a felony!”
  10. Whine. Tell us how much your life sucks. Go on and on about it. Lay it on thick. Use Facebook as a virtual, one-sided therapist. And one of these days, after we put away our violins and inspirational quotes, we’ll tell you to get the fuck off Facebook and go change things if you’re so damn unhappy. Or, if we’re more the passive aggressive type, we’ll just unfriend you, then claim we had no idea what happened.

I wonder if calling people out on the annoying shit they do is a way to get unfriended on Facebook? I hope not. Cause that would hurt my feelings. And then I’d have to whine. And we all know how that goes.

Happy Friday! TGIF! 🙂

yep. pretty much.

don’t worry, I’m a parenting expert

by Janelle Hanchett

Parenting Expert

This expression slaughters me. You know you’ve heard it: “I am a parenting expert.”

Well no, you’re not.

Let’s talk about why, shall we?

The Oxford English Dictionary (oh how I love thee, my OED) defines the word “parenting” as “the activity of being a parent; the rearing of a child or children; the manner in which a parent raises a child.” Clear enough. It defines “expert” as “one whose special knowledge or skill causes him to be regarded as an authority; a specialist.”

So let me get this straight…you are a specialist in the rearing of my children?

Wow. That is fancy.

Here I thought I was doing this all by my lonesome and all this time you were right there – the untapped resource, the authority, the specialist, the expert in my experience?! And I didn’t even know it! Gee whiz I never thought to look for you. Silly me. I assumed that since I am me and I’m the only me there is (as far as I can tell) and my kids are my kids and only my kids (as far as I can tell), if anybody were to become an “expert” in raising them, it would, by definition, have to be ME, since I am in fact the only one involved in their rearing and therefore, the only one who could gain sufficient skill or knowledge to reach “expert status.”

I mean how have you managed to acquire that skill and knowledge? Are you clairvoyant? Do you spy on us? Do you live in my attic and peep down through the heater vents? Or do you somehow “just know” how kids should be raised?

Alright, all kidding and sarcasm aside, I’d like to get serious for a moment and invite all current and potential parenting experts to step away from the computer and kindly go screw themselves.


I’m serious people. What the hell? I see those two words EVERYWHERE and it is clearly driving me batty. The worst are the people who blog because they are “parenting experts” and apparently just can’t help but share their knowledge with us dumb shits. How do people even say that with a straight face? How can you be an expert in something so intensely personal, ever-changing and unpredictable? How can you be an expert in the rearing of a child you’ve never met? And even more frightening, are there actually parents who see that bio or blog summary and say to themselves “oh good! Somebody who knows how to raise my children! Yay! What a relief! I was thinking I had to figure this out on my own! Whew.”

I imagine that if some of these “experts” were to read this post they would defend themselves by saying something like… “oh, I’m not telling you how to raise your children. I’m an expert in the many different ways parents raise children. I just have a lot of knowledge. I’m not advocating for one over the other. I just want to provide information.”

Which is, of course, total bullshit, because there’s always bias and slant and the only type of person pretentious enough to claim an authoritative status on something as ambiguous and subjective as parenting is exactly the type of person who maintains a very strong opinion on the way things should be done. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be calling themselves an expert. An expert is called upon for their expert opinion – their informed expert opinion. That’s the whole fucking point of being an expert. Otherwise, you’re just a knowledge sharer.

And I have yet to see that on a blogger bio “I am a knowledge sharer.”



I’m done.

(Thanks. I feel better now.)