Jana Says

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Ten simple rules for new moms

I know quite a few of you guys are getting ready to have babies or you’ve recently had babies and you’re probably sick of hearing other people tell you how to parent. But rest assured, this is not that kind of advice. This is advice you can use. Real advice. From a somewhat seasoned mom and one who, by most societal standards, did absolutely everything wrong and has a kid who turned out just fine. Seriously, she’s fine. She  probably won’t even need therapy when she’s older. So I figure that’s good. 

And I figure it also qualifies me to tell you guys some things. 

Jana’s Rules for New Moms (Or, Jana’s Suggestions For New Moms Because It’s Your Kid and You Do What You Want)

  1. Shower. No one feels good when they’re covered in filth. There’s always 5 minutes to do that, even if you can’t wash your hair. That’s why there’s ponytails and dry shampoo. And also, there’s no badge of honor for being dirty. 
  2. Sleep. My god, please sleep. I know it’s hard but a few hours here and there makes a world of difference. And if you have a difficult baby and YOU’RE tired, it makes taking care of that baby even more difficult.
  3. Eat. Food is awesome, starving yourself is not. It’s actually a terrible idea. Hangry mom + cranky baby = UGLY situation.
  4. Feed your kid. Common sense, right? But I need to add that you should feed your kid in any manner that works for you. Breast feed, formula feed, combination of the two. Whatever. DO NOT let anyone make you feel guilty for how you choose to feed your kid. Because in the long run, it doesn’t really matter how they were fed. All that matters is that they’re eating. My child was formula fed from day 1–DAY 1–and she is healthy and strong and smart. 
  5. Ask for help when you need it. It’s hard to do it alone, even if it feels like you’re the only one who can possibly take care of that baby. But it is stressful as fuck and sometimes, you need a break. Take one. Let the kid’s dad do the middle of the night feeding if he can or have a trusted friend or relative come over so you can shower and nap. Not sure if your baby needs to go to the doctor? Call the pediatrician and ask the nurse. Ask an experienced mom how to handle teething or reflux. It is okay to ask for help and no one–NO ONE–will see you as weak or stupid because you couldn’t figure it out. We’ve all been there. 
  6. Tune out the critics. No matter what you do, there will be those who will criticize your choices or act like they’re better than you for whatever inane reason parents are competing these days. But you know your kid and you know you’re doing the best you can. You already know you’re a good parent and fuck the people who say you aren’t. 
  7. Keep your non-mom friends. I know I’ve mentioned this before and I’ll keep mentioning it because it’s that important. Believe me, mom friends serve their purpose. It’s nice to have people to commiserate with about diapers and daycare and mommy guilt and all those godforsaken loud ass toys and horrible kids’ shows and all the shit and nonsense that comes with being a mom. It’s a huge part of who you are now. You can’t deny that. HOWEVER.It is so nice to have a conversation with someone that doesn’t revolve around those topics. It is so nice to have a lunch or a drink with a friend who wants to talk about everything and anything that’s not kids. Kids are awesome but they are not the sum of life. Don’t let the fact that you reproduced and a friend didn’t rip a hole in your friendship. I 100% guarantee you can still relate to each other. (And P.S., anyone who tells you that you don’t live or know what love is until you’ve had kids is a complete and utter asshole. Don’t be that person). 
  8. Stay yourself. Confession: a pet peeve of mine is being introduced as E’s mom (as in, “hi, new mom I’ve never met before. I’m E’s mother”). NO. I am Jana. Yes, I am her mother but I am Jana before that. I am my own person. Because being someone’s mom is not all you are. You do yourself a complete disservice to shut off who you were before that kid was born. Just because you’re a mom now doesn’t mean you can’t read or listen to loud, angry music or go to the gym or watch violent, inappropriate shows or wear makeup or dress up for no reason at all or have a beer at home on a Friday night or travel or do anything else you like to do. Sure, you might have to make better overall choices when you’re doing those other things but do not forget to do them. It’s okay to have goals that don’t involve your kid. It’s okay to want things you wanted before she was born. TRUST ME. If you stay yourself, you’ll be a better parent overall. Your kid cannot be your whole life. It’s not healthy.
  9. Pre-pregnancy weight. It’s a good, noble goal. But I caution you if you’re pressuring yourself to get there immediately. That’s nonsense. YOU JUST EXPELLED ANOTHER HUMAN FROM YOUR BODY. Give it time to heal. Let it do what it needs to. Take care of yourself, sure, but don’t worry if it takes a year to see those pre-baby pants (and, fun fact, even if you get back down to your pre-pregnancy weight, your pants still might not fit because, like it or not, everything changes and you might look a little different) instead of 4 months. We’ve gotten to the point where we revere and glorify the women who “bounce back” immediately and I think that’s ridiculous. 
  10. Avoid comparisons. Don’t do it. Don’t compare anything about your situation to anyone else’s. Every person, every baby, every pregnancy is different and none of them look the same. Comparing what you have to what you see on FB or IG or Pinterest or in mommy groups (which, fun fact, I completely avoided, mostly for this reason) is nonsense and most of it is a fucking lie anyway. You’re awesome, your baby is awesome, and fuck anyone who disagrees.

Now. I want to address postpartum depression. It is a very real, very serious, very scary thing. I’ve seen it happen to people I care about. If you feel depressed, even slightly, take it seriously. Talk to your doctor. Get help. Don’t pass it off as “the baby blues” or excuse it by saying you’re tired or hungry or stressed or something else. You know what those feel like and postpartum depression is nothing like that. It is okay to admit you’re depressed; no one who matters will shame you for it. And if they do, you don’t need them. 

So, that’s all. Pretty simple. Take care of yourself, take care of your baby how you see fit, ask for help when you need it, and do whatever is right for you, your baby, your budget, and your situation. If you do that, you’ll be just fine. 

Anything I left off the list? 

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Through the decades: A 1960s playlist with Jana and Erin

This month, Erin and I are paying tribute to the music of the 1960s. The era of JFK, MLK, Vietnam, Woodstock, the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the beginning of the War on Poverty and a whole bunch of other landmark events for America. Also, music. So much music.

It was quite difficult for me (Jana) to pick a handful of songs from this decade but Erin had a slew of them which I’m sure is telling but I’m not sure what it tells other than while I’m tuned in (hahaha for my bad pun) to history, the music of the decade isn’t high on my list. But I did pull a few to compliment Erin’s and so without further rambling, here’s our picks from the beginning of the decade to the end. Chronological order FTW!  But there might be a couple of missing years. Specifically, 65. And OMG, was it difficult to pick a just few from 64. Choices are hard, y’all.the-1960s-a-playlist-by-jana-and-erin

Have a listen to all the songs below! Also, please let us know what some of your favorite 60s songs are!

Please Mr. Postman–The Marvelettes

Runaround Sue–Dion (Jana’s fun fact: This is one of my favorite songs. Maybe ever)

Crying–Roy Orbison

Twist and Shout–The Isley Brothers

Surfin’ USA–The Beach Boys (anyone else ONLY think of Teen Wolf when they hear this song? No? Just me?–Jana)

Louie Louie–The Kingsmen (why shouldn’t Animal House be fully represented here? Also the 80s movie Coupe de Ville. Anyone else know what I’m talking about?–Jana)

Baby I Need Your Lovin’–The Four Tops


Leader of the Pack–The Shangri-Las

God Only Knows–The Beach Boys

Paint it Black–The Rolling Stones

Light My Fire–The Doors

Brown Eyed Girl–Van Morrison (THE anthem for every brown eyed girl on the planet)

Think–Aretha Franklin

Born to Be Wild–Steppenwolf

Fortunate Son–Credence Clearwater Revival

I Want You Back–Jackson 5 (For a fun dance to this song, watch..well, save yourself the whole movie and just see if you can find the scene from Clerks 2)

Come Together–The Beatles

Ramble On–Led Zeppelin


Three things

Thanks to Steph for this post idea. And the prompts. 



Three things I’d never give up
My self-respect, my dogs, my love of hair bands

Three favorite vegetables
Tomatoes, peppers, carrots

Three shows I watched faithfully from beginning to end
Friday Night Lights, Prison Break, LOST (this was all pre-Netflix. I watched that shit live, week by week). Bonus: Freaks and Geeks. 18 episodes will never be enough.

Three places I want to visit inside the US
The Badlands, Myrtle Beach, Alaska

Three places I want to visit outside the US
Australia (see, Erin! It’s there!), Ireland, Greece

Three things I always have with me
My phone, lip balm, water

Three things that are always in my car
Plastic bags, hand sanitizer, empty drink bottles (yes, my car is a garbage pit)

Three most recent phone calls were to/from
My mother, my friend Athena, and my friend Brynne (messages from the school district are not counted)

Three books I read and loved in college
I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb, The Pact by Jodi Picoult (this might have been in grad school, though), Sleepers by Lorenzo Carcaterra

Three most often used makeup products
Too Faced Neutral palette, Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara, Urban Decay eyeliner in either purple or navy blue but I can’t remember the names of them

Three things that make me laugh
My daughter, farts, terrible puns

Three things that make me cry
Death, onions, any story involving animals (especially those dramatic rescue stories)

How about you guys? What are three things I should know about you?


I can’t but I can

I don’t know if the confessions linkup is still a thing and I don’t generally participate because I am terrible remembering to do it and also I don’t usually post on Wednesdays but I haven’t done any sort of confession lately (unless you count me listing all the jobs I’d suck at) and I saw Stephanie write this post (thanks for the idea) and thought hey! I should do that. 

So I did.

I cannot whistle or snap my fingers…but I can tie a knot in a cherry stem with my tongue

I cannot name all the US presidents in order…but I can name all 7 dwarfs and all the Fraggles

I cannot remember what I need to buy in a store…but I can remember song lyrics from 1987

I cannot do a smoky eye…but I can rock red lip gloss

I cannot navigate anywhere without a map…but I can find my way back when I inevitably do get lost

I cannot do math in my head…but I can correct your grammar 

I cannot run a marathon…but I can read a 500 page book in a day

I cannot travel everywhere I want to go…but I can prioritize and visit those places

I cannot make small talk one on one…but I can speak in front of a room full of people

I cannot remember where I put my phone…but I can remember details of people’s lives

I cannot easily ask for help…but I can figure it out on my own

I cannot erase my depression…but I can fight like hell to keep it in check

I cannot make images…but I can find hilarious shit like this:


oscarWhat can or can’t you guys do?


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My completely rational irrational fears

I originally posted this almost two years ago. But since I’m in San Diego this week, and many of you are new around these parts and might have missed it the first time around, I’m resharing. You can also read part 2 when you’re done!

One thing I’m more than happy to admit about myself is that I have many, many fears. Some of them are completely rational. Most of them are not. In fact, not only are they completely irrational but most of them are completely avoidable. Yet they continue to plague me, sometimes on a daily basis. 

I couldn’t even tell you WHY I fear these things. My time would be better spent living in fear of things that are real, like the black widow spiders that live in my neighborhood. Or the threat of a gas build-up in my house because the knobs on the stove like to turn on ever so slightly on their own (you know, not enough to start the burner but just enough to let the gas seep out). Or my neighbors being involved in a drug related shooting because I’m 99% sure they’re running drugs out of their garage. 

Nope. Instead, I find myself living in fear of:

  1. Horses. They’re gigantic and unpredictable and they pretend like they’re all sweet and awesome but really, I’m pretty sure they’re plotting against me and they’re secretly violent. When you’re that big and a fly can scare you, you need to stay the fuck away from me. Also, when I meet someone who also doesn’t like horses, we’re instantly BFFs. Because THEY GET IT.horses
  2. Setting my hair on fire. My favorite, and pretty much only, part of my appearance I like is my hair and I do almost nothing with fire. So of course I’m paranoid that I’m going to get involved in a Michael Jackson-like incident.
  3. Barbecues. Not the social events but rather the physical grill that you use to cook the food. I will not go near ours, not even to turn it on, because I fear singeing my eyebrows off and I won’t let my family use any of the ones in public areas because I’m convinced people pee on them. It’s useless to convince me otherwise. 
  4. Drive by shootings. I live in the sticks, across the street from a farm, and my neighborhood sits on a golf course. In other words, prime locations for a drive by. See also: being abducted.
  5. My cat being eaten by a wild animal. This one is not completely ridiculous. I have an indoor/outdoor cat and living in the country means there are all kinds of animals living outside, too. But she sleeps inside almost every night and she’s crazy fast and agile and she didn’t die during the 2 weeks she was missing. But the fear is real.
  6. Losing my teeth. I do not come from a long line of people with good teeth so genetics are not on my side. Despite how meticulous and ridiculous I am about oral hygiene, I can’t help but think that one day, all my teeth will fall out. 
  7. A car falling into my windshield. Specifically when I’m driving behind one of those trucks that hauls all kinds of different cars and all the cars look like they’re one bump away from coming loose. Can’t they secure them just a little  bit better? Like with chains instead of tape?

    My personal horror movie

  8. Tunnels. If you ever want to see my knuckles turn stark white or see me stop breathing, drive through a tunnel with me. I have an immense fear of the walls caving in and/or getting stuck in one. True story: when I drove from college to Key West with some friends for spring break (remember this one, Steph?), I had to drive through the Fort McHenry Tunnel (outside Baltimore). I wouldn’t let anyone speak for the entire duration we were in the tunnel. It makes me that crazy.Instant fear. Just add traffic and high speeds.
  9. Birds. Also bats. Not only do I fear them nesting in my hair and shitting on me, I’m confident they carry all kinds of diseases and I want no part of that. Another true story: one summer, when I was a sleepaway camp counselor, a bat got into our cabin. I hid under my blanket and let my campers fend for themselves. Because fuck them and that bat.

This is actually my nightmare:


2016 update: The bathtub crashing through the floor and landing in the kitchen, mowing off my toes, falling into my washing machine (it’s a top loader, very deep, and I am short. This is a terrible equation), and every single unidentifiable bug or spider that leaves near my house.

Now that you all know how I’m sufficiently crazy, what irrational fears do you have?

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