7 Titles From Alanis's Jagged Little Pill That Fit Moms, 20 Years Later

by Allison Slater Tate
Originally Published: 

“You Oughta Know” made it onto an angry, eff-you-for-breaking-my-heart mixtape that fall and became my inner monologue anthem when I needed one to bolster my fragile self-esteem. But I had equal love for the song my friends and I referred to only as “#8,” “Head Over Feet.” For as raw and searing as “You Oughta Know” was, “Head Over Feet” was just as joyful and emotional and hopeful. The contrast between the two songs pretty much sums up my college love life in a nutshell. Whew, kind of glad that phase is over, now that I think about it.

Jagged Little Pill debuted 20 years ago this week. Alanis is a mellower, more even-keeled mom now, and so am I. But many of the song titles from Jagged Little Pill could still make it onto a playlist I would listen to; the songs might just have different lyrics now. After all, sometimes motherhood is its own jagged little pill, right?

1. “All I Really Want” would now need to be about an adult beverage, perhaps some Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter with a spoon inside, a good book and a quiet house with non-barfing children sleeping through the night in their own beds and a new episode of Scandal cued up on my DVR.

2. “You Oughta Know” might describe my sentiments about holidays and anniversaries, or perhaps it could be a song about how my husband shouldn’t have to ask me where our daughter goes to preschool after two months of class.

3. “Hand In My Pocket” is what my young son claims when he’s really pulling an Al Bundy and his hand is definitively not in his pocket.

4. “Ironic” could have endless possibilities, since Alanis so generously broadened the definition of irony in her original composition. Perhaps it would be an ode to the day I dropped my iPhone into a washing machine full of wet clothes on the one day it wasn’t in an OtterBox cover, leaving me with only my son’s hand-me-down smartphone as a tether to the universe. Yes, that might fit Alanis’s idea of irony.

5. “You Learn” would be a rollicking ditty about how, at 40, I am completely unable to help my children with their math homework without the aid of Google because it now includes arrays and boxes and all sorts of other words that are completely foreign to me even though I was an English major and should understand words, of all things. What the hell, math? Can’t we just cross-multiply and call it a freaking day?

6. “Wake Up” is what I say to my new teenager every day. Five hundred times. Because he rolls right back over and acts like I have nothing better to do with my morning than come up to his room over and over again and tell him to wake up again. Remember when they used to wake us up before dawn and we were all like, Will they ever sleep in? The answer is yes. And it’s just as annoying as the early wake-up calls when they do.

7. “Head Over Feet” wouldn’t have to be changed at all, because at the end of the day, after all the stress and whining and work that is motherhood, that’s exactly what I am for these little buggers. Don’t be surprised if you love them, head over feet. (But more their heads than their feet, just to be clear.)

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