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. Emily says...

    Just wanted to say I respect your approach to sharing your life and your family’s life so much. Wishing you well as you navigate it all.

  2. Resi says...

    Thank you for being so honest on such a public space and especially in times of stress. Like many other readers I keep coming back to read the comments. This is such a great community, so glad you invited us all :) Sending all the good vibes from Switzerland!

  3. anonymous says...

    Everyone has their trials, some secret, some obvious. Hugs from South Africa!

  4. Kate says...

    I was at a conference last week where we talked about leadership and one of the presenters said that we have three primal questions that we need answering from the people in our life: “are you there? do you see me? do you choose me?”

    And while I am just one internet blog reader who you don’t know at all, I will tell you that I am here, I see you and I choose you. And from the hundreds of comments, it seems like we are all here and here to listen to whatever you want to share.

  5. marina says...

    I have been a reader of your blog for years but never commented but now I have to admit that I was so happy to read this post I couldn’t not comment. I have just lived through the hardest year of my life, it has included changing jobs, buying a wreck of a house and renovating it as well as having my mother, who lived in a different country than me, diagnosed with cancer and die within 6 months of the diagnosis. Since I am an only child and my mum was my last living parent I am now dealing with the part of death that is rarely talked about, the part with all the practical issues. Cleaning out a house that is a plane flight away, staying on top of bills, arranging funerals, updating family and my mother’s friends of memorials and burials and at the same time trying to stay on top of my own life. As if by surprise I have also realised I am now in my mid thirties and me and my partner have wanted to start a family for a while and not managed to conceive. So now I have added IVF treatment to my never ending list of things to do.
    All this sadness and stress has turned even fun things into something I just need to tick off a list. It is strange when your whole life is turned completely upside down and in todays social media riddled world it can be so easy to loose sight of the fact that everyone doesn’t have that shiny perfect life. I can feel so lonely when I find myself in the middle of a shitty drama, that if I saw it on tv I would just switch the channel because it would feel unreal and over the top. To then realise this is my actual life and to only see other peoples nice facade can be very exhausting and stressful. It is calming to realise that the complexity of life is still there for other people as well and as Hugh MacKay mentioned a part of giving our lives wholeness. I am glad that you have also shared of your life’s wholeness. I really appreciate it.

  6. Liz says...

    I’ve always gravitated to your blog because you have such an authentic, relatable voice. It must be so hard so maintain that while also protecting your family’s privacy (and having millions of IG-worthy meals, outfits, and moments!). Thanks for sharing and good luck getting through what sounds like a heart-wrenching time.??

  7. Marie says...

    Sending lots of love to you and your beautiful family.

    Thanks for all that you do to offer these slices of joy, every day, to so many of us.

  8. ElisabethWK says...

    Tap tap. Is this thing on? Is anyone else out there the praying kind? For whatever it’s worth, I am, and I will be praying for you and all those you love. And if I’m the only praying kind, you can translate my prayers into a giant bunch of hugs floating your way like a cloud of brightly colored balloons. ❤

    • Douglass Williams says...

      I love to pray too! Talking to my “father” restores and refreshes !

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love this elisabeth xoxoxoxo

  9. Meg says...

    My whole life as a parent is guided by the idea of “drops of awesome” which is quite similar to thin slices of joy, except it’s how I affirm that my children are experiencing joy with me as their parent. Most of the time my life feels like a shit show to varying degrees, but if I notice those little drops of awesome my kids experience throughout their day, it makes it all feel like more of a success. Sending you love!

  10. Marie says...

    Hi Joanna – I’m sorry to hear you’re going through a tough time. Sending love your way. Your blog brings me (and so many of us here) such joy on a daily basis, I hope you know what a cherished source of inspiration you are! Thank you for all you do.

  11. Jasna says...

    I keep coming back to this post and to the comments. I am so moved by it and I am so sorry that you are suffering. I wanted to share a quote with you and others that had a somewhat calming effect on me during tough times:

    “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” – Khalil Gibran

  12. Paula says...

    Sending you lots of love from Ireland! Whatever you’re going through, rest assured that you’ll have thousands of people hoping for the best. You’re such an inspiration for many of us. I’ll never forget your kind words replying to a comment where I said I was typing whilst breastfeeding my newborn in the middle of the night. Can’t remember your exact words but you were so sweet and reassuring saying that things would get easier. And they did! Now I’m expecting my second baby (only 7 weeks pregnant so still a secret-ish) and worring that I’ll only find out if everything is okay in 5 weeks-time, during my first hospital appointment. Reading your post and comments gives me some kind of relief that we’re all in this (worrying! Secrets!) together . <3

  13. Catherine says...

    Wow. As I read your post and all of the comments, tears keeps welling up in my eyes. Tears of sadness for the struggles people are experiencing every day, and tears of gratitude at the kindness, support, and love that is shining forth. I have been struggling with a physical ailment that can easily make me very depressed and anxious, but I am trying so hard to focus on the blessings in life and the strength I have to continue forward. My thoughts of healing are with you, your children, and all of your readers who are struggling. Love to you all.

  14. Lisa says...

    You’re brave to open up your life the way you do. You touch so many people, but I can appreciate that it must sometimes put you in an awkward place. Know that you have thousands who care about you as a friend and will send you fierce support no matter what.

  15. My goal for 2017 was to live this quote: “the grass is greener where you are; water it.” It’s not always easy to resist comparisons (esp when you scroll IG), but truly putting effort and appreciation into your own place in this world always has positive results. And I love what you said about wholeness :)

    Hope everything gets so much better, so soon!

    • LN says...

      Such a great quote !!!

  16. Jody says...

    Thank you for your post Joanna. I have returned to it several times and have found such comfort not only in your words but in so many of the other comments. I often feel guilty the times when I do feel sad or anxious because, especially from an outside perspective, my life is pretty darn good. But there are things that sometimes keep me up at night. Everyone sharing their different situations has been such a welcome reminder that we are not in competition for “who has it harder”. We all have tough things to juggle and instead of allowing those things to make us feel isolated we can share them (even without any details) and support one another. Cup of Jo is certainly a thin slice of joy for me. Thinking of you and your family.

  17. Diana says...

    Worrying about your children and something being wrong with them is one of the hardest things we can go through as parents. Our 4yo daughter was having terrible, debilitating headaches and we were referred to a neurologist. Our doctor was quite concerned and we feared the worst. While waiting for our appointment (which was 8 weeks out), someone mentioned we see an osteopath. We did and it turns out her left clavicle was elevated and pushed forward and that was impacting the natural drainage and pressure was building up causing the headaches. After 2 treatments her headaches completely went away and it has been over 2 months without one. I mention this only because I didn’t know much about osteopathic medicine and it is really effective and powerful… if someone had not recommended this alternative to us we would have gone down the scary road of CT scans and MRI’s with no results and she would have continued to suffer. Wishing the best for your little one and hope this information is helpful to you or one of your readers.

    • Meg says...

      Can’t agree with you more! I love my osteopath and he finally helped heal a hamstring injury that I had been nursing for months.

  18. joy says...

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have to admit, your life often does look perfect on this site. I’m glad that you reminded me that you also have challenges. I will be thinking of you and your family a few neighborhoods away, wishing you the best, hoping that your current struggles will be resolved.

  19. camila says...

    Hi Joanna,

    I read your blog even before you met Alex. I feel like you’re my friend. I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts about social media. Don’t you think it made us all a little bit jealous? Not of anyone in particular, but on the next person’s life. Like if, whatever you have, it is not enough. Someone will always be at positano with incredible lightning and the latest clothes. I wonder what’s like for our kids growing up in this world.
    I’m also struggling with something, I guess we all are. I hope your love as a family can get you through whatever is it that your facing. Lots of love from Brazil.

  20. Erin Mary says...

    I’m in the fifth week of Electroconvulsive therapy, a treatment for depression that you might have heard about in Carrie Fisher’s writings (I was lucky enough to tell her I would be starting it just before she passed). I’ve been living with depression and anxiety since I was ten, and I’ve only recently become radically honest about it all, after a short stint in a psychiatric hospital last November. I just got so tired of trying to pretend like everything was fine, when in reality I was suffering. I’ve gotten SO MUCH out of sharing my story, and I’ve learned how many other people are dealing with mental illness as well. It’s been life-changing, to be honest. But you’re right- it’s MY story to tell, no one else’s. You’re being a great mama for respecting your son’s autonomy.

    Another thing I’m not quite as upfront about is my lifelong stutter. I go to conferences all the way in London and Iceland, and my close friends know all about it, but it’s so, so difficult to know that the vast majority of people look at me and don’t see how difficult it is to navigate the “fluent” world. Maybe one day I’ll be just as honest about that, but for now I’mt just not quite ready.

    Just yesterday I was at a bar waiting for a friend, and I got to talking to a guy a few seats down. He noticed the nasty bruise on my arm (a nurse blew a vein the other day, prepping me for anesthesia) and I was honest about where it came from. His eyes got wide and he said “you don’t seem depressed at all! And besides, you’re way too pretty to be sad.” I kid you not. It makes me think of one of my favorite quotes: “Be Kind; Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle”. Oh man, is that ever true.

    Much love to you and your family, Joanna <3

    • GFY says...

      Definitely NOT preaching here, but a raw food diet so radically transformed my depression that I am writing a book about it! It’s not for everyone because it is a lifestyle change but I was desperate for an alternative to pharmaceuticals (which didn’t work for me).

  21. Kelli says...

    I haven’t read every single comment here line by line but what strikes me about all of the ones I have looked through is how much love and support and kindness is shining through. It really makes me proud of us humans, especially during times (particularly when I listen to the news) when I’m not always the most proud of us and our general behavior as grown-ups. You really have built an amazing community here, Jo. Thank you for that. Sending you light and love.

  22. Thank you so much for sharing this Joanna. I’ve been feeling pretty low lately and struggling with insomnia, which truly is the worst when you have children and reading your post yesterday made me appreciate that I’m not alone, that we are all going through some stuff at some point in our life. I’m sending you lots of love.

  23. CATHERINE says...

    Thank you for this honest post Joanna. Maybe in times of struggles, your mom’s love and wisdom can help. XO

  24. Ana says...

    Rooting for you.

  25. Melanie Price says...

    Haven’t read your blog in a day or two so I am catching up. Thank you for your honesty (and transparency!) about life’s everyday struggles. Hoping that everything is okay and sending you ‘good vibes’ for strength, love and perseverance. Being a mom is so tough sometimes and our constant worries will never leave our hearts even when times seem ‘easy peezy-lemon squeezy’ (as my 5 year old daughter, Dorian, would say).
    You’re doing an amazing job as a mama!! Keep loving, talking and hugging and making them feel safe.
    Hugs and cheers to you friend!
    Melanie

  26. Molly says...

    I absolutely love this post (and all your posts) and appreciate your honesty, and true care for your readers, which always shines through, so much.

  27. Moira says...

    Thank you for your grace and honesty…sending positive vibes to you and your family. When my mom died 10 years ago I got a card with a quote in it that I had never heard before, but has stuck with me all these years. I find it gives me perspective on how our journeys shape us and develop who we are.
    “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” -Khalil Gibran

    Sending love <3

  28. I want another baby desperately and my husband isn’t on board. He says: we can’t afford it, he doesn’t have the patience for another, it will strap us down, and it will challenge our family (we have one daughter together and he has a 22 year old daughter in germany). He’s right. But I still want to experience pregnancy, breast feeding and bringing another life into the world again. I’m already 38 so my time is limited. It’s a big struggle for us right now. I’m with ya. And I think it’s good to talk about it when you feel the time is right. It will help you in your process. Take good care and big hug.

  29. So sorry, it’s clearly something not trivial, and I hope you get some resolution. Your honesty and authenticity are what keep your loyal readers coming back.

  30. Cheryl says...

    Thanks for reminding me that none of our lives are simple and certainly weren’t meant to be. We’re in school of sorts, after all, to grow!
    I have to say I’m jealous of your date nights with your hubby involving a babysitter putting the boys down. I’ve never been able to do that with my four year old high maintenance daughter.
    The running commentary in my head on a bad day is a voice of fear, if I choose to listen to it, saying she’ll never be independent. She’s getting messed up forever by my choices. She won’t be okay, ever.
    When I think about it even my worst enemy wouldn’t speak to me that way. How dare me.
    Life isn’t simple, that’s for sure. Thanks for sharing even a bit of reality to remind us struggles are ongoing. And I am hoping whatever darkness is visiting you will not last forever and someday the sun will shine through and illuminate more joy for your family. Thanks for everything always.

  31. Megan says...

    Hi Joanna, one of my children has an “issue” too. Two years later, I feel that, for the moment, we have a grip on it. Dealing with our son’s issue really taught me that as parents we can’t be too hard on ourselves. And so importantly, that sometimes solutions have to unfold. Particularly if it’s related to school, it can take a bit of time to tease out all the threads that are influencing the situation, and THAT IS OKAY. You will figure it out. Get all the support you can – for your child and for yourself!!

  32. Anna says...

    An above commenter said my sentiments exactly:

    “…right now it’s not my story to tell.” I very much appreciate that, Joanna. Giving our children that freedom to tell their own stories is difficult sometimes, but important. As a long-time reader of your blog, the things I admire about you most (among many others) are your transparency and compassion. I see a strong, genuine woman and family, and that is why I’ve continued to visit your blog over the years. My thoughts are with you!”

    I feel the same. It’s so easy to overstate on behalf of our loved ones without remembering their own souls autonomy. Thank you. And hugs.

  33. Courtney says...

    I just want to offer solidarity and say I can relate. We don’t keep our daughter’s “issue that keeps me up at night” super secret because doing so would be a disservice to her – she has life threatening food allergies, and we have to show her that they are nothing to be embarrassed about, because openly communicating about them with people we know and people we don’t is a large part of what keeps her safe. Sometimes I feel guilty for not keeping her medical struggles as her business, but that’s the nature of our beast. But oh, I know what it is to worry constantly. You’re a good mother, that much is evident, and both of your kids are so lucky to have you caring for them. ❤️

  34. Lauren says...

    I read this somewhere but it bears repeating: “Don’t compare your hustle to their highlight reel.” Sending you strength and peace of mind. We’ve learned over the last 18 months that parenting really is the hardest, and often most heartbreaking, job in the world. Your kiddos are lucky to have you and Alex!

    • I love this quote. So true and so good to keep in mind.

  35. It’s the joy and pain of life…and yet we expect, almost desire only to go through and see the joy part. But without the pain, we would lose all the spice. The part which seasons us and makes us better than perfect. Makes us real. Able to feel. Empathize. Love deeper. May the spice of life make something delicious in your darker times, so that when the light times come, you can appreciate it all the more.

    Things I am doing to aid me in my journey — more yoga, deeper breaths, believing “this too shall pass”…

  36. melissa says...

    Thank you for sharing your journey; I wish I could insert a heart emoji. Even without knowing specifics of your journey, I want say this: I have been in education for a very long time now. In school, kids are far more kind, compassionate, inclusive, understanding, patient, and loving to each other than is ever reported. Kids care very little about who they’re grouped with, sit with, eat lunch with, hang out with….. they are more tolerant of changes and differences than adults are. And, when they are in a classroom together all day, they tend to form an alliance as a whole and rally around each other in times of strife–may that be a bad grade or a behavior issue; an unjust issue of any sort. And, at the end of the day, they always find their people & who they are most comfortable with.
    xo

    • carly says...

      I loved reading this. Thanks.

  37. Melissa says...

    “…right now it’s not my story to tell.” I very much appreciate that, Joanna. Giving our children that freedom to tell their own stories is difficult sometimes, but important. As a long-time reader of your blog, the things I admire about you most (among many others) are your transparency and compassion. I see a strong, genuine woman and family, and that is why I’ve continued to visit your blog over the years. My thoughts are with you!

    • Elham says...

      AGREED!

    • Yes I agree as well. I really respect your decision. xx

  38. Nora says...

    much love to you and yours.

  39. Dena says...

    I don’t know how it happened, but this post was just what I needed right now. My family is also going through something that’s been hard to deal with, and has taken up what feels to me like all of my emotional energy, even though it hasn’t been “out there”. I’ve been feeling bifurcated, and always on edge about what I’m putting out into the world, and worried about how much of my concern I let on to my child…
    This blog has been a touchstone for me (we had children at about the same time; I bought the baby tub you recommended!). I’m sorry that you’re going through something, and I hope you have all the support and love you guys need. I just wanted to let you know that something I have appreciated here for years is your consciousness of the distance between social media life and real life– and that you (IMHO) have been doing a great job of letting us know that they’re not the same while maintaining some-hopefully-enough privacy to slog through the heavy artillery life throws at us. Sorry about the rant; all best (from someone who doesn’t know you).

  40. Emma says...

    Thanks for your honesty! Sorry you guys are working through something tough, but it’s always a little refreshing to hear that social media perfection isn’t always the whole story. I haven’t even had my baby, yet, but I’m already realizing how HARD it is to make parenting decisions!! Hang in there — I bet you guys are doing a kick-ass job!

  41. Nickie says...

    You and your family are in my thought in prayers. It sounds so cliche, but you will grow from this. It is true. Remember to take care of yourself too. Big Hugs to you!

  42. Laura says...

    We all love you Joanna!

  43. Julia says...

    I am so sorry you and your family are going through such a hard time. I have just experienced the hardest 7 months of my life. I got pregnant in May last year after three miscarriages in a row. I had so much anxiety that something would happen, but my OB assured me at 15 weeks that we had a perfectly healthy pregnancy and baby and the likelihood of something happening at that point was miniscule. At 21 weeks I went into preterm labor, had surgery to try to stop it which failed, and then was admitted to the hospital for 50 days waiting every single day to see if that would be the day my baby would be born. We met with grief counselors and the comfort care team to talk about what would happen if the baby was born before 24 weeks. It involves holding your child as they die. Getting imprints of their tiny hands and feet. Giving them a warm bath. Taking photos with them. Cherishing the brief time you have before you hand your child off and leave the hospital to plan a funeral. I sat and waited for this to happen. By some miracle I made it to 30 weeks. The doctors had said the chances of that were so small it wasn’t even presented as an option. We had a horrible birth that involved an unmedicated emergency c section where the anesthesiologist gave me oxygen instead of meds to put me to sleep. I felt my baby being ripped out of me and then it went to black. I also developed an infection that required rehospitalization after a week of being told it would get better at home. It didn’t. Luckily my sweet baby did amazingly well in the Nicu. We are home now and while we are dealing with colic (which is so exhausting I put coffee in the baby bottle this morning-don’t worry I realized it before I fed it to the baby), she is healthy and thriving.
    I put one foot in front of the other, soldiered on with crippling anxiety and PTSD, until 2 weeks ago when I was again stopped in my tracks. My dad died. I don’t yet have words to talk about how much pain I’m in. I feel like I’m living in a dream and any second I will wake up and he will walk in the room. There were nights where I gave the baby to my husband and slept in a different room because when I slept I wasn’t in pain. And then I would wake. They say it gets easier. That eventually the baby will sleep, my body will recover, the trauma will be dealt with. But my dad will never again walk through the door. How do I recover from that?

    • Rachel Upshaw says...

      I have no good answers to help you, unfortunately, but I will keep you and your family in my prayers. You sound like an incredibly strong, brave woman.

    • K says...

      I am so, so sorry for the loss of your dad. You are truly an inspiration and your story just moved me to tears. I cannot even begin to imagine how hard it must have been for you when you were waiting in hospital.

      The fact your baby survived against the odds is a miracle. You are a miracle. And just as you kept going before, you will keep going again. Though you will never see your father again, you can always know that he saw you as the brave woman that you are. He must’ve been so proud. Just as one day your child will be of you.

    • Alanna says...

      Oh my gosh I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Lou says...

      I am so sorry for the pain and grief you have felt and feel. I send you all the warmth and love i can gather, and all the best wishes for you and your love ones , for your future, past and present.

      -Lou

    • M says...

      Wow. Your comment made me cry. A big hug to you. You’re doing a great job!!

    • erin says...

      Oh Julia – there are no words. You are incredible and the strength with which you’ve brought your daughter into the world will no doubt guide you through all the hurdles life is throwing your way now, and those that may come. No two stories are the same, but sometimes it helps to hear other’s and know you’re not alone. I’m taking comfort in reading Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking. If, at some point, it may be helpful to witness someone else’s articulation of their grief and hardest moments, I do recommend it. Meanwhile, one thing I have found -sometimes the only thing – that keeps me going is actively seeking out the joy and forcefully inviting it to mingle with your pain and grief. Find that baby’s little toes and force your brain to just focus on how they wiggle for a few moments of relief. I hope those moments add up and you start to find your way through.

    • Jody says...

      My goodness Julia, I’m so sorry. Your comment moved me to tears. Allow yourself to grieve. You are in my thoughts.

    • Christine says...

      You don’t recover from the loss of your Dad. You just find a way to live with the pain. I had a very similar pregnancy to yours and my son did manage to “stay in there” until 37 weeks. He is now 30 and when he heard about the weeks in bed and the meds he said “I’m so sorry Mom.” Xo. One foot in front of the other is all you can do. Xoxo

    • These are words that helped me in a similar situation: Death ends a life, but it doesn’t end a relationship. eventually, and it will take time, you will find your way to that new relationship. No, it will not be the same as having him wall through the door again, bit it will be different, and better, than it is now.

    • Julia says...

      Thank you everyone for your kind words. It’s nice to come check here and see these lovely responses. They brightened my day.

    • GFY says...

      Time. Meditation. Swimming slowly underwater, in the ocean if possible. Laying in the sun. Vitamin D.

      Seriously, vitamin shots are a good idea – pain is literally very nutritionally draining. And try to let yourself enjoy the company of friendship, as in, do not hibernate and struggle to bear all that weight alone. You don’t have to talk about it though. Consider doing something social but fairly undemanding like one of painting classes where you drink wine but are all busy painting the same subject. You can find them on groupon for your area.

  44. It’s so extraordinary to read through the comments. I’m not sure to add another is even helpful, except to say that You did this. You created this community, this place, this world that touches so many people, strangers really. That let’s people laugh, wonder, confess, share and revel. You did this. You created your family, your life with your husband, your children, your friends. And I can’t help but think that you did it all through writing, through words, through phrases and quotes and stories. You are strong and thoughtful. You are creative and kind. Plus you have an awesome sister! (I have one too!) All these things will help you. You are surrounded by love. XO

  45. Alison says...

    Thanks for sharing. Wishing you the very best. I love you and your blog. xo

  46. Sheila says...

    Thank you for sharing what you could . . . I think you really help dispel the mystique of everything being perfect when you share challenges. It can be agonizing when something is going on with our kiddos. My boys are now 20 & 23 and one suffers from pretty severe anxiety at times so I can empathize with you (even though I don’t know the details). Hope you’re able to have some time to take care of yourself (which I know can be hard to do with so many other things going) xoxo

  47. Volha says...

    Thank you for sharing this with us, Joanna! Sending you hugs, hope it will get easier for you with time.

  48. Lindsay says...

    Sending you love, Jo. After reading your words yesterday, you and your family kept popping into my mind. I came back today to read through the comments and was moved to tears several times. So many other lovely commenters already captured what I hoped to say, which is we are here for you and your family is so incredibly lucky to have you. I have two young kids (3 and 5) and it can be so easy to overlook those slices of joy amidst all the other “stuff.” Taking a break from social media has helped me tremendously with being present with them, and in dealing with my personal anxiety struggles. My hope is that you can find those moments of peace as you weather this season of parenthood. xoxo

  49. Claire says...

    I’m so sorry to hear of your struggle Jo. I very rarely comment but your post struck a chord. My daughter is 13 months old and suffers from a very rare and extremely serious medical condition called Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome. In short, her autonomic nervous system is impaired and the most serious consequence is that she stops breathing completely when she is asleep. She has a tracheostomy and is ventilator dependent. We didn’t know until she was born and it’s turned our world upside down. She has 24/7 care and our home is more like a medical centre these days. She has two brothers (age 6 and 3) who I had to leave for 6 months last year whilst she received medical treatment in London. I hold on to those precious moments of happiness in our lives – a coffee and a book, a hot bath, one on one time with my sons – and appreciate everything so much more than ever before. When you have a child for whom every sleep could be fatal, life takes on a new perspective. Wishing you the strength to navigate your challenges and hold your loved ones that bit tighter xxxxx

    • Oh my gosh, I’ve just looked this up and I’m so sorry to hear that. You sound so grounded and strong as does your little girl. I admire your resilience and grit.

  50. Stephanie says...

    Oh, Joanna, I’m so sorry. As a mom of two young boys I’m often blown away by how much heart aches for them–even in good times. A friend once described being a mom as letting your heart walk around in another body. I can only imagine how you and Alex might feel as you go through this hard season. Hoping you’ll find wisdom, peace and grace in the days ahead.

  51. Tiffany says...

    Hang in there Jo (and family!!) – I’m cheering for you here in Penna, sending hugs.

  52. Claire says...

    I am terrible at keeping baby books for my kids, but I do do this thing where I print out pictures and scribble the date or whatever my oldest was saying at the time and put them in a photo album. What I’ve found most enjoyable about this (other than the memories, obvi) is that when other people look at the pictures they don’t know that somebody had just had a meltdown, or that my husband and I hadn’t slept in 6 weeks because of the babies weren’t sleeping. Other people see bright smiles, goofy faces and happy, but exhausted parents, which is all to say – I think that’s a lot like your blog. It’s not that there aren’t great moments, but there’s also a lot going on behind the scenes. I hope it’s a break for you. I hope it’s nice to show us your dinner parties and trips and enjoy those good times too, even though the stress is still there.

  53. Kelly says...

    Thinking of you. You’ll get through this. You are so smart and wise and it sounds like you have a great husband, sister ,and mama on your side. Those boys (all three) are lucky to have you.

  54. Jehanara says...

    I read your post yesterday and I thought of you all day, in spurts. My mind would keep going back to you and wishing the best for you. I held my own son very tight last night and thanked God for his every little blessing and prayed for you too. We moms, we worry, we get anxious, we struggle but we manage through it all. You have uplifted and guided so many of us, and for that we all are grateful and are sending strong healthy calming vibes your way along with our prayers for you to find your peace. Every day is a new day so we put one foot in front of the other and move on, trying to find joy in the little things. That we must do, find joy and give it forward too. May you find comfort, strength and answers.Hugs!!

  55. Tara says...

    I have to say I appreciate the honesty of your post. I have had major struggles with my baby’s health and at times I feel like I need to disconnect from social media and blogs as everyone else’s world’s seem so perfect. They are not living with constant fear of life threatening infections and surgeries. These things especially when they relate to your children are all consuming in a way most people, even other parents, can’t thankfully fully understand. I have an older child and trying to balance my fear/concern/anxiety for one with keeping a normal/stable environment and childhood for my other keeps me awake at night. My best advice is to ask for support from those you love and trust. Best of luck with everything. xxx

  56. ACB says...

    I definitely see how difficult it could be to present your public “blog” image while dealing with something difficult and private behind the scenes. And I also understand not wanting to divulge everything- you don’t have to! However a dose of reality is good for us all in this age so thank you. I am going through something myself (and my horoscope agrees!!!!!!). I’ve had a difficult and major career change, big move, toddler, and baby on the way and am dealing with in-law issues that are affecting my relationship and probably will forever. It’s a lot and while I am trying to have perspective on the situation, everything feels so important and heavy. I just do my best but this is definitely one of those times where my best is never enough and I am constantly feeling like I’m doing the wrong thing and making the wrong moves. Good luck to you with whatever you are dealing with. Virtual hugs to you (and hope you are getting lots of real live ones too).

  57. Jennifer Adams says...

    As a mom of 2 amazing kids, 1 super smartie/autistic/adhd/language delayed/beautiful son and 1 powerful/compassionate/sensitive/loving/reading LD gorgeous daughter I will say this – screw “perfect”, it’s not a photo, it’s not a moment, it’s nothing you can see with your eyes. Life is hectic and painful and exhilarating and amazing and all of the ups and downs and sideway twists are what make life worth the ride. You and your family will get through this and conquer these feelings of uncertainty. You have an internet “village” and we all support you.

  58. Karen says...

    Your words are always so beautiful and touching. What lucky little boys to have you – such a lovely mother. Parenting is full of ups and downs…When I am in a valley I try to focus on the present moment as much as possible. It is tough stuff to stay away from worrying; I know. Praying for a peaceful heart.

  59. Adrienne says...

    Posted on my facebook page this weekend in honour of World Autism Day and my beloved middle child:
    “Sweetheart, when you came into our lives 6 1/2 years ago, you cracked my heart and soul wide open and answered a need I didn’t know I had. You taught me faith and patience, how to be bold and unselfconscious, and how to attune and be vulnerable. You are not broken, you are a divinely sensitive instrument in a broken world. Thank for being my teacher, and my son. On this World Autism Day, Sunday, April 2nd, we celebrate you, all others living with ASD, and those who love, teach, care for and support them ❤️”
    It was shared with friends on Facebook. It is his story to tell from his own perspective in time, and yet it is also my story about loving and raising him. You have a far more public platform, so the two can’t be compared, but just know that I wish you peace and hope understanding and community on your journey. Find others that are walking this walk and lean on each other when the winds pick up. Love to you and yours.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love that, adrienne. xoxo

  60. Audra says...

    I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling, and hope you get through to the other side. I have always appreciated your blog for it’s honesty and real-ness. For me, Cup of Jo is the perfect balance between beautiful vacation/family/fashion/product photos and down-to-earth, relatable writing. The humanity in your blog comes through, and it’s the main reason I’ve been a long-time reader…even though I can’t relate to the posts about parenting/children :) Thank you for continuing to share your truths. That’s not something everyone has the strength to do.

  61. Ash says...

    Face time! Face time is where you press your face on someone else’s face. This may sound odd but give it a try. Just put your cheek on your friends cheek for about three seconds. You both cannot help but smile and the contact is like hugging. For people who are not so into physical contact, hand hugs! This is like hi-fiving but you hold hands for a second with your thumbs wrapped around in a “hug”. Don’t knock it until you try it :)

    • Thrizyl says...

      Your suggestions are excellent! I will be trying this.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      these are so cute, ash :)

  62. Just hang in there Jo, life can be so challenging sometimes. Thanks for sharing this with us. I hope you will get over the situation really soon. All the best!

  63. Beth says...

    Thank you. This is a nice reminder. I do sometimes fall down the rabbit hole of social media. I find myself seeing pics of the “perfect family” on Instagram and do sometimes feel like I can’t match up. I have 2 boys (4 & 1) and we’ve been dealing with some heavy stuff with our 4 year old. It’s scary, emotional, isolating and disorienting. There are so many questions (is he on the spectrum? what does that really mean?) and a lot of them are things I never thought I’d be dealing with especially at a young age. I hope that things work out for you. This parenting gig is hard!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      sending a big hug your way, beth!!! it sounds very hard and isolating; i’m you will figure it all out one step at a time. you sound like such a loving mother. xoxoxo

  64. Gabriela says...

    Dear Joanna,
    This weekend we had a birthday party to celebrate my daughter’s 2nd birthday, after which my aunt posted some pictures on Facebook (which I never do). Some “friends” and other acquaintances with whom I haven’t talked or met in person in a while were actually surprised I had had a kid, let alone a 2 yo! I thought it was so funny, but it’s also a good reminder that our lives are what happens outside the internet, not online.
    You shouldn’t feel guilty that you show only the “good” (or beautiful) parts of your life on social media because, in a way, that’s what us readers want to see as well; it inspires us. On the other hand, thank you for sharing (I’m a worrier too, and I can’t tell how much knowing that I am not alone has helped me through difficult moments before).
    Lots of love (and, as always, sorry for my poor English).
    Gabi

  65. I love that quote at the end. It’s such a revelatory way of defining loneliness.

    I actually wrote a post yesterday on noticing, what I referred to as, “subtle marvels” (link here–> https://www.thecoffeejournals.com/journal/2017/4/2/ode-to-spring-florals). I was trying to think of a different way of saying “small joys,” because while it was the most straightforward phrase for how I meant to describe what I was feeling there was something missing, and then I realized that it wasn’t so much that these moments were small as it was they were miraculous undertones of normality, something easily passable, but achingly resonant when noticed. My subject of interest was the various flowers I found blooming at my parents’ house Sunday afternoon. And not simply the flowers but the nature surrounding them. One of my favorite shots was one I took of a pink camellia that had fallen from a bush outside of my own house and rested on top of a bed of browned leaves. The contrast in color was so alluring. It reminded me that there is still beauty to be found, even when the edges of our spirit begins to wilt.

    • Also, in regard to Instagram, that’s one of the reasons why I try not to focus so much on curating my feed. My life has so many different tones and moods and color palettes. At least it does right now. I used to get so bogged down by how wonderful and structured everyone else’s lives looked, but there is entirely too much staging and nit-picking that has to take place in order to curate a feed for a single visual tone. They’re wonderful to look at, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes hard to connect with because everything does look so enchantingly perfect. But, at the same time, Instagram is an inventive outlet for posting images that help us focus on the good rather than lingering over the bad, so in that sense I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to curate a feed that helps you concentrate on quality over quantity. Because in reality, we’re probably going to have more fretful moments than we do peaceful ones, or there will at least be phases where it feels this way, so Instagram can act as a wonderful therapeutic tactic. This is at least how I’ve come to perceive it, as Instagram is the only social network I regularly engage with anymore. I hope things are well for you and your family today. <3

  66. Sarah says...

    Joanna, you are so real and so lovely. I am very sorry to hear of your heartache but grateful for who you are. Thank you for sharing!

    I, too, have a secret struggle; it haunts me all the time. Last year I made the choice to distance myself from my father because of the issue. I am the only family member who has made this choice. It’s excruciating. But I know it’s right.

    I have an amazing husband; together, we have a 15-month-old daughter and a new baby on the way. I know that I owe them my full heart…but a part of it feels forever broken. Wishing for healing and peace.

    Sending you love! Xoxo

    • Carrie says...

      Wow, I would’ve thought you were my sister if your name weren’t Sarah. She is going through this exact same thing. I don’t know how it is in your family, but I can certainly tell you that although I still am on speaking terms with my father and my sister is not, my heart is with her and in support of her. I hope you have that in your family also. Families are so complicated, it takes a lot of work to keep them healthy.

  67. Thank you for sharing that with us, Jo! I am so sorry to hear that you’re going through a difficult season. Re: the passage by Chade-Meng Tan.. That’s why I fell in love with hygge. It’s all about savoring little moments throughout your day. Being present enough to catch them. And being intentional enough to enjoy them. Sending thoughts & lots of hugs.

  68. Jennifer says...

    Thinking of you and thanking you for sharing another authentic post. It’s so comforting to know that all these women are caring for you, and with you and want to lift you up, as you lift us and bring us joy daily. This truly is the beautiful part of the internet- all these comments are so lovely to read.

    Holding you close and hope you continue to share what you feel comfortable with, all the time. :) Smiles for miles :)

  69. Tamara says...

    I’m sorry to hear you’re dealing with a big struggle! I feel like the hardest part about being a parent is the emotional struggles you can never prepare for and never could have imagined would come because of/ despite having children. Here’s a little e-hug, thank you for bringing so much joy and light to the internet! X

  70. Marcy says...

    Thank you for continuing to break down the Walls of Perfection by sharing your struggle. Thank you for you. In solidarity I share with the group my small secrets- I sometimes eat too many carbs, have been known to skip workouts, stay up late, get up too early, don’t always find time to clean, and fold laundry I don’t put away. Sending strength during this time to you and your family.

  71. asia says...

    Beautiful post. Best wishes to you and your family.

  72. bigblackpants says...

    thank you for sharing…as I am living a double-life and its very hard to look pulled together, life is not for sissies…..I send a hug to you as well as everyone who has posted…..

  73. Wishing you so much peace. It’s tough when someone you’re close to is hurting/struggling; it makes us realize how very tied to one another we are. It’s breathtaking and horrible and wonderful, the pain that love can cause.

    On that note, I’ve been negotiating the right ways to raise my tiny, rambunctious, wild girl in a world that seems to want to suppress all that is wonderful in her. I’m bubbling over with love and fear and anger, every day, always. I’ve always been a feminist and an activist at heart, but now I feel compelled to take much more concrete steps. Not just because so many of our civil liberties are threatened, but because I feel that I have even more skin in the game now. I think this a struggle many other women and parents are facing right now. But the enormity of the task (motherhood, activism, feminism) overwhelms. It feels good to say that. Amid the power and hope and optimism, there is a lot of emotional weariness, a lot of tired perseverance. It helps immeasurably to feel that we’re all in it together.

  74. K says...

    Whatever it is, you can handle it because you’re Mo-Fo’ Co-Jo. You got this. Thanks for keeping it real. xx

    • Yes! Mo’ Fo’ Co- Jo ftw! Internet hugs to you Jo – xoxo

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahaha love you guys :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

  75. Thanks for recognizing that we are all struggling with something or another and we must all take joy in the tiny things. I wish you, and everyone else, so many good wishes and so much happiness! xo

  76. Erin says...

    Thin slices of joy… when my Golden Retriever comes and gives me a hug in his canine way. Pressing his head into my chest or my leg and both of us being so happy in that moment. Sometimes a phone call or text will interrupt the hug and he’ll move closer as if to say “don’t get that, just be here now”.

    • Heather says...

      yes yes yes! i love this so much

  77. Haylie says...

    I love this so much, Joanna. I’m sorry for your struggles, whatever they may be, but I love that you shared. You’re a gem <3

  78. Waya says...

    My heart goes out to you Joanna. Thank you so much for sharing_ and not sharing. I have been reading your blog for about a year now and it is the only blog I read religiously. Your posts are my special treat and daily “slice of joy”. I have three beloved children of my own and one of them is going through a very difficult time. This keeps me up at night and tears me up inside. So I feel for you and relate and can only send you virtual hugs over the internet. You are not alone…

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      sending so much love your way, waya xoxo

  79. Rachel says...

    Thank you for sharing Jo. We are thinking about you!

  80. Gabi says...

    I’m sorry you’re going through rough times. I think it’s hard not just to navigate life, but it’s even harder to navigate our expectations of how it should be. It’s so much easier to compare reality with our fantasies of what it should be, isn’t it? You close your eyes and in that time and place you are where you want to be, with who you want to be, doing what you want to do… and compared to that, reality is sometimes just pale. And looking at other people’s happiness is just one other mirror that plunges us directly into social comparison, whether we want it or not. I haven’t yet figured out how to stop fantasies intruding into my own life, even if sometimes I feel how destructive they are. But one thing I learnt is that it doesn’t help to judge myself. That extra layer of “I shouldn’t feel this” is useless and wastes my time. Instead, I try to accept it. Most of the time it hurts to accept that I’d like things to be different. But then there are glimmers when I feel free and open minded, particularly because I allowed possibilities to exist – and I wouldn’t get there if I hadn’t had any struggles. I hope you’ll be ok.

  81. ST says...

    Joanna,
    I’m sorry to hear that you are struggling. I respect that it’s not your story to share with the world. I have a child who was born with a very rare genetic disorder. He wasn’t diagnosed until he was five and WE diagnosed him. Without getting into details, we were in the dark, frightened, sad and confused for a long time. That said, now that we are down the road 15 years and even though he continues to struggle, we have reached a new kind of equalibrium in our family and the topic no longer dominates the landscape in front of us (although it will always be there). My brother said this to me a few years ago, “I’m so glad he was born into your family–he is lucky to have the two of you as parents.” That refocused both me and my husband. Although it may not be the ideal situation for the parents and siblings, those same parents and siblings may be ideal for that child and his situation. Anyway–there you go. We still have great dinner parties too.

  82. paula caetano says...

    For me is more like “but is everybody in new york these days???” -because I’m always in Portugal- :)

    I believe everybody around here is sending you all the love.

    Um Xi-coração muito grande!

  83. Anna says...

    Beautiful post. Thank you for always being real, honest and inspiring. By far, yours is the very best blog I’ve ever read and only one i keep coming back to. Thank you for using your words to bring us all together. ❤️

  84. Sarah says...

    Joanna,
    Your blog is, and always has been, a significant slice of joy in my life, and clearly I am not alone in this sentiment. Thank you for that.
    While I don’t know you and Alex personally, one thing is abundantly clear: your beautiful boys are so blessed and lucky to have you as parents, and vice versa.
    Don’t forget to reach out and “communicate the things that seem important” to those in your circle.
    Much love,
    Sarah

  85. Tessa says...

    There are so many beautiful words here already that I couldn’t possibly say better myself. But Jo, just wanted to let you know that your blog is the only one I have consistently read for the last 6 or 7 years. The curated world of social media can often leave me feeling overwhelmed and inadequate (my floorboards are never that shiny!). But somehow, even your posts about seemingly superficial topics, such as beauty routines and fashion trends, come across as uplifting and empowering. I especially love your parenting posts, and secretly hope one day my little boy requests a sports jacket for his birthday (for weddings and date nights!). I’m sorry you’ve got such a worry to deal with and hope things get easier. Sending love, hugs and a whole lot of gratitude for your blog from Australia xx

  86. maria says...

    this is so beautiful and strikes a nerve. our girls are young, too, so figuring out what to share can be difficult.
    we have a daughter with some anxiety issues. we say she’s our special little secret, because she’s hilarious and so vivacious with us. the balance between treasuring who they are while also helping them navigate a world that’s sometimes different from the one you live in is a definite journey.
    i’ve loved reading your blog for so many years now and cheering you on even more.

  87. Lauren says...

    Our little boy was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before his second birthday and we live with it and cope well but it was not without its own grief and struggles for your child living with this. But we do not let these things define us and who we are and we find happiness in every day. Social media can never show the whole truth of a life though.

  88. Sorry to hear you’re going through something so difficult. I do look forward to the day you can write about it (if that day comes); you’ve always written about difficult issues with such thoughtfulness and insight, I feel it’s such a benefit to me as a reader (and all of us readers!) to learn from your struggles and insights.
    And thanks for your honesty and bravery in sharing with us all.

  89. Holly says...

    This post (and all the comments) is why I have loved Cup of Jo for many years. I’m proud of you, Joanna, for your honesty and vulnerability, I’m proud of our little community for loving you for it. It a such a testament to you, your family and your work that your readers have responded with gentleness and empathy. Whatever it is, whatever your family faces, and how much or how little you share, we support you. You have been there for us and we finally get to be here for you. Sending love & strength from Australia x

  90. Greta says...

    Joanna! Every single post on your website makes me feel instinctively that your site is different and feeds me more than other places on the web I visit dayly and enjoy. I don’t usually analyse or rationalise why I feel the way I feel about you blog, I just take my slivers of joy one at a time. But posts like this bring out the answer. You talk to my inner self, my true self. You don’t just appeal to one side of me – the creative, the intectual, the mother, the wife, the friend, etc. You reach out to Me which is a sum of all of those role plus that ineffable something extra. Thank you so much for doing the job you do!

    I wish you strength during this hard moment in your life. My great grandmother used to say “this storm will pass, too”. Courage!

  91. Hi Joanna,

    I’ve been following your blog since 8 years. The path we are walking is kind of the same, married in the same year, got two kids in the same years, and we have the same age. Not really of importance, but I do recognize strugles of being a mom, wife and moreover, staying myself and doing the things I love. As a woman, you are automatically pointed in the ‘caring & houshold stuff’ although I am not better at it, or enjoying it more then a man. With a fulltime job in the company I started, I have to take care of myself very carefully. And I had to learn, that’s not selfish. Tell what you need and arrange help if you need it. You are to precious! It’s your life as well! Go woman, stand for yourself ❤️.

  92. Cal says...

    For years, you have felt like a friend to me. Thank you.
    You deserve the strength to bear this thing and all things, and find joy besides.
    We’re rooting for you.

  93. It’s crazy but more of us should get real like this, it doesn’t mean telling everyone every little detail but to remind everyone that life is hard and a picture is just a picture and never ever the full story. The other day my husband, son (4) cat and I were all snuggling in bed and were all doing different things, reading, watching tv, watching an iPod, in a picture people would have criticized we weren’t doing one activity together or we shouldn’t all be in bed together, or we should be outside, etc., but all I felt in that moment was complete, grateful and happy. I hope things get figured out for you, being a parent is so hard! We all need to start being kinder to one another. Sending love and light!

  94. Fran says...

    Sending much love

  95. Such a moving post and the comments are making me cry, in a good way. We all have our hard times and difficult pastures we must walk through and it really does make us stronger and have a better understanding. We just have to be awake for it all and notice those hard times and those happy times that all add up to a beautiful life with lots of messy bits.
    I’ve been trying to stop myself periodically through the day and just look at everything around me, take it in, observe, and take notice. It’s those moments that I remember and reflect back on and feel grateful for. Those are the slices of joy. Lovely post and comments.

  96. Melissa says...

    So amazing to read through all of these supportive comments. Motherhood for me has been full of ups and downs- harder than I could have imagined- more beautiful than I could have imagined- more exposing of myself and my failures than I could have imagined- more life giving than I could have imagined.

    I have 3 girls ages 7,5, and 2. My oldest had struggled for several years on and off with how things felt on her- particularly clothing. Lots of emotion disregulation. Fight or flight tantrums around getting dressed. We had no idea what was going on- until we learned about Sensory Processing Disorder and it all made sense. My husband and I felt so bad that we did not know sooner- it was like she had a broken leg and we were always yelling at her “walk on it! Run on it!” (“Put on those pants! Let’s go! Hurry up! Go to your room until you calm down” etc). With the help of occupational therapy and play therapy we all learned so much about sensory issues and our family is in so much better of a place. We have a vocabulary now that we can all use regarding sensory processing disorder and emotion regulation. Some seasons have been better and worse than others- we recently moved from Davis, California to Atlanta, GA and my daughter’s sensory issues totally flared up with all of the newness and change of the move- plus a layer of anxiety which she had never struggled with before. Plus I started struggling with anxiety for the first time. Anyway it was helpful to already have a foundation of knowledge to build upon and we immediately sought out help from occupational therapy and child psych- and therapy and meds for myself (which wow! First time on medication for anxiety and it has been a game changer and so helpful. And first time in individual therapy for myself and it has been so great to have a space to process and explore things solo). My daughter and I have been learning together how to not let anxiety bully us around, how to handle stressful situations better, and how to hone our coping skills. We both are in such a good and healthy place. It was hard for me to admit there was a problem- and to ask for help- and to share with others- but it’s been amazing to build a village around my family to help us.

    Sending you many good thoughts and love as you navigate the ups and downs of parenthood. Hoping you can build a village so you can be supported as well.

    Xoxo

    • Anneliese Olivia says...

      I just want to send support, as I know the challenges of having a sensory smart child and experiencing anxiety that can accompany it. You sound like thoughtful parents and I wish you courage and patience though the dysregulated moments.

  97. Barbara says...

    Another internet friend, sending you some love and light and best wishes.

  98. Anneliese Olivia says...

    Jo,

    Your message today struck a chord with me. Your site is a haven of such insight, support, honesty, fun, and kindness. I’m sorry that your family has been struggling off-line. My son (4) has been experiencing some sensory processing challenges. While not severe, they really knocked my husband and I off our feet. I started therapy to learn more coping skills and how to be a more effective parent based on his needs. We’re still learning, but WHEW, no one could have prepared me for all of the heartache, vulnerability, and raw love that parenting can bring.

    I know that you and Alex are awesome parents. Sending you all strength and light in your darkest moments. I’ll be thinking about you.

  99. kaela d. says...

    Thank you for only being as transparent as you feel comfortable being. I’ve read your blog for a long time now, and so many times your writing sounds like a brave older sister I never had. This is another one of those moments.

    You will get through whatever it is. Keep your heads up. Find silver linings in every nook and cranny. The last couple of years have been the most challenging of my life, and one of the most comforting things anyone has said to me is this…

    “I am rooting for you.”

    So just know that your authenticity is valued and, most importantly, I am rooting for you!

    xo

  100. Dearest Jo,
    Thank you for sharing with us. You have created a beautiful place with your blog that honestly shares your heart. We are grateful for everything you do share, and we understand that there are parts of your life that are private. It must be hard to find the balance sometimes. You know what? We all love you and your family, whatever you choose to share. In your family, you and Alex have also created a beautiful place to be yourself, and for them to be themselves. You are wonderful parents and the best parents for your boys. I know you will work it out together and treasure the little slices of joy in everyday life. I know this because I see you making the effort you go to the beach, or have a dinner party, or go on dates, when it would sometimes be easier to not bother. Your love and dedication is enough to see your boys and you through. YOU are enough (even when you don’t always bother, even when you are bothered but feel clueless, even with all your so-called imperfections that others may or may not get to see). You are not alone. We are all human and wish things were better. But isn’t this life? There is much beauty to be found hidden in the seemingly imperfect, messy and impossible world. Sometimes things take a long time to fix. Sometimes things do not need to be fixed the way we think they should. I also am learning to enjoy the journey, to be grateful and to delight in the little treasures in the darkness. I hope to continue this journey with​ you – reading your blog is one of my slices of joy in the day. Peace and much love to you and your family Jo. I am praying for you. You are not alone with your tears and fears. God is with you, how ever you believe (as are your family and friends and thousands of readers.) It is alright, and it will work out.

    Love from Rache, in the Land Downunder

    PS It’s funny, just the other day when my four year old was having a meltdown and my one year old was joining in, I did have a split second wonder to myself- Does Joanna ever lose it? How come her kids are so perfectly cheerful and chilled out all the time? Then I thought, well, she probably doesn’t want to blog about how terrible her kids are at times… Thank you for giving us a peek into your life. I am very grateful you do. xxx

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      rache, you are the sweetest. i loved this note so much. PS “It’s funny, just the other day when my four year old was having a meltdown and my one year old was joining in, I did have a split second wonder to myself- Does Joanna ever lose it? How come her kids are so perfectly cheerful and chilled out all the time?” = My kids are total maniacs, and I lose it all the time! ;)

  101. :) says...

    Ah, yes. I remind my close friends that we alllllll have our struggles. Some seen and some silent. What’s important, is how you choose to carry your baggage. Me? I’ve got all of my struggles squished into a carry-on. It’s all under control…kinda. Proceed with caution. :)

  102. Falina says...

    We are all finding our way! I’m learning the honesty and courage of sharing a story as it unfolds – when the story is ready to be shared. I’ve been finding my way through a painful year but am now seeing my way through. A lot of Brene Brown’s work has helped me have the humility and courage to continue on. If you have a moment, this three minutes message of hers is really touching https://youtu.be/1Evwgu369Jw. In these times, it’s hard to know what to say, but I’m glad you did share, even a little. Humility and courage are beautiful!

  103. Laura Maybe says...

    What an amazing post. Sending you peaceful vibes.
    Thanks so much for introducing me to the “thin slices of joy” concept. ?

  104. Jamie says...

    Sending you love and good wishes for strength in challenging times. Your boys are super lucky to have you as a mama and you have a community behind you!

  105. kyle says...

    Dear Joanna, I do hope that your struggles get easier. I admire you so much as a mother and a woman. I’m wish you and your family all the best.

  106. M says...

    Just a note of support. I have a social media “presence” as well, and although it’s small, I struggle every day to be BOTH real, but not overstep the privacy of my kids. But my world revolves around them, and our struggles with them have altered our lives significantly. We believe my five year old daughter is on the Autism spectrum (it costs 4-5K to diagnose where we live, and we’ve been advised to wait as time will tell), my second child might have Sensory Processing Disorder (but of course, he deals with it exactly opposite of his sister), while the third child–bless him–helps me keep my sanity with his “normal” toddler antics. But I can’t write about all that publicly because I don’t want my kids to be my public campaign. I trust that they will grow, develop, and change; and while I’m eager to secure the appropriate help in my little community and within their schooling (meaning, their teachers are well aware!), I’m not eager to even have people at church and in our neighborhood to label my kids and then uphold them to that label. Like you said, that might change–my kids are young and I’m told that my daughter will either continue to adapt or worsen each year. We might have to tell people more openly if that’s the case. But there are simply things that I don’t feel I can share–even for someone who is known for being “real”–when it’s other people’s (even little people!) stories that are still being created. Such a hard balance, and bravo to you and Alex for doing your best to navigate that.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      you sound like an incredible mother, M. sending so much love your way, to you and your sweet sweet children.

    • GFY says...

      What you describe is why I love that Temple Grandin movie so much – her mother and that teacher intuitively avoided the whole ‘dis-abled’ approach and instead nurtured her well-being until she was able to discover her own talent. Shoot, we ALL need that!

  107. Maren says...

    All the love to you and your family. You are one of the few blogs I still read and moments like this are exactly why. Thanks for all you share and the goodness and truth you spread.

  108. Christina says...

    Thanks for sharing. Hoping the best for your friends and family through this difficult time.

  109. Beth says...

    Dear heart Joanna, sending you and your family a swell of love. Lord, surround these beautiful four with your peace and presence and protect Joanna from even the faintest whisper that she is not the BEST mama for these boys. Use the community who so loves her to reflect back the light she has shared generously for years. Build her up, protect her heart and mind from worry, and use the spring’s arrival to remind her of the possibilities a new season can hold. <3

  110. Erika says...

    Thanks for being a “slice of joy” in many of my days.

    Wishing your family well during a challenging and scary season. Hugs to you!

  111. ally says...

    Joanna, I’m a longtime reader and want to let you know that you’ll be in my thoughts and prayers. I have a sweet boy who has many challenges and my heart goes out to you. It’s a tricky balance with wanting to honor their story-to celebrate who they REALLY are–but not tell or invade their telling of it in any way. Much love to you.

  112. I’m so sorry. Some days I wish we could go back to being more private and instead of online squares filling up photo books with plastic peel.

    Sending you hugs & prayers

    Xo Lendy
    http://www.twoplusluna.com

  113. Stacy says...

    I wish you nights full of rest so your heart and brain can mend and worry less. I wish for you to find a vice that can alleviate the worry so you aren’t wearing yourself down. I wish for you to keep growing from this experience and feel confident that every day you know more than the last. Thank you for sharing your struggles and inspiring us. Hugs from California.

  114. Em says...

    Joanna, thank you for your honest words. I often think of you as I grapple with my own (new-ish) anxiety, sparked from a semi-recent “parenting trauma” in our circle. But when it happened & during many successive sleepless nights thereafter – I sought your words/experience on anxiety and creeping negative thoughts, as they were the only I’d ever known. It felt that I had a friend, a teammate so to speak, somewhere that somehow understood what I was going through… even though no one else seemed to. So thanks as well for earlier (as in years ago) honest words as well. Tremendous hugs to you and your family.

  115. Corinne says...

    I debated writing this. You’ve already heard so many encouraging words and, also, there’s the “it’s not my story to tell” part. But then I thought that I might be able to give someone a little peace of mind. I am and older mom with older, grown kids, so I thought it might be helpful to see how things look from the other side of that long, dark parenting tunnel.

    To be brief, my oldest is on the spectrum. Always sensitive, awkward, late to speak. Nearly zero words at 2.5, still couldn’t be understood when he started kindergarten. Because of dysgraphia, he literally spent hours on grade-school assignments, struggling to finish essays that should have taken twenty minutes. He never fit in at school, never understood how to make a friend, and never quite got through his awkward stage :) I adore this child — and yet he has been my greatest source of worry and tears and off-the-scale panic attacks from day one.

    Anyway, here’s the other-end-of-the-tunnel thing: He is 23 now. He’s still awkward, to put it mildly. But this sweet soul was the first person to race to the hospital to comfort my mom when my dad passed away unexpectedly last year, and he was exactly the person she needed to see. He is intense, empathetic, passionate. He and his brother are my best friends and my favorite people. The struggles he had in learning to write an essay in grade school led him to be a wonderful writer and studious reader. The time spent in his own head led to a love of books; first Harry Potter, then Greek mythology, then global history. He recently graduated with a degree in History. The current political climate has inspired him to change the world, so he applied to law school. Right now he’s trying to decide between the two he has been accepted to.

    So, my point is this: Worry. It helps. It makes you a good mom. It makes you your child’s best advocate. It makes you find the key to whatever mystery your child is. But also let go. Know that it probably won’t be as bad as you imagine. Know that your children will amaze you.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, corinne. your last line: “So, my point is this: Worry. It helps. It makes you a good mom. It makes you your child’s best advocate. It makes you find the key to whatever mystery your child is. But also let go. Know that it probably won’t be as bad as you imagine. Know that your children will amaze you.” oh, my heart!

    • Suzy Quinn says...

      This was so great to read. Im an older reader as well, and can testify to the perspective of the long haul. Wish Id been able to rise above the daily fray more often and live in the hope of the future. It’s all so true. We need to be their best advocate and champion, and also to trust that they will amaze us. Thank you!

    • Le Smurf says...

      That last bit is my Mum summed up in a little paragraph! What a lovely way to phrase it Corrine! (Though I’m not sure how amazing my sister, brother and I are – hahah)
      Xo

    • Lolly says...

      what an awesome and beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.

    • Natalie says...

      This just made me cryyyyyyyyyy! Such beautiful words from the heart of a loving mother, Corinne.

    • Kash says...

      Thank you so much, you are God send! I took my son to a play date today and came back with a list of things he is still struggling with, while children his age and younger are catching on quickly. The dormant worry surfaced out and I was a crazy erratic mom, irritatable at the slightest provocation, something 4-year-olds love to do. Reading your comment made my day. This is exactly what I needed. Thank you once again!

    • M says...

      Thank you for sharing this, Corinne. So beautifully said.

  116. Alexis S. says...

    Dear Joanna,

    Thank you as always for being so open and honest, and while you certainly don’t have to divulge everything to your readers, thank you for being so vulnerable in this process. I really respect your blog and your writing and I think you are just an awesome person.

    Sending you much love and light.

  117. Lena says...

    Thank you so much for sharing Joanna. I love your blog, your honesty and authenticity. This is one of the few places on the internet that I find continually renewing for me because there’s so much here that allows us to connect in a really human and intimate way. I’m so so sorry you’ve been struggling. Really wishing you and your family the best as you navigate these waters and know there’s a whole tribe of us sending you love and support. keep finding those slices of joy….what a beautiful idea!

  118. wb says...

    I get happy when you send out those “How’s everything going?” emails. I’m just an internet stranger, but you bring a lot of joy to others with this work you do.

  119. Daynna says...

    My son has some special needs, too. He is on the autism spectrum, high functioning, and I very rarely, if ever, share this information directly on FB or Instagram because although I’m not ashamed of it, nor do I feel it’s something I need to keep hidden, I’m also cognizant that it’s not entirely my story to tell. It’s his.

    But it’s a struggle because it is something that I sometimes need to reach out to others for because it can be So Damn Hard. And sometimes I feel so alone in dealing with this disorder and the jabs it throws at you and how different my child is and my worries for him (for the future, for next school year, etc). And I don’t want it to be this stigmatizing thing that I “hide”, either. I want others to know, sometimes, because it should be normalized to some extent and because it’s simply us, it’s just our family. We are built this way, for good, for bad, we are built this way.

    So I struggle.

    But if I were you? Oh, I’d struggle too and so much harder. If you’re in a similar situation, I’d struggle on what to share because on one hand, you could make a big difference with your platform. I know you’d make ME feel less alone and so many others too. And maybe other amazing things could come of it. Such endless possibilities to the good you could do on both a tiny and a giant scale! But on the other hand, you’d be opening up a very vulnerable part of the person you love most and doing so without him being able to really consent. Is it fair to him to share this side of him with so many when, who knows, maybe years from now, he may not want that? What a tough, tough struggle.

    I’ve thought a lot about this matter. I don’t envy you your position right now. I think, though, that if you can reconcile the fact that you’ll ultimately be doing more good by putting it out there, than not, then I lean towards being more open about it., maybe in stages? I could see you doing amazing, groundbreaking things or maybe even putting people in touch with others who could do great things. And I think you are in the unique position to be overwhelmed by the support of both those who are closely touched by special needs children and those who aren’t and it will feel like an uplifting, soft spot to land in an enormous way I can’t fully explain.

    But, again, I truly understand your struggle. Whatever you choose to say- or not say- is the right decision.

    If you ever need a friend or an ear (I’m an excellent listener), please don’t hesitate to reach out. I think you have my email address but my Insta is ‘daynnashannon’. Thinking of you and your family and sending all the best thoughts and love I can. Eapecially on this day (or was it yesterday?) of awareness. Hang in there Joanna. No one expects all from you. And you’ll find what you should or shouldn’t share and your peace with it all (sorry for being so verbose!)

  120. Kate says...

    Realizing in the moment that the situation is bigger than you, and allowing the boys space to tell their own stories, speaks volumes about your strength as their mama. Such great love.

  121. Karin says...

    Joanna, your blog is a reliable slice of joy for me every afternoon. I am sorry to hear you’re going through something difficult. Sending good thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

  122. Jen says...

    I know how you feel, I have a 2 year old and an 8 month old and spend A LOT of time on social media while I’m on maternity leave.

    Even though I know absolutely that every person who you see posting on social media has to all do the same basic things as you everyday, like sleep, eat, even go to the toilet, it’s so easy to forget that they are human and you are too. So they post beautiful images but most don’t post the truly awful stuff.

    I have to dive deep some days to get perspective and not be fooled by the idea that if I just have the perfect hair colour and cut, everything else will be awesome! But this can be so challenging especially with a toddler. You feel like you’re more akin to a hostage negotiator than parent.

    I’ve really struggled since my second baby was born with not feeling guilty about enjoying my time with her more than her older sister; the toddler can be so hard and the baby is so soft and uncomplicated. But I try to find those moments of joy you’ve mentioned, like taking the kids for a walk on a sunny day and feeling the warm sun on my face, or my daughter smiling and giggling in the bath.

    The days are long but the years are short.

    Xxx

  123. Sonya says...

    Hi Jo – you’ve been on my mind since I read your post this morning. Thank you for sharing what is going on in your life and why you’re not able to share more. I have so much respect for you and how you’ve grown this site. It has been a constant in my life for years and you inspired me to blog more openly… and tell people I have a blog! ]

    Years ago, a close friend gave me a copy of Letters of Note. It happened to be the same year that I lost my aunt to cancer and faced other, previously unimaginable, personal situations that really challenged me and my then-fiance. A few lines from a letter penned by Henry James to a grieving friend stayed with me that year: “Don’t melt too much into the universe, but be as solid and dense and fixed as you can. We all live together, and those of us who love and know, live so most. We help each other—even unconsciously, each in our own effort, we lighten the effort of others, we contribute to the sum of success, make it possible for others to live… Everything will pass, and serenity and accepted mysteries and disillusionments, and the tenderness of a few good people, and new opportunities and ever so much of life, in a word, will remain. You will do all sorts of things yet, and I will help you. ”

    I’ve shared it with friends during dark times and it was a reading at my wedding. What’s surprised me as I’ve grown older is how many unexpected things can happen but how many people are there to help – often in ways I never expected. Sending you and your family all my love.

    • Mara says...

      I love that Sonya. Thank you for sharing.

  124. Jamie T says...

    First let me say how difficult life can be and how sorry I am you feel burdened. Heartache and stress can wear us down to the point that we hardly recognize ourselves. Be gentle and kind with yourself as often as possible. I recently told a close friend that no one really knows what a master of editing I am. My Mom has a very aggressive cancer in which she is not getting treatment for nor does she want it discussed on social media. It leaves me in a strange place but out of respect for her I have said very little. I understand the art of editing completely and hope you have the support of those who love you until we, your loyal readers can.

  125. Sara says...

    Thin slices of joy … what a lovely concept. Rings true for me … and thanks to you, I will carry this phrase in my heart, and I know it will bring comfort. Thanks for being a slice of joy in my every day, Jo. Here’s to living a whole, complicated, messy life.

  126. Steph says...

    Thanks for sharing and the valuable reminder. I feel like I’m rolling from one ailment to another at the moment, it’s nice to remember we’re all in this together.

  127. Thank you for sharing! Life can be stressful, and the idea of thin slices joy literary just brighten my day. I wish you and your adorable family love and happiness all the way from Indonesia!

  128. Alicia Cox says...

    sending you love and a virtual hug!

  129. Marissa says...

    It says so much about our community that this poignant post consistently had more feedback today than the giveaway. Our thoughts are with you!

  130. Neely says...

    My parents divorced when my brother and I were very young. It was a very painful, ugly divorce. The stress of their separation consumed most of my childhood and then, in my early twenties, my father, who is an Iranian immigrant, left the country. He didn’t tell us that he was leaving and didn’t contact us for thirteen years. In those thirteen years, I grew up, chose a career, married my high school sweetheart, and had three amazing children. I created a beautiful life for myself and my father missed it all.

    Last month (out of nowhere) we found out that my father had returned to the U.S. So my brother and I flew from Seattle to the east coast to see him. Needless to say, the reunion was complicated and very emotional, but I felt lighter afterward. He was no longer an enigma and somehow we knew that he loved us even though he chose to leave.

    My kids will have their own painful stories. They will suffer and they will hurt. But one thing that gives me comfort is knowing that I have come out on the other side of loss and they will too. They will survive what comes their way, and I will be there to witness it. I will know their stories.

    Thank you for your blog. I have been a reader for many years and never really shared. I thought this would be a good opportunity.

  131. Thank you Joanna for sharing. I’m keeping you, your husband and beautiful babies in my thoughts. Sending you lots of love and light. Your honesty is so appreciated. xo

  132. Meghan says...

    Jo, you are 100% human, without a doubt. I get that our children’s stories are not always ours to tell. I keep all photos of my son off of social media for this very reason. I so appreciate your honesty. And you and Alex are such loving parents and I have learned so much from this blog that I keep coming back to for the true sense of community. Sending love your way. Parenting is so tough on a good day, so I can’t imagine the weight you are feeling. Keep loving your boys and teaching them how to be kind. There is so much out of our control, but your blog and these comments are so lovely. Please feel that support as you muddle through. We are all just as vulnerable, and unfortunately we are rarely presented with that via social media. Thank you for making all the right connections in this safe space you have created.

  133. April says...

    The joy and love you’ve shared with your blog in the face of this difficult thing is a testament to your strength and an inspiration to practice thin slices of joy.

  134. Hi Joanna,

    I hope you get some comfort from sharing this post – sharing what you felt comfortable sharing as a mother.

    You are incredibly generous to share as much of your life, and your thoughts, as you do with your readers. You don’t owe us anymore. You are honest, vulnerable, open – not everything that happens to you or goes through your mind needs to be available for public consumption. You’re entitled to secret thoughts, and you’re entitled to privacy.

    Your instincts as a Mom to protect your child / husband / family are totally spot on. If you decide to share more, you should do so when you feel like the benefits of sharing will outweigh any negative consequences. Until then, keep being Anton and Toby’s best Mom. They’re so lucky to have you.

    Belle x x x

    http://www.thislifeisbelle.com/home/2017/3/24/raising-rosie

  135. Katie says...

    We are dealing with an intense parenting struggle right now that involves not sharing our child’s story until they are ready and it has been tough (and isolating at times). Take care and be gentle on yourself. Whatever it is you and Alex are lovely parents and when the time is right you will be able to share your story in the way you see fit and that supports and uplifts your family. xo

  136. Sonja says...

    I’m grateful you are called to share your life. It’s given me the confidence to share mine. Opening up more has deepened my relationships and helped to quell some considerable anxiety.

    I think Max Erhmann had it right, “…in the noisy confusion of life keep peace in your soul.”

    Thank you for helping us keep peace in our souls.

  137. I’ve sat here re-reading your post with tears forming in my eyes. Not the small, trickle kind, but the big, fat ones that fall with abandon. Over the past month some things regarding our daughter have been revealed. I like to think that we’re in the exact same place, you & I, dealing with the same difficulties, but really, I have no idea. But isn’t that the core of the human experience? Relating? I can’t put a number to the amount of times I’ve told my husband, “It’s not my story to tell.” My social media accounts have stayed mute & my blog is aching for an update, but for now, it’s all I can do to pray, cry, & trudge forward while grieving. And that- it’s a curious thing to grieve, when our daughter is the same person she’s always been, we just now understand her a bit better. Her world has been illuminated, & I’m awaiting & hopeful for the day when I no longer feel like I’m in the dark– frustrated, sad, exhausted, but am able to fully join her in the light.

  138. Erin says...

    Much love to you, Joanna.

  139. Christine says...

    This feels so timely. Life can be so complicated, and messy but there is always snippets of beauty if you take the chance to breathe it in. I am dealing with fibromyalgia as a mother of three with a six month old. It’s been SO bad the last month that I struggle every.single.day to manage and make it through. The aches and fatigue are drowning me and to hear well meaning family members say I just need to work out or move more feels terribly misplaced. I also lost the most amazing friend almost a year ago, three weeks after she gave birth…and her husband just announced he’s getter married. Needless to say my head is still spinning and I’m having a hard time coping with all of it. Thank you for letting get this off my chest. I often feel like I have no one to unload on and it is more than overdue.

  140. Sarah J says...

    Dear Jo
    I picked up on the hint a while back and I don’t know what it is…but I don’t need to know the details – I know you’re a lovely, kind, authentic and honest person, mother and wife.
    You give so much to all of us, your readers, through your blog and that’s why we value being able to visit, and what you share, so much.
    I come home tired from work at night, and reading your blog is like connecting with a friend when its way to late to actually call any of my friends for a chat and I’m too tired to type a text or email. Thank you!
    Sometimes people are not so kind at times, and so I’d prefer that you hold back on the detail, we don’t need to know if it doesn’t feel right for you to share. Also, your situation (and your family), in the public eye, is different to others that share their stories through your blog.
    Those of us who care support you and your family without the need for details or you to ‘prove’ anything.
    Take care and positive wishes to you and your family – and thanks again for all that you give to me through your blog.
    Warmest wishes, Sarah, Australia

  141. Suzy Quinn says...

    Wishing you the best. Hold on to each other and breathe. I love your blog and your good heart.

  142. Sending a big hug to you and all those struggling out there. You are not alone. My only brother lives with schizophrenia and there have been periods over the years where our family has felt very isolated and disconnected from others/ normal life. But reaching out and sharing the ups and downs helped; and knowing that those who seem to have no problems… also do. our experience has been heartbreaking but also made life so much richer and made us appreciate every good money so much more. ❤❤

  143. Katie H. says...

    I love the love circulating around this post! You hang in there, Joanna. I think we all go through things that we’d rather not, or can’t talk about openly (I am, and it stinks!), but I’m so sorry you have something that keeps you up at night. I know how much worse it can be when you’re worrying for or on behalf of someone you love… Sending positive vibes to you and yours.

  144. Angie says...

    Thank you for your heartfelt post; I’ve been thinking of your family all day. I have two young children myself. The day to day parenting struggles are real, but at the end of the day, you just want everyone healthy and happy. I hope things are getting easier. Sending love and light your way.

    Thank you for creating this wonderful community and sharing your life with us all.

  145. Jessica says...

    Thinking about you and sending you peaceful thoughts. And this is going to sound so cliche, but for me time has been the only answer to sorrow. And I think that sadness and difficulty give you the perspective to experience happiness and love from even greater depths. Or at least that’s how my story with parenting has been thus far. My husband and I experienced a heartbreaking loss. I did not think I would recover and yes, part of me will never be the same. You carry the loss with you but over time it becomes easier to bear. And living through that experience has given me a completely different perspective on happiness and love – such that thin slices of joy in my eyes and everyday moments with my children are cherished all the more deeply – and I think I am able to experience love more fully. Hoping you have the same silver lining where you come through your difficulty and into even greater love.

  146. Mimi says...

    I think you are very smart, honest, truthful and yes, beautiful too. I read your blog and sometimes think jealous thoughts because my husband is handicapped and life is just too hard many days. Your life looks so joyous to me and enviable. Sadly, I know no life is always easy. I thank you for sharing the truth… Whenever you are ready, if ever you are. I root for you. I know from reading the comments that we all do.

  147. Sarah says...

    I am sure that it’s obvious, but I hope you know that you have a community of women who think of you as a friend. We love you, we love your family, and no matter what you choose to disclose/how you express your frustration or feelings of being overwhelmed, we will pick you up and love you and support you, because that’s the community you have cultivated. We are a reflection of the positivity, fun, and authenticity you have put into your corner of the internet-land. We all carry a piece of your heart now, and I hope that helps your heart to feel lighter. <3

  148. Morgan says...

    Slices of joy
    Scent of cherry blossoms as I walk beneath.
    The male barista at the local hipster coffee shop where I carefully considered whether or not me and my crazy toddler twins belonged was truly delighted by the sight of my munchkins today.
    The first sip of a latte.
    This is from a few weeks ago – I passed gas and my toddler announced, matter of factly, “Mama poop”. This one gets me every time.

  149. Rachel says...

    Jo, a ton of empathy as you face whatever it is you and your family are struggling with, and a lot of respect for having the restraint to keep it private. Your family is lucky to have you. And there’s absolutely no requirement that you make everything in your life look and seem perfect on your blog. The world would be a better place if bloggers did less of that and more of telling (and showing) what life is really like. Isn’t that the whole point of blogging?

  150. I love the idea of thin slices of joy, and I think it really comes down to being present in your life. I have fought hard for years to be outside of my head and anxieties, and once you are more present, you can enjoy more things as they come. Whatever you’re going through, I hope you can learn to understand and deal with it more. Life has all kinds of challenges, and as my father likes to say: “Everyone is dealing with something.”

    http://www.shessobright.com