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. Holly says...

    I love your blog–it’s the highlight of my digital day–and I’m always amazed by your honesty. You are clearly an amazing mom, and I’m sorry to hear that you guys are dealing with hard stuff. Parenting is so tough. I was recently talking to a psychologist dad of two nearly grown (wonderful) daughters, and I asked him what his personal and professional opinion of the secret to good parenting is. His answer: connection.

    We recently concluded (maybe just for now) a year and a half of occupational therapy with my son for some sensory and behavior issues. Looking back, maybe the most valuable part of those weekly sessions with me, my son and the therapist, was how it brought increased connection to a relationship that had been frayed by the deep frustration and hopelessness ignited by my son’s issues. These days I try to remember to fight for that connection no matter what.

    I know social media doesn’t tell the whole story, but it’s pretty clear to me that you have, and desire, a deep connection with your kids. If we can just get through these little years, maybe we’ll start seeing the fruit of that connection, and it will encourage us for the years ahead.

    Oh, and thanks for all that you give to the Cup of Jo community while batting 1000 at home. You’re the greatest.

  2. Meg says...

    I’ve been reading your blog for years and often feel as though you are my real friend! Thank you so much for your post today. It brought tears to my eyes – your honesty and grace blow me away. How I wish we WERE real friends and we could grab a coffee and talk. Big hugs to you and your family. Your boys could not have a better mom.

  3. G says...

    I have always loved your blog. And I guess this also meant I grew to love you. Your blog was one of my sources of comfort when my husband died. And many a time when I would read your entries on parenting (and not to mention the comments by this wonderful community), I would feel a little more buoyed with hope that I can do this single parenting business.

    I am glad I found you, your blog, this community. You are one of my ‘thin slices of joy’.

    I hope knowing that you have the love and support from so many people all over the world helps you in some small way, as you make your way on.

  4. Thank you for your honesty, Jo! Like every millennial mom, I also feel a slight tinge of envy whenever I see my friends “having fun” and doing all the best things on social media. For a while, I struggled to convince myself that social media isn’t real life. It was only when my smartphone died that I’ve come to see things as they really are. :) I’m a dumb phone user for nearly a year now and I couldn’t be any happier.

  5. Lauren says...

    I have followed you and your lovely family on this blog for a few years and I wanted to send my love and good wishes as you travel the path you are on. I admire you honest and open remarks and will be thinking about you in the days and weeks ahead. keep your head up.

  6. Sending the best possible vibes

  7. Amy says...

    Be so kind and gentle to yourself as you move through this. Surround yourself with supportive and loving people. After I had my first child, I remember a good friend sharing a popular quote about parenthood that stuck with me – “Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
    When it comes to being a parent, there are moments when I’ve definitely felt vulnerable and powerless, wanting to pick up the burden my son is carrying or to take away the hurt my daughter is feeling. On the other side, I have witnessed an incredible beauty and kindness to humanity that was shared with me through the eyes of my children and their interactions with others. The community that you have built is showing you their support through these little love notes. Hopefully that feels like a slice of joy in all of this. Be well and take good care of yourself.

  8. Sending good thoughts your way…. My thin slices of joy each day are sips of coffee. Oh and Noosa yogurt. My coworkers tell me that I smile whenever I eat it or talk about it. :D

  9. Farrell says...

    Thanks for sharing snippets of your life and thanks for reminding us that social media is but a snapshot of an individuals life. Sending you good vibes!

  10. Katie Larissa says...

    Just noticed that the comments on this are higher in # than the giveaway post. We really love you, Joanna, and you are a fantastic mama in the eyes of your kids, which are the eyes that matter most. ?

  11. Christia says...

    And maybe that’s the good of social media…that we tend to share those “slices of joy” more than the mundane/not so joyful sides of life. And in turn, it’s helping us become more mindful of them! Thank you for sharing where your heart is.

  12. Mary says...

    Thank you for your bravery and truth. Hugs and strength for you and your family. xo

  13. Mariana says...

    Dear joanna,
    I’ve been following your blog for a good time now althought it’s the first time i comment. I Just felt the need to give back, because you give me so many slices of joy with your writing, the least i could do was to get in this wave of love and send you my big hug!! Lots of love from someone who admires your courage and peacefulness from… Portugal! :)

  14. Hannah says...

    My son is on the spectrum. It was difficult to accept the diagnosis, and more difficult to tell friends and family the news, only in that it made it more “real” each time I said the words. When I told my grandmother, she just smiled, took my son into her arms and in her beautiful and ethereal way sang these words: “Oh, I’m gonna give you more love, and more joy, than age or time could ever destroy.” That act of unconditional acceptance was a salve to my heart. You are in my thoughts and I hope that you are comforted by that same unconditional love and acceptance that your family clearly has for each other. xoxo

  15. Julie says...

    Oh Joanna – I read your post this morning and I’ve been worried and thinking about you all day. You have always been a bright spot in my day and your sharing and vulnerability have made you feel like a trusted friend. I’m so sorry you are going through a tough challenge – that sucks. I totally respect your need for privacy, but please know that we are all here for you, and we all have challenges of one kind or another behind the curtain! Sending you love and hugs and homemade cookies from Ottawa, Canada. XO

  16. MJ says...

    being a mama is not for the faint of heart. we’re dealing with something in the big scope of things is quiet small but i want to do it right and give my girl confidence through the struggles.
    finding joy is essential, isn’t it?! piled in our bed on weekends mornings, my first sip of tea in the morning when the house is still quiet, their laughs and funny voices a room away, my husbands hands on my feet as we watch netflix…this makes me want be aware of them because that is what life so much more rich.

    • MJ says...

      and sending lots of hugs….

  17. Emily says...

    Xoxo, hoping those little guys are ok and that you all make it through this struggle happier and healthy.

  18. Tracy says...

    thanks, as always, for sharing, Jo. sending love to you and your loved ones. xx

  19. Jenna says...

    I totally get the social media stuff. I am a photographer and love (am obsessed with) Instagram, but also want to be genuine and it can be a hard balance to find. A few Christmas Eve’s ago, my dad (an alcoholic) got really drunk and I was hiding his car keys from him because he wanted to drive somewhere. While he was trying to get to me through my husband, amongst insults, he threatened to kill me. I found a way to call the cops and nobody was hurt before they came. That night was the last I ever spoke (or will speak) to my father. The next day was Christmas and everyone was posting fun family pictures on Instagram and Facebook and I became acutely aware that what happened to me was just something I could not share on social media. I instead told close family members and friends and went to counseling. You would never know I experienced such a traumatic event from my Instagram account, and I kind of feel like I’m hiding something from the internet.

    I know that’s really heavy, but I’ve always appreciated your willingness to discuss heavy issues here and I hope it makes you feel like you’re not alone.

  20. Sonya Gomes says...

    I rarely comment but I read your blog everday. This particular note spoke staright to my soul. I am 34 and a year ago my husband left me for another woman (a friend) of his. My kids were 3 and 1. It broke me, my family, my heart and soul and even to some extent my body. I have walked through last year putting one tiny foot in front of the other but it’s hard not to grieve when I look around at all other families and I know my own struggle and heartache. In theory we all know that everyone has their struggles but when you are lonely and dealing with the harsh realities if your own life it’s hard to see that. I want to Thank you for your honesty and I wish you all the best. It’s deeply refreshing an instills a sense of humaness about you, your blog and your team. Sending you lots of love all the way from Australia. XXX

  21. Sarah T says...

    I love this ‘thin slices of joy’ technique for managing hard times. It has worked for me over the years. When I have been having a hard day or week or month, I will take the time to acknowledge even one little thing I am happy about and I will say it “out loud” in my head: “I love this sweater. It is so warm and soft” or “I am really enjoying this coffee” or “What a beautiful tree”. It’s quite amazing how much it can lift your spirits, force a smile, and remind you of the good in life.
    Wishing you all the best, Joanna.

  22. kay says...

    Dear Jo,
    Thanks for sharing. Sending you lots of good vibes from Canada. Be strong, and in your mama’s words, take gentle care of yourself. Best wishes.

  23. Anonymous says...

    Dear Joanna,
    I read this post today after one of the hardest weeks of my life. And I felt that I was meant to read it and to remind myself that life is made of those small details and joys, that balance and stuggle of crying on the bathroom floor unsure of whether I am still in love with the man I married, and waking up the next morning to hear my one year old say “mama”. And that I’m not alone and that you are not alone. And thar happiness is an everyday choice, perhaps one of the most difficult one for me these days. So I want to thank you for reminding me of that, for allowing me to breathe and cry tears of relief, because I remembered that no matter what happens I will be okay and I will continue to choose happiness every day.

  24. Trish says...

    I recently had a eye opening experience that made me realize just how much I love the small things in life and they are actually what have given me what I feel is true happiness. I have struggled on and off on what I ‘had to be’ in order for me to officially say ‘I am a happy person’. It occurred to me that focusing on the small simple things that are so good help me navigate through all the hard stuff you endure while parenting, and being married. Parenting is such a mystery and we feel like we are on a roller coaster ride hoping nobody ever pukes;) Thanks for being such a thoughtful and open human being!

  25. Rachel says...

    Joanna,

    I have two little boys— 6 1/2 and 3 1/2 years old. I’ve been reading “Cup of Jo” long before I became a mom and never commented. We lived in NYC when my oldest was born and I loved following your parallel early motherhood posts.

    Now in CA, I’m seven years into mothering a child with a diagnosis of high functioning autism. My journey has been trying to move past my mama gut of “only being as happy as my least happy child.” Is it even possible to not struggle when your child is struggling? Is he struggling as much as I am? How do I reconcile or measure being a “good” mother or a “good enough” mother when my kid isn’t doing well? What does the future hold?

    I’ve become an expert in occupational therapy and speech therapy and feeding therapy and sensory integration therapy and social thinking and reading and learning interventions and ENT and GI doctors and IEPs and education advocates. All those things that I never knew existed seven years ago and never had an interest in learning about. There are therapies that I sort of believe in and really believe in and ones that I just try to check off the list because that’s what you do when at 3, your child gets a diagnosis that “with enough intervention, will fall off the spectrum.”

    I have a second child that is pure joy, in a totally different way. And I struggle there because he is neurotypical and right on track developmentally, in a way that I never knew existed. And everything he does, gives me such easy big joy and simultaneously, tremendous guilt. My second child makes me feel heartbroken about my first mothering experience and how robbed I feel. That there is no way on earth I can figure out how to parent each child, without thinking about the other.

    All of this and I have learned a few things. I have a husband and family and in-laws that love my children as much as I do. And that unconditional love for my children has been my saving grace. My village of people that I cry to and celebrate with! I have a village of mothers with children (not all the same age as mine) that love my kids for who they are. Woman who bring a slice of gluten free cake to birthday parties for my oldest, who don’t care if he needs to wear headphones and watch iPad at loud birthday parties for three hours and who watch my little one if my husband is away and I want to go to a playground and can’t manage both alone. Women who remind me and tell me what a strong, amazing mother I am.

    Joanna, I don’t know you personally. But I can gather from your writing, that you love and adore your kids. And that you are a strong and amazing mother too. Hang in there, mama. We’re all rooting for you.

    I love this line from Cheryl Strayed:

    ” The reality is that, regardless of the circumstances, most moms are alternately blissed out by their love for their children and utterly overwhelmed by the spectacular amount of sacrifice they require.”

    http://therumpus.net/2010/09/dear-sugar-the-rumpus-advice-column-51/

  26. Emily says...

    What a beautiful post, thank you so much for keeping it real. Sending love to you and your boys as you navigate unchartered waters. Xoxo

  27. Hello dear Jo,

    as a portuguese person and living in Portugal… really I spend a lot of time being unemployed or underpaid.
    If I had the chance to work on another country I would.

    I do too have a secret strugle and part of it is that I am still trying to be what I was never allowed to study (the other part is just too sad and personal to share here)

    Thank you so much for your blog, I usually save all the posts during the week and read them on sunday nights, but today I took a peek :)

    I wish you and your family/friends all the best.

    Ana

  28. Shira says...

    Thank you for sharing as much as you felt comfortable with. I have to say, I did always kind of wonder if your kids ever threw tantrums or acted out or things like that. They always seem so perfect in “blog/Instagram” life. Not that I wish for bad things for you, but it’s good for us to know that you have parenting struggles just like the rest of us!! Hang in there – we’re all pulling for you!!

  29. Amanda says...

    Dear Joanna,

    I am a longtime reader and you were absolutely my motherhood guru as I planned for my first child over two years ago. I cannot tell you how many times I felt scared and logged on to Cup of Jo to read allllllllll of your motherhood posts. I think I was on your site for like 6 hours in one sitting! You and I also share the same age difference with our husbands. David is 50 and we are expecting our second child in May.

    Over the years, I have come to know you as a gentle, sensitive, deeply loving and FUN mother. A mother dedicated to the development of each of her son’s individuality and their sense of self. When a mother senses trouble in the water, the worry becomes all consuming, I know. You can become completely pre-occupied by ‘fixing it’ or ‘finding a solution’. But the truth is, the most important thing you can do is not to focus on ‘fixing it’, but to provide a soft place to land for your child. A loving, calm and secure environment. While of course tapping into resources and developing a plan. But first and foremost – do the thing that comes naturally to you – to be the sensitive, deeply loving mother that you are.

    I hope that these words bring you comfort as yours have always brought comfort to me. You are lifted up in my mama heart right now. Love,

    Amanda

  30. Lindsay says...

    Hang in there, life can be so hard sometimes. And I feel the same way about Instagram, everyone seems to have the most perfect life. (“Comparison is the thief of joy”) I hope your situation can get easier for you soon.

    • Lyndsay says...

      Thank you for the quote. I’m feeling lost in my head lately and that’s exactly what I needed to read.

    • Morgan says...

      “Comparison is the thief of joy” is a mantra I adopted a few years ago. Love that one.

    • Kelly says...

      Yes

    • Eva says...

      “Comparison is the thief of joy”—so true!

      What’s even more unnerving to me is how social media can strip away the humanity of people—the complexity (or banality!) of everyday life that deserves recognition. Though I wouldn’t wish your ache or struggle on you or anyone, thank you for pulling back the curtain—even just a smidge—to remind us all of our humanity. <3

  31. Evita says...

    Thank you for sharing. I love the idea of Thin slices of joy. Today my little boy is 1 week old. I had a super emotional week, guilty for less time spent with my daughter, struggles of breastfeeding, complaints about my husband and unhappy moments with my mom. But today when I wrote my journal, I looked at the photo of my two beautiful children, the only thing I wrote down was grateful. I’m grateful that I got so much love and caring even sometimes things didn’t go as I wished, but that’s exactly the moment that I should give my respect, love and caring, right?

  32. Nicola says...

    I don’t have much to add to the lovely sentiments up here, except for one (foolish) but favourite thing in hard times. RuPaul’s Drag Race.

    During some very dark days when my dad was in heart failure I would come home and watch Drag Race, and there was something very soothing about knowing “we’re all born naked and the rest is drag” or as I like to think, we’re all walking around this world doing our best to cover our vulnerabilities. Plus the Queens are absolutely stunning. I recommended it to my bestie who marathon-ed it during chemo sessions and agreed with me- it’s the best feel-good TV ever!

    Lots of love to you Jo, thanks for being real always with us. xox

    • Martha says...

      Nicola – I completely agree. Drag Race helped me get through a long period of depression last year – it was the one constant in my life that let me laugh and cry in private without feeling anything other than something towards the show and its contestants. I love Drag Race ever so much! So much so that I went to a Drag Race pub quiz recently and won :)

      I hope you’re doing okay now. And enjoying season 9! x

  33. Lindsay says...

    Dear Joanna, someone (who sadly, I can’t remember… maybe it was you?!) once wrote that the reason we all feel so heavy is that we carry pieces of each other’s hearts in our hearts. I know this to be true. Thank you for sharing, sending you peace and love. Xoxo

    • Mimi says...

      E E CUMMINGS SAID IT… In a beautiful poem he wrote.

    • Kate says...

      What a beautiful sentiment.

    • Sara says...

      Lovely. Keeping that one with me! xo

    • Laura C. says...

      Lindsay that’s so true, you nailed it, it all makes sense.

  34. M says...

    I’m sorry to hear about your struggle, Joanna, and I completely understand your decision not to share details. I’m going through divorce although I married a wonderful man whom I never stopped loving. My marriage has been a secret struggle right from the start, owing to a whole set of overwhelming circumstances that triggered me in terrible ways, and I lost my husband as a result. I found help in therapy and prayer but I couldn’t save my marriage. I always thought that we would heal, so the divorce is heartbreaking. We have an amazing 3yo, who thankfully is doing well, and I really yearn for another child but I’m older and alone, so it’s not likely to happen. I’m incredibly grateful for the child I have but it’s so hard to see loving couples, pregnant women and stable families. I’m happy for them all but they make me feel like there is a normal life out there that I crave but can’t access. Thank you for this blog. It’s such a wonderful place of warmth and kindness. I’m glad you’re able to share your struggle with friends, and I hope you find yourself on the other side soon. xoxo

    • Claudia says...

      I’m sorry for your heart break and loss. hang in there xoxo

    • Lila says...

      This is both heart-breaking and heart-warming at the same time. Thank you for sharing.

    • I so so so related to this. Maybe there’s hope? In the meantime it hurts. Plus I know so many women who stay alone for a long time, while their exes soon move on with younger women and have more children, the children we long for. It hurts.

    • Jasna says...

      Thank you so much for this comment! It made me think deeply about some things going on in my marriage (also married a wonderful man) and it sparked new light within me.

  35. Allie says...

    I went to a trauma history training once (I’m a Social Worker…) and they showed this video. Thought it was relevant and could be helpful for someone :-)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDDWvj_q-o8

    • Kate says...

      I’m a Clevelander that has helped navigate my grandparents through 6 surgeries at the Clinic this past year. This video actually made me tear up a bit – I recognize a lot of places where the scenes in the video were shot – I”ve stood in the same places as the people in the video, feeling my own overwhelming feelings many times in the last year. It’s great to see that the Clinic is providing this kind of training and I’m grateful for people like you who show empathy in helping navigate families like us through difficult processes and decisions.

  36. Lisa says...

    Joanna, Love & Peace from Pasadena, California. XoXo

  37. You are one of the first blogs I ever read (I was an undergraduate at university), and are constantly inspiring me to blog! I have always loved your balance, and how you march to the beat of your own drum. I’m not yet a mother, but series like your Motherhood posts, make me excited to have my own children one day.

    I just wanted to let you know how much joy and encouragement you have brought me over the years. I am so happy you share bits of your life – and DO NOT WORRY, it is completely fine to just share bits. You have to do what is right for you and your family, always. No negotiation. I am sending loving thoughts your way (and well as a virtual hug). Thank you for everything. Just like everyone else who posted, we are all here for you!!

  38. melissa w says...

    Sending you and your family good thoughts. I appreciate you sharing what you feel comfortable with at this time. Your site brings me joy on a regular basis. But you also keep things real. It’s much appreciated.

    • Megan says...

      ditto! 100%

  39. Isabella says...

    Sending you hugs and wishes for warmth and strength and grace, and also sending you gratitude for acknowledging the sheen that social media, or even just *media*, adds to the presentation of everyone else’s lives, and how alienating and erosive that can be as a reader or viewer. As a parent of a 19-month-old, just hearing that someone else is dealing with teething hell or near-lethal sleep deprivation or post-partum depression or any of the common usuals of new parenthood, and that it isn’t just me, and everyone else *isn’t* always in Portugal with their perfectly behaved children and unruffled, sunny outlooks literally feels like oxygen flooding back into a suffocating room. Wishing you all possible comfort, Joanna!

  40. Lara says...

    Hi Joanna, I’ve been reading your blog for ages, long before you and I both became mothers. Just wanted to let you know how much I value the thoughts and experiences you share, especially since starting a family. I have so often referenced something you have written when talking with my husband, back when we were thinking about having a baby right through to more recent times. Thinking of you, from Australia.

  41. I was just thinking that today before I read your post! I had a cry today over something I can’t control. My son said to me, “Mother Nature is not a nice person sometimes.” Before that I was wondering if I should post it and I haven’t decided yet.

  42. J. Elizabeth says...

    I truly appreciate your “realness” and gentle reminder to us reader that no ones life is perfect. Having said that, I am very sorry you’re dealing with some pain right now. I hope can become “a drop in the Grand Canyon” for you.

    Also, without context, I did hear from a friend a GREAT coping mechanism when you’re really inside your own head. Instead of being cruel to yourself, imagine Donald Trump saying those things to you:
    Example:
    Donald Trump: Your thighs are so fat!
    Me: F*ck you and your f*cking wall!

    See… much better, right? :)

    • Morgan says...

      thanks for this laugh

    • Ha! It totally works!

    • Katherine Losee says...

      This is amazing.

    • Steph says...

      That’s hilarious! And awesome, I’m going to try it

    • Sarah Spencer says...

      That’s brilliant! I love it and it cheered me up immediately. Who cares what Donald Trump thinks? (Wait, don’t answer that…)

    • Fiona says...

      !!! Oh i really like this!!!

  43. Sheryl says...

    I wish you strength. Being a parent makes life more beautiful and vulnerable. You have exposed your whole heart to the world. Trust in yourself – love will carry you through. Xo

  44. Joanna says...

    Hey Joanna – Remember your Grand Canyon post?! I have to tell you – I use that method on a daily basis. Throw your problems into the Grand Canyon!! Can you see them there? Are they still big? Hopefully they appear a little smaller now. Im struggling too – we all are. That is the bittersweet beauty of life. The dark moments are the only way that we get to really savor the light ones when they come around. I hope you find comfort soon, and until then sending you a GINORMOUS virtual hug and always in your corner.

  45. Karina says...

    …and then I saw this quote

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

    Via swissmiss

  46. Karina says...

    Dear Joanna
    I love reading your blog.
    And I love the glimpses you share from your life; the funny moments, the serious ones, the odd bits of advice… I look forward to checking your blog every day. There’s always a surprise and even though not all of your posts are relevant to me there is always one that really gets to me and makes me think or just smile. Thanks so much for that.

    Life isn’t perfect and it throws things at us that we had not imagined. It’s how we deal with them that matters. I am so sorry to hear you are dealing with one of those things and it sounds like it’s a big one but I know that you will handle it.

    Because you can.

    All my love xxx

    • Rachel says...

      This is so kind and lovely, and captures what I would hope to say. Sending love, wisdom, kindness, hope…and a lot of soul-comforting deep breathes. You are not alone, Joanna, and we are so grateful for what you have created here. xx

    • Megan says...

      Agreed! Joanna, please know that your blog creates a sense of connection–and thin (and thick!) slices of joy–for so many people. Sending hugs your way!

    • Victoria says...

      I feel the same way! The comments here are so wise, and true, and heartfelt, I can only echo them. Thank you for what you do share – your blog always brightens my day – and for your intelligent sensitivity in how you approach everything. Sending happy, healing vibes across the Atlantic to you and your beautiful family and very much hoping that you will all come through this hard time soon.
      Lots of love, xx

  47. jen says...

    Sending big hugs. I hope you know and feel that you are not alone in this life role as parents. We are right there with you.

  48. K says...

    I truly believe that everyone is carrying around something and at certain times in life, those things get heavier. I just learned my long term partner identifies as bisexual. As an ally for the LGTBQ community I should be comfortable with this. But I don’t. Selfishly, I feel betrayed and paranoid and I can’t even process the other feelings. I keep reminding myself: love, empathy and compasion are born out of vulnerability.

  49. margaret says...

    oh so sorry to hear about this struggle…hoping throughout it all you feel peace and strength with the decisions that have to be made.

  50. Sarah says...

    Dearest Joanna, Jo. Thank you for sharing, for your generous and honest ways, as always. May you and your family find peace of mind and heart.

    I’d like to share that I started reading your blog long before I became a mother, your candid and honest words had me loving your posts, inspired by your motherhood wisdom. My way to say : trust yourself – you are wonderful; trust your family – you make a great team with Alex and the boys, and trust life – it will all work out.

    My slices of joy are watching spring bloom, strolls with my family; feelings of connection, of tribe. My struggle, that is too real to express fully, being the sole caregiver for my godmother who is in palliative care at home – running the logistics of that; feeling like you are in a susoended space and time; being there for her, whilst caring for my family, work; managing the emotional and physical fatigue and the sadness of slowly saying goodbye to someone we love.

  51. Tash says...

    ❤️

  52. Greta says...

    Hoping you find strength and peace of mind. Xoxoxo

  53. Anneka says...

    Your blog brings me a slice of joy. I appreciate how authentic and grounded you are, and respect you for being open yet protective about the harder parts of life.

    • It brings me a slice of joy too. Well put Anneka :-)

  54. Dear Joanna,
    Thank you for sharing this with all of your readers while respecting your family’s privacy. I have no idea what you are going through, but like many others here, I want to lend my support by commenting. I send my love and hugs to you and all of your family and wish you strength and patience through parenthood’s daily repetition and continual surprises.

  55. Camille says...

    I’m so sorry it’s been so hard, Joanna. You’re very brave for sharing – thank you. You’re a loving and wonderful mother, and it’s amazing what that kind of love will carry you all through. Remember that you are not alone. I hope you and Alex have or can find the support you need locally, and we are all here for you, too. <3

  56. Patricia says...

    Looking at this picture of you and your boys after reading your post just made me teary. It’s beautiful. You’re a great mom and they are perfect, wonderful boys. You just keep giving love to them, to yourself, to Alex, to anyone that wants to help you in what you’re going through, to the ones that seem like they don’t want to help. Just give love. Things have a way of turning out ok. XOXO

  57. Thank you for sharing the realness with us and I hope that you continue to find the light!

  58. Sarah says...

    This breaks my heart. I’m so sorry you’re shouldering such a huge worry. This post is quite timely as, just a few months ago when I was going through a very dark parenting phase, and never thought I’d get through it. We saw a number of professionals and now have tools in our arsenal to better manage the issue. All you can do is your best. And your best is enough. Much love. Xxx

    • Hillary F. says...

      This is so wonderful.

    • Elizabeth says...

      This is so well said. All you can do is your best. And your best is good enough! We’re all with you Jo. xo

  59. L.S. says...

    I follow too many blogs and Instagrams. Ones that I appreciate for the inspiration to spice up my workout routine, my style, my skincare routine. But it’s all really kind of bullshit and I never leave the site feeling better about who I am. This site is different. I can always find a slice of decency and humor and beauty and these honest little snippets of life make my day. I also feel less bad for drinking a glass of wine on a Tuesday. Your children seem smart and kind. They will be alright, and I am positive there is no better mother for them.

  60. Inbal says...

    My heart goes out to you. I know that you’re a wonderful human and mother because this blog feels like home to so many of us. Be strong and I’ll keep you and your sweet family in my happy thoughts.

  61. Now that my kids are now teens, I can tell you there are many smart, creative, successful parents out there like you and Alex who are dealing with issues that are not part of the “Kid Kit” we’d thought we would get when we signed up for one. As your children grow, so too will your connections with these extraordinary people. These folks will be part of your tribe and they will reassure, guide, and comfort you in this journey. Network in your neighborhood and forge these connections, even by doing something as simple as joining/forming a parents’ book club or becoming a member of a PTA board.

  62. Anna says...

    I’m so sorry you are going through a rough time. The main reason I read your blog is because it reads so consistently true. You do such a wonderful job of creating content that is both aspirational and grounded, which is not easy to do (or everyone would be doing it!!) Just keep being you, Joanna! Xx

  63. Katie says...

    This isn’t lovely. And I hope your worries are calmed. Parenting is so hard. And I completely understand your concern of privacy, but know that sharing can be helpful to both others and to you. As a parent I don’t think that my children’s struggles are only their to discuss, but I also don’t have a public platform – so I mean no judgement against you and your view! I will say that my younger son had apraxia of speech and I spent nights up sick about whether he would speak. Aggressively getting him the help that he needed made all the difference and now he is a happy and engaged and super verbal 4th grader. But my 5th grade son has ADHD and we didn’t realize it until grade school. It has been so painful both to question how we parent him, to deal with his low frustration point and to watch him struggle socially. The most painful is how hurt he is by struggling to fit in. There are so few parents whom I can talk to about this. I talk to some of my closest friends, but I sometimes feel that they are glad not to have to deal with these things. And who would want their child to feel left out??? Parenting is hard. And lack of support and connection with parenting struggles is even harder.

  64. Kat says...

    Jo, you are doing everything exactly as you should. It probably doesn’t feel like it right now. But the fact that your heart aches and your body can’t quite get comfortable at night, means that you care. Loving fiercely is what a whole life is, I think.

    I quit my job 8 months ago due to chronic illness and each day I magnify the minutes (or fleeting seconds) I have of those small, joyful slices. It can be so tough. But I remember that I feel so deeply because I care so deeply. And that has to count for something, right?

  65. Caroline says...

    Love to you and your family. I have been struggling with wanting to leave social media this past year. I really love seeing my friends lives and sharing photos of our family to stay connected with others. But there is just so much that those pictures don’t tell. The very real deep struggles that we have. Most of us aren’t trying to be fake on social media, but we take and share moments of our lives that are worth celebrating! Those are the ones we want to look at over and over, that bring so much joy!
    I only hope that you are finding connection and love in your life to share the hard, confusing parts of parenthood with. You are certainly not alone!

    • Liz says...

      I deleted my Facebook account almost two years ago. After viewing my newsfeed every day, I felt inadequate. Today, I feel free! I’m not judging myself or others.

  66. Katie says...

    Your blog is always a bright spot in my day, and I hope some of that light is reflected back to you and your family today. Hang in there.

  67. Katherine says...

    I work in mental health and often we advise clients to “take a break” from social media, especially with our clients in the beginning stages of recovery, as they are working to establish routine and contentment. Looking at all the “great things” their peers are doing via social media can be difficult, as they are striving to make it through each individual day.

    This is hard when social media is your profession! I share the above to say thank you for your honesty and boundaries in sharing your experience. I am printing this entry out to share with clients, to remind them that it is not all as glamorous as it seems on the screen. In our wise minds we generally recognize this, yet everyone can easily get caught up in forgetting this (myself included.). Thank you Joanna, again, for having a lovely space of reflection for people.

  68. Hearts! We’re all human. xoxo

  69. Katie says...

    I know what it’s like to feel as though you’re living a bit of a double life. You carry on like you always do and maintain your life, but almost with a sense of impending doom. Because anticipation or the unknown can eat you alive. Often, I feel as though every conversation it gets harder and harder to pay attention when there is only one thing that truly consumes me. Mine is a chronic health issue that won’t kill me, but trying to imagine what my life will be like at 60 or 80 can keep me up at night. And while the lack of control I have over this condition drives me almost to insanity, it’s also what strangely comforts me. Your family will be in my thoughts as you navigate your own path. Like Tolkien says “not all those who wander are lost.”

    • LE123 says...

      Me too. You’re not alone. <3

  70. G says...

    Look at this great community of strong, supportive individuals- you’re a great writer and I’m sure a great Mom. I hope you find peace and comfort in that. Sending thoughts your way <3

  71. Juliette says...

    I don’t have anything to add to the beautiful and heartfelt words that your readers wrote here. Just wanted to say thank you, because your blog feels like such an honest and unpretentious place , I come back to read your words regularly. I hope whatever is going on finds its place in the world and that you find some peace to deal with it, as you will, because mamas are strongest of people when it comes to their little ones. Sending love xoxox.

  72. Hilde says...

    Sending love to you and your family! Indeed, lots of life happens off-screen and not all of it is shareable (in the moment, or ever). Good for you for having a boundaries practice that is right for you, as well as using the opportunity to remind us that life is complex, beyond the snapshots. xo

  73. Cazmina says...

    Thank you for sharing. For what it’s worth, I think you’ve done a wonderful job in sharing real snippets of your life without it seeming exploitative or just too much.
    I have been going through a bit of a rough patch and social media can definitely make it seem like you’re the only one whose life isn’t amazing all the time. I do need to remember not to feel too sorry for myself and look for those slices of joy. Thank you for the reminder.
    I hope things get better for you and your family with whatever you’re facing. And as Dory says: just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

  74. Rach says...

    I hope things find their way to being somewhat easier for you all. That the burden of worry is lessened.

    In my neck of the woods I’m struggling with the parenting/work balance at the moment. I find myself getting so frustrated with the boys when I’m trying to just finish off work. So it’s my goal this week to find ways to get less frustrated. They are just being kids, wonderful chaotic kids. And getting so frustrated with them makes me feel like crap.

    Sending warm wishes.

    Off to find a slice of joy as I start my day

  75. I haven’t read through all the comments here so perhaps it has already been said but let me repeat the sentiments. You are the perfect mother for Toby and Anton and they are the perfect sons for you. No one else could love and nurture them like you and Alex do so take heart. You are doing better than you think. Parenting is hard, so hard, but the love! The painful, beautiful, please stop-while-I-steady-myself, glorious love. Let that hold you in those moments where it all feels too much. Those boys of yours are the sweetest. Thinking of you x

  76. This post only makes you more beloved in our hearts, because you’re 100% human and that’s why we read this beautiful blog. Or that’s how I feel. Thank you for sharing … and this is too is enough. Your truths are yours. This post already expresses your realness in so many ways. Sending you a lot of love and understanding.

  77. Oh Joanna, your blog brings me so much joy every day, I hope that everything turns out ok.

    I’m entering my final year as a Ph.D. student and I feel so stressed and worried about the future. I want this to end really badly so the next stage of my life can begin, but I wonder if I’ll be able to pull it off, or if I’ll drown in the loneliness of writing this thing.

    I keep you in my thoughts.

  78. E says...

    Gosh, since this is anonymous I will share the thing that I keep secret from all my friends and is my #1 worry…my son may be dealing with gender dysphoria at the age of 4.

    I feel like I can’t talk to any of my friends about this. Everyone is Christian in our community and they totally don’t buy into the realness of this. But it is so very real. In our hearts as parents we understand him more than we know the world will.

    • cee j says...

      I have a trans brother who at 4 cut all his hair off, and threw all his dresses into my room. He started to stuff his underwear so it looked like he was a boy and insisted that he was a boy. My overly conservative family insisted that he was just a tomboy and forced him to wear dresses to certain events which you could see crush his soul. Now he’s 30, living as a man and happily married to an amazing woman. What your child is going through is so incredibly real and recognizing this and supporting them is the best thing you can do as a parent. Sending love and courage to you and your child!

    • Meghan says...

      I hope that you and Jo and all the others who have posted always remember that you have a this tremendous community lifting you up. You do whatever feels right for your family and we’ll all be out here cheering you on!

    • K says...

      How fortunate that your child has parents who understand who he is as a human and love and accept him. I can’t imagine how scary it would be to try to figure out how to teach your child to navigate the world when you fear that the community around you won’t be accepting, but do know that there are so many who do understand.

    • Holly says...

      E, I’m so sorry to hear that you are going through this without the support of your community. I’m a Christian and it pains me so much that Christians are often the most judgmental group out there. Why is that? It’s not who Jesus was. So from one Christian to another, I empathize with you, and I know that God loves your son fiercely.

  79. elizabeth says...

    Thank you for writing this. Everyone is going through something and it is to powerful to know no one is alone. I am navigating issues as a parent too. Perspective and strength help me.

  80. CoraD says...

    Thank you, Joanna. Thank you for trusting us.

  81. P says...

    I just wanted to say that I’m sorry for what you’re going through and I so appreciate your honesty and candor. I hope it helps you to know that you are inspirational to so many women (and men, I’m sure). I look forward to your posts every single day and have read your blog every day since you wrote for Glamour. It’s crazy to feel so moved by someone I’ve never met before, but you seem to somehow capture the “voice of A generation” (to quote Girls, ha ha). Thanks for sharing as much as you do of your life. :)

  82. P says...

    I just wanted to say that I’m sorry for what you’re going through and so appreciate your honesty and candor. I hope it helps you to know that you are inspirational to so many women (and men, I’m sure). I look forward to your posts every single day and have read your blog every day since you wrote for Glamour. It’s crazy to feel so moved by someone I’ve never met before, but you seem to somehow capture the “voice of A generation” (to quote Girls, ha ha). Thanks for sharing as much as you do of your life. :)

  83. K says...

    Hi Joanna,

    So much has already been said in response to your beautiful, heartfelt post this morning. I would only add that many times when we are suffering sharing is what we want to do most. To relieve ourselves of our burden. Not sharing can be the toughest choice of all and requires a personal discipline and respect for the privacy of others that I believe will serve you well as you move forward on your parenting journey. And remember, there is tremendous light at the end of the tunnel!! k

  84. Joanna Goddard says...

    Thank you so, so, so much for all these comments. I’ve been tearing up all day long reading them. It feels like a sisterhood of smart funny tough women. Thank you x a million.

    • Gina says...

      I visit your site for sweet stories and smiles. I found out I had cancer in Dec and am going through chemo. I had been looking for a new job and was so worried they would not want me. I could not be more wrong. I will strap my wig on tomorrow and start a new job after 7 years. I am exhausted and thrilled to begin a new chapter. Today I cried…I have kept so much inside. It felt good to write you my friend.

    • Hillary F. says...

      Thank you for providing a slice of joy to me each day for the last 5 years. Thank you for being vulnerable while maintaining your privacy. Know that you have thousands of women from all corners of the world sending you love and lightness.

  85. Ann M says...

    you have a beautiful, normal family. your readers enjoy what you share. what you hold in your heart is yours alone. the older I get the more I know no one “gets out unscathed.” I try really hard to be kind and patient with my fellow beings because you never truly know what hardships they are facing. xo

  86. Bethany says...

    As a writer, you have provided over the years such comfort and inspiration to us readers. It’s actually hard to put into words the impact that your articles have had on my life. You aren’t afraid to tackle the really tough topics: miscarriage, infertility, death, post-partum depression, and so many, many others. I hope that whatever it is you are dealing with in your family, you can take some comfort in knowing that the individuals that you have lifted up and given hope want so much to return that to you in kind. Sending you and Alex peace.

  87. Alice says...

    How honest and beautiful. Such a thoughtful, moving, post.
    I have sought and received so much comfort and advice from your blog over the years that I really hope you and Alex have who you need around you. Love and strength to you and your beautiful family.

    I strive for slices of joy, my current is fresh air – I moved my family from a polluted city to a clean one but left behind millions of people that can’t financially or politically make that move. I’ve had some big physical set backs in life so I feel slices of joy when I stretch and run. I think this is a wonderful question to ask others Jo, to make us think about our small joys.

    I like the idea of a whole life too, and I think I have whole days right now, they’re hard, god really hard sometimes, but they’re beautiful and full. Some of your posts stay with me, like mantras almost: something to live by. This will join them, I just know it. A whole life.

  88. Nadine says...

    Wow, what a timely post! I want to say, first, that whatever you’re going through – you are not alone. And my struggle – as I engaged in it just this morning, is a negative thought cycle. I feel angry & ugly inside. When my daughter got home from school, I exploded & now I feel like a failure again. Food has been another lifetime issue, but I’m trying to be more mindful & make time to prepare healthy things that I will enjoy.

  89. Tamar says...

    You got this. Whatever it is, you’ll find your way through it with courage and love, I have no doubts.

    I think that in a way, for me, IG is almost about showing those small slices of joy in life. There are many weeks where I think I have nothing to post because nothing extraordinary or fun or amazing has happened.
    I try to then just think of something nice in my daily life and share that – the houseplant on the table, the coffee in my hand, the running shoes as I head to a class, or the dinner that I threw together after. Those are my little accomplishments and joys for the day, and they’re also worth celebrating and bringing awareness to.

  90. Ouf! Yes, there are things we love and things that we fear we are watching go off the rails. And they can be the same things simultaneously.
    Reading some of the comments is so touching. I am not big on IG; it seems too shallow, and I get annoyed after about five–no, two–minutes of scrolling. The context–the whole WHERE/WHY/HOW–are missing. Because everything is Perfect. Everything is Staged. Everything is Fake.
    I can do without that. I end up among blogs of substance. More than a pretty face.
    Whatever you are going through, please know there are people whose first reactions will be empathy, not judgment. Bon Courage.

  91. This idea that social media can be a facade hiding all sorts of other stories is a familiar one to me. I’m 28 and manage the social media for a medium-size city in one of the southern states. I spend 40+ hours a week online as a swinging door between our city’s residents and local government. It’s a position I find fulfilling and believe is vital for encouraging productive discourse. Still, responding to complaints and issues day-in and day-out can be incredibly draining. No matter where the problems are coming from, I am the first defense in dealing with trolls and naysayers.

    Your blog has become a daily respite from this work. A space into which I can retreat from the slog of angry Facebook comments and enter into conversations about creating peaceful spaces or women with empowering stories. Even if it’s just 5 minutes, it’s amazing to me the lift that can come from reading a fun story of a first date gone wrong or a word of encouragement about being a young professional woman.

    Thank you for providing such a thin slice of joy.

  92. jenn says...

    i think i can speak for most if not all your readers when i say you have an incredible virtual support system. big hugs to all of you, and share if you like, on your time and terms. love <3

  93. Tracy says...

    Joanna, thank you so much for your blog. I’m a sole parent of a teenager and I have a highly stressful job. Once everyone is taken care of at the end of the night I enjoy reading your posts – I love the breadth of topics and your voice. When my son was two his daycare started telling me there was something wrong with him – something I couldn’t see at home when he wasn’t interacting with multiple children. It took years, many professionals, unbelievable panic and emotional pain, lots of money and many dead ends before we figured out what was going on and could address it. It is very isolating – I wanted support, but it’s my son’s information. I also have a chronic illness that can be tough to deal with. I am so, so sorry that your family is dealing with your own issues, and I hope you are doing a few nice things for yourself. I post on Instagram a bit not only to keep up with friends & family, but to remember all of the moments I’m so grateful for – that’s really important. However, I see how it can be damaging – especially for teenagers – to see what can be a one-dimensional view and think that that’s what life should be like all of the time. I may have to start a new messy house/car won’t start/burned dinner account to showcase the other slice of life…..thank you again for covering so much ground in a thoughtful, kind way. And, I wish you all good things.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a lovely note, tracy. you sound like an incredibly strong and loving person. also, your note about a separate instagram account — my friend actually has one! her blog is called Say Yes, but her alternate instagram is called Say No, and she posts all the “outtakes.” it’s really funny and i love her for it :)

  94. Steph says...

    Joanna,
    Your blog is far and away the best there is for women, moms, or anyone for that matter. You are always so honest and heartfelt with your readers. Thank you for sharing that like us all your human and have struggles. I feel your blog reflects so many aspects of everyday life and todays post rings true to that. Sending you a hug and good vibes. This too shall pass and always try to take one day at a time.

  95. Carolyn says...

    We may only be “internet friends” but I have grown to know and love your whole family like we are “real life friends” – I don’t have much else to say, other than you’re in my thoughts xo

  96. withheld says...

    your post made me want to weep. for the last year, one of our daughters has been in and out of the hospital, in and out of schools, etc. I have friends who might sympathize, but none who can empathize. It’s such a lonely place.

    • Tina says...

      Oh, WITHHELD….my heart breaks for you. Not only can I sympathize but I can empathize. Our secret (not so secret) struggle is with one of our teenage daughters. Its so terribly lonely….when you’re potty training or bottle feeding or trying to sleep train, there’s a village to guide you through. When you have a teenager who doesn’t act like everyone else, you’re alone. Its not my story to tell and I appreciate you sharing your struggles, Jo and WITHHELD. Always working on finding “slices of joy” or gratitude to get me through. Today my slice of joy was this post and the comments. Thanks.

  97. Maureen says...

    yes, the highlight reel. Maybe you posted about that? That we compare our worst moments with everyone else’s highlight reel? we are all struggling in different ways. My Mom said if we all put our problems in a pot with our friends and could trade our problems with our friends, everyone would take back the same problem. Wishing you peace and strength despite the struggle….In my darkest moments, I start telling God all the things I am grateful for. Practicing gratitude helps take the edge off (and wine!) Hugs!

  98. So true! Lately I’m learning that nobody has a perfect life. Sometimes people look happy on the outside, but you have no idea what they’re going through.

  99. Julia says...

    You do have any right to stay a private person even though you give intimate insight into your everyday life, Joanna. I have to admit that sometimes I wish you would also write about days that really suck and boys that are driving you nuts. But you are doing it just right: I can see how careful you avoid anything that might do any harm to your kids (posts that might make them look silly etc. that their friends or potential work mates in the future might laugh about etc.). Regarding your blog entries, one can see how loyal you are to your family at all times and I admire you for managing this balancing act!

  100. I really really love this post, and reading all of the beautiful comments! I try really hard to find joy in the little things, even though on bad days it’s close to impossible. Lately, I’ve been finding joy in the change of seasons – birds chirping, flowers blooming. It makes me smile, even if it’s just for a second.

    Thanks for sharing – this made my day.

    Christina

  101. Twyla says...

    I so deeply identify with what you’re saying. Instagram can be so incredibly depressing because we see a highly edited version of other people’s lives. It seems everyone I know is constantly on tropical vacations and going out and having wine with girlfriends every week. I’m very tempted to turn my Instagram into a very real glimpse into our very real life – Friday nights in PJ’s watching Netflix, a boring drive home from work, unflattering photos of myself. I feel like I’m being dishonest otherwise.

  102. Aya says...

    Hello Joanna,
    I wanted to send out a little note of support and love to you and to your family. You bring so much good into my life and I am grateful to you. I always marvel at the balance you strike between sharing and being heartfelt while also being respectful and cherishing privacy. I never feel like you are exploiting your children, which sometimes I feel on other blogs. (Understandable because kids are dang cute!) While the nosy side of me always wants to know more about you, I admire how you protect your family and appreciate how you let us into your life. I’m sending you strength and good wishes as you navigate this hardship. I’m rooting for you.

    • Lucie says...

      yes, this sentiment exactly! there are so few people that I follow closely on social media, your blog has been one of the only every-reads that I have! thanks for consistently being wonderful and sharing fun and also serious things in this space. it’s become one of the things I look forward to every week, to echo some other commenters (re: slices of joy)!

  103. A says...

    What an authentic post! I’m sure you feel pressure to share struggles, while also needing privacy, time and space. I’ve been reading your blog for a few years. From my perspective, you’re conscientious of your readers and understand that many of us look to you for impactful posts. You’ve tackled some tough topics on your blog. You’ve encouraged your readers to be thoughtful, to engage, and to deconstruct concepts and ideas, all while keeping it generally light – a special talent you have that must feel like a burden sometimes.

    I’m confident that in your own way and on your own terms, you’ll share what you feel comfortable sharing and it will help other women.

  104. Heather says...

    Gosh, Joanna, I’m so sorry to hear that you’re struggling with something that sounds really hard. I’m holding you and your family in my heart.

    Thank you for this post. I’ve been reading for a very long time and it’s your thoughts on how to live life–a whole life–that mean the most. Thank you for helping me remember we’re all in this.

    With love,
    Heather

  105. This made me tear up. Thank you for sharing. I can so, so relate. We have also had struggles, often not shared with others because our family life has seemed so different from most. We are still in the process of sorting things out, now that my daughter is three. But it can be painful, to feel alone in it. I have also found that focusing on the shared experiences of humanity can be heartening. I’m so glad you have the love of so many readers, and I’m sure people who can share their love and support with your family in “in person” life. Sending you love and light on your journey. Xx

  106. Amy says...

    Your blog is definitely one of my daily slices of joy. Despite what is going on in your family right now I’m thankful this place on the internet exists at the same time, so all the love and encouragement to you as well!

    • Aya says...

      Yes! So agree!

    • Steph says...

      Sure is… a daily slice of joy. Well said

    • rachel says...

      yes yes yes!

    • Veronica says...

      Agreed!
      One of the many reasons why it is, is because it is so incredibly genuine. Thank you so much for that. This post is a perfect example. I can’t help but tear up -we all know how tough life can be for our own reasons.
      much love xoxoxo

  107. Clare says...

    I think your boys are lucky to have such a thoughtful, respectful, and kind mother. I hope you and Alex can find strength and support in each other.

  108. Kara says...

    Hey Joanna,

    thanks for sharing. I try to remind myself of this but it’s SO HARD. I’m constantly looking at social media and thinking, “Her style is amazing,” or “They look so happy!” or “I wish I could afford that whatever-the-hell.” And then I’ll talk to some friends I haven’t seen in a while and they’ll say something about how well I’m doing (not) or how skinny I’ve gotten (hello, anxiety) or how my boyfriend and I are so cute (oh hey, we broke up after a year and he’s already dating someone else). And I think yeah, I totally do that too, nobody knows how messy my life truly is.

    Whatever you’re going through, you aren’t alone. Thanks for sharing. Sending love.

  109. Kerry says...

    Hi Joanna,

    I must echo that your blog is a place that brings me joy. I love how you and your team work to help us notice and value beauty and goodness and fun. I’ve been living with a chronic and seemingly undiagnosable health challenge for a year and a half and it’s so hard a lot of the time.

    This post was just what I needed today to help me remember joy is there, always, however fleeting.

    Wishing you strength. You are a graceful, joy-bringing force in the world.

    xo
    Kerry

  110. The idea of slices of joy reminded me of this Humans of New York post from several years ago (https://www.facebook.com/humansofnewyork/photos/a.102107073196735.4429.102099916530784/701672859906817/?type=3&theater). I love the mother’s comment “I was starting to wonder if there was any reason to go on. But then I had the most delicious pear!”. This post also served to remind me to look for those moments in my own life, even in what seems to be a very long season of struggle.

    Love and strength and courage to you and your family xx

    • Sarah says...

      Thank you for this! Ha. I think that line about the pear will rescue me many times throughout my life!

    • Morgan says...

      Yes to this pear reference.

  111. Nicole says...

    Your children are lucky to have so wonderful, thoughtful parents.

  112. Annie says...

    My moments of joy come with morning coffee and evening baths. Sending you and Alex light and love.

  113. Emily says...

    I appreciate this post more than you can understand. I’m sorry you’re going through a difficult time, and hope you can find a way to navigate life’s difficulties that bring you and your family peace. My family is going through an incredibly difficult time right now, and I’m not sharing many details with anyone. It feels so lonely.

    • Lauren says...

      Sending a hug. My family is also struggling and I too can’t bring myself to share details with friends. We will get through this even if we are being silent about it – squeeze.

  114. Melissa says...

    Thanks Joanna. Like you, I have three young boys (ages 6, 4, 2). My social media also shows a super happy, blissful picture. We struggle with something too, that I’ve only very recently begun talking about openly. My oldest son, since he was very little, often says he wishes he was a girl. He’s certainly not a ‘typical’ boy – like his brothers, who are all boy, all the time. It’s thrown me for a loop because I can’t believe how much we struggle with this – he is bright, smart, kind, athletic, and yet he’s clearly ‘different’ – It keeps me up at night too. Especially now that he’s getting older, boy and girl activities are split up and these social norms tend to be more noticeable as he gets older. Talking about it has helped a lot, especially with the parents of his core group of (mostly girl) friends, they accept and understand who he is and love him for that. At his birthday party this year he didn’t get one truck or super hero toy and instead was showered with unicorns, dolls, shopkins and moana toys. That nearly made me cry and feel so thankful for these wonderful people in our lives.

  115. Anna says...

    What timing for this post! I’ve been laying here, in the dark, with a toddler’s feet in my back wondering where exactly everything went sideways. And what, exactly, I would do differently. I’m a single mum and recently my two year old got sick, really sick, and it felt like everything crumbled around me. She’s going to be okay now, after some pretty big surgery, but I can’t help feeling that Ive failed her in practically every way. I’m the only one who can’t get it together, in an Instagram city of incredible women, with incredible careers and loving husbands with hipster beards and adoring, saltwater sandal wearing children.

    And here I am, no longer the lead in my own show, on the periphery, now officially the Parent, that background non-descript character in books and movies. There but with no real substance.

    Sheryl Sandburg once said that sometimes we don’t get our option A and all you can do is kick the shit out of option B. I truly like that. It’s just that I really wanted option A.

    Thank you so much for sharing a small part of your struggle (though I wish you didn’t have one). Thinking of you and your family, hang in there xx

    • Twyla says...

      Can I say, Anna, that you are a fabulous writer? I read your comment over and over and thought – this woman should write a book!
      Sending love~

    • tsampamama says...

      Oh Anna. You just made me tear up. You have not failed. You’re still kicking the shit out of Option B (even though I totally get you really wanted option A), you’re in bed with you little one tucked lovingly (if slightly uncomfortably) with you and every day, you are showing her what a loving, shit-kicking, strong woman looks like. You can only do the best you can do and it sounds like you are doing that every day. Sending you strength, blessings and so many good wishes from Toronto.
      p.s. BTW the rest of us are having bad hairdays and discovering toothpaste stains on our clothes upon arrival at work. Our spouses’ hipster beards itch. We fight over stupid shit. Our kids hate their sandals. No one has their shit together everyday in EVERY department.

    • Anna says...

      Thank you so much. This made me tear up and then laugh out loud about those itchy (if very handsome) beards!

      It’s funny how encouragement all the way from Toronto can make such a difference here in Melbourne.

      Here’s to us – strong women, who don’t really have their shit together but are trying all the same!

    • Anna says...

      Yay that we are both Annas! Haha :)
      I for one just wanted to say that you are being a MOTHER. No matter how you feel you don’t compare to other mom’s instagram “perfect” lives you are doing the entire world a service by being a mother to that little girl.
      It can be so unbelievably easy to feel you are not enough, or that your life is just the opposite of what you thought you wanted. But don’t loose faith in yhe effort you put forth. Look to God to remember the light inside you that is innately valuable. I’m so glad to hear your daughter is much better. I send hope and prayers to you both.
      I have never once commented or replied to a comment in my 3 or so years of fallowing Cup of Jo, but I broke my rule, because I just had to have you know that some stranger in Utah is on your side, caring about the way you feel, and sending you conpassion wherever you may be. Hold on. You are already more than enough to her <3

    • Anna says...

      From one Anna to another, thank you. This is such a beautiful note – it’s made such a difference to my day (and I’m saving it for every day).

      Love from Melbourne to Utah x

    • rachel says...

      agreed!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      seconding what TSAMPAMAMA said!! anna, you sound like an incredible incredible mother — you were there for your daughter when she was sick, and more than that, you show up every damn day for her. you’re amazing. sending you the biggest hug, and i’m rooting for you! you’re not alone. xoxoxoxo

    • Emmaline says...

      I love this whole thread. I love the Option A/B idea. I have a little son with mental health issues. Not fun at all. Lonely as hell. Sometimes I feel like the shit is being kicked out of me, rather than the other way around. Thanks for sharing you guys.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      PS once a therapist said to me, “you’re the exact right mother for this child,” and that was so so wonderful to hear. thought i’d pass it along in case it’s helpful for you, too — i’m sure it’s true! xoxoxoxo

    • Anna says...

      Well now I’m the teary one, but in the very best way! Thank you these beautiful comments (which I’m copying immediately, to save for those days that we all have). I’ve been reading all of the comments and so many of us have similar troubles and worries, especially when it comes to motherhood, which is sad in a way but also means none of us are as alone as we think. Although I wish nothing but the easiest journey for everyone, it’s an incredible feeling to know that so many someones in Utah and Toronto and New York – the Anna’s and the Joanna’s and the Emmaline’s and Rachel’s and Twyla’s and Trish’s – are thinking of us right now and cheering us on. I feel a little taller this morning (despite the toddler footprint related pain in my back!) And I’m cheering for you guys too.

      Thank you Joanna for sharing your story and creating this space for all of us to talk and support. Those gorgeous boys are so lucky to have you as their Mama, no matter what comes x

    • Anna,

      Thank you for this. As much as I love Joanna’s post, I love your reply even more. Screen capped and something I’ll come back to again and again.

      Write a book, woman!

      Trish

    • Anna says...

      Thank you Trish – I’m screencapping your screencap! And a book? That is such a compliment…and maybe not such a bad addition to my option b.

    • Sonya says...

      oh my god I could hug you Anna. Your comment made me laugh out loud at work! I live in Melbourne- Single mum of a two year old and a 4 year old and can totally relate to living in a city of skinny jeans and hister beards while I think I am going to have early knee surgery from trying to balance two kids on either hip who seem to want to be carried by mum at the same time. I really wanted option A and have to constantly remind myself that I am ok doing ok with option B or C or Z. sending you lots of love xx
      P.S I have a similar toddler foot imprint on the right side of my face xx

    • Hi Anna,
      I was already tearing up and getting goosebumps hard reading through the comments on Joanna’s heartbreaking but warm and honest post and getting to yours really got me.
      I’m not a Mama but I am in Melbourne and would love to take your toddler off your hands in your home for a few hours while you take a bath, go for a walk or catch up with a friend (or start on that book?). Plan B still comes with a community.
      Wishing you the best. X

  116. Norma Darosa says...

    Dear Jo and Family:

    A very heartfelt thanks to you for lifting us up–your devoted readers–every day with your frank and comforting prose. We hope that you realize the joy and comfort you bring us and that these small gestures of support are helpful to you. We wish you fortitude and courage in this difficult time.

  117. Sheri says...

    I can relate as I have had a secret struggle for the past 2 years and feel less alone because of this brave post. Thank you. I am always comforted by the human connection. I appreciate you and your blog for many reasons but most of all for being real.

  118. Laurel says...

    We all struggle Jo! And even though all of us readers aren’t coming round for a cup of tea, we are all here, listening with open hearts and support.
    My husband and I are just coming out of what has to be the hardest six months of our marriage. Nothing overly dramatic happened (no infidelity or secret family) but it’s been a long road to getting back to just good. The hardest part really was feeling like I couldn’t talk about it. I have wonderful supportive mama friends but our families all hang together so I didn’t want to give them all a negative view of him. Every day I had to work on just being patient. And waiting is stupidly hard.
    You and yours are in my thoughts today! Don’t forget to take care of yourself Joanna.

  119. Johanna says...

    It’s funny. On the whole, the news features all the societal bad that’s happening. And social media features all the individual good that’s going on. Perhaps somewhere in the middle is reality? I don’t know. What you say is true though, behind the scenes we’re all struggling, probably with multiple things. I know I am. Thanks for your post.

  120. Kelsey says...

    Thank you for sharing. I love your honesty. Parenting is hard, yeah? I’ve never assumed that because you post fun and pretty things that your life is perfect. Of course you have struggles, because we all do. It’s part of the human experience. There’s no shame in those struggles, and there’s also no shame in keeping them private. I hope that whatever your family is going through will ultimately bring you all closer together. Xo

  121. Sending you lots of love and “slices of happiness” <3

    • And by happiness I meant joy. (I haven’t slept in days because both of my girls have been sick for months now!)

  122. Hanna says...

    Sending love your way. xo

  123. R says...

    I think about that quote about wholeness all the time, it really helps (that, and your Grand Canyon trick for anxiety:) Thank you for your transparency, it’s just one of the many things that I love about your blog.

  124. Lauren E. says...

    I’m sure I speak for many when I say that reading your blog is a thin slice of joy for me. I usually get your newsletter as I’m heading home on Thursday night from work and it always brings a smile to my face. So thank you for providing nice moments in my day and in my week. And I’m sending out all the good vibes for you and your family.

  125. Kaitlin says...

    Hey. I know you feel like this isn’t your story to tell, but I wonder if there’s something here for those who do want to tell this story? Like a motherhood from around the world, but a Parenting Through Challenges series? You have such a huge platform, and as sorry as I am that you are going through difficulties in parenthood that sound bigger than the everyday challenge, I’m sorrier still that you don’t think it aligns to your values to share that challenge, or similar challenges with us. I was buoyed when you share We’re All Wonders and talked about Julia from Sesame Street. You’ve done so much good in so many ways. I really hope you find strength to forge past what seems like an insurmountable challenge, and help bring understanding on this challenge as you have on cultural differences in parenting. xo

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much for your note. personally, i really, really want to share what’s going on — and i’d love to feature other mothers going through hard times who can talk more anonymously about their children than i’m able to (since my children are named/known on the site). while i’m very open about our situation with friends, neighbors, colleagues, etc. i want to keep it offline for my child’s privacy, since down the road he’ll be able to read it himself and also his future classmates could potentially find it online, etc. i hope that makes sense! as you mention, i would LOVE to have more conversations about parenting challenges for sure. thank you so much for your thoughtful comment.

  126. Robin says...

    Hugs. thank you for the reminder to focus on those slices of joy. It is so very easy to overlook all the good in the midst of frustration or anxiety or anger. I wish you all the best in navigating your challenges. I think even from this outside view I can say that you are a wonderful parent – I am constantly impressed by your sweet, imaginative ideas – penny walks, the hand on the arm waiting to interrupt, dates with Toby are a few that come to mind, but there are lots more. Trust yourself and find the joy in the days where you can.

  127. L says...

    Like the many other readers gathered here, I am thinking of you and your family. While reading this post I found myself wondering, not for the first time: how do you decide when to tell a personal story, and when to keep it private? Have you ever made a choice you regret in this area? Even for those of us who do not blog , navigating when (and if) to reveal can be difficult. If you’d ever care to tell us more about how you make these decisions, I’d be eager to listen.

  128. frida says...

    I really think it’s okay for our online lives to be curated—even (and maybe especially so?) for people whose online life is also their professional life. I also ask these same questions and wonder if everyone else has things better figured out than I do. But, I think my online life is a bit like the photo albums that I compiled before digital photography. I thought about those photos before taking them. I wouldn’t have taken a photo of a pile of dirty dishes (unless it was especially funny, I guess). I wouldn’t have put a photo in an album that made my mom or my best friend or myself look awful. This is especially relevant to me because my online life is on instagram (private account) and it’s mostly photos of my daughter. I wouldn’t want her to look back and be embarrassed of the photos that I have chosen to represent our lives. And, now that she is a fully-sentient, opinionated kid, I also give her veto power and talk to her about the choice.

    I think you’re wise to both seek reassurance and hold back the details of what you’re dealing with. A few years ago something really, really hard happened to me. I am okay, and better now for it having happened, but at the time I really needed support and I also really needed to not talk about why I needed support. From all of these comments, it looks like you have that in spades. Good luck to you and your family as you work through both hard and wonderful times. They often go hand in hand.

  129. Lexy says...

    We love you, Jo! Thank you for your bravery. I’m in awe of you–including your social media posts. I finished your brother-in-law’s book this weekend, and I feel he would be proud of your decision to share from truth of your heart. Thank you for all you do for this community.

  130. heather says...

    Of course this post has led me to look through my own IG account and think about what image I’m projecting. I think we all curate our lives on social media not so much for others as for ourselves, for the person or family we aspire to be. I see my IG pictures both as times when I was authentically happy, and times when I was stressed out and wanted to be that parent who just laughs when things get so out of control. Sometimes taking a picture and creating my own narrative around that moment helps me detach just enough to find the humor or joy in the situation.
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BDNiSdCQvIw/?taken-by=hevuva

  131. Lisa says...

    Just another voice of support. I’m amazed at everything you’ve gone through (and your openness about it) in the last few years, like the losses of family members, and throughout it all you’ve continued to be so positive and have such a happy space on the internet.

    I went through a rough patch a couple of years ago that I couldn’t to people about. Only my husband knows the full details.
    Now it’s over and I look back, and can’t even begin to comprehend how I coped. But what I got from it is a deeper understanding of compassion than I’d have otherwise, and realising that sometimes people have struggles you don’t (and shouldn’t) know about. You just need to be kind.

  132. Tara says...

    A few years back, my husband was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. I begged him to go, as I was loosing him and growing more afraid for myself and our 2-year old son. Heartbreak, confusion, and fear permeated my every interaction and communication around that time. Each day was like surviving my own secret life war zone. Yet, somehow, our marriage and our little family persevered.
    Sometimes I think the messier, uglier, more painful parts of life actually offer the greater blessings.
    This Leonard Cohen quote reminds me of the grace in imperfection: “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” -Leonard Cohen

    • K says...

      Wow, thank you for sharing. I went through something very similar with my husband this past fall and we are still dealing with the aftermath of it all. It was very traumatic at the time. Mental illness is such a delicate subject for some to talk about openly but we all have ‘mental health’. This experience has made us both so much more aware and we are constantly learning during his recovery.

  133. Alice Rose says...

    I’m glad you shared. I’ve had two babies in park slope- Anton and my first were within a couple weeks of each other. I love following your blog but sometimes i feel like I can’t relate because your life seems pretty perfect and I wonder- don’t you and Alex ever fight? Have you dealt with frustrating in laws? Money problems? Or just straight up disappointment? What it looks like is 2 cute kids, who’ve got parents with amazing fulfilling jobs and maybe a few hiccups but otherwise fun weekend plans and new outfits. And don’t get me wrong – sometimes that’s just what I’m looking for. your blog is great in so many ways, but I’d love to hear from women my age (36) struggling with their disappointments – what are they? how are they coping? And yeah that stuff is real and not pretty and who wants to expose the bad stuff but sometimes it’s not satisfying to see choreographed everything- where’s the mess?

    • Brianna says...

      I’m a little younger than you, Alice, and I don’t have any kids, but I can totally relate to the questions in your comment. All the people I know are married or in relationships and/or have kids or are starting to have kids. I’m married to my career right now and will be for a long time to come (I got a late start). I feel like I’m doing this life thing all alone. I can’t relate to temper tantrums and preschool and playground fights. I’m on a long-term social media break because the FOMO was so real that it was literally depressing me. I’m an introvert in a very extroverted career and while I love what I do at the end of the day, I don’t have the energy to commit to anything else. I just want to go home to my apartment and make dinner and then get in bed with Netflix or a book. I live with my brother, but he’s as much of an introvert as I am (and work 2 p.m.-10 p.m. most nights) so we don’t even deal with each other 9 times out of 10, other than to check schedules for the next day.

      The mess? It doesn’t exist. Only my very best friends know the mess and even they only get snippets. They both live hundreds of miles away and I’m lucky to see them once every other year.

  134. Anniclaude says...

    Sending you lots of love Joanna. I am going through a really rough patch myself and find it reassuring to know that we are not alone. While talking to a friend of mine, she told me : “what you’re going through is NOT original – I know so many people that have been there and everything has turned out okay for them in the end”. Be strong Joanna and listen to your heart. xo

  135. Thanks for sharing this. I love your voice and your blog, I appreciate your honesty.

    My family has been going through a hard time as well. It is not my story to share fully, so I often feel isolated. Social media is hard lately. I find myself envious of others who aren’t dealing with the endless health struggles we battle. It puts me in a “why me?” mind frame, which I know isn’t helpful.

    Like you, I have my twin sister, who I can share it all with. This year her support and absence of judgment have saved me.

    I love the idea of looking for and recognizing “slices of joy”. I may start writing them down. I’m hoping the hard times get easier for all of us, peaks and valleys. I’m ready to start climbing upward.

    Thank you for sharing your voice with us. XO

  136. Blossom says...

    Long time reader here, adding to the hundreds of lovely comments above, and sending you lots of love and thoughts as your family navigates through this tough time. I am so sorry for whatever you and your family are going through. Thank you for your honesty and openness, today and everyday on this blog. It truly is a refreshing place.

    I love the slices of joy idea and I am grateful for the reminder – my husband and I are finding our way through our infertility journey which is scary and lonely and difficult – so we must look for the joy everywhere we can and be reminded of how much we do have, rather than the one thing we want but don’t have right now.

    Hugs to you and all the lovely readers in this community.

  137. Suzanne says...

    I wish you and your family much peace and grace as you navigate this parenting challenge in your path. Know that your family and your future will remain lit with hope because you and Alex lead with love.

  138. julia says...

    thinking of you and sending warm wishes at whatever parenting challenge you are navigating. sounds so hard. and, thank you for continually taking the risk of being vulnerable with us and trusting this community (of strangers!) to hold you gently during painful, difficult times. personally, this disclosure couldn’t have come a more perfect time for me. i feel harried and overwhelmed by parenting and working – both roles i love – and finding myself looking around at others and wondering if i am the only one in the muck of it all. for example, the musing of today before reading this post: am i the only one not completely sure if i got deodorant on both arms today? am i the only one angsting over a parenting move i made this morning while i was simultaneously trying to get my shoes on, not spill my coffee, and trying to locate my keys? is a certain challenge one of my daughters is navigating normative or does this represent a troubling trajectory – do others have this same worry? and on and on… thank you for reminding me that i am not alone in it all. think in addition to forgetting to find the slices of joy in daily life, our instagram culture also breeds this sense of isolation. i find myself yearning for the days of communal living where sat around the fire and raised kids together – thank you for provide an online version of this sort of community.

  139. Sophia F. says...

    Just wanted to chime in and say that I have so, so much respect for you as a parent, and love hearing you say that “it’s not my story to tell.” It’s really heartening to see someone with a relatively public life keeping the lives of their children private, as it’s a difficult line to straddle these days, even for people who are happily ‘nobodies.’ I’m one of those parents who shares basically nothing and probably could loosen up a bit, but then I see friends sharing very personal struggles about their children and families online and am somehow saddened and embarrassed. In a world increasingly connected by social media, it makes sense to seek support from one’s broader sphere of online friends, but at the same time… this stuff lives forever. I always think before I post anything about whether my daughters, now 1 and 3, might be embarrassed or uncomfortable with anything I’ve shared when they are teenagers, and with the 3-year-old, I always ask permission before I do, on the principle that consent is a concept best established young. In fact, I’d love to see a series of posts interviewing some of the fantastic women you’ve featured on the blog about how they navigate social media presence in the context of their families.

  140. Capucine says...

    I’m sorry the invisible part of your life is hard. These days, I am focused on how to live a second-best life.

    I’m remembering Sheryl Sandberg writing about throwing a temper tantrum to the stand-in when her husband wasn’t there for a father-daughter dance; ‘This is Plan B’ he said and she wailed ‘I still want Plan A!’.

    So do I. But that ship sailed. There is peace when hope goes and reality takes it place. I am who I am; I cannot change myself nor what the past has been, nor much about my future. But I can accept and live this second-best life, this Plan B. ‘Thin slices of joy’ populate a Plan B life; it cannot be Plan A, but there is the mousse on the espresso to delight in, as an earlier commenter said.

    My midwife, a twinkling being, died very young and used the phrase ‘Life is hard, but not right now!’ a lot in her last year as she lived it up. Another way to say, thin slices of joy.

    I can’t say I notice those much, so I’ll try today, and you all too. If we cannot have Plan A, we can at least have the mousse on this espresso now.

  141. Julie says...

    Hi Joanna, some family things are private and personal and do not need to be shared. But, if you find it will help to share, your many many blog readers are here for you. I will keep you in my prayers. Best to you as you navigate what’s best for your family.

  142. deanna says...

    I so appreciate your choice to share something personal in this still very respectful and private way. I’m not a parent myself, but I spend much of my professional life helping parents navigate some incredibly difficult, frankly nightmarish, choices. I always find myself reminding parents that everyone, parent or child, has their own story to tell. Thank you for sharing yours. I hope that you continue to find love, support, and wholeness around you. Sending warm wishes to Brooklyn from Astoria. Be well.

  143. Lee says...

    May the clouds part for you and yours soon and sunshine fall upon your days.

  144. We all adore your family and hope you know that when you do share your story, we will be there to support you and do whatever we can to help!

    http://objectsicantafford.com

  145. lisa says...

    love xxx

  146. Suzanne says...

    Love to you, Jo. <3

    Of course to your family, Alex, Toby, Anton too.

    But I'm holding you in my mind and my heart right now…

  147. Jo says...

    Thank you so much for also sharing the not so instagram-worthy worries of life and parenthood. My youngest son is struggling in day care, with making friends, with changes, with his speech. And when realising his struggles , I found myself not being able to get out of bed, not being able to cope at all. Those fears have not subsided. But on all those nightly random google research hours I found someone describing their autistic child as a trip you had planned. You´d booked a trip to Italy, expected Italy but ended up in Holland instead. Not necessarily the end of the world, just a different place. And for me, who loves traveling, learning about different places, it really struck a chord. I could spend the journey as a parent mourning Italy or embracing Holland. Do I still worry, of course, but my boy is so wonderful in so many ways and such a joy. . I wouldn´t change him for the world.

    • Sophia F. says...

      I LOVE this. I am fortunate to have children who are not on any sort of spectrum, as far as I know (they’re 3 and 1), but I think this is true of parenthood in general – each of them is a very different adventure than what we would have expected, or perhaps what we would have chosen for maximum ease and convenience (as if!). However, we packed our bags and booked a mystery ticket, and we’ll keep traveling, learning, and growing with each new part of the journey.

    • Capucine says...

      I really love this, thank you. We take long treks with our children every year and my lord, have we ended up in places we never expected. I expected Italy! I wanted Italy! But, when in Holland…

  148. D Beickert says...

    I don’t have anything magical to say, but thank you for writing this and I can only hope that things will get easier with this thing that is keeping you up at night. Hugs.

    • Jbhat says...

      I second this sentiment and send a few more hugs.