A (long) note to my teenage self

Welcome to the Notes to My Teenage Self linkup. After you’re done reading my letter, feel free to add yours or check out some of the other ones.

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Dear teenage Jana,

I know. It’s pretty strange that you’re receiving this now, given the fact that I’m all old and you’re hanging out in 1994 at the ripe old age of 17. But I figure you’re getting ready to start your senior year of high school and it might be a good time to impart some wisdom on you to help get you through your final year in what is pretty much a flannel filled hell. I know you can’t wait to get out of those walls and start your new life but for a moment, I want you to sit back and appreciate what you currently have.

For starters, you live rent and expense free. You pay for nothing except CDs, concert tickets, books, and nail polish (incidentally, your spending habits don’t change much in your 20s. Or 30s). Enjoy the lack of financial responsibility and stress but, while you’re at it, learn how to manage money. It’s a lot easier to learn when your feet aren’t to the fire and also, it’ll prevent you from getting into debt as an adult. Trust when I say that getting into debt is fun but getting out is worse than first period math.

Second, spend time with your sisters. Especially the little one. Sure, you guys are making some memories but you’ll be moving out soon and she’s only 7. You’ll miss more than you’ll want to admit and you’re going to want more than Friday nights watching Boy Meets World and driving her to piano lessons to cling to (oh, and convincing her a monster lives in the hole you kicked in the wall and making her scared to go up the stairs? It’s funny but don’t do that. It’s kind of mean).

Third, all the stuff you’re worried about? Like finding friends you can trust or having a boyfriend or not fitting in or thinking you’re fat and ugly or feeling like the rest of your life will be exactly like it is now? I get that you’re concerned but believe me, you’re worrying for nothing. Let it go. In just a few short months, you’ll find some of the most amazing friends ever (and you’ll still be friends with some of them, all these years later) and you’ll realize that they like and appreciate you for YOU, not someone you think you need to pretend to be. Boyfriends? Don’t worry about that shit. That’ll happen (including, in 2 short years, meeting the person you’ll marry), too.

And as far as your appearance, learn to enjoy exercising and eating healthy now, make it part of your routine, and you’ll feel so much better. Because feeling good and attractive really starts with liking who you are in the mirror and no one but you is in control of that. And by taking charge of it now, it’ll make it much easier on the old lady version of you. So if you could do that, I’d appreciate it.

Now, let’s move on to the life advice.

  1. You are talented and creative. Use that to your advantage and when you get to college, pick a major that will make you happy. Keep some practicality and ability to get a job in mind but if you choose to pursue something you love, you will be successful.
  2. Believe in yourself. You are smart and you truly can do anything. Never let anyone, family, friends, or other, make you doubt that. If they’re making you feel bad, they’re not worth your time. Don’t let their negativity sink in. Deflect that shit like you’re wearing Teflon.
  3. You know how you try hard to be nice to everyone? Keep doing that. Even if it backfires and you still wind up at home alone on a Friday or Saturday night, just keep being nice. You’ll love yourself for it and learning to love yourself, and having to live with yourself, is more important than any date or party. And for the record, assholes are everywhere, in every phase of life. It sucks but you’ll eventually learn how to sniff them out and avoid them.
  4. Do your homework. Read. Learn. Work hard. Go to class (except gym. Go ahead and feel free to skip that, which I know contradicts my earlier advice about being healthy but gym is pretty much the worst). Never be ashamed or embarrassed about being smart. Smart girls are awesome and although the names Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Mindy Kaling mean nothing to you right now, you’ll understand when you’re me (and this piece of advice will make total sense).


I apologize that instead of a few short notes, you’re getting a fairly long letter. But you’ll come to realize that you are a verbose gal and once you get started, it’s hard to stop (also, you use words like “gal”). It’s one of your charming quirks.

My point is this–who you are is just fine. There is nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, wrong with you. I know it doesn’t feel like it now because high school is one long fucking nightmare filled with people who seem to have it all together. But believe me, they don’t. They are just as confused and awkward and full of self-doubt as you are. They’re just better at hiding it.

So love yourself, be confident in who you are, and remember that it’s almost over. Enjoy the good moments (and there will be more than you think) and don’t let the bad ones define you.

See you in 20 years.

Go Blue Hens!


37 year old Jana


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Promises to my friends without kids

About a year ago, I wrote a post detailing the frustrations I felt towards some of the statements moms with multiple children make to me, the mom of an only child. It was a ranty post, with shades of anger, but I stand by it. It drives me crazy that motherhood has basically become a competition; competing for the smartest, most accomplished children who are impeccably dressed with perfectly healthy, organic, balanced, and nutritious lunches cut into all sorts of fun shapes that they eat before they spend hours of crafting and playing in their perfectly clean, Pinterest worthy home.

(Which begs the question, who are these mothers? How do they do it? Because I can’t keep up with that, y’all, but I’d really like their secrets.)

And in this game, the more kids you have, the more points you get, effectively making you a better mother. I say that’s all horseshit and not simply because by those standards, I am an epic failure of a mother. I am about as far from a perfect mother as one can get but my kid is happy, healthy, mostly well adjusted (would I really be doing my job if I didn’t give her at least a little bit to talk to a therapist about?), and creative. She also know she is loved. Which is really what matters most.

It makes me sad that we still see our worth in terms of our kids’ successes and accomplishments, and we, as women and mothers, are so competitive about it. And let’s not even discuss how poorly we collectively treat women who don’t have kids (I can’t stand the word “childless” and refrain from using it whenever possible).

And I’d like to change that. Starting with this post.

While I can’t guarantee I’ll be perfect, here are some promises I’m making to my friends without kids:promises

  1. I will not ask you, ever, why you don’t have kids. It’s none of my business, it’s your choice, and I don’t feel that you need to explain yourself to me. We can be friends even if you’re not a parent. I’m a mom but that’s not all I am and we can bond and connect on that level.
  2. I will never ask you when you plan to have them. Same justification as #1. Also, maybe you never plan to have them or you can’t or you simply don’t want them. Actually, you know what? If you don’t want them, and you know you don’t, I commend you for not bowing to any sort of pressure.
  3. I will never tell you your life is incomplete without children. While my life is certainly better because of my daughter, that doesn’t hold true for everyone (well, with their own kids. Not my kid. I’m pretty sure your life is just fine without her). There are plenty of people with fulfilled lives that don’t involve children.
  4. I will do my best not to shove too many pictures of my daughter down your throat. I love her and I think she’s the cutest thing ever but I’m pretty sure you don’t. So if you’ll indulge me for a few minutes, we can put that behind us.
  5. I will do my best not to talk about her all the time and/or bring her up in every conversation. I get that it’s a boring subject. I have other topics to discuss. Like what’s going to happen on the next season of Sons of Anarchy or the amazing recipe for buffalo meatballs I made over the weekend (with buffalo sauce. Not actual buffalo) or the books you’ve been reading. So we can talk about that instead.
  6. I will not judge you for treating your pets like they are your kids. Because I get it. I have pets, too, and they do become your furkids. I will not mock you for dressing them up, sending them to daycare, or taking 84792 pictures and posting them to Instagram. Maybe even though I have a human child, I still do that with my dogs (my cat is another story. She can be kind of an asshole sometimes).
  7. I will try really hard not to be jealous of the fact that you don’t know who Sam and Cat are. Or that you don’t have the theme song to The Haunted Hathaways stuck in your head for days. Or the fact that you have no clue about the “plots” of kids’ shows. 
  8. I will try to refrain from using my kid as an excuse for why I can’t do things with you. Unless I truly don’t want to do something but can’t think of another reason not to do it, in which case using her is fair game. 
  9. And, finally, I will support any and all decisions you make regarding children. I will not offer unsolicited advice on this topic, I will be an ear to listen, and I will completely understand if you choose not to throw (or attend) kid friendly parties. 

And a bonus promise: I will try to never start a sentence with anything on the variation of “Oh, you don’t have kids, you don’t understand”. That’s just a bitchy thing to say.

Friends without kids, I want you in my life. I like you in my life. And I don’t want the fact that I have a child to interfere with our friendship. I will do my best to uphold these promises and in return, I ask you for one thing.

When we’re out together, no matter where we are, please, please let me pee alone. It’s probably the only moment of solitude I’ll get all week. 



Friday favorites, volume 13

I don’t know about you guys, but this summer is wreaking havoc on ability to get shit done. Ordinarily, I’m pretty productive, staying on top of everything I need to do and accomplish but as of late, I do nothing of value. Let’s rephrase–I do nothing. It’s not like I don’t try but I get about halfway finished and then say fuck it and go about my day, reading the internets or a book or playing RummiKub on my iPad or binge watch White Collar. I keep telling myself that school starts in a few more weeks and everything will get back to normal. 

It’s good to have dreams.

As for my Friday favorites, it’s the one streak I’ve kept alive this summer so let’s dive into that so I don’t feel like a complete failure. 

Favorite song

When you’re home all day with a 7 year, what you listen to pretty much goes down the crapper and I treasure the few moments each day when we actually agree on a song. Like this one.

Favorite frugal find

When we went to pick up our painted ceramic figures from a paint your own pottery place in our town, we found out that they have tye-dye. I was not spending $15 for one shirt (especially knowing she was going to want to do more than one) so I went to the craft store, found 2 shirts and a kit, and I had a 25% off coupon. That means we got two projects for roughly $10 instead of $30. I don’t even mind the fact that I have blue hands now.

On other note, the craft store had Halloween projects on display. HALLOWEEN. For shame, Michael’s. For shame.

Favorite internet thing

Steph mentioned it yesterday but it’s worth repeating because my inner grammar nerd freaked out with glee when I saw the Weird Al Word Crimes video. I’m sure you’ve seen it but if not, here it is:

Also on my list of internet things I loved are this BuzzFeed post on sister tattoos (one of my sisters is on board. We need to work on the other) and this Huffington Post post (because flying with a kid is hard enough without people hating you simply because you need to bring your child with you. Trust when I say, most of us are trying our hardest to control them. Those who don’t, well, they deserve the hate).

Favorite book/TV thing

This one’s a combo.

As if Gone Girl and Dark Places being released as movies this year isn’t enough for me as a Gillian Flynn fan, I read that Sharp Objects is going to be a TV show!!! I don’t invest in many new shows (because inevitably the ones I like get canceled) but I will be giving time to this one. Because Gillian Flynn. 

Favorite quote



Favorite funnies

I need to be prepared








Thanks to Nadine, I understand why this is funny.

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#sorrynotsorry if this song is now stuck in your head

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Next week, I’m on vacation (sort of) so I’ll be sharing some older posts with you guys. I hope you like them! I’ll be sharing lots of pics (provided I remember) on Instagram so if you don’t already, follow me over there!

Have a great weekend!

Linking up with Amanda.

Friday Favorites


Jana don’t give a sh!t

Remember that viral video from a few years ago, Honey Badger Don’t Give a Shit? Today’s confessions is a complete ripoff of that and that’s why it’s title Jana Don’t Give a Shit. Because sometimes maybe I steal borrow great ideas. And I don’t give a shit. 

Other things I don’t give a shit about:

Dancing with the Stars, The Bachelor/The Bachelorette, any Real Housewives, or any of the litany of reality TV shows. Except Teen [...] Continue Reading…

Monday morning musings

I don’t normally do weekend wrap-up posts because there’s only so many interesting and creative ways I can tell you I ran errands, read books, watched Netflix, and spent time with my family. That’s pretty much what I do all weekend, every weekend unless it’s cheer season and that’s even more boring than my regular life. We do sometimes socialize, like this past weekend, but I don’t know that that’s all that interesting either. [...] Continue Reading…