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. Is part of be humans. Hugs

  2. Oh Jo, I have been following your family for years, and my heart breaks to hear this. Thank you for posting about this. Everyone is fighting a hard battle of some kind and posts like this are important. I just made a hard hugging motion and sent it into the wind for you. I love you!

  3. Ramona says...

    Two songs come to mind….”People livin’ in competition, all I want is to have my peace of mind….” and “Eminence Front, Eminence Front…it’s a put on” Be true to yourselves. Live your life the way YOU want to. And please don’t feel you need to share anything. Your only obligation is to raise your boys into kind, compassionate, hard-working citizens. And I’d say you’re already on your way! Take Care and God Bless.

  4. Catherine says...

    Thank you for sharing. For what it’s worth, I think you do a phenomenal job of presenting your life in a realistic way and I appreciate that. I also remember running into you ages ago in BPC and sweet Toby was having a mini-meltdown. I immediately felt for you as we’ve all been there but it was also a gentle reminder that no one’s life is perfect (although you handled him with such patience!). Best of luck!

  5. Talia says...

    Sending you a big hug! Your honesty is so appreciated and I certainly understand the need for privacy. Please know your blog is a slice of goodness in my life. Just remember – nothing lasts forever. We are here for you!

  6. These are brave words to write. It is amazing how social media requires us to filter our pictures, words, posts to be “happy” and “perfect”. I love your blog and appreciate your honesty.

  7. Ana says...

    Hello Joanna, I don’t know what the problem is but your children always look SO happy… Happy faces, happy eyes, happy smiles… That’s the most important thing. So, well done girl! And a big big hug

  8. Diana says...

    I wish I could give you a warm embrace. I hope that whatever the problem, your family finds a way around or through it.

  9. So sorry to hear your pain. Thank you for sharing and being vulnerable. Much love <3

  10. Dawn says...

    Your candidness really resonates on such a personal level in that my family went through an unexpected challenge recently in the past year. We had a shakeup in our lives with one of my children that forced us to seek professional help on different levels and we have kept it mum still to this day from even our immediate families in respect of our child too, because it will continue to be an ongoing battle. Many nights and days were spent worrying, crying, advocating, educating ourselves, but also loving ourselves and each other a little more fiercely and also looking forward. I always loved this quote by Gilda Radner, “Motherhood is the biggest gamble in the world. It is the glorious life force. It’s huge and scary- it’s an act of infinite optimism.” Those words became my mantra and helped push me forward on dark days. You never know what life will throw at you, however your boys are so lucky to have such a loving and dedicated mom! Thank you for letting us know that we aren’t alone and life isn’t rosy at all times, but imperfectly perfect. Much love and support to you and your family.

  11. Amy says...

    Joanna,
    Thank you for such a beautiful, safe, smart, funny, emotional and empowering place to visit from my computer. I love cupofjo and look forward to it everyday. Sending you extra love this day!! You, your family and your blog have a special place in my heart. Thanks again.

  12. Ana says...

    Big Hi from Portugal, Joanna. (nobody is always on vacation here, – only a few really rich people, I suppose – but our amazing weather makes every regular day feel like a proper holiday; and our lunches and comutes are really instagram-friendly :))
    On a more serious note, I hope you find the strength you need to deal with whatever you need to deal. I find the struggle between holding a secret and sharing the burden particularly difficult. You have invested readers all over the world who are rooting for you and your family. Me included.

  13. Cait says...

    I hope you don’t mind, but I wanted to say that I’ll honestly be praying for you as you navigate this, whatever is on your heart and mind right now. I think of you often since I love the blog and so many things remind me of it :)

  14. Cat says...

    Hi Joanna,
    My heart broke reading that your family is going through a difficult time, I am so sorry. You seem like the most amazing mother and wife and I am positive you guys will make it through this. We are all rooting for you! Thank you for sharing your story, and your blog with all of us, coming here always makes my day a little brighter. Sending lots of love!

  15. Emma says...

    Ugh I’m so sorry you guys are dealing with something so hard. But I love the concept of thin slices of joy – they are the only way we can move gracefully through the tumults of life. My husband was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma during a 3rd year of marriage. We were stunned and it opened up an entire scary world of possibilities that we usually are lucky enough to ignore on a daily basis. The uncertainty can be paralyzing. But for six months, every other Wednesday, I went with him to chemotherapy for four hours in the morning. When we got home, he would go up to bed and I would make him whatever sounded good to him (which when you have just gotten chemo isn’t much and always seemed to change). We would eat our lunch in bed and then spend the rest of the afternoon napping and watching favorite shows or afternoon baseball games. Being able to spend a Wednesday afternoon together when we are usually both working – that was our thin slice of joy and I absolutely cherished that time. Now that he has finished treatment and, by the grace of God, is in remission, I still look back on those Wednesdays with warm and fond memories because those were the days that knit our hearts together more than I ever thought was possible.

    You and Alex love your kids unconditionally and fully and it shows. With that, you can take on anything. And that will be their slice of joy. Sending lots of love to you, Alex, Toby, and Anton.

  16. Ashley says...

    Thanks Joanna for sharing your beautiful life with us. And thank you also for sharing struggles. I remember one time you mentioned very briefly in a post that you were working on helping Anton through a tantrum phase- and I cried reading it because it made me feel less isolated going through the same with my daughter. So thank you and big hugs to your family. Xoxo

  17. Octavia says...

    I love this blog, thank you for reminding us that not everything is as it seems and there are so many layers to our lives, not all of which are Instagram worthy. I hope that things get better for you and your family!

    One of my favorite quotes: “Let everything happen to you. Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.” -Rainer Maria Rilke

  18. Sharon says...

    Love you, Cup of Jo.

  19. J says...

    I wanted to chime in and also offer my heartfelt support. Life can be really difficult and complicated. Not everything is “Too blessed to be stressed”. Happiness is not always simply a mental choice (I want to punch people who preach that) but yes, we can find small slices of joy where we can. When my children were the same age as yours, I went through some of the hardest times in my life. And now I am going through another equally rough stage. I too have a huge secret that I’m unable to share. It’s terrible and weighing. I want you to know that you are not alone. Hang in there and know that your readers support you in your pain.

  20. michelle says...

    I wish you didn’t have to deal with whatever it is that’s worrying you at night. I wish I could offer you comfort or perspective, as your blog has to me so many times (I often repeat your mom’s reminder to “take gentle care of yourself”). You seem like such a lovely, thoughtful parent. Whatever it is you’re dealing with, I’m sure you’re navigating it in the most patient and loving way.

    I’m dealing with heavy parenting issues, too, right now. When you’re staying up worrying tonight, maybe you’ll find some comfort in knowing there’s a mom in Ontario, Canada doing the same!

    Take gentle care of yourself. ; )

  21. Beth says...

    Sending thoughts of love to you and your sweet family. The other day when I shared my personal sadness in a comment, it was the first time that I shared words of our loss outside my intimate circle. I felt compelled to because you’ve created and nurtured what feels like a safe and open space with your own honesty and love. I was just talking to a friend about “slices of joy” yesterday and telling her that I read an article about it right when our son was born and in the NICU. I spent those days consciously slicing joy so that I wouldn’t let the experience swallow me whole into darkness. I had no idea how much I would hold onto those “slices” after losing him. Because of that exercise I can remember and hold onto the moments I stopped to feel joy in the experience and joy in him. Without that, my memory of him would have just been filled with scary and sad. I’m so happy that his little life was more than that. Wishing you many slices of joy even through the dark times.

  22. Caroline says...

    I think it was Theodore Roosevelt who said “comparison is the thief of joy”. In this age of social media, it’s so tempting to constantly compare our (whole) selves to everybody else’s hand-picked, perfectly curated moments. Thanks for the reminder that things are not always as they seem. It’s so important to be kind to ourselves, and each other. Sending hugs to you and your family. xoxo

  23. Celeste says...

    Not sure that I can add much to the already many responses, but I wanted to express my support. You’ve created so many great things—this space, your family. Take heart and know you’ve got so many people rooting for you and your family!

  24. Meg says...

    Oh my word, never have I wished I was real-life friends with a blogger as much as I do now. I have two boys almost exactly the same ages of your boys (like, within days) and we are going through something incredibly difficult with one of our loves as well. And the thing is, I can’t really tell anyone about it because… well, even thats too hard to answer. Its what keeps me up at night, and makes me crave a 2nd glass of wine. Oh boy howdy, parenting is so much harder than you ever realize it will be. It nice to know that you (who is so successful and put together and seemingly perfect) is struggling with something as well- maybe even the same thing we’re struggling with- ha, I may print this out just to put next to my bed to read before bed. Thanks for sharing

  25. Lauren says...

    Sending lots of love and big hugs to you, Alex, and the boys. You are an incredible mother and your honesty and willingness to share what you’re going through as a parent constantly inspires me (and so many others!). xoxoxo.

  26. cody says...

    Dear Joanna,
    Thank you for your post. Reading your blog every day is one of my slices of joy! I pray that you and your family will be happy and healthy. Its ok to switch on fierce protective mama bear mode when it comes to your babes. Although blogs/IG only show tiny glimpses into your life, it is plain to see that your sons are your everything. Hugs!

  27. Jenna says...

    Sending you love and light, Jo. I’ve been reading your blog for 7 years and have fallen in love with your sweet little family. Thank you for all you do.

  28. M. says...

    A big heartfelt hug to you! And I will definitely look for slim slices of joy. I love that..

  29. Barb says...

    I’m always so struck by the incredible thoughtfulness and kindness in the comments section of this blog, and it totally starts with the tone you set, Joanna. We’re all thinking of you and your family – sending tons of love! xo

  30. Irina says...

    I am so sorry, Joanna. I rarely comment but check your blog regularly. I, too, have a blog, and I know that feeling of wanting to share the struggle I am going through but not being able to. I live in a small community and blog anonymously, and I don’t want our family to be identified through what I write. I also don’t want this difficult issue that I’m dealing with to become the focus of the blog. I’d like to be able to talk about it when I want to, but then also have the freedom to talk about other things at other times, without having to constantly return to this topic because the disclosure somehow makes me accountable to my readers. Stay strong, and, yes, those slices of joy do help.

  31. Lisa says...

    Thank you for sharing, and what a supportive, loving community this is! Scrolling through the comments has been such a good reminder that everyone is going through something and that the world is a loving place if we choose to look at it that way. Sending lots of peace to you and your family. My slice of joy for today is that I get to go to my yoga class tonight, and that is a safe place in every way for me.

  32. Ghazal says...

    Thank you SO much for being honest and posting this. Sometimes you need to be reminded that everyone is going through something, and you’re not alone. Sending you hugs from Miami xo

  33. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this. Sending hugs.

  34. Cindy says...

    Slices of joy I experienced this week:
    * I opened the cupboard, and my favorite coffee mug was clean and ready to use.
    * I stepped out from underneath shade on a cool day and felt warm sun on my shoulders.

    May you sense the strength of a thousand women who understand the need for privacy and who totally have your back. You are loved!

  35. Ana says...

    sending you love <3 I think the idea of finding "thin slices of joy" is so powerful, and I've actually been doing it more and more recently.

    For me – some of my thin slices of joy are being tired on a weekend day but knowing I can fall asleep without setting an alarm (regardless of whether i even sleep in or not), swirling my fork in and biting into a steaming hot bowl of pasta, and each hug I give my friends/family/coworkers!

  36. Fatima says...

    Thank you for keeping it real. Have you read Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. She calls life ‘ brutiful; brutal en beautiful. Sometimes brutal en sometimes beautiful. Sending you love.

  37. GFY says...

    “To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”
    – Criss Jami

    But also, I do believe deeply in the right to privacy. It’s an expanding social art right now, to know when to share vulnerability be open to love and support and when to keep it to yourself…

    • GFY says...

      PS: REALLY respect that you’re aware that it is not your story to tell! That is so beautifully considerate!!

  38. I think everyone has an urge to stop posting and sharing, but it’s gotten to the point that if you don’t post you feel left out or like you are not proud of your life, I rarely post on social media and my life is amazing. I travel and am raising my amazing kids all in the privacy of my own life. Of course I have my struggles but i deal with them with people I can trust and who won’t judge me and will help me instead. I value the moments I have in real
    Life so much that I don’t feel the need to share them with a world full of strangers or even my social media friends and family for that matter. The pressure of having it all in the visual sense has gotten out of hand and my way to stop it is to not participate and limit how much I display the image of my life.

  39. Jen says...

    I have often looked at your blog and envied the type of life you have with your kids. I have two boys (2.5 & 4) and every day is chaos. They are adorable and hilarious but also extremely difficult, challenging me as a person and a mother every single day. I often look at the glossy feed of a perfectly curated Instagram & wonder, “Why can’t my family be that way?”.

    Thank you for the reminder that social media is merely the cover, and, everyone knows what they say about judging books by their cover…

    Love to you & your beautiful family. <3

  40. Trisha says...

    I just realized why I get so frustrated and “put out” with social media, yet, I keep coming back to your blog year after year. You are transparent Joanna. And that doesn’t mean you “tell all”. It means you’re honest. You seem to be a very sincere and kind person. It comes through in your writing. Thank you.
    One time you wrote about just being “okay” is okay. That has always stuck with me, because it’s what I knew to be true, but never really heard anyone say it. And that makes me happy. Knowing that it’s okay to have struggles and tough moments.

    Hugs

  41. Erica H. says...

    Thanks for being honest; that’s why I LOVE your blog! Also, sending you good vibes and strength to help you through your parenting challenge. XOXO

  42. Kate says...

    Joanna, I admire you so much. There are a million things about your life that do seem glamorous, but one of the things I love most about this blog is that you still always feel real. I know you’re a real person with real struggles with a real marriage and real kids. I like that you let us know that you have worries and I also like that you allow yourself to have some privacy about those worries. Thank you. I am fighting for joy every day too. And lately, I am proud to say, joy is winning.

  43. Elle says...

    My husband and I moved countries a few years ago and ever since, well, it’s been the hardest few years of my life. I so often want people to know that everything isn’t as great as it looks, solely for the fact that we can all feel like we’re not alone in difficult seasons. But like you said, much of what has been so challenging isn’t my story to tell. At least not yet. Keep remembering that everything is a season – it will change at some point. xo!

    • Cass says...

      Oh gosh, this is helpful to read. We moved back to my husband’s country, and while I love some aspects, this is also one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, particularly as I still work back in my home country and fly back and forth between them.

  44. Amelia says...

    Thank you – it is an act of great generosity to share that things are harder than they may appear in internet world. Sending you mama strength. xoxo

    • Amelia says...

      (I also wanted to say that your post reminded me about Post Secret – I often go there to feel less alone in moments when it seems like everyone has it together but me. <3)

  45. cgw says...

    Part of why I got off FB was because of the very thing you’re talking about regarding the life we post on social media. I am on IG but have found that less “braggy” than FB. I got down seeing so many people’s children’s accomplishments: 1st place in science fair, my 7 year old is reading the New York Times, my daughter is in 4H and Girl Scouts, plays the piano flawlessly, and is volleyball team captain!” Couldn’t deal anymore. My child is autistic, bright, curious, social, and most times people don’t can’t really tell but do think “quirky”. Yet, there are times when it’s very apparent. When my child was first diagnosed at a young age, the gaps between her and her peers seemed not too big. I thought that as she grew the gaps would be smaller, but in many ways they’ve become wider; middle school is a harsh reality. It’s been hard sometimes to come to terms with, seeing that I felt like I had finally come to terms with autism being in our lives a few years back. But there it is, a constant ever changing thing, as is a lot of other things in our lives. I don’t miss FB a lick. my private IG is very small on purpose.

    • cgw says...

      Whoops, pressed send too quickly, there’s no edit button. Meant to add:
      Hang in there, keep it real, you are strong and you will manage whatever it is that weighs on you.

  46. Teree says...

    I’m so sorry that life is heavy for you. And it’s hard to share sometimes, isn’t it? I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis a month ago, and I’m hesitant to tell people (who aren’t ‘my people’), worrying that they will react in a way that makes me feel naked and alone.

    I really hope you know we are all rooting for you and your family.
    Also, I love this community that you have created.

    • Jen says...

      Hugs. Your “naked and alone” descriptor is so relatable. I’m glad you’ve got your people. I send hopes of empathy as that circle expands.

  47. Malia says...

    A great reminder, thanks Joanna. I have to take periodic breaks from social media because when I’m in the wrong headspace it makes me so miserable. Which is not necessary when I’ve got plenty of other problems (almost all secret ones):
    depression that I just can’t kick and bad habits that make it worse and that I just can’t kick, either; serious marital woes; days of tantrums; weeks of family flu; friend in hospice; loneliness (that quote above is so good, thank you); boredom; low morale; lack of funds to visit desperately missed family; et cetera etc.
    It’s good to remember everyone has their problems, though, and plenty of people have much worse ones than I do.

  48. Emma says...

    About 3-4 years ago I clicked on a link randomly hopping around the Internet and got to your blog. It was a post about post partum depression and it was one of the realest things I had read on a blog (the comments were epic too). I have tuned in every single day from that first moment in part because of your honesty and openness, it is so refreshing. Thank you for opening up your life to all of us and for doing so in small ways even when you can’t.

  49. Alexandra says...

    I am sending hugs to you, unknown in person. Your blog has given so much joy to me over the years, navigating motherhood, relationship, work and all the other things that compete for attention. Although my kids are older, I am still or again struggling especially how to remain a wife and keep a good and loving relationship with growing children; it is not easy, and sometimes I feel that I/we am/are failing, and sometimes there are the most lovely moments (“slices of happiness”) between the two of us. I have a hard time opening up to my husband about my thoughts and feelings, and he does not seem to see a problem that I see. Oh well, is it enough to muddle along together for the little slices of happiness? I am glad that I am not on Instagram to watch other peoples’ perceived wonderful lives, Facebook is sometimes bad enough. Take care, and try to enjoy the little things! I love your blog, your thoughtful and respectful blog entries and it’s the first thing I open in the morning usually.

    • Marci says...

      I so appreciate this post and this comment — reading, “is it enough to muddle along together for the little slices of happiness?” perfectly sums up what I’m going through. I’m questioning my marriage, even though there’s nothing terrible about it — no infidelity, fighting, etc. After 10+ years together, I just don’t know if I want to be with him forever, and if I want to go my own separate way. But there are plenty of slices of happiness, and a good life we’ve built together. I honestly don’t know, and I don’t feel comfortable opening up to family and friends about it. Just wanted to add that I’m experiencing an invisible struggle too, and it’s comforting to know I’m not alone.

  50. Bridget says...

    Joanna…good for you on the social media front. I handle it in similar way. Thank you so much for this post. It came at auch a good time for me!

    I am not sure what journey you are on, but hang in there, warrior mama. Keep fighting the good fight. My husband and I are on our own journey with my 5 year old boy (high functioning autism, along with fine and gross motor issues). Parenting is tough, no matter who your kiddo is! I used to teach preschool special ed…specifically kids just like my son…and this has been a humbling, challenging, and sometimes lonely road. The past few weeks have been rough, with re-evaluation reports, eligibility meetings, and a visit to the developmental pediatrician!

    Whatever you are dealing with, I think finding a few parents in the same boat helps immensely. I love my friends and their typically developing kids, but sometimes I just need to vent about trying to find a social skills group or an IEP meeting, and they just can’t relate. Finding a couple people who understand what you are going through helps so much! I hope you find your own village, and if you don’t have one, I would be happy to just listen. (Sorry if that is weird. I realize you don’t know me, but having read and loved your blog for years, I can’t imagine not offering help!) Sending you a hug!

  51. Jess says...

    Thank you. I needed this today. Sending best of luck and comfort your way.

  52. I’m so sorry you all are dealing with something hard.
    But thank you for posting this. Its a good reminder. I am guilty of forgetting the sparkly online version is not “Real Life” and isn’t a realistic standard to compare/hold myself to.
    Sending love to you and your family.

  53. Susan M. says...

    Sending you supportive vibes — you’re so right that there’s the world beyond social media. It’s media up for a little personal exchange, not a representation of whole lives. Children’s author Patricia Polacco sent around a great reminder post about happiness being where you are right now, not with what you might want/need/have in the future (which is not to say that you can’t make plans, but planning is different from living in the moment with the good, the bad, and the so so). These days, when any challenges come my way, I’m thinking about people suffering in war torn or famine struck areas of the world. Makes me grateful for the most basic things and the people in my life. And helps me face my challenges — if they are trying, I can surely persist. Love all your posts and your honesty. Thank you.

  54. Erin says...

    Sending you love from Canada. xox

  55. Beata says...

    Joanna! Hugs and kisses from Poland! The statement that social media doesn’t show everything is very important to me too! I think we underestimate the usual and it would be good to appreciate it again and find the beauty in the ordinary. That’s where the essence of life is. Also, try reading something by Jack Gilbert ;). Xoxo!

  56. Cynthia says...

    Joanna, I appreciate your desire for privacy while also letting your readers know your life isn’t perfect. What strikes me though is the incredible platform you have to reach out to a diverse, enormous, educated, experienced, and loyal following for help and support. I imagine you would get so much help and maybe lessen your load in the process. Either which way, we support you and send love and positive energy!

  57. Laura C. says...

    Sending lots of love and prayer s. For you and the commenters eho are struggling. Also for me, as I’m struggling too, for my depression and my daughter.
    Love for everyone

  58. Lis says...

    All the best wishes from Austria!! Thank you for sharing at least part of your story. I hope it gives other people strength to open themselves up about their daily struggels to someone. Even though one is not able to solve another persons problems, it surely helps to see things from a different perspective every now and then and to know, we are not alone in this world.

  59. Lara says...

    I am in the midst of a divorce and no one knows. I fear for the mental health of my children and it keeps me up at night.
    Sending you wishes for peace.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      sending a big hug your way, lara. that must be so hard and isolating. you’re not alone, and we are rooting for you. you sound like a great mother. xoxoxo

    • june2 says...

      Bravo to you for braving the changes ahead! Your children may be different of course but I suffered deeply as a child because my parents thought staying together ‘for the children’ was better for us. Um…wrrrrongg. Seeing my parents do what was best for their relationship would have been far more educational and life affirming. With love and as much truth as they need (they. not you. Be brave), your kids will be ok and maybe even helpful. Communication is key.

  60. Jaclyn says...

    Sometimes there are things in life that blot out the sun. Please remember that this is just a season. Either it will pass, or you will get better at managing it! <3 Xo

  61. Bex says...

    Oh Joanna. I’m so sorry to read this. But by sharing I’m sure you have made so many people feel less alone. Thank you.
    I’m struggling with a new addition to our family. So wanted but gosh it’s so much work. We’re all so tired and the new big brother is finding it very hard and acting out a lot. Hugs to you and all the parents trying their best xx

    • Adding a second baby to our family just about undid me. It was so much harder than I ever could have imagined, and there were times I didn’t think I would survive. I’m standing here today to tell you that not only does it get better, in just a little while it will be the best! Hang in there!

  62. Aj says...

    Cup of Jo is definitely a little slice of joy. In fact, scrap that – it’s a super-sized slab of joy that brightens so many days. Bless you and your gorgeous family. I hope some less anxious sleeps are on the horizon xx

  63. Kem says...

    Thank-you for your candor, Joanna. I know that the struggles I’ve had in my life, the things that have pushed me way out of my comfort zone, the things I though I wouldn’t make it through, are the things that made me really dig deep and become stronger, more resilient, and have shaped who I am and how I see the world. I hope you are able to glean more than a slice of strength, insight, and resilience from the challenges you are experiencing. Hang in there.

  64. Joanna, I so appreciate this post. It’s a reminder we need from women like you that yes, everyone has their struggles, including famous lifestyle bloggers that we admire every day. My husband and I have struggled for the past several years with being underemployed, and are finally getting our financial bearings. We recently bought a dog and a car, which were big milestones after years of struggling, but we still have a long way to go until we can do something like buy a house or start a family, and the financial stress still keeps me up at night. A few days ago a friend made a remark about how “perfect” our life is. She was trying to compliment me and say she was happy for me, but I felt awful – had I not been honest enough? Was my instagram feed full of puppy photos “lying” about my life right now? The last thing I wanted was for someone else who is struggling to feel like they’re alone in it, to look at my life and think “she doesn’t have to struggle like me, this (financial struggle) must be my fault.” It’s hard to know how to balance the real, hard, daily-life stuff with the good stuff. Anyway, we love and support you. (And I highly recommend puppy therapy as a source of “thin joy.” ;) )

  65. This is such a good point, and it doesn’t only happen on social media. I had a work event on Friday and I was talking to a couple of coworkers who are fellow Game of Thrones fans. I’m expecting a baby on the GOT premiere date, and I was joking that I hope I’m not in the hospital for the premiere. One of the guys very rudely chastised me for having such flippant concerns while I’m pregnant. What he doesn’t know is I have a pretty serious pregnancy complication that could literally lead to me bleeding to death and leaving three children without a mother. It probably won’t…I have excellent medical care, and the risk is somewhat low, but it is very present. It weighs on my mind constantly, but I didn’t think that particular issue was what everyone wanted to talk about at a fun ice cream social at the office. It’s important to remember that most people don’t share every detail of their lives, and it would even be rude or at least awkward to overshare. As my high school German teacher used to say “I don’t care about your indigestion, how are you is a greeting not a question.”

    (PS, I do care if someone is having a bad day, but I think it’s a good idea to remember that oversharing is a thing too.)

    • K says...

      The funniest part is this comment came from a guy. Seriously, he mansplained pregnancy to you.

      I’m going through infertility, and we’re going to have to IVF. It’s a big financial hit, and it’s hard to think about all we have to go through to get pregnant. A few people know, but Facebook is hard, and I’m tired of questions. I have high hopes that we will eventually have a child, but right now, it’s difficult. Thanks for being somewhat open (while still protecting someone’s privacy, especially in so public a space).

  66. Thank you so much for this. Please know that you make a positive difference every day with the kind tone of your blog and what you choose to post. Have loved reading you for years. Sending you positive thoughts and good energy.

  67. Jenny blanc says...

    Whatever you are going through. Prayers sent. No ones life is perfect but sometimes you think that looking at blogs and Instagram

  68. Sarah K says...

    This just speaks straight to my heart. I love that you shared this, and the tender way you shared it with respect for your child/ren’s privacy, so very much. Thank you for being one of the places on the internet that acknowledges the raw, dark moments of life while also celebrating the thin slices of joy.

    Our family has gone through some great tragedies and difficult challenges in the past years, along with beautiful moments of joy, too, and as I process this I have mostly tended to avoid social media, because when I get on I get sucked into the vortex of “is everyone’s life perfect but mine?” and “how can I share something happy when this sadness is equally real and sometimes more dominant?” Thank you for speaking to that tension.

    And as a parent–I have many anxieties for the needs of my four living children, and usually feel inadequate to provide all I want to be able to give them in love and attention and wisdom and opportunity and conversation and time. This is especially true for my oldest, who has some significant challenges along with amazing gifts. He is almost 11, so I don’t have a lot of perspective yet, but I do feel that as I look back, measuring him against himself instead of against his peers, I see real progress in the areas that have worried me. And when I focus on praising and encouraging him for the areas in which he excels and the areas where he works much harder than other kids have to, he lights up and I feel hope growing in my own heart, too. It helps me a lot to take a long-range view, thinking about how to help him grow up to be the best version of himself someday. Sometimes this means giving up dreams and expectations I had–I’m still working on that. And really I think all parents have to go through that process of reshaping our dreams for our child so that they reflect their own souls and dreams. I don’t know that any of this applies at all to what you are experiencing–but it’s what came to mind when I read your words. Much love and warm thoughts to you and your beautiful family. I only “know” you and Alex through this blog, but I am confident that you are deeply loving parents and that love will make you wise as you raise your precious children.

  69. Lara says...

    well, I’m a 28-year old university student, only parent to a beautiful three-year old, currently holding, three jobs, still couldn’t pay my rent this month and won’t be able to support us at all starting in October and have ZERO plans how to deal with the situation. And no, dropping out of university isn’t an option. So yes, people have problems and you should talk or be silent about them as much as you want to. And no, my Instagram feed doesn’t share any of my struggles because, quite honestly, I just need some space in my that is exclusively beautiful (apart from my son of course). Not sure if that makes me vein but it’s what I need right now.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, i think that totally makes sense! you have to keep some things to yourself, just to get through the day :) good luck and sending you a huge hug. xoxoxo

    • Lara says...

      Oh and of course I’m sending my love to you Joanna! Parenting is tough and never, ever without struggle. Hope you guys feel better soon or find a way to ‘cope’ with whatever is going on!

  70. Andrea says...

    Your “thin slices of joy” reminded me of my favorite poem by Walt Whitman, titled “Miracles”:

    Why, who makes much of a miracle?
    As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
    Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
    Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
    Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
    Or stand under trees in the woods,
    Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night
    with any one I love,
    Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
    Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
    Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,
    Or animals feeding in the fields,
    Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
    Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet
    and bright,
    Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
    These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
    The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

    To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
    Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
    Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
    Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.
    To me the sea is a continual miracle,
    The fishes that swim–the rocks–the motion of the waves–the
    ships with men in them,
    What stranger miracles are there?

    • Anneliese Olivia says...

      Thank you, Andrea. Walt Whitman is a giant. This is my new favorite poem.

  71. Thank you, Joanna, for exposing yourself to all your readers. Your emotional generosity is what keeps me coming back, every day, to see what you’re up to.

    Thin slices of joy….I love that.
    My daughter whispering “I love you, mommy,” before she drifts off to sleep.

    My son hugging me for no reason other than that he felt like it.

    When I catch my husband looking at me while I stir something on the stove.

    Seeing seals play in the ocean down the block from our house. What a gift.

    The foam on top of my morning espresso. Man, I love that.

    • Mary Beth says...

      Lindsay – thank you for your lovely list of the most valuable, yet simple moments in life!

  72. sj says...

    Your willingness to be open and honest is so inspiring, especially when there’s so much pressure to have a perfect life, or at least to look like it! I read your blog in the 45 minutes I have after scraping baby food off the floor and reading a naptime story to my 3 year old who has yet another cold, before picking up my five year old from school. Most days this is the only small moment I have for myself and it very often brings a small sliver of joy to my day. Thank you.

  73. anj says...

    i never comment but felt moved to. as a new mom, i definitely see your life as #parenthoodgoals. but i love the honesty and hope you can share more, whenever comfortable, since i think that transparency is a great thing to integrate into our culture. definitely understand not sharing right now.

  74. Aimee says...

    Aw, your blog is a slice of joy, in part because of your honesty. Telling all isn’t necessary, of course. As a parent of teens and young adults right now, I’m definitely up at night worrying about stories that aren’t mine to tell. Whatever your family is facing, I think your boys are very lucky to have the parents they do. Sending virtual hugs your way!

  75. deb says...

    I’m so sorry to read this, Joanna…and I also am one to look at social media and think that others’ lives are much easier, freer, less complicated than my own…when my 24 yo son with autism was diagnosed 21 years ago, there was no social media, but there was also a smaller world when it came to the disorder…now I can and do share about sean’s good times and not so good times if I want to and don’t always feel so alone…all my best to you, alex and your beautiful boys xo <3

  76. Christy says...

    This is so hard to not know what it is, yet we all completely respect your need for privacy. It’s also validating to know that we’re all dealing with “life” whether we live in Brooklyn, a rural village or a coastal town. It isn’t all glamorous and edited so perfectly and that’s ok.

    I have a vision for what life will be like with my family and it’s rarely that clean, simple or easy. It’s hard, messy and complicated. I’m learning how to live with that and find the small joys and victories that come with raising little ones. Unfortunately I’m finding that lately it makes me angry when people put on the “we’re perfect” front. I don’t need a $2,000 handbag and I don’t need someone to flaunt it in my face. Great that you can make it to the gym 7 days a week but I’m a full time working mom (in and out of the home) and that’s not my ultimate focus at this time in my life. This social media “front” takes away from the realness that we all need and communicates that it’s not okay to struggle, feel down or upset.

    So thanks for being real and sharing your authenticity.

  77. Trish says...

    Joanna, whatever the situation may be, you have an army of support and love out here, and we don’t ever need to know any of the details to offer you that. Sending you a massive hug. xo

  78. Alex says...

    Sending you positive vibes and happy thoughts as you navigate this difficult time with your kid(s). I truly hope that you and Alex are able to find the help and support that you need to tackle this situation, whatever it may be. Over the years this blog has made me laugh and cry so many times. I’ve turned to it when I needed a reference or guidance for so many of life’s issues – female friendships, career, marriage, motherhood, (and fashion and makeup!) So thank you Joanna and team, for posting such relevant and honest content. And know that your loyal readers have your back!

  79. Lucy S says...

    Just live to you and yours xxx

    • Lucy S says...

      Love. Oodles of love. Stupid autocorrect xxxxxx

  80. L says...

    The timing of this post is unbelievable. I was just thinking how my social media does not in any way reflect that state of life as it is in this moment. I’ve had a particularly difficult time this past month, and the loneliness of it is what’s overpowering. I know in the grand sense of what other people go through it’s minimal, but to me , it’s been pivotal. Thank you for your honesty and I hope you and your family continue contributing to your “wholeness” and take note of the little joys in between.

  81. Katie says...

    Sending you love and light from afar. Parenting is a wonderful, complex, challenging journey and I so hope for peace and direction with whatever challenge you are facing. I have a special needs 4 year old and a 2 year old with the same genetic condition but none of the special needs. It’s been a rollercoaster navigating how that feels lately, and extremely lonely and isolating. Even from my partner as we process it differently. I hope you and Alex are able to find strength in each other through this and have some close friends or family you can be vulnerable with. Xoxo.

  82. Em says...

    I’m so sorry that you’re having a hard time, Joanna. I also really respect your decision to keep it private. I am a social media fiend but I also feel, very acutely, that my social media presence can be such a half-truth that it sometimes borders on a lie. Last year I moved to a new part of the country that is really beautiful. On my instagram, I post pictures of my beautiful surroundings perhaps once or twice a week. I get comments from friends saying that they’re so jealous of my “dreamy life” in this beautiful place. And while I do love it here, what I don’t post on social media is the enormous struggle I had the entire first year of living here while job searching, soul searching, and basically feeling desperate and lost. I escaped out into nature and look pretty pictures once a week and that’s all that Instagram showed. I changed my instagram tag-line to say, “this is my highlight reel.” I try to remind myself daily, that life is complex for everyone.

  83. f says...

    Hugs to you Joanna… and know that your site is often a “slice of joy” in my day and many others, I’m sure! It’s so true that nothing is ever as perfect as it seems and when people bring that to light, it’s just refreshing.

  84. Erin says...

    Honestly? I can only reliably cook salmon, my 7 year old has regular tantrums, and I’ve never been to Portugal. Hope that helps in some way. Otherwise sending love and hugs and support your way!

  85. Has it been 5 years? I wouldn’t know as I have been loving this blog for what seems longer than that. I have been reading through my divorce, I have been reading through my struggles to keep it together while raising my two sons as a single mom. I have been reading while hearing about the pain and sickness of family members and wishing healing thoughts your way. And yes, at times, it was easy to think that you had it all, that your life was perfect. But alas, life is not perfect. I recently told my ex, who has become fairly militant about time, that I am an imperfect being, my life is imperfect and that is the way I like it. So deal with it when you have to wait an extra 15 minutes for me to drop off the boys.

    You can do this–we are all behind you.

  86. Kristin says...

    Thank you for being here and bringing so much joy, beauty, and thoughtfulness to our lives, even as you are struggling. Sending hugs from my not perfect, not Instagram worthy life. Good luck, strength, and peace as you navigate your challenges.

  87. Ximena says...

    I’m pregnant with my first baby and I have to admit you are one of my parenting inspiration. I’m always saying to my husband, this is the book Joanna recommended, or this is the mattress crib Joanna used, etc. Lol! He though I was talking about a friend who he hadn’t meet yet… and you kind of are even if we’ve never meet! Your honesty and transparency about life’s up and downs really are such an inspiration!

    Lots of love to you and your family <3

  88. Denise says...

    As I read your post, I imagined you must have a child struggling with gender identity… because that’s what I’m dealing with and trying to understand while trying to be the best most supportive mom I can be. I’m projecting! Thank you for your honesty and courage and my best wishes to you and your husband and children.

  89. yael steren says...

    I think that most people know it’s impossible to share everything but I know what you mean. I’ve actually been thinking to write a post about how I still suffer with self-esteem issues. You wouldn’t know it looking at my blog or IG account but it’s something I’ve struggled with having been bullied and made fun of for my appearance while growing up. I hope everything is okay with you and I’m sending lots of love and positive thoughts your way. xx yael
    http://www.yaelsteren.com/blog

  90. Merry says...

    I found out that a very close family member has a stage IV glioblastoma (the most malignant form of brain tumor) on the same day that I miscarried. I haven’t told some of my closest family about the miscarriage since they’re already so overwhelmed by the news of our loved one. It’s been such a hard few weeks, but both are so personal that it’s hard to let outsiders know. It keeps making me try to remember that every person you meet is fighting a battle and to try to be kind.

    • Moira says...

      What an overload of bad news! I am so sorry about the miscarriage and your relative.

  91. Natasha says...

    Dear Joanna,
    Thank you so much for being vulnerable, and sharing another part of your family with us. I can’t tell you how much your blog has helped me parent, how it has given me guidance and support. I read it every day because it always brightens my day, makes me laugh or inspires me or makes me think in a different way or gives me a lift or just plain takes my mind off of everything else going on in our lives. I feel like my life is richer because of your blog. I’m serious. I want to thank you for always, always being honest. You feel like a friend of mine. We are going through something over here too, and I often think of your wholeness post, how happiness is just one part of being human. I love that. Sending you a big hug and lots of light and love.

  92. Jasna says...

    My heart broke a little bit, hope you guys are ok! Love you, Jo!

  93. Lily R says...

    I am thinking of you and want only the best for you and your family so I will hold my rose quartz close to my heart and send some good energy your way. You always inspire me and your blog comforts me. It is my own personal hygge.

    I am in a toxic relationship with a guy and I do not seem to know how to extricate myself although the way to do that is very simple. It’s leave. But I seem to keep going back. So I find a slice of joy every time I am at work and laugh over something with a friend. Or when I get to lay in bed alone and watch tv. Or when I call my mom or my aunt.
    We will get through this. We just have to keep going and changing our actions to have more positive reactions (or at least I do)
    love to you
    Lily R

    • Anne says...

      Lily, I have so much faith that you can do this. You are beautiful and valuable, and you deserve to fill your life with only good people who love you, support you, and are kind to you. Leaving might feel impossible, but it’s a temporary pain that will open so many doors to you in the long term.

      Sending you some love, Anne

    • cgw says...

      I don’t know how toxic is toxic, but it seems enough for you to mention leaving. I can’t imagine how difficult that must be, and I don’t know you. But you are worth and deserving of only good, love, and light. If he’s not giving you what you deserve then I hope you’ll find the strength within you to remove yourself from the toxic environment. There are good, kind people (men) out there. But you must take care of yourself and treat yourself the way you deserve to in order to find the people who will treat you similarly.

    • Dinny says...

      I have siblings in this same situation and it breaks my heart. Anne’s comments are spot one. Please know that you are worthy of safe loving relationships with those who appreciate you. The moment you beliebe it and move forward on that path, fantastic things will come your way. Sending empowering thoughts your way.

    • Jessica says...

      Hi Lily R,
      I know exactly what you mean about the simple solution–leave–that’s actually not simple at all. I was also in a toxic (honest truth: emotionally and verbally abusive) relationship years ago. I think, looking back now, it just seemed too hard to confront the real truth about that relationship–I couldn’t fathom admitting that truth to myself, let alone anyone else. I have to credit a really good therapist who gave me the tools I needed to leave for good, to help me put up the boundaries that I didn’t know how to create on my own. I will not tell you that everything in my life suddenly got wonderful or that it’s completely wonderful now. I’ve remained single and I’ve not been immune to other personal and professional difficulties. But I can also tell you this: hands down, out of all the good decisions I’ve ever made in my life, leaving my ex-husband was the best one I ever made. And I’ve never regretted it for one moment, even in those dark and early days, when leaving felt like the hardest decision I would ever make. If you know it’s time to go, find someone who will support you in it and hold you accountable to it. And know that those slices of joy will still be there to help you through. You might even notice they increase. In fact, you might get to a day where the whole thing is joy, beginning to end. Take good care of yourself. You have a complete stranger rooting for you all the way.

  94. Marla says...

    This just popped up on someone’s Twitter feed. Feels very appropriate:
    Those that don’t know how to weep with their whole heart, don’t know how to laugh either. – Golda Meir

  95. Jean says...

    First of all, I’m sending love and positive thoughts to you and your family. I hope all will be well.
    I’ve had to take a prolonged break from social media since my 17 year old daughter was diagnosed with a serious mental illness last year. I no longer have a desire to portray my life as anything other than what it is, and the reality no longer feels acceptable to share online. My daughter has struggled to accept her diagnosis, and for me it was a bolt from the blue, but we’re working hard to live with our new normal, and accept that even though it’s not ideal, it’s life. I’m hoping that sometime soon she’ll feel strong enough to open up to other family members and friends about it, but at the moment it’s just us.

    Thanks for your blog, i love it, I look forward to reading it everyday after work. It can sometimes feel like popular bloggers and influencers lead charmed lives, so it’s reassuring to know you are being open and honest about life’s trials and tribulations. I wish you well x

  96. ani says...

    Just this! Thank you, Joanna, for the honesty. Love your blog. Following for years now.

  97. Anni says...

    Very brave and so beautifully open! Privacy is privacy, when it comes to family no one should be forced to share anything that is too private!
    I send you a big big hug, Joanna!!

    I have childrean around the same age, my husband develloped a depression/burnout due to his new job. He will start a treatment soon. My inner self has this monstrous fear that nothing will ever be the same again. On the outside I try to be strong for the kids and my partens and in laws who all worry so so much also!
    Eventually we will bevable to look back and be so much stronger!

    • Anne says...

      I burnt out pretty badly a few years ago, and it did have a major affect on my personality and my relationships at the time. However, it was definitely temporary. Once I got away from the stressor (in my case, a hyper-competitive academic department), my mental health improved dramatically, although it was a few years before my motivation was back to normal. During those years I learned much better self-care habits, and now I take the time to cook healthy meals, to pursue my hobbies, and to hang out with my loved ones. Burning out was traumatic and terrible, but my life is so much richer because of the lessons I learned from it.

      So it might never be the same again, but when your husband recovers, it could be better than it’s ever been before!

  98. Keelia says...

    I have a lot of respect for your efforts to balance your desire to create an authentic blog, while still respecting the privacy of your family. I thoroughly enjoy reading all your posts, but the personal ones are the ones that tend to resonate the most with me. That said, it’s wonderful that you recognize when something is “not my story to tell.”

  99. Cassidie says...

    I remember a struggle I continue to have when it first struck. It overcame my life I would wake up from sleep and have to relive it over and over. One day as I was talking to my grandpa about it he said one day you will realize you haven’t bought about it all day. I thought that was outrageous. But it happened. It takes time and some days it still rears its head first thing in the morning. But therapy says to give yourself five minutes to really worry and then set it aside for another day. Good luck. Healing is itchy.

  100. Kate says...

    Lots of love and hugs to you and your family, Joanna! xoxo

  101. Kali says...

    Nearly every night, you and your kids pop into my head … because of bedtime. Generally speaking, I loathe bedtime and you rave about (generally) loving it, so I’m usually left feeling like I must be doing something wrong. (Not in a negative way.) Therefore this post just hit me like a punch. As a reminder to take social media for what is it. A very small, selective slice of peoples lives. That being said, I do love what others are saying about the positive in that. Because my girls’ walls are covered with printouts from IG that make me pause and remember the joy in those moments. At bedtime they like to pick out their favorites and talk about them (while I usually want nothing more then to escape to introverting on the sofa). So basically, you are amazing, I am amazing, we are all just trying to raise human beings to the best of our abilities and that’s all anyone can ever ask of us.

  102. erin says...

    Your writing has brought me comfort, smiles, tears and inspiration on so many days when it was so needed. I hope the warmth you’ve put into the world reflects back at you today and every day that you need it. Wishing you and your family peace, love, and sprinkles of joy.

  103. Uma's Mom says...

    It is so so hard being a mom/adult/employee/employer. Little things tend to keep me up at night more than the big stuff. Your blog is one of the things that really helps keep things in perspective for me. I have a child who may be transgender/gender fluid and not even that keeps me up. I do worry about people out in the world reacting poorly to him as a friend did last week by saying “only in this town would someone let their son wear a dress.” But so be it. I don’t have to socialize with this person anymore. It’s all a journey. I don’t know what I’m trying to say others than you’re not alone.

    • Melody says...

      Just want to say that, reading this, I can tell you are such a great mom! xoxo

  104. It must be hard to post so many happy and amazing things and not share the sad too when you are so honest with your readers. I think it was brave and important that you posted this. Thank you. Your post made me suddenly feel better and more “normal” about our struggles. I feel like on social media photos we look like the perfect happy family. But our no-so-secret struggle is that all 3 of my kids have auto-immune disorders that resulted in autism for my oldest daughter, PANS in my brilliant son (now treated and he is fine), and also PANS in my youngest daughter and we are working on treating it right now. I have found that food seems to be a huge in their recovery/day to day health and so I have stopped working and instead am crazy organized about our meals…organic and free of anything that can cause inflammation. We now live off my husbands paycheck so suddenly our life has changed to extreme minimalism. But I do find the joys, like how you listed…I love that the whole family is enjoying the food that I make from scratch and I love that I am actually doing something to help keep my kids strong against the biomedical issues that plague them neurologically. And my plans and organization (thank you Passion Planner) is paying off…so is the Prozac and Ritalin lol. Anyway, thank you for sharing a tidbit. You offer so much love and light to so many people who need it, with your wonderful blog, and I would like to somehow offer love and light back to you so you can get through your difficult times. OK, I’m sending it to you now :)

  105. Anni says...

    Dear Joanna,
    Your blog gives so much joy! It is smart, funny, serious and often the themes come in just on the right day! (My children are around the same age, similar struggels…)
    You seem like such a superhero woman to me, you will make your way and come out stronger!
    My husband suffers from burnout/depression and he will start a treatment soon (finally he has agreed and realized that he needs help to overcome this) and deep in me I have this huge fear that we will not succeed in working his way out of all the self-doubt and loss of strength and power. I need him, the kids need him!!
    For the sake of all family members who know (my parents and in laws) and don’t know (the kids and everyone else) I am the strong happy woman on the outside. Thank God the outside lady is a pretty good actress…
    Joanna, think of the good moments, be kind to yourself and have alle the good vibes and love flying all the way from Germany to you!! Xoxo

  106. Lily says...

    Thank you for the honesty and a beautiful blog! Life is hard, and much more so if you don’t know where you came from, how you came about, why you’re here and where you’re going. To understand life more, one needs to look to the author of life and read His manual. Hope this article will encourage you: https://www.paultripp.com/articles/posts/why-is-parenting-so-hard
    God bless!

  107. This is truly why your blog is such a wonderful place for your readers, your transparency is beautiful and admirable. I’m sending my thoughts and prayers to you and your family during this challenging time of uncharted territory.

    I think about this so much, as I feel like my life on the outside appears so perfect sometimes. And while most of it is so wonderful, we have serious challenges (a blended family with 4 kids, teenage emotions, moving cross country), but those seem to be glossed over with the cute pictures of toddlers and vacations. Thank you for reminded me of the importance in being transparent and asking for living and understanding.

    Xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com

  108. Emilie says...

    Thank you for writing this. I recently had to take a social media break for just this reason. I have a newborn and a toddler and though this time is sweet and precious, it’s also really hard. Sleep deprivation, toddler testing,tnot connecting with my partner. Then I go in instagram and everyone else thhatheir lives all out put together while I haven’t Showered in three days :) everyone had their struggles Hut we don’t openly share them as much as we should. When we do, we find a wave of support and understanding. Your family is in my thoughts as you navigate your tough season. Thank you for being real and honest with us <3

  109. Tara says...

    Hi Joanna,
    Thank you so much for your bravery, not just with this post, but with your blog as a whole. It is one of my thin slices of joy, and I look forward to reading every day. You have created such a safe space where people can go, and not feel judged. I’m attempting to do a little bit of a social media detox, as I can sometimes find myself feeling a bit down, comparing myself to where others are in their life. Which is not the healthiest thing, but I think it is human nature. I just want you to know that this space always brings me joy and happiness, even when the articles don’t necessarily pertain to me. You have such a wonderful community around you, and I count myself lucky to be a part of it.

    All of my love from Illinois.

    • Lovely! This blog is one of my think slices of joy too. :)

  110. Meghan says...

    This is exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you.

  111. Stephanie says...

    Much love and many hugs for you and your boys.

  112. Sue Harris says...

    Parenting is hard sometimes. You just have to do the best you can and continue loving each other as a family. It will be ok. We all struggle and question our decisions. You can’t compare yourself to others–no one has a perfect life. My sort of secret struggle is this: I have a smart, beautiful, independent, 27 year old daughter–my only child. I am so proud of the adult and the person she has become. She lives 4 hours away and is very busy in her PhD program and with her research. I am happy with my husband, I have a job and friends I love. My struggle is missing my only child so much–I loved being a mother–being her mother. We always were very close. Now that she has her own life and is busy with her boyfriend, her work and her life away from us, I miss her terribly. I know it is a good thing that she is doing so well on her own, but some days I feel sad that I am not as central to her life anymore. I miss the every day interaction and seeing her more often. You never stop being a parent–the challenges just change through the years.

  113. Elizabeth Monaco says...

    Really hope the health of everyone in your beautiful family is ok, especially, most importantly your boys. I’ve gone through issues concerning parenting and looking back it comes back to that- my boys’ health. Anything else can be dealt with. My older son was diagnosed with a tumor growth in his inner ear. After operations and ear implants my husband and I can swear to you that our life has taken a whole new perspective, a whole new color. If my sons are ok, life is more than ok. I don’t know what is going on in your life Joanne, but I am truly hoping that the boys are healthy-physically. At the end of the day, if everyone is tucked into their own bed and not a hospital bed then there’s plenty to hope for and pray for. That’s another thing- if it weren’t for my faith in God I would not have survived my life as a mother. God bless you and yours. Sincerely-Liz

  114. Michaela says...

    I’ve been reading your blog for several years now, and although I’m at an earlier stage in life, I look forward to all of your posts and everything you share. I hope that everything works out for you and your wonderful family, and know that I (along with all of your other grateful readers!) are sending you well wishes and thoughts.

  115. Cheryl says...

    Sending positive thoughts and hugs your way. Really enjoy your blog and thank you for sharing so much of your beautiful family and life with us. Stay strong ~ life is a challenge, but good things can be around the next corner….

  116. Rosa says...

    Thank you SO much for this post – and for all of your posts! I wish you and your family every happiness.

  117. Justine says...

    Joanna, as other readers have mentioned, the work you do here is a slice of joy for me every day. I think you have one of the most honest, thoughtful and funny voices. When speaking to my hubby, I often start sentences: “Jo said this thing about…” He will kindly smile and rolls his eyes. No need to explain to him anymore who Jo is or why I care or how great she is. You are in our thoughts today. xoxo

    • Anonymous says...

      Ha! Same over here in our house!

      Thinking about you, Jo, and wishing your beautiful family the best!

  118. Sending love your way, I hope you know that so many folks (including myself) love the honesty and “realness” of your blog. Whatever it is that you’re struggling with, I hope that it passes with grace and always know that you’re doing the very best you can.

  119. Eleanor says...

    Sending positive, soul strengthening thoughts your way…because you usually end up sending them my way, hoping they can bounce back.

  120. Kiley says...

    Your note really touched me today. I’ve been struggling with heavy anxiety that makes my heart pound out of my chest and keeps me up at night. Thank you for reminding me that the brave face we put on for the outside world isn’t always the complete picture. My best to you and your family.

  121. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability over the years, Joanna. It’s something I admired about you deeply, your willingness to broach subjects that are unspeakably challenging, where words so often fail us. Much love to you and Alex, Toby, and Anton. I think I speak for many others when I say that you and your team have created such a wonderful corner of the web that has helped so many people go through the ups and downs of life. I hope you know that we’re all here supporting you, just like you’ve done for us. xoxo

  122. Ana says...

    This post, for me, is a slice of joy: seeing that someone dares to defy the “social media laws” and exposes a not so perfect picture… it is important sometimes to realize we are all alike, we all have issues. After all, what makes us enjoy these slices of joy is the break in perfection. We wouldn’t notice or acknowledge them otherwise. Other slices of joy: my daughter learning how to blow a flute, her smile looking at me, the feeling of freshness after a shower at the end of the day, the late daylight allowing me to read a book in the couch after my daughter is in bed… and you making me do this exercise and think of this.

  123. Clare says...

    Joanna, one of the things I read in a book once, and I always think is so useful when dealing with tough times is: You feel the way you feel. I know it’s redundant. But sometimes when we are dealing with stressful and tough situations, we compound it by feeling guilty or like we shouldn’t feel a certain way. Whatever is going on in your family or life, you deserve to feel stressed, sad, worried, or scared, if any of those things are how you feel. I’ll be sending out light and love toward you and your husband in the mean time, and saying extra prayers for your children.

  124. Karen says...

    I agree with so much written in these comments,wishing you and your family the best,hugs to all.

  125. Claudia says...

    I feel like this is so true, even in real life – not just in social media – there are some things that as a family we do not share with other people. We have a right to be as private as we want with our lives. Know that this community is rooting for you and your family because we honestly feel like friends to you.

  126. Lais Cobra says...

    Dear Joanna, it sucks that you guys are going through something hard to handle. Im sure you’ll go stronger because of it. Love, the most important thing, it will guide you through it. And you guys have so much of it! Keep going, keep going. Don’t be hard on yourself, what you share doesnt have to be the complete story, it just has to be a real part. Its just like “real life”: we share what we can, what we want to and with who we choose.
    We’ll be here when and if you want to talk. Count on our support. Internet is not completely real life, social media is not completely real life but the connections they create are. Im sending love and good thoughts to you and hugs to those sweet boys you are raising! :D

  127. Bets says...

    It is so hard to see what seems like a perfect life when you are struggling with something, especially when it is something as difficult as parenting. Thank you for sharing. Sending happy vibes and good thoughts your way.

  128. ravit says...

    hi Joanna,
    just sending a big hug from far away .

  129. Taryn says...

    I am so sorry you are going through this, Joanna. I’m sending as much love and strength to you as I can through whatever mechanism in the universe allows people who’ve never met in real life to support each other.

    I, too, am going through something right now that only a few of my closest family members know about. Things “look great” from the outside, and my own lived experience is very different than that right now. So by sharing your struggle today, you helped me feel less alone in my own.

    May your day, and the day of your child you’re supporting, be filled with slices of joy.

  130. Chika says...

    Thank you SO much for sharing this, Joanna, and for reminding us all that we each have our own struggles and that life is not all about the pretty pics posted on FB or IG. (I stopped going on FB regularly because it would tend to make me feel bad about myself!) We’ve had our own struggles the last few years financially and it’s taken a bit of a toll on not only my marriage but on the way I parent. I haven’t been the parent I thought I’d be or wanted to be– often cranky, filled with worry, resentful that my children’s friends go on what seem to be glorious trips to exotic places (or just fly to a warm destination)…I know, seems incredibly petty and I have so much to be grateful for…so then I feel guilty for feeling jealous and getting upset about money. It’s been a vicious cycle. It’s been a rough few years, and the worst part is that I’ve felt ashamed and haven’t shared this with anyone as I live in a well-to-do suburb and not sure any of my mom friends could relate. But I’m probably not giving my friends enough credit.

    Thank you again, and please know that these kind of posts of yours are deeply impactful and make a difference in the lives of people like me, one of your admiring readers! I think your post has changed my mind about sharing my struggles, and I hope that reading all the comments will make you feel that much more supported as you continue your difficult journey. Sending only positive thoughts, energy, love, and hugs your way. See you on the other side…!!

  131. Kate says...

    Thank you for sharing, Joanna. Your writing and honesty is so refreshing in a sea of shiny instagrams. I have read your blog from the beginning and it is always positive, inclusive, respectful and honest. I appreciate it so much. I’m sending positive thoughts to you and Alex as you navigate this parenting challenge!

  132. Marla says...

    At age 7 my sweet little daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It is a full time, 24 hour a day job to manage it. She is now almost 16 and a terrific kid. We just posted wonderful cool Instagram pics of our trip to LA and Malibu. What isn’t pictured is me waking up in the middle of then night to help her treat a dangerous low blood sugar. Not pictured – me worrying about her drinking alcohol with her friends and not waking up in the morning. Not pictured – me having cancer and worrying about a recurrence and dying. Who will help her manager her disease? What I’ve learned is that this life of ours isn’t a dress rehearsal. This is our one shot. So in spite of the challenges, we have to go after the fun, go after the adventure, go after the love. Sending you love and strength.

    • Justine says...

      Aw Marla, sending you a hug from Canada. Your story is familiar to me. Xo

  133. Theresa says...

    Oh, this post saddens me for it seems you are really hurting. Sending hugs and strength. Sounds very tough.

  134. Jessica says...

    I love both those quotes about finding joy in the small things. I’ve been doing the same thing lately where I remind myself in bad moments, “this too is part of life and living. This too is what it is to be human.” I’ve also started recording all the simple pleasures I enjoy each month in my weekly planner as a list: books I read and enjoyed, favorite TV shows or podcasts, the really great walk on the evening with the beautiful sunset, or the fun chat over coffee with a friend, etc. I’ve found it’s really helping my general attitude about life (I’ve been going through a personally and professionally difficult time). I so often think I don’t have anything good in my life (because I don’t have what I most wanted to have as an adult), but these lists act as a concrete reminder that I do have many “slices of joy” in my life. I look back on some months and think, “I did so many wonderful things!” All that’s difficult in my life is still there, but what I most need to remember–the good and the beautiful–is there too. I just forget it more than I should.

    All this to say–much love to you and your family, Joanna. And to everyone who makes the CoJ space such a lovely and warm and kind one.

  135. Laura says...

    My husband suffers from depression (dysthymia, to be exact) and I cannot talk to anyone (literally – no one but me knows) about it. I am not terribly close to my parents so they don’t know (although they probably wonder about his behaviour). The same goes for my sister, who is even further removed. My friends don’t know because, well, he doesn’t want anyone to know and since we work in the same industry, I can’t tell anyone at work either. News like those travel fast and not to his advantage.
    Having a baby a year ago triggered his depression again and so here I am – caring for my sweet son, with hardly any support at all. I wish there was someone – anyone – I could tell this overwhelming secret that oftentimes threatens to drag me under.

    Joanna, I am so so sorry for whatever it is that you and your family are going through. I will keep you in my prayers (though I’m not sure what your take on this is… but they have been my saving grace).

    Wishing everyone out there who is struggling much love and strength. We will get through this.

    • Ximena says...

      Hi Laura, I read this and just wanted to tell you how strong you are! Depression is soooo hard to understand and sooo hard to deal with, specially if you are doing it all by yourself. I hope your husband finds the professional help he needs.
      Lots of love for you and your family <3

  136. Francoise says...

    Wonderful comments and community here. As an older mom of a now adult child with serious challenges, I want to thank you for this post and to say that you are obviously a wonderful mother and human being! Know that it will get easier and that you are not alone.

  137. RL says...

    After 2 years of battling for the correct care for my oldest (who is Toby’s age) -a period of time in which everyone had unsolicited “advice” and opinions on what my child would and, usually, would not be able to do once older- we finally found the right combination of therapists who discoved that my child’s problem was physiological and not neurological. We are one year into this new approach and the team has told us that after a year, we will be done. DONE. I cannot even wrap my head around that word nor begin to imagine what we will do with our free time, when no longer taken up by various therapists. And for all the tears I’ve cried and jealousies I’ve harbored and, most of all, for all the crippling future scenarios that I’ve created and replayed in my mind, I am grateful to know what I now know: how hard it is to raise an “out-of-the-box” kid (how much easier it must have been in our time, when every test did not determine your entire scholastic life and career), how my instincts as a mom and a fighter for my child are equal to none -I know better than the experts and the underestimaters- and how profoundly humbled I am to know that we *can* determine not only our journey, but our destination. Be kind to yourself – you will get you and your children where you need to go.

  138. Katherine says...

    Thank you for this post, it came at just the right time as I have been struggling with something that feels very isolating and lonely. It’s very easy to think that you are alone in your struggles and no one can relate, and though it might be true in a way since everyone’s struggles are specific to them, it’s a humble reminder to know that everyone is navigating their lives the best they can and dealing with something. I always try to remind myself that if we are not being challenged in some way, we’re not growing as people! I’ve always admired that you are so open and honest in your posts. I love that quotation about slices of joy! I needed to hear this today! Wishing you love and all the best.

  139. Ileana says...

    I hope everything works out, Joanna. Sending you lots of warm hugs. <3

  140. Cait says...

    Hi Joanna –

    Thank you for your courageous post. Over the past 5 years, your blog has been a source of joy for me in good times and in bad.

    I hope you know that you have an army of regular readers who are so grateful for everything you add to our lives. I hope you can lean on us as we have all leaned on you.

    We are here for you.

  141. Jess says...

    Your blog is one of my thin slices of joy. Thank you.

    • Melody says...

      I second that :)

    • Zoe says...

      Ditto here.

  142. Nicky says...

    I am so glad you wrote this. I have two children – one is autistic, dyslexic and dyspraxic and the other has OCD. I am a single parent and sometimes the difficulty of looking after these beautiful, complex children is overwhelming. I love your blog but looking at the pictures and reading about the good times it has occurred to me that it doesn’t reflect everyone’s experiences of family life. I know the blog has a particular purpose and it isn’t to represent the multiple and diverse challenges that families and children can face. Still, very brave and thoughtful of you to have shared this.

  143. Kate Halleron Murphy says...

    What a courageous post. Thanks for sharing. Saying a prayer for peace of mind and heart for you and yours.

  144. Mary says...

    Hello, it is very generous of you to share. We do all struggle. Right now, I feel like my biggest challenge is to teach my teenager that it is okay to struggle, to ask for help, to need your parents, your friends, your phone. We all want our children to be happy, but I also hope mine learn that it is okay to be sad or lonely or mad or scared. But we have to keep struggling, finding answers, hope and help. I want my children to be able to help themselves and others. Have a good day and take care.

  145. Carole says...

    Oh Joanna, I don’t know you personally but I feel like I do! I have been reading your blog for so many years now and I feel like in some small way I am a friend :) I have loved reading about your life, good and bad and in this time whatever you are dealing with I am sending you a big virtual hug. You have lots of us who feel the same way all supporting you and sending you love. Thank you for always being so awesome, so honest and so real. We love you Joanna :) XO

  146. Oh my gosh, Joanna. Sending love and light to you and your family. <3 We're all here for you. And we will be here when you feel ready to share whatever you want to. We realize you are real people living a real life with real ups and downs. Thanks for sharing all that you do. Much love.

  147. Jill says...

    Thank you for saying this, Joanna. This rings so true to me right now.

    About a month ago, my ex’s new gf started watching all of my instagram stories. My heart froze the first time I saw her name pop up, and then I sort of came to expect it with each and every post. I don’t know her, and I have NOTHING against her whatsoever, but I started feeling incredibly self-conscious on instagram, like she was just returning to my profile every day to judge my life from afar. I like to keep a polished image on social media anyway, but this started making me feel so irrationally paranoid about ever letting my guard down or posting personal things. It feels silly and so petty because it’s INSTAGRAM, and not “real life.”

    Last week, I actually lost sleep over it. Just before going to bed, I saw her name pop up again and my heartrate skyrocketed and just cried and cried. This morning, I blocked her. Blocking anyone feels so out of character for me, but my breakup with my ex was painful enough – i don’t need this lingering reminder of it in the moments when I choose to be vulnerable online. I already feel so much lighter.

    • Katie says...

      Good for you, Jill! I am so glad you’re feeling better. Social media is tricky for me for so many of the reasons you allude to in your post, and especially, I think, because it seems like this rear-view mirror I don’t want to look into all the time. I drove ahead once without it, why do I need to look back so much now? I’m asking myself a lot lately, “is this making me whole?” (per that awesome quote from Joanna) and if it’s not, like you, I’m making any change necessary to bring more slices of joy or – at the very least – peace, into my life. Hope you only continue to feel better and better :)

  148. Sara says...

    So much love to you & your family, Joanna. Thanks for being honest and kudos for being private when it’s important.

  149. amy says...

    Sending you so much love. Thank you for sharing yourself so openly to us. I hope we can give something back to you. I am a loyal reader and think of you as a friend even though we have never met. I love *all* of your content but especially love learning how to navigate relationships and especially parenthood.