Motherhood

A Personal Note

So, I wanted to share something…

I haven’t mentioned it on the site, but our family has been dealing with something for the past few years, and it has been very disorienting and emotional and hard to navigate. I had an especially hard time this winter as we were struggling to figure out a new element. I want so, so, so much to talk about it and tell you everything and connect with other parents in similar situations, and maybe I can at some point, but right now, it’s not my story to tell.

But I wanted to at least say something now because when I look at the blog or Instagram, it’s all true (we did throw a fun dinner party, we did go to the beach), those photos show such a small part of the story. And this other thing is going on with one of our children that monopolizes my heart and brain and is the #1 worry that keeps me up at night.

It sometimes helps to realize everyone has their struggles. Everyone. You’re never alone. Behind the scenes, there are career challenges, breakups, breakouts, depression, anxiety, period cramps, illness, financial difficulties, awkward parties, loss, loneliness… and, honestly, that’s not a bad thing. If the goal in life is wholeness, that’s it, right there. :)

How are you feeling these days? Do you have a secret (or not-so-secret) struggle? When life seems consuming, I think about this article’s “thin slices of joy.” Chade-Meng Tan, Google’s former happiness guru, explains his philosophy that happiness doesn’t have to be a constant overarching feeling. It can come as sweet, short moments throughout your day.

“Right now, I’m a little thirsty, so I will drink a bit of water. And when I do that, I experience a thin slice of joy both in space and time,” he told CBC News. “It’s not like ‘Yay!'” he notes in Joy on Demand. “It’s like, ‘Oh, it’s kind of nice.’ ”

Usually these events are unremarkable: a bite of food, the sensation of stepping from a hot room to an air-conditioned room, the moment of connection in receiving a text from an old friend. Although they last two or three seconds, the moments add up, and the more you notice joy, the more you will experience joy, Tan argues. “Thin slices of joy occur in life everywhere… and once you start noticing it, something happens, you find it’s always there. Joy becomes something you can count on.” That’s because you’re familiarizing the mind with joy, he explains.

And The Book of Life agrees that simple things can be the most meaningful:

A pleasure may look very minor – eating a fig, having a bath, whispering in bed in the dark, talking to a grandparent, or scanning through old photos of when you were a child – and yet be anything but: if properly grasped and elaborated upon, these sort of activities may be among the most moving and satisfying we can have.

Whispering in the dark! That’s what life is all about. What are your thin slices of joy these days? Sending a big hug to everyone, and thank you so much for reading and understanding. xoxoxo

P.S. Home as a haven, and my motherhood mantra. Plus, the great quote: “Loneliness does not come from being alone, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important.”

(Top photo by Nicki Sebastian for Cup of Jo. Book of Life article via Joy.)

  1. Molly says...

    How do you cope with the worry? I have a 12 week old and the worry and fear of the “what if” makes me feel like I’m drowning, but then I look at him and he’s perfectly fine so I try to push it away. I even worry about the things I’ll have to worry about later…Motherhood is a heavy thing.

  2. I’m coming to this post late, via a link in another one of your posts. I’m thinking of you and hoping that things are going okay on this front for you and your family (actually more than “okay”). My thoughts and hopes for goodness are with you.

  3. Shannon says...

    This post is so moving. So real, so true and the reason that I turn to this blog on a daily basis (and to this post quite often). To everyone going through their own daily life struggles – I wish you love, laughter and a bit of wine to get you through. My own struggles have consumed me the last year. From a bi-polar sister-in-law that I had to take care of, fertility issues and a husband who was dealing with his own medical issues and eventual brain surgery. Goodness – what a year. I’ve needed a place, person and community to turn to and I’m lucky that there is CupofJo. Thank you for everyone sharing their stories and experiences, it helps to know that I’m not alone and 2018 has to be a better year. Sending lots of positive love to all.

    • Sarah says...

      Shannon, I love your comment and am sending you lots of supportive energy. It sounds like you’ve been through a hell of a year. The past few years have been similar for me with fertility issues, mental illness, and being the primary caregiver for my husband. I have felt so alone and your comment helps me feel much less alone so just wanted to share in case it makes you feel less alone too. Lots of love. And thank you Joanna for building such an amazing community and sharing these types of posts.

  4. Faith says...

    Dear Joanna,
    I came across this read as I have been reading through most of your ‘relationship’ articles. I try not to read anything related to motherhood or parenting as my husband and I have tried to get pregnant for years and had a recently failed IVF. I do believe everyone is going through something, everyone.
    I hope and pray for the best in your current situation. I wish for strength and peace through it all.
    My little slice of joy currently is the beautiful blanket of snow outside, it’s frigid, but the sun is shining ever so brightly; going to hot yoga in days like this; and sleeping in because I can.

    • sarah says...

      Dear Faith,

      My husband and I are struggling with fertility as well and are just starting the journey of working with a fertility doctor. It is so hard. You are not alone.

  5. I’m way late to this, but this post has been rolling around in my head for the past few months and I just had to say something. Of course I don’t know specifically what you’re dealing with, but I’m a grown-up version of that kid going through difficult times, and it only recently occurred to me how it probably affected my parents. This is kind of long, apologies in advance…

    For one, I’ve had a mild/moderate/severe (depending on the day) stutter since I was 3, and my parents took me to specialists and therapists, and had to watch me struggle with less-than-kind peers and strangers, and to deal with the emotional ups and downs that came with this thing that is a constant source of anxiety and stress for me, while being largely brushed off as something to joke about by the larger world that makes assumptions about people who don’t speak “normally” (for one, I was told by my guidance counselor that I wasn’t really “college material”) must have been heartbreaking. Having to stay up with me while I cried about an oral presentation I had to give, or watching my confidence deflate when yet another person jokingly asked if I forgot my name.

    I’ve also dealt with severe depression and anxiety since I was a kid, but only got up the nerve to deal with it when I started graduate school (what now, guidance counselor?) at 25. Fast forward to this past year, and two hospitalizations later, I’m now on five (5!) medications, see a therapist every week, and am seven months into regular electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) with ketamine infusions.

    I was hoping to tell my parents about the first hospitalization at the “right” time when I was home for Christmas, but a friend’s mom spilled the beans first. That kicked my carefully plotted out schedule into high gear, and they were sort of hit with all of it at once. The first six weeks that I had ECT, it was three days/week, and my parents came down for the first two weeks, one at a time. The procedure is done under anesthesia, and causes serious memory loss. I can only imagine what it’s like to see your kid be in such an awful place that this treatment that leaves you confused and wiped out is your best last hope; to find out (from someone else, no less) that your kid wanted so badly to die that they used an x-acto knife to give themselves ridiculously deep cuts that were still not done healing when the ECT started. It kills me to think that they might blame themselves for any of it, when they’re a big part of the reason I decided to Uber myself over to the ER that night instead of finishing what I had started.

    And now I’m tearing up at my desk thinking about how scary it must be to be a parent. Whatever you and your family are going through, you’re all so, so lucky to have each other and I hope your support system in real life is as amazing as the one online! Sending you so much love.

    • Daynna Shannon says...

      This is so lovely and thoughtful of you to share. I know I’m not your intended audience, but thank you from a mom of an autistic boy whom I love with my whole heart and worry about and I hope that should he ever feel as down as you did that one day, that the love of, and from, his parents are what keeps him here another day longer, like it did you. Sending you lots of love and hope. Xoxo

  6. Sasame says...

    Joanna, I came here tonight to fill the space around my heart as I deal with my own secret struggle. Thank you for sharing. I am hoping for you that less heavy, brighter days are ahead and that we all make it through with grace. After reading other comments here of families struggling with severe mental illness and small babies it makes me feel less alone. Thank you.

  7. Nicole says...

    I also used to say, “It’s not my story to tell,” in reference to my husband’s and children’s mental health issues, and no one knew how I was suffering silently. I eventually went to a support group for family members of people with mental health issues, and the leader stressed that it IS at least partly my story. I live and struggle with this every day, even if I am not the one with the diagnosis. There are still details and aspects that I don’t share out of respect for my family, but I am starting to feel more free to share my own struggles and concerns related to my family’s mental health because it IS my story as the person who loves them most. Best wishes to you and your family.

  8. Bailey says...

    Thank you for this. I have felt so alone lately after an ectopic pregnancy and the subsequent fertility questions that come with it. It’s hard not to look at every pregnant woman or mother and think about what they have that I don’t. But we all have our struggles, and we must be compassionate to others and ourselves.

    Just admitting that life isn’t perfect helps others to do the same. <3

  9. margarita marques says...

    When I feel bad, I use to think, like you, that everyone has a personal story behind them, not gentle, sometimes… and that helps me not to feel alone in the world.
    I can see that you are strong, and, whatever that is happening to you at this moment, you will find the way to hadle it, I’m sure. So, be confident. There are a lot of people, around the world, praying for you.
    XXOO, from Spain.

  10. Sam says...

    Well, this post came just in time for me! How respectful to view your children’s journey as their own. How lovely of you to share that your life isn’t picture perfect. These two facts demonstrate strength. All the power to you and the family be the challenges big or small! Thank you for being the difference in this world. I shall continue to read your blog and just know that when I am up into the wee small hours trying to figure out how we’re going to move to the next step of our children’s journey I am turning to your blog for comfort. Lots of love xx

  11. Ari says...

    Jo, your blog has been a warm, happy, womanly home for me. I love it so much. I come here, well, all the time really, but especially when I just need a hug. I am so thankful for you and for this wonderful community.

    Wanted to share a piece of advice I got from my dad. He counsels people dealing with trauma and major anxiety, and once offhandedly mentioned a suggestion he gave to a client: when you’re out, look for people being nice to each other. Having sweet interactions. Look for friends getting coffee, or a person holding open a door, or strangers saying “how you doin”, or a dad kissing the top of his daughter’s head. And in Brooklyn, if you look for them, you get to see these tiny magic interactions everywhere. It’s gotten me through moments of secret darkness; it makes me well up with love for all these sweet, fragile, striving people around me; and for the gentle, kind man I learned it from. I hope it can bring comfort to someone else who needs it.

    Much love to you Jo, as you navigate this time. Thank you for this wonderful, warm home/blog of yours.

    • I really love this. Thanks for sharing!

  12. rebecca sunde says...

    This is why I read your blog religiously. Your honesty and vulnerability are refreshing, and you inspire me to be more vulnerable with my community, because of course vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but of self-awareness and self-compassion. Much, much love and peace to you during this hard time. And a gentle reminder of your helpful Grand Canyon analogy :) xoxo

  13. sans says...

    I’m an ER radiologist and every day I work I’m sitting on the sidelines of the worst day of someone else’s life. Despite it’s emotional toll (and it can be a heavy one to bear) it’s also a poignant daily reminder that even when life seems like it can’t go on, it does. And that we all have just one single, imperfect, messy life to live. I love your blog because you find the joy despite or even in the imperfections.

    Remember whatever your secret worry, it too shall pass

    • Katie says...

      Made me tear up.

      So true.

      Thank you!

    • Carolyn says...

      I too treared up. Much love to this community or ladies.

  14. Eva Maria Petrov says...

    Dear Joanna,

    I am sorry to hear that you are struggling. I totally understand that you want to keep the issue secret. I am sending all my love to you and your family. I love you and your blog and you are definetly a good mother.

    I started reading your blog 6 years ago when I started suffering from servere anxiety and depression after the birth of my first daughter.
    I developed generalized anxiety disorder and sometimes I really feel like in hell, but sometimes i can cope with the thougts that cause my anxiety.
    My daughter is very very shy and does not talk to adults. Sometimes when somebody asks her a simple question, she starts crying instead of answering the question. This drives my crazy sometimes and I feel guilty, but I know that I have to accept her the way she is and love her with my full heart with all her “flows” and not put her under pressure in order to change her. For me this is the most difficult part of parenting. You realize what loving with your full heart means.

  15. Kathy Kauffmann says...

    Jo,

    Like you, I am a U of M grad having moved from Ann Arbor to Brooklyn Heights with my hubby and 16 year old daughter (at the age of 50!). My daughter struggles with a major depressive disorder with its ups and downs. I talk to EVERYONE…reveal it ALL. I cannot tell you how many folks that work for me or with me have revealed their struggles, saying that they are inspired by my openess, who pray (from multiple religions) for my great kid. It has changed my life for the better and now my daughter is also very open and frankly, healing more rapidly here in Brooklyn :) Share at your preferred pace, but do not be surprised that as you reveal, you too will find a healing place! It feels like a miracle to me every day. I love your blog and it has brought me comfort in Brooklyn (as it did in Ann Arbor).

  16. rebecca says...

    How nice to say it isn’t perfect out loud. I feel like I constantly look for imperfections in others just to reassure myself that my situation is okay! x

  17. Ceciel says...

    Social media doesn’t tell the whole story–we all need that reminder and thank you for giving us that. This was a text to a friend yesterday: I checked in with Cup of Jo for the first time all week tonight!!!! And my friend replied l: Oh jeez. You know C is busy when she doesn’t get her Cup of Jo. So, yes, you are loved and whatever you and your family are struggling with, your readers are with you. xoxoxoxoxox

  18. Denise says...

    Hoping things settle for you and you find yourself experiencing a sense of relief and happiness when everything turns out to be ok. Today, as I endured my long commute home, after a long day at a job I no longer love, missing my daughter at home… I reminded myself that other people have struggles as well. It’s not all as rosy as social media might make you think. But, we stay strong, have faith, and remember that it’s all going to be okay.

  19. Allison says...

    I come to CupOfJo because it is honest and imperfect and aspirational at the same time. We, your loyal readers and friends (I’m sure I speak for all of us that we think you’re one of our BFFs, at least in our own minds!), are always here as a soft space to land when you want or need to share, but never think that keeping things private is a sign of not being “authentic”. Be kind to yourself and you will give all that your family needs.

    • Nora B says...

      YES YES YES to this. Thank you for being real and genuine. Keeping you and your dear little ones close and in my prayers. We are all here for you, full of love and support. Hugs to you, Joanna.

  20. Adela says...

    Jo,
    You are loved.

  21. Christine says...

    Much love.
    Our situation isn’t secret – my 2.5 year old has Down syndrome so our lives took a bit of a turn – which has been positive. We take one day at a time and I try not to become overwhelmed thinking about her future. She had multiple medical needs early on and we now feel a bit more settled.

    I hope you navigate and find your way through!

    Everybody’s got their something! <3

  22. Thank you Joanna for this heartfelt and authentic post. I too have my own secret struggle with my eldest (5). Reading through these comments one theme seems to keep re-emerging… our sons have us for mothers for a reason. We can help them deal with the struggles, and we will. Love to you and your family at this tough time. Know we are all with you.

  23. Barb says...

    I started reading your blogs when I was dealing with infertility and miscarriages. While you were younger than me with kids (because sometimes I could not handle reading other bloggers excitedly discussing their pregnancies), your motherhood posts always brought joy, hope, and shared community (especially the guest blogs dealing with miscarriages or loss) of empathetic women. It was the same when I did get pregnant and became an older mama, with much joy and other concerns! Sending you much love through your current struggle. I deeply appreciate this space you have created, and also support you sharing only as much as you want to, as it works for you and your loved ones.

  24. Claire says...

    I am so grateful that this is a place that feels warm and safe when the world feels harsh. My boyfriend and I broke up this week and it seems that everywhere I look, everyone is cheerful and poised. So sad for all of the aches shared here, but thankful to know I am not alone in my sadness and heartbreak. Love you to all. xo

  25. Kristine says...

    Hang in there! Everyone has secret struggles and sometimes talking about them helps. I am the mother of two littles (3 and 1) and right before the birth of my second, my husband suffered his first manic episode and was subsequently hospitalized and diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. It’s now the secret struggle in our lives and though we’re in a good place now, it’s something that’s constantly present in our lives. You’d never know it to look at us. I’ve found that talking about it with the handful of people I’ve opened up to has helped tremendously. But you have to be ready. Good luck!

    • Anonymous says...

      I have a similar story in that my husband had his first manic episode 6 months into our marriage and was subsequently diagnosed bipolar. We lived with it as a secret for a year and a half. Then we told everyone a year ago when we separated. We are reuniting now, and I am grateful for the honesty among our friends because it is a hard burden to carry. I hope that those around you who know continue to be a support. Somewhere else that helped me was the family to family class given by NAMI. They have sites around the nation if you are interested in processing with people who understand what you are going through in a personal basis

    • CK says...

      The same thing has been happening with my husband recently as well. We got the diagnosis of bipolar II (though I had a good friend in college who was bipolar I, I never knew there was a second iteration) about a month ago, but he’s been acting unlike himself for several months now. We have 2 small kids and honestly I just feel so alone and like I can’t talk to anyone about it. He and I used to be able to talk about everything but now it’s like the person I know is not there.

  26. Nic says...

    I have two boys too, my oldest a few days ago was finally diagnosed a day after his fifth birthday with Aspergers and a few other things that go hand in hand. It has been a very difficult, isolating at times and confusing 5 years. When I was at my lowest, most exhausted, dealing with his distress and his constant attacks, I many times felt (was) judged, given awful condenseding though well meaning advice. This has changed me, I am stronger, less judgemental, (I think I would have once offered unhelpful advice, smiled disapprovingly, thought myself the better parent). But I am also sadder and tired, My love is stronger than it all. (Most of the time)! I now am learning as much as I can. I am determined to teach my beautiful son love and acceptance of whom he is and others by example.

    Thanks so much for your post I have never commented before x

    • You sound like an incredible parent! Hang in there.

    • Rebecca says...

      Nic,
      I’m not sure if you’ll see this reply, but I just had to write in response to your post. We found out last year that my husband has Aspergers, so I know something about how that can change you and your family. The years leading up to the diagnosis were incredibly painful, and we nearly separated. Knowing what we’re dealing with — that we are fundamentally wired differently — has helped tremendously. So has connecting with the The Asperger / Autism Network (www.aane.org) — they have online forums for spouse, parents, etc, and have just started a Humans of New York-inspired Instagram series about members of the AANE community.
      Sending hugs because I know it’s hard!

  27. You are my very very favorite blogger ever ever. I miss blogging so much but had to quit in order to run my life, my small business and my family. Just looking back at my old blog hurts so I never do. But I’m glad it’s still there. I have writer’s guilt because I can’t keep the words up with the happenings in life and now I realize there is a season for everything and hopefully I’ll get back to writing someday. Someday. And I can’t kick myself for not quite being in the space that I am a ‘writer’. All this to say, I never pitter pat around blogs any more because it makes me sad I don’t keep up my own. But I do check yours. I love the format, I love your topics. I love how you link to random lovely goodies and articles that are so well worth my time. I LOVE that you are still sharing and being so genuine in every post. I absolutely love that you talk to us like we are your sister and I absolutely love that you mention things that I thought too. (Like Aidy’s expressions in GIRLS!!!! The best! I had butterflies!)

    Oh what heartache a mama can have over a child’s welfare. Oh how I hear you on that. Thinking of you and hoping for peace and solutions and a newfound routine to help you cope with the experience. What my hard times as a mother have brought to me is: true empathy for others, a real understanding that I can’t judge others because I am not in their shoes, and to tell others ‘It’s okay to be down. It’s okay to feel sad that this isn’t going how you thought it might.” Letting myself feel sad and accept that sadness (it comes back and forth like waves), helped me then move to bravery in the next phase. Being the mom is so hard. There are times no one will understand how it feels to be the mom of this child and the woes and worries and fear (and it’s not very fair to always be the mom!), but the rewards are great in those ever small (and big!) moments. And I do love how you capture them and share the extraordinary ordinary moments. Oh what a wonderful human you are and you have so many that love you and are rooting for you. Once you are ready to share your worries, I bet you’ll find an outpouring of love and encouragement and similar stories that may help you carve your new path. Wait til you feel ready though! Don’t forget, YOU are his mom for a reason. He needs you and your set of skills to help him find his way. You can do this! You will surely find slices of joy as you go along this bumpy road. Thinking of you. Best wishes. xo.

    • Brittany says...

      Marta, yours was the very first blog I ever started reading–not sure how I found you originally but I know I found Joanna from your blog so thank you for that. I miss your blog enormously but am so glad you are finding joy elsewhere. Much love!

    • Venn says...

      Oh my god! I’ve never commented before but I just had to! Marta your blog was the first blog I ever read and followed too! Probably 8-9 years ago! CoJ second! Sending you love from England.

  28. B. says...

    I don’t know what’s going on with your family but I’m also in a similar situation with a secret worry. My six year old son asked me when he was four if he was a girl who looked like a boy. These questions have persisted since then and apart from telling one close friend we haven’t shared it with anyone else. I’m doing my best to ride with it, carefully answer all of his questions and see what happens but now that he is in school it’s becoming more of a worry. He has a very quirky personality which doesn’t win him any favors with the other boys in school. I worry all the time about what his future holds. I’m open and supportive of any way he wishes to live his life but as a mama it makes me ill with worry sometimes . I just want the world to see him for the amazing kid that he is and that’s just it , he is only a kid xx

    • You sound like an amazing mum, full of love for your child. It will get easier.

  29. Laura says...

    I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. I’ve always admired how open & candid & thoughtful you are. You really do care about your readers, and we can feel it. Sending you so much love.

  30. Mala Jahan says...

    Joanna,
    Whatever it is you are worrying about you will work through it. Please know that I am sending you positive thoughts and prayers your way.

  31. Margaret says...

    Hi, I have a very strange feeling I know what is on your mind and makes your heart heavy. Just because you blog doesn’t mean you have to share everything. It’s your LIFE, but it’s up to you. It’s nice to get feed back, but WE are total strangers and family is the most important thing. Only your family and close friends can give you the unconditional love and support you need. I hope and pray that you find peace with yourself and whatever is going on with your family. Just please remember you are not obligated to share everything, and if people can’t understand that, that’s their problem xoxo

  32. Thanks so much for sharing, Joanna. Sending you much strength and love… xx

  33. lynn mckoy says...

    Joanna, how perfect was this post…as I woke up this morning – getting my 1 year old and 6 year old ready for school and me for work, I started thinking, “I hate mothering”…while I love my kids, I despise the duties of motherhood. I wanted to tell someone, and your post screamed for this opportunity to write this. I struggle with this aching feeling and it brings me to tears that I feel this way, especially since my own mother did not raise me. I thank you for opening up this conversation and allowing us to be vulnerable and safe. Thank you.

    • sarah says...

      Ooof I hear you….I just had my third child (I have 3 under 3) and also work full time and I love love love these babies, but dang, motherhood duties can imprison you.

  34. Dear Joanna. I popped over to your blog to find some inspiration for mine & now I’m sitting with tears rolling down my cheeks. So sorry that you are going through this. We all, indeed, have our struggles. Since having my son four years ago, I’ve also had lonely struggles of my own & about being a mother. Thank your for sharing. You are amazing.

    Lots of love & prayers & hugs to you & your lovely family. xxx

  35. Jane says...

    Sorry to read you’re dealing with a significant challenge with one of your children. I know what that feels like. You’re not obligated to share all aspects of your life online. If and when you want to share, transparency is best. One of my nephews has Asperger’s and his parents struggled with a diagnoses for a few years. After extensive testing. his mother sent out an email to family outlining what their son had been diagnosed with and some of his challenges. I really admired her candor and it stopped unwanted speculation. We learned that when we her son had a birthday we were not sing “Happy Birthday” as loud noise were upsetting to him. Ultimately it made things easier on all family members.

  36. Julie says...

    Thank you so much for sharing. Your boys are beautiful. I just discovered your blog a few months ago and it is truly a breath of fresh air. Sending many hugs and prayers to you and your family!

  37. Amy says...

    Joanna, you give so much to this online community of dedicated readers. Sending a super big hug to encompass you, Alex, and your two amazing kiddos.

  38. My child has a heart condition, the repair for which has brought on liver disease for her and most of those who received the same repair. We adopted her knowing she had the heart condition and the potential outcomes. I have her permission to tell people her story. I have a gut instinct on when to mention it, and how much to share. sometimes it comes out through general conversation (like why she doesn’t play sports, etc). You have no idea how many people then confess to something they are struggling to process daily with their own children. I am always grateful to be the recipient of their story. Everyone truly does have something they are struggling with.
    Perhaps you are researching groups where you can learn from others with a same/similar situation in an anonymous way until/if you decide to share publicly. You have our support!

  39. C says...

    Your warmth and your spirit have always shone through via your writing. What ever your experience is right now, whether it be with family or your children is not a story we, as your readers should own. It is perfectly reasonable to not divulge information about your children via a public forum that they may read later. Especially if the content would deal with an experience one of them is having. I commend you for your gift at knowing this, acting upon it, and staying the course. I know it must be so hard to not utilize something that is typically an outlet for you to process what is going on.

    Just know this, I have taught many children. Some are autistic, some are gifted, some are gay, and some are transgender. Some come from families who are together, some come from families who were torn. I have seen so many situations involving kids in my eleven years as a public school teacher.

    One thing is consistent, those who have parents who advocate and love them, those kids, no matter their personality, circumstance or situation, those kids end up so strong and capable, in their way. By allowing for the un-telling of a story, you have become their strongest advocate.

    • Lucy says...

      I love this comment. Our children come in many forms, and some of them not exactly what we expected, but our most important role as parents is to be their source of security and support. Everything is made easier with love, and no one needs it more than young children to blossom into who they are meant to be.

      Stay strong, Joanna. Your children are loved and safe and that is what matters.

    • Anna says...

      I’ve been thinking a lot about what to share about my now school-aged children online via social media. This really resonates: “By allowing for the un-telling of a story, you have become their strongest advocate.” I want to read that often.

    • Sarah says...

      What a lovely comment–thank you.

  40. Ally says...

    Dear Joanna,
    I’m a long-time reader and first-time commenter compelled to write today because of the honesty of your post. I am so sorry to hear your family is facing a challenging time. As many other commenters have shared, I understand the pain and heartache you are going through. My son has faced a complex anxiety problem combined with a learning and attention difficulties since preschool (he’s now 14). Understanding and watching his struggle — and knowing we can’t “fix” it — has been one of the hardest things I’ve endured, but it’s also a beautiful lesson in acceptance and love. I was in NY over the weekend and went to see (and sobbed my way through) Dear Evan Hansen; so much of it resonated with me as a parent of a child who doesn’t exactly fit in. Based on the sobs in the audience, it seems I’m not alone.
    “Even when the dark comes crashing through
    When you need a friend to carry you
    And when you’re broken on the ground
    You will be found”
    Sending you so much love….

  41. Christine says...

    I don’t expect you to share with the world but I hope that you find someone to share your issues with. My group of friends has just ‘lost’ a friend who didn’t/couldn’t find someone to share her story with. We who are left behind are struggling. How to find someone, how much do you share? I love your open and candid stories and wish you a positive outcome. love c

  42. I am very aware that you aren’t a religious person. My heart goes out to you in your time and struggle and this comes from a place of only wanting to help. It sounds like you are lost are in need of comfort from something bigger than us. Try praying or reading philosophy or whatever it is that you believe in in your higher power. Whether that’s Oprah or the sun or a lizard king named Zorp (from parks and recreation, remember?;)) I bet that will give you strength and comfort.

  43. Kate says...

    This website is such a special corner of the web, and your kindness and generosity of spirit makes it so. Very often you’ve used this site to offer up a forum for difficult conversations in a safe space, and I’m so grateful for that. I’m sorry you’re dealing with something very difficult. In times when I am feeling very low, I think of Thich Nhat Hanh’s reminder: “No mud, no lotus.”

  44. Oks says...

    Oh yes. I think I might have a hunch about what it is you’re going through, but the time will tell.

    Just finished watching “Big little lies” finale – the brilliant, dark TV miniseries with an AMAZING cast (Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Alexander Skarsgard and many others) and it is exactly about how we’re all trying to paint this perfect polished picture about our lives to those surrounding us, while only opening up helps us grow and evolve.

    Be strong and love your kids no matter what, that’s all that really matters.

  45. I’ll keep your family in my prayers. The boys are loved and that’s what’s most important. Anyone can thrive in a home where they feel safe and loved. So whatever you’re going through, don’t underestimate the power of a loving, supportive family! You will get through this. Take care. xx

  46. Erin says...

    Thank you for your honesty. Virtual love to the very real you.

  47. Winter Blue says...

    I’m so sorry your lovely family is going through something tough, and for so long. I hope it gets better. Thanks, as always, for being so real with your readers. It is a bit of an escape to read Cup of Jo and see all the beautiful ideas, people, places and things, but, it also means so much that you are a real person. Hugs….

  48. Krysten says...

    One of my children has some definite challenges and I so relate to struggling with keeping privacy for his sake and finding help and support. There are a couple of online groups that have been a huge help and allow me to feel like I have the support of parents with similar struggles without having to put it all out there. Hugs to you. On my toughest days I remember that we are his parents for a reason and through it all he will come out with the understanding that he is loved, deeply and profoundly by his family and nothing that happens with the other things in his life can take that away.

  49. Carina says...

    What a beautiful post. Appreciate the honesty that your blog has

  50. Susannah says...

    Thank you for sharing here and for the community you have built. I have three sons and our oldest, who is now 7.5, has taken us on an immensely difficult, heartbreaking, and beautiful journey since his birth. His struggles are “invisible” and feeling alone with them, and constantly worrying about how he will move through his life with them, has nearly wrecked me many times over the years. But this journey has also made me appreciate every thin slice of joy I get to sit with. Thank you for sharing.

  51. Thinking of you and your family in this season. Always grateful for the everyday life vibe on Cup of Jo.

  52. Rue says...

    I was thinking about this just a few days ago: what if we viewed our own lives the way our friends view it?

    I had a lovely conversation last summer with a close friend. I was visiting for a few days in the middle of a big life upheaval. Mostly good stuff, but I was moving across the country and starting a big new job after earning a big, hard grad degree. My friend and his spouse live in a city I’ve always dreamed of living in, but there aren’t jobs in my field there, and I have restructured most of my life around the career I love. So I spent a few days with them in this dreamy summer landscape, staying in their guest room and getting to marvel at all the little details of their life together. We’ve been friends for long enough that I know where they came from, how they’ve grown, how this is what they’ve wanted for so long, the sacrifices they’ve made to be there. And it all seemed so good it felt like eating dessert.

    The last morning of my trip, I ate breakfast with my friend at a neighborhood cafe. Sea breezes and sunshine and eggs. How would I get back on the plane?? He and I talked about how we each *felt* about our lives right now, not just getting up to speed on the “what”. My friend told me how much he admired my courage, how he marvels at my strength to pick up my life and turn it in any direction I decide. That he has always been a person who stays in one place, and he sometimes wishes he could shake that and hop on planes with the ease that I do. That I seem to know and trust that I’ll create the community I need when I get where I’m going — and that I’ll continue to cultivate my cross-country friendships, the way this one now is. I was floored. Wasn’t *he* the one with the dream life?

    It should come as no surprise that this is also the friend who frames his own marriage as an ongoing journey rather than a “happily ever after.” This was the most kind gesture I received from anyone when my long term relationship ended. This friend talked with me about what he finds hard about his relationship even though it’s a great one, and one that he’s committed to for life. It was so comforting to know that there was nothing “wrong with me” for finding relationships hard.

    Our friends (and our online communities) are there to show us we are not alone. I happy-cried when my friends welcomed their new baby this winter. And then of course I had that twinge. Here I am, stumbling through the harrowing world of dating in your 30s, feeling like a battered ship in a rejection storm. And here are my friends, living the beautiful sea breeze and sunshine life, now with a perfect little newborn. It’s exactly what keeps me up at night: worrying that I’ll never have that version of a full life, the one with a partner and a baby. But I’ll skype them this weekend, and I’m sure they’ll tell me all about what’s bone-achingly hard about parenthood, and I’ll tell them not just about the heartache of the single life, but also all the funny stories that go hand in hand with the ache. They’ll have that little twinge too, when I talk about deciding as I was heading out the door last weekend to eat dinner in a town an hour away, or when they think of the thrill of having kissed more than one person in the last few months. My life is not their lives. But blissfully, we have each other, and they are one of my anchors in my own storm, just the way I suspect they see me as an anchor rather than a wrecked ship.

    And in case it wasn’t clear, so many readers and I think of this blog as one of our little slices of joy. So thank you!

    • This comment is just so beautifully written and heartfelt; the idea of “THE full life” instead of “A full life” can be so paralyzing. What a beautiful way to frame it.

      And I just want to second this: Joanna, your blog has brought so much joy and solace and has navigated the waters of distraction AND honest conversation so beautifully. Thank you for cultivating such a lovely space for us all to find beauty.

    • I don’t ever respond to comments, but yours was so beautifully written, I couldn’t help myself. Thank you for putting into words what so many of us have felt and are feeling. Your words are comforting, honest, and inspiring. Thank you, thank you.

    • Christina D. says...

      So beautifully put. As I get older, I realize I am blessed beyond measure because I know quite a bit of who I am. The challenges are still hard, the joys are still sweet-but perspective is precious. I wish this for you and your loved ones Joanna; it will come and give you the armor you need to weather the storm. My difficult times have bred perspective.

    • Michelle says...

      I have chills. What a beautiful comment! Thank you for sharing. xo

    • Lo says...

      This is exactly how it is, so beautifully written.

      Sending you lots of hugs, Joanna, wishing you peace in the best possible way. You do give so much to so many.

  53. Catherine says...

    Thank-you for sharing. xo

  54. Julia says...

    Hugs to you! When having worries – whatever topic it may be – it can make me feel so lonely. So very lonely, although I have family and friends who care. Why do worries feel so much bigger at night? When waking up and the thought makes *plopp* in my mind and there it is, growing bigger and bigger, keeping me awake in the middle of the night. I have to keep in mind, I’m not alone, there are people around me and I’m not the only one with worries. And this helps me.
    And what helps me is to keep in mind a quote from Joe Biden from his speech he held at the Democratic Convention in August 2008: “God sends no cross you cannot bear”.

  55. whatever hard thing your family is dealing with, you’ll deal together and you’ll grow stronger and wiser, I think that’s what life has been teaching us.
    In 4 months my mother suffered a struck and she is forever paralyzed, my father was amputated from his second leg and my husband for the last 17 1/2 years left me.
    9 months after, now, I’m beginning to feel hole again.
    I had the help of a fantastic psychologist , true friends that pampered me and I worked hard to recover . One of the things that I am now really aware are precisely the small moments/slices of joy in my day.
    Good winds to you Jo and your family and all the bold women that here shared their testimony!

  56. We learn eventually that everyone has the proverbial pube peeking out of their monokini. It’s up to us to decide whether to be authentic about it, or to put on a front. Thank you for being authentic, and thank you for encouraging over 800 commenters to be authentic about their struggles. Social media often glosses over the yucky stuff, and for good reason–we have better control over our social media posts than we have over the monokini pubes of life. The good news is that time also glosses over the yucky stuff. I hope, and wish for you, that when you look back on your present situation ten, twenty years from now you will only see that it has made you and your family closer, and stronger.

  57. Simona says...

    Joanna, I feel with you… Life only gives us what we can handle and we always have something to learn from it. It wouldn´t happen otherwise.
    My 10 year relationship just ended 4 months before my wedding. He just doesn´t feel like he loves me how he should anymore. I haven´t told to all of my friends… I shared great news of our engagement on social media and now… I don´t know how to tell people… Sometimes the news can be devastating but your friends are there for you and will support you no matter what and that can help. Your readers will be there for you.

  58. dahlia says...

    Thank you for your grace and honesty; what a beautiful balance you have of transparency and good personal boundaries. I am grateful for your work and holding you and yours in my heart.

    • Well said Dahlia. “A beautiful balance” indeed. Joanna, thank you for your transparency. It can be unnerving and even ridiculed socially but, as the Giver of Life once said: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)” (John 10:10). Jesus’ words here don’t lend to an Instagram facade of comfort and perfection, but of a full (balanced) life – a life of substance. Praying for your family and your boys. Whatever’s happening is part of your family’s fullness – which can be beautiful in all its perceived ugliness if you desire. xoxo

  59. I so admire your balance of openness and restraint. And how you trust yourself so much that you don’t need to disclose more than you have. I think it’s totally a good thing that we put out ‘edited’ versions of our lives on social media. I know I’m not in the frame of mind to snap photos when my son is tantruming, bc I am too caught up in being with him. But when things feel calm and peaceful, that’s a different story. My thoughts are with you and your family as you navigate this struggle. Parenting is king of all jobs. You are incredible parents. xo

  60. AnnieT says...

    Sending you and your family love and good wishes. Hope you feel the love from all your readers!! Xo

  61. Sarah says...

    Oh my goodness, I just fell down the rabbit hole that is this comments section! 1hr 20mins later, I can confirm that you, Joanna, are absolutely, whole-heartedly adored. How lucky your boys are to have you as a mother. Xxx

  62. I wrote on my blog about the death of my mother and my broken wrist. It is somehow easier to write as I am not very good to speak about personal issues. But of course I don’t have so many readers as you….

  63. Laura says...

    In the last 6 years me and by husband have faced several financial failures and tons of debts, his depression, lost of our beloved dog, and many other issues ( among them my health problems ).
    We were able to gain back good jobs, pay all debts, working hard, adopting a new dog from the shelter, accepting my body is not able to have children, and very much more.
    But we are now completely exhausted. And as half of this powerful couple I’m afraid we have lost our feelings somewhere in the middle of the struggle and afraid to mention it. Why ruin everything now we are in a good place ?
    I’m Italian, I live in Italy. But I’m close to everyone in this world who feels afraid and stay in silence.
    Laura

  64. Hana says...

    I was thinking of you today, and how I so appreciate your ‘offerings’ which are so kind, perceptive, fun, and reassuring! Then this. Today we had a visit from a specialist in Sensory Integration for children. I can feel my brow unknotting, and my breathing relax after a year of worries, research and upsets. To find someone who gets what’s going on, who is supportive and kind, and who will work with us and Kindy, and school, who will advocate for us… this is a huge weight lifted. My thoughts are with you and your family, I hope things get easier. xxx

  65. Sarah says...

    Joanna, you have a lovely community here… The story is not yours to share (you’ve said) and that’s a respectful view on it. But maybe, probably even, amongst all the readers, other parents are struggling with the same thing or something similar. And maybe speaking about it could help you live with it in a less stressful way. What I am trying to say is that whatever it is, you and your kids are involved in all our love. I mean, even my daughter who is 3 loves to know about your kids (and she feels like they are friends…). So when you feel like talking about it, feel reassured that you will only receive love, caring and support and maybe even some clues on how to experience this in an even better way. Have you ever read ” the conscious parent” from Shefali Tsabary? It has been teaching me to accept what is and embrace everything in a better way (even if we do have to make some changes). We love you! All our love and prayers to your lovely family!

  66. I’ve followed people, blogs, instagram feeds have come and go… I’ve left people’s social media mainly because it can make me feel less about my life (and I have a lovely, full, happy & complicated life). You have stayed, I am a mother, we’re the same age and I never tire of your angle, your honesty and articles. Thank you, thank you, thank you x

    • Claire says...

      so true~! love how I feel after reading cupofjo in comparison with other sites. such a difference.

  67. Lauren says...

    “Lean”

    Lean on us, lean on Alex, lean on your sister, lean on a warm bath and a cold beer. Leaning on each other helps heal. Thoughts and prayers with your family. Xo

  68. Elle says...

    Jo, i too am a long time reader of your blog but have more been a stalker than a commenter. Your last post moved me though and i wanted you to know how much your writing and posts have helped and assisted me over the last few years, between getting married, having babies and moving houses i could always find a beautiful post that helped me make sense of how I was feeling. I’m sorry to hear that you’re having difficulties but I hope you can find you own slivers of joy even at this time.

  69. Priya says...

    Hi

    I have been a regular reader of your blog but never posted a comment before.

    I love your blog. Its the happy thing in my day with beautiful pictures, funny notes, inspiring stories, useful life hacks. Over time your family has become part of my life and it is really sad to read that you are going through such a challenging situation.
    You will be in my prayers from today onwards. Wishing all good and happy things in your life :)

  70. Eleanor says...

    I wanted to thank you for your post. I have returned to it and the comments a number of times now. I am currently in the midst of the hardest thing I have ever experienced. I’m 26 weeks pregnant on bed rest having lost the amniotic fluid around my twins 5 weeks ago. I’m hanging on with all my might but the prognosis whenever they arrive is very scary with almost certain lung issues added to prematurity, at best. Your post helped remind me that everyone has their struggles and has to keep on going when sometimes life feels impossible.

    • M says...

      My heart and my prayers go out to you, Eleanor. I’m sorry you’re going through this. Your love for your babies shines through the fear, and they can feel they are loved. xo

    • Catherine says...

      I am so very sorry you are going through this. Please know that my heart and love is with you and your twins. Much love and big hugs to you. <3

    • Eleanor says...

      Thank you for you kind comments. The fact two strangers would take the time to reply just shows what good there is in this world xx

    • Michelle says...

      Sending love and prayers to you and your babies, Eleanor. <3

    • Douglass Williams says...

      Hope, faith and love…

    • Katie says...

      I’ve been thinking about you, Eleanor, having also spent several weeks on hospital bed rest preceding a premature delivery. The anticipation (and all of the unknowns that lie ahead) is perhaps the hardest part. Congratulations on making it to 26 weeks and know that there are strangers (like me) rooting for you and your babes from far and wide. Something tells me they are going to be pretty lucky to get you for a mom.

    • Eleanor says...

      Thank you Katie, that is beyond lovely to know. 27 weeks now and grateful for every passing day. X

    • Meredith says...

      Hoping that by chance you selected to be notified when replies are posted…8 months after the fact, how are your twins doing? Would love an update if you have time to write one. (I’m sure mothering infant twins is a full-time job!)

  71. Sarah says...

    Jo, thank you for sharing and for the important dose of perspective. I love the warmth and authenticity that comes through in everything you write about. Sending you a big virtual hug.

  72. Anna says...

    I was JUST reading your blog last week and thinking something along the lines of, “Why is this parenting thing so easy and glamorous for her?” For me being a mom is a lot like the rest of life: amazing, but kind of stressful sometimes and often banal if I am being honest and my hair never looks as good as yours. Other times I am wracked with worries like, “What was I thinking bringing a daughter into a world where this insane man can be president!?” I hope telling us about your worries helps you the way that reading about them helps us.

  73. Susanne says...

    Thank you, Joanna. Thank you for your grace and honesty and for “being real”. Thank you for your wonderful blog which is my joy since and hopefully for many more years. All the best for you and your wonderful family from Berlin. I pray for you!

  74. Liz says...

    Joanna, I’ve been reading your blog for several years now and enjoy it so much I often think about you and your family during the day as if we are old friends instead of strangers. I do hope that whatever troubles you right now will pass. Sending you and your darling boys strength and love and hugs.

  75. Gabriela says...

    Hugs to you and your beautiful family.

  76. Thank you so much for being honest here Joanna, I hope that whatever the issue is, it’s positively resolved soon. Sending big love. In the meantime, know you are not alone in your struggles. And seize those thin slices of joy! Xx Annabelle

  77. Thank you for sharing your struggle, Joanna, and I hope you feel lighter today knowing all of us are with you. I appreciate the reminder that social media is just an edited cut of what’s going on in our lives. Everyone always jas something. And some of us feel everything a little more intensely. Xoxo

    • Has!

  78. Nina Sohn says...

    Good grief. Friends and I recently discussed how there should be an inverse to FB and Instagram where one can post the straight dope rather than the carefully cultivated visuals and commentary that have become the standard. It is such a comfort to feel empathy and somehow social media makes it elusive, which leads to a sense of loneliness.
    Whatever it is you are enduring, there is no doubt you aren’t alone.
    Hugs.

    • Katie says...

      Yes! I feel like I’m often purposefully posting things that are more real life than glamorous. Not in a horror story kind of way, but in a we’re all struggling with something kind of way. I think when sharing, dealing, commiseration is done with respect and love, it rarely leaves people feeling worse. I always feel better working through hard things with others who can sometimes just say “that sucks” or “I’m so sorry” or “I dealt with the same thing”. We all struggle. And we keep on keeping on doing the best we can!

  79. Ari says...

    I love your family and this blog sooo much. I have been reading religiously for 6 years. I know the timing because we got married months apart and had children close in age. Your sentiments in this blog is what I say all the time to anyone that will listen. My family looks picture perfect but we have a major major struggle that no one knows about. I don’t share what “it” is but I am very open with people that everyone has a struggle. Sending you all so many hugs!

  80. Amy says...

    Sending you big hugs tonight. I don’t know what’s going on with your son, but I’m hoping things get better. Worrying about a child is all consuming and heartbreaking. We are dealing with some mysterious neurological issues with one of our children and it’s just so hard to see them suffer and you worry so much and it’s frustrating when nobody knows quite how to fix things. Just know that all the mamas out there in the world are holding your hand.

  81. Sandra says...

    …. “Everyone has a Chapter in their life they Don’t read out loud” …

  82. Michelle Chang says...

    We all have something, and without being specific, I hope you see the support you have created through your generosity & authenticity will carry you through what burdens your heart. I am so sorry to hear about this sadness.

  83. Kelly says...

    Jo, thanks for keeping it real. That takes guts.

    I had an experience recently at work. We were interviewing folks for a design research training about how “well” they felt. My research partner (an older man) chose one of my close personal friends to interview, someone I’ve always admired. She said she wasn’t mentally well at all, but that I really seemed to have it together! I was supposed to be the note-taker, but I burst out laughing, of course. She’s someone I hold up as someone who is really taking good care of herself and has it figured out, and here she was doing the same for me! I’ve had my struggles with mental health as well, and it was so nice to know that it’s not how others see me.

    Hang in there. Big hugs to you & the little guys.

  84. Meg says...

    Be kind, always. Everyone is facing a battle that you know nothing about. Thank for for the kindness, generosity and love that you bring into this world, Jo. With so much love to you, Alex and your two children.

  85. Annie says...

    Thinking of you and wishing you joy and hope. The past few months have been the most difficult of my life, so I can say how much I appreciate when the blogs I read daily reflect on life’s struggles. I’m pregnant and was told I would lose the baby when I went to the 20-week ultrasound. Since then, I’ve gone through weeks of testing for various things that all came back normal (after I didn’t miscarry like they thought I would) and two weeks ago at 27 weeks was given hope–the baby looks good and the condition initially noticed on the ultrasound seems to be resolving itself. We have more than a fighting chance. But there is still this terrible uncertainty that wraps itself around my usually very full and happy life. It’s hard for me to accept that I’ll have my baby at the end of this and I feel like I’m living in a strange state of suspense.

    • Blandine says...

      Dear Annie, I am so sorry, it sounds heart-breaking. I can imagine how every thought, every breath and every move must revolve around that worry. I focus my thoughts on a very happy outcome for your baby and yourself. 27 weeks is very encouraging. Hang in there and feel free to come update us!

  86. Misha says...

    I am so sorry for the heartache you are carrying. I am so sorry it has to do with one of your children, that makes it so tender and close.

    I, like many others, have come back more than once to keep reading these comments. They are treasures. They are beautiful.

    But so are you. You give something so lovely to the world with your words, your eye, your creativity and leadership. I can’t help but think of all the things that we as your readers so value and appreciate in you, will also be the gifts your precious child will need and value and someday appreciate, too. I hope each of these comments strengthens you as empathy can, but I hope for something more, too. I hope that they are each little mirrors – reminders to you of your loveliness, your gifts, the way we are all so able to see love and feel connected? Is a mirror image of you. We cannot give away what we don’t have. You have created and given this to us and it is in you. I add my prayers and love and best wishes and also my thanks for being not just a slice of joy, but a whole cup of it! May that be sustaining to your lovely family, too.

    • Catherine says...

      Thank you for sharing your message. You stated it so beautifully. I, too, keep coming back to read the comments as each one is full of so much vulnerability and love.

  87. Meg says...

    My husband and I have been separated for the past year but living in the same house still. We have an 8 year old son. Next month he will be moving out. This past 2 years have been the hardest of my life from losing my dad unexpectedly and then my sister to drug addiction. I’ve grown leaps and bounds with all of this. It’s hurt immensely but I know that I can handle almost anything thrown my way. All you can do is keeping moving. Those little slices of joy are what you have to hold onto.
    Big hugs to you. I’m sorry your family is dealing with whatever it is. Thank you for sharing

  88. shade says...

    What a beautiful post and beautiful comments. And such an important reminder. Thank you.
    The secret anguish I carry around? It has been 10 years but I’m still trying to cope with the sudden death of my oldest sister. When someone asks that seemingly normal question: “how many siblings do you have?” I still feel pain and guilt when answering “1” instead of “2.”

    • Lauren says...

      This struck me as I have two sisters and I can’t imagine the pain of losing one. Keep her beautiful memory alive. Xo

    • Stasha says...

      I’m so sorry. Your comment made me cry. Please say that you have 2 siblings even if one is gone. Keep her memory alive in any way you can ❤

  89. Beth B. says...

    I love that you share you heart, Joanna. You are in my prayers as you and your family navigate this new season in life.

  90. gigi says...

    not sure what to say, but I enjoy your blog so much and although it’s selfish I hope you hang in there and find some comfort from all of us who care about you and your family tho we only know you through this medium.

  91. Ginny says...

    Thank you for this. I have read your blog for years without commenting but feel moved to reach out now as this resonates SO strongly; I have two sons and something going on with one of them that worries me so much that it affects every other area of my life. I even took redundancy from my job as I was so pre- occupied with it. I feel for you, I really do. Sending lots of love xxxxx

  92. Elle says...

    I’m sorry you are dealing with your thing. But how I appreciate your courage and honesty in revealing what you’re going through! This is why I read this blog. I’m interested in style, food, beauty, fashion, and even kids, although I never had any. (I’m way older than you.) But along with all those pleasant and necessary distractions and frivolity, I periodically get jolts of truth and wisdom here. I keep coming back. Whatever you’re going through — you will get through it, even if you have no idea how. I plan to say that very thing to myself tonight as I’m lying awake worrying about my own thing, a scary health possibility that no one would ever guess from my Instagram feed, Facebook page, or blog.

  93. Koseli says...

    Lots of love to you and your family. I love the sentiment “Always treat people as if they’re having a tough day, because you’re probably right”. Thanks for your honesty, your uplifting blog, and share those brilliant children of yours. Best wishes in everything.

  94. Love your kids through you. Love to see them grow picture by picture. And love your honesty. All the strenght and peace to face that problem I regret so much. A big hug to you.

  95. Quinn C. says...

    I read this yesterday and found myself randomly thinking of you throughout my evening. You are always so open and honest with your readers — your authenticity is the main reason I have stuck with this blog for so long. I’m sorry to hear you’re going through something that is so tough. One of my dear friends said to me a few years ago, “Everyone always has “stuff” going on — we just don’t always talk about it.” I think that’s so important to remember, especially in this age of social media where we can curate what we share with the world. At the end of the day, we all have tough stuff going on in some aspect of our lives, we just may not share it; we need to remember to be compassionate with ourselves and eachother. I hope things get easier for you and your family.

  96. Keeley says...

    Thanks for sharing this. I feel like my family has been in a bit of a spiral for the last few years. My heart is often heavy with worry and fear. I am trying to look for these small moments of joy. Recognizing them does make a difference. And to honestly let your readers know that even though your life looks all intact, you have hard things like we all do – that seems very decent and kind of you to admit.

  97. Big HUGS to you and your family. Don’t forget that you have a whole community (this awesome tribe that you have created through sharing so many thin slices of joy and honesty about disappointments, defeats, questions unanswered) behind you in full force as you try to figure this one out. As mother’s is is so hard for us to quell our instinct to banish all of the “bad” from our children’s lives, especially if we know that they are suffering in some way, but sometimes the greatest challenges can be also be gifts. I hope and believe that this will be the case with whatever is going on.

    • Anna says...

      thank you for this comment. It really speaks to me, for some reason I had tears in my eyes while reading it.

  98. Jessie says...

    After 6 years of love and hard work in a relationship I am watching my engagement crumble. I can’t imagine we will make it to the altar. I don’t know that we should. I’m in mourning. Yesterday I bought a same day ticket to my mother’s house across the country to just be with the people who love me without judgement or pretense and get a little emotional rest. I hope that you and your family can also get some of that emotional rest in a way that soothes your hearts, even for a few minutes.

    On the issue of selective sharing, I think you should give yourself permission to share what feels safe and save the rest for people who have earned your trust. It’s okay to choose what your story will be for public consumption. It’s okay to not be totally raw with the world, especially when it comes to your children. Your readers clearly love you and support you, but I think deep down we all understand that you do not owe us your full, unabridged story. Because it’s not just a story, it’s your life.

    I hope you can find some peace in this difficult time and that these beautiful comments of support lend you some solidarity.

    • Reed says...

      Jessie,
      I am so, so sorry to hear about your engagement. As I was reading your comment I was thinking to myself, her partner will sure be missing out on such an intelligent and insightful human being if it doesn’t work out. I’m sorry if that is over stepping a little, and I don’t want to assume anything about your relationship, but your comment was so percipient.
      I myself have a hard time concerning when to share and when not to, mainly because I feel the need to explain or share with others to justify my decisions or moods. But you are so right about keeping things to either yourself, or the people that have earned your trust and whom you feel safest telling. It is ultimately up to the individual how much they feel they can share, and that is neither secretive nor deceptive. We actually just discussed this in my Lifespan Development psych. class today. Anyway….

      I agree, Joanna your readers support you and I bet the majority of us respect your space and decisions. I think it was both noble to mention that life isn’t always perfect, but to also keep this obviously personal subject for the people who have earned your trust. I wish both you and Jessie best wishes!

    • Sarah says...

      What a beautiful thing to say to Joanna. I would have said it better.
      Very sorry to hear about your situation. I hope your trip home brings you clarity and serenity in this difficult time. Best of luck to you.

  99. moderngrandma says...

    I was just saying to my husband how this is the only blog I follow. And it’s because of posts like this. Your’e so real and it’s greatly appreciated. I wish you the bet of luck with everything and hope 2016 doesn’t keep creeping into your 2017!

  100. Mirela says...

    I’m praying for you Joanna, that your heart will find peace and trust in the midst of the tumult and noise that goes on in and around you. Praying for your sweet littles too, they are precious and unique. Life is not all we ever dreamed it would always be and sometimes it can be way more than what we ever dreamed it could be. Praying you’ll find hope.

    I wish I was always on vacation in Portugal. But that’s just bc it’s where I grew up and I love that place. ❤️

  101. Amy says...

    Joanna, I’ve been quietly reading your blog for a few years, and have always been moved by the generosity, big-heartedness, kindness, and goodwill you share with your readers. This shines through most beautifully in the quiet posts like this one, but it’s present in everything. Thank you for sharing your worldview with us. Here’s wishing you and your family all the love and goodwill you need, and then some!

  102. Meg says...

    Jo, thank-you for sharing this. I’m sure what ever it is your lovely family will band together and come out stronger. Hang in there. Love from London x

  103. Jess says...

    Long time reader here (8-ish years), so I feel you’re blog is a “thin slice” of my world and thusly feel I need to leave a note of thankfulness for your authenticity. It’s your signature and in my experience openness has always helped rather than hindered, so thank you for this post on real talk. However, I wanted to leave a note more so because I 100% agree you have it spot on when it comes to finding happiness I wanted to wish you and your family well. It’s the smallest things; it’s the incremental progress; it’s the mindful awareness in the day to day.

    Although the mind is powerful and in answer to your question as to how we are feeling these days: I’ve recently gone some major life changes (going vegan, quitting a corporate job), so to take care of myself and the husband I’ve delved into dozens of health podcasts of late. I’ve learned these truths that link to happiness: 1. Once we realize why we are here and that we provide value to others, we will realize we need to take care of our health in order to have energy to help others. 2. The gut is literally where our happiness lies. “Gut bacteria manufacture about 95 percent of the body’s supply of serotonin, which influences both mood and GI activity.” http://bodyecology.com/articles/your-gut-can-influence-how-you-feel-it-all-starts-with-serotonin
    3. The mind literally uses glucose from food for fuel, therefore it can get tired. This means eating well will help us fight things like “decision fatigue,” but also cut out things that can tire the mind (for me I cut out reading the news and I minimized my wardrobe).

    You are a role model to me, Joanna, and here’s to sending positive vibes your way.

  104. Lise says...

    I am so sorry to hear about your situation. Hope, that it will work out some way. Kind thoughts all the way from Denmark. Lise

  105. Sana says...

    Thank you for being honest and open. I love reading your blog and see it as my escape from my “real world”.

    Your authencity about your difficuluties makes me feel respected as a reader. I feel you are not trying to sell me a false idea of glitzy new york.

    I hope you troubles are temporary and they shall pass. I hope you and your family comes out of this stronger and wiser.

    Love from Sweden

  106. Megan S. says...

    My son has a severe speech delay that we have been working with and worrying about for almost 2 years with no end in sight. It is all consuming sometimes and I feel guilty because it takes away from my younger child. Had I known how severe it would be I might not have had my second child when I did which adds a whole other layer of guilt on top of everything. My social media pages are full of happy family outings and I am basically very happy. I just wish I knew how to help my son. You are not alone.

    • Lydia says...

      megan, we went through something similar with our daughter. she was diagnosed with SEVERE apraxia when she was three, two months after her baby sister was born. they told us to learn sign language because she would probably never speak. through years (five) of speech therapy and a determined little girl, she just graduated this year from therapy. i know when you’re in the middle it can feel so daunting and enormous! i’m thinking of you. your post reminded me how i felt during those early years of balancing her siblings and the weight i felt while we tried to help her find her voice. sending you peace. xo

  107. Lissa says...

    Wishing you and yours an abundance of love.

  108. catherine says...

    I’ll share with you the quote that helps me, “Since my house burned down, I now have a better view of the rising moon.”

    • Laura says...

      This quote has pulled me through some tough times. I first heard it in a yoga class two years ago, ever since then it has been a source of strength that I return to again and again when searching for clarity & peace.