I’m honored to share with you this episode with Renegade Mothering’s, Janelle Hanchett, mom to four ranging in age from 4 to 16, and author of the new memoir “I’m Just Happy to Be Here.” I reached out to Janelle after reading her raw and honest blog post about raising teenagers. In my experience raising my own teenage son, I saw myself in Janelle’s words, and shared her post with every friend I know parenting teenagers.
I’ve since become a fan of Janelle’s wildly popular blog. She started Renegade Mothering in 2011, when after reunifying with her husband and children after years battling addiction, she settled into sobriety, suddenly “woke up” amid the daily life of working and raising her children, and felt overwhelmed by the feeling of erasure in motherhood.
To determine if the rest of the mothering world was crazy or she was, she started writing after her kids went to bed and invited readers to join her. Writing irreverently about the humorous and darker sides of motherhood, and eventually sharing her own recovery from alcoholism, she attracted an audience of hundreds of thousands of readers, and in May 2018 published her first book, the powerful memoir “I’m Just Happy to Be Here.”
The theme of being honest and real, owning our truths, seeing ourselves and therefore being able to truly see our children runs through this powerful conversation and carries forward into the challenge that Janelle gives us. She invites us to create space to reflect on, name, and be honest with ourselves about the parts of motherhood that we just don’t like. I added to her challenge that I would create a gathering with local moms this summer and give ourselves permission to name and also share these truths with one another. Photo and update on how that goes to come.
I hope you’ll say “yes” to claiming space for yourself, owning your truths, finding connection by doing this with others, and that you’ll share your photos and your experience with us.
I loved this conversation with Janelle, but admit that after finishing her book last night, I have so many more questions for her. She’s agreed to do a follow-up video conversation, that you’re invited to, in the month of August. So, I encourage you to order Janelle’s book, “I’m Just Happy to Be Here,” read it, join the Mother’s Quest group so you’ll get notified when our conversation is scheduled and come with your questions.
Looking forward to claiming space, uncovering and owning more of our truths together.
Jen’s biggest secret went viral — although she was a mom, she was addicted to prescriptions pills. After her explosive Washington Post essay, she has been contacted by hundreds of women all saying the same thing: this was my story too. Jen has written about her addiction for Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Babble, and The TODAY Show. She was recently a guest on The TODAY Show and also filmed a video for their website.
In addition to writing about addiction, Jen writes about motherhood, postpartum depression, relationships, pop culture, and feminism. She has contributed to Yahoo, Slate, Woman’s Day, and more than two dozen other publications. Her essays have been featured in six anthologies.”
How a blog post Janelle wrote on parenting a teenager led me to seek out more of her voice as a guide on my own motherhood journey.
Janelle shares about her childhood being raised by her own renegade mother.
We talk about her early years of marriage… parenting, studying, working, and sinking more deeply into alcoholism in the midst of the massive identity shift of motherhood.
In sobriety, the awakening she experienced of being erased by motherhood, the need to claim space for herself, and how that led to the creation of her blog, Renegade Mothering.
Janelle’s quest to realize herself as a human constantly seeking truth and seeing how she can offer the world something of meaning
Having children with a broad age difference and how Janelle engages her children through the little in-between moments.
How Janelle strives to “see” her children for who they uniquely are, remembering she can’t save them, while also teaching them, and remembering that they are not the justification for her existence.
Janelle shares the impact that her writing has had for her, her children, the mothers who read her blog, and families of those who have experienced addiction and recovery.
Her passion for deconstructing patriarchy and the false expectations society has for mothers, letting go of guilt and shame and of being a sanctimonious mother
How Janelle invests in herself, her writing, her spirituality and all the connections that help her stay sober
The strong and powerful friendships in her life and a special group of friends that participate in a weekly rotating dinner practice
Our realization that our children really are watching us. They are aware of and shaped by us more than we think.
“I’m Just Happy to Be Here“: A Memoir of Renegade Mothering
A Quote by Margaret Atwood “I am not your justification for existence”
“Mama, why aren’t you in the PTA?” – Janelle’s blog post from the Renegade Mothering website
“Mama, did you leave me on accident?” – The blog post about Janelle’s son saying “Mama home!” when she needed to leave for her writing
Janelle challenges us to create a space to reflect on, name, and be honest with ourselves about the parts of motherhood that we just don’t like and that we want to say no to. I added to her challenge that I would create a gathering with local moms this summer and give ourselves permission to name and also share these truths with one another. Photo and update on how that goes to come. You’re invited to do the same and share your photos and truths in the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group.
As I finished Janelle’s book, book with tears in my eyes, I was struck by the power of owning our truths, seeing ourselves in our whole humanity, the good and the bad, and the connection that’s possible when we share those truths with one another.
I resonated with a particular passage in her book where she writes about finding her voice and her Renegade Mothering community. She says “When I found my voice, I didn’t find answers–I found a purpose for every moment I had lived. I found power in every blackened room in my mind, every fear, every sad parent, every futile word and nightmare memory. Because it led me to you, to the place where we are the same, to the place where words draw a line from my bones to yours, and you look at me and say, “I know,” and I look back at you, thinking “Well I’ll be damned. I guess we’ve been here together all along.”
That’s how I feel about finding my voice through this podcast, about owning the questions I get to explore here with truth-seekers like Janelle, and in realizing, when you listen and engage with me, that we’re not alone in our pursuit.
If you haven’t yet and want to join the deeper conversation and the community, reach out to me at email@example.com or follow the links in the show notes to join our free facebook group. If you’re already a member, invite a friend to join us. In the group, stay tuned for an announcement about a special live and interactive conversation with Janelle. Together, I look forward to exploring more questions, seeking more truth, and making more connections.
Join me for the first “Spark Your E.P.I.C. Life” Pilot! Four consecutive weeks of one-on-one coaching using a signature process I’ve been facilitating in my circles this spring
I’m looking for no more than FOUR clients to experience an intensive, one-one-one, four-week coaching process in the month of June. Could this be you?
Do you feel like you’re on the threshold of a powerful shift in your life?
Are you ready to spark new perspectives, new ways of being, and some E.P.I.C. action of your own?
Have you wanted to participate in the Mother’s Quest Circle but the timing wasn’t right or you prefer to work one-on-one?
We’ve been having an amazing experience in the Mother’s Quest Virtual Circle and I want to bring the same practices and flow to work one-on-one in a more focused period of time…over one month instead of three.
Interested? I’d love to schedule a time to check-in about what’s happening in your life and how this could support you.
Sign up for a discovery session at this link or message me some times that could work for you if you don’t see something that fits your schedule. https://mothersquest.as.me/discoverysession
I’d like to identify the four individuals this week, get scheduled and start next week!
A big THANK YOU to our “patrons” for helping to bring these conversations to myself and other mothers through financial and/or in-kind support:
If you’d like to make a contribution to Mother’s Quest to support Season Three of the Podcast and/or help provide coaching scholarships for mothers, follow this link to make a contribution.
If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, Engaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).
Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/