Design

Have a Great Weekend.

Billie Holiday

What are you up to this weekend? We are doing absolutely nothing tonight (my favorite kind of plan:) and on Sunday, we’ll be celebrating Mother’s Day by going to Rye Playland, where I will school the boys in Whac-A-Mole. Thinking of all the wonderful mothers, mothers-to-be and mothers at heart. Hope you have a good one, and here are a few fun links from around the web…

7 women on their unconventional mother figures.

The correct and only way to cut your sandwich.

The #1 thing I always bring on trips.

My mother’s shoes.” (NYT)

The middle dancer here is just beyond.

Oh my gosh, how pretty is this Target bedroom makeover? That wallpaper!

When doctors give their patients gifts. (NYT)

Jenny Rosenstrach’s 10 quick family dinners.

Stella swears by these pimple patches. Have you ever tried them?

Making Nora Ephron’s mashed potatoes for one.

This is America absolutely blew my mind. What a statement, what a piece of art. The analysis has been gripping to read, especially this post about 13 references you may have missed.

Plus, three great reader comments:

Says Anne on the random parenting product I swear by: “My sister-in-law shared with me that they loved having a hot tub when they had teens at home. It turns out your kids will tell you anything when you put them in hot water. For whatever reason it gets the conversations going. This is valuable information, people!”

Says Candice on the love story I never thought to tell: “Last year, my four- and five-year-olds asked me how I met their ‘Auntie’ Kate. It struck me that I’d been asked so many times about how I met my husband, but never one of the great friends of my life. It brought me to tears to pause and think about the importance and mutuality of our actions in those first moments of friendship, and what that has meant over the last 16 years.”

Says Mel on the love story I never thought to tell: “This essay resonates with me so deeply — not because it’s my experience, but because it’s something I long for. I have the opposite… a wonderful husband and three awesome children, but not any close girlfriends. I have my mom friends and my work friends, but I don’t have that super close love story kind of friendship with any women at the moment and I miss it SO MUCH. Husbands are grand, but mine doesn’t always get things from my perspective. Now that my youngest child is almost one, perhaps it’s time to come up for air and get to work building a new lady family.”

Last but not least, Cup of Jo is making a donation today to help pay bail for mothers who are in jail because they can’t afford to get out. “Over 60 percent of people in jail in the United States are being detained while they await trial. They’re not serving time as a punishment. They’ve been found guilty of no crime. Instead, in the majority of cases, money is the barrier to freedom… Bail pushes already-struggling families further onto the margins of society. Even a short stint in jail can mean a lost job, eviction or deportation.” Please read more at National Bail Out. #FreeBlackMamas

(Photo of Billie Holiday. Donation information via Erin.)

  1. Brittany says...

    Thank you for making your donation!

  2. Kara says...

    I was wondering if/hoping you would post about This is America! I still don’t have the right words for how it made me feel, but I felt like I was witnessing something historic.

  3. I’m so impressed with Childish Gambino. He’s a rare trifecta of talent, creativity and intelligence.

  4. Sanaa Murray says...

    THANK YOU for telling us about the National Bail Out– I just donated. Amazing organization and cause. #freeblackmammas

  5. Maryann says...

    “This is America” is all I thought about this weekend. So powerful. Thank you for sharing. Also the bail-out link too. I’m so frustrated by the inequality in our prison systems, in our workplaces, and society in general, it feels productive to be able to do something.

  6. Kate says...

    Thank you so much for posting things like “This is America.” It shouldn’t be a remarkable thing, right? But it so is. You are using your influence and likability (I mean, really, you’re so darn likeable!) to give voice to the voiceless, to be a force for justice and change, and it’s admirable. Thank you!

  7. patricia blaettler says...

    “Gift giving” feels like, here is something from me, maybe you’ll like me for it…What you’ve described is giving to someone in need. Which is a beautiful way to think and live. Certainly nothing unethical there, in my opinion. I think it’s beautiful.

  8. Tiffany says...

    I’ve been making purple mashed potatoes lately with those pretty blue taters. I add soy milk, a little greek yogurt, butter, salt & pepper and a bunch of green peas and sometimes some garlicky mushrooms. The purple and green color combo is really pleasing. Also, I’ve found that a dough blender is perfect for mashing potatoes. Cooking for one is an art!

  9. ms says...

    Thank you for the note and donation – glad to learn about this issue and know a way to contribute.

  10. Jo says...

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for making that donation and for paying attention to such serious social issues.

  11. Laura says...

    What’s with all the sudden links to the NYT? I don’t subscribe. Do most of your readers?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we’ve always featured articles from the new york times — we just didn’t normally mark them, until readers asked us to. anyone can read up 5 articles per month for free — we mark them so you can decide if you want to click through or not. i do think a healthy percentage of our readers subscribe to the times anyway. overall, we are very committed to supporting trustworthy journalism and freedom of the press.

      PS if you clear your cache or use a different browser (for example, chrome vs firefox) you can read more than 5 per month.

      hope that helps!!

    • Grace says...

      also! if you read them in incognito mode!!!!!

    • Ksm says...

      @i was one of many who had requested that they mark the NYT and New Yorker article, so we can decide how to use our free quota. ?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh, good call, grace!

  12. Ian Mac Eochagáin says...

    I love the idea of mashed potato for one, but was puzzled by the potato ricer utensil – I’d never heard of such a thing before. Why not just use a potato masher?

    • Whitney says...

      A ricer makes mashed potatoes so much smoother! They’re kinda like big garlic presses – pushing the potatoes through small holes to break up the lumps. Feel free to mash, but ricers make amazing mashed potatoes!

  13. Abigail D. says...

    While sometimes bail puts an undue hardship on families during a trying time, sometimes (and, frankly, most of the time if everyone is being fair) it is necessary to ensure public safety and/or prevent the defendant from fleeing. Bonds are set after all actors take on many considerations, including harm to public safety, likelihood of fleeing, criminal history, etc. When a public defender or a criminal defense attorney thinks bond is unfair, they have every right to bring it up at any time (and do during bond hearings). I think it’s noble to take on this issue for Mother’s Day, but please don’t over generalize.

  14. Michelle says...

    Thanks for drawing my attention to National Bail Out. What an excellent initiative. Thanks for donating and inspiring others (like me!) to donate too.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      so glad, michelle!

  15. Angie says...

    As a nurse sometimes those small gifts mean the world to the persons you provide care for! I had a person whose husbands birthday was a day she in the hospital. We got her a balloon and her husbands favorite candy bar for her to give him when we arrived to visit her that day. I think both of them were touched by the gesture! Such small things can mean the world to people.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, that is so touching, angie.

  16. Andrea says...

    This is America. So powerful and so important.
    As a white mother of a white son I strive each day to provide my child him with the tools that will help him grow-up with a self awareness of what this has meant in America history. I recognize that it is so very important that I do more for him then just teach him to be a kind, thoughtful person; at a minimum, unconscious bias and white privilege must be part of the discussion as well. These are difficult conversations that must take place and I continue to be astonished at the lack of resources that are available at the primary school level – just teaching tolerance is not enough.

  17. Kaela says...

    Donald Glover brought an afterparty into my basement once in 2011 and I was suuuuper grumpy that The Great Bambino was keeping me up before my night shift. I had an “A HA!” moment when Community came out.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, that is AMAZING, kaela!!!!

  18. janed says...

    “Over 60 percent of people in jail in the United States are being detained while they await trial. They’re not serving time as a punishment. They’ve been found guilty of no crime. Instead, in the majority of cases, money is the barrier to freedom… ”

    Isn’t this like, a medieval business model? How it is still legal to do this?

    • Ksm says...

      This!

  19. Lisa says...

    The shoe article takes me back to my grandfather having one of his legs removed. I can’t remember exactly what had happened, but the lower leg became gangrenous (and he picked up the smell, recognising it from his time fighting in WW2) so he had it removed. He said that what he found hardest was not being able to offer a woman his seat when she came in the room

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      lisa, thank you so much for sharing. your grandfather sounds like such a kind and amazing person. it’s so compelling to see what people consider a big part of their identity and what small things affect them after a big change. xoxo

  20. Ketra says...

    I don’t recognize the woman in the photo. Who is she? Please, this is killing me!

    • Kim says...

      Jazz great Billie Holiday.

    • Elizabeth Monaco says...

      Irene Cara?

    • Candice says...

      It’s Billie Holiday. Unsure, but I think the photo credit is wrong?

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Thank you :) Just updated xx

    • Jody says...

      Billie Holiday (love that image!)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, billie holiday!

  21. Gen says...

    Donald Glover is absolutely amazing. I’ve been a huge fan for a long time from his music to his acting in Community, to producing and starring in Atlanta, and am stunned that one human person can be so hugely prolific. His first song that I loved was Freaks and Geeks and seems like he’s come full circle, considering that first video from back then was also in a warehouse–he’s really come so far. Can’t wait for his role as Lando in the new Star Wars!

  22. Magnolia says...

    On reader Mel’s comments:
    “Perhaps it’s time to come up for air” … I totally lost it at this.

    As a working, commuting mom, not to mention feeling trapped in a career that’s totally NOT me but simply provides well; in the era of this Administration, married to a Trump supporter to my surprise; absent of this type of true love between girlfriends,
    and realizing through Caroline ‘s post that the key to obtaining this type of love was Authenticity, which I lacked during the key formative years of said girlfriend relationships, I just totally lost it.

    “Come up for air”… God I can hardly breathe.

    The way this blog keeps hitting home, I think is due to the Authenticity that remains consistent through and through via its writers and readers. Thank you Cup of Jo.

    The content may hit home and hit hard, sometimes in ways that take me out of my many comfort zones. But what a challenge to endure — To keep looking at ourselves and what’s really underneath it all.
    This blog accomplishes this in an endearing way, unlike many a blog I’ve since unsubscribed to. And that’s what keeps me coming back. Thank you for the inspiration.

    • Sending you as much support as a blog commenting stranger can. I imagine you feel quite lost right now but as others have told me during dark times, this too shall pass—one way or another.

    • Sasha says...

      Magnolia, I’m sorry for the lostness you are feeling right now. As I read that your husband is a surprise Trump supporter, I feel palpable sadness for what that might be like. I know many conservative people, Evangelical Christians, fiscal conservatives, just rural people that have always thought that way politically, but none are Trump supporters. All are too decent for his immoral behavior. My heart goes out to you.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes, sending you so much love, Magnolia. This sounds like a very hard chapter in life, and you are doing a great job just getting through. Wish we lived closer so we could take a walk and just breathe in that spring air. Life can be so hard. You’re not alone. Sending love.

  23. Linda says...

    I think it’s really sweet for a doctor or surgeon to give their patient a small gift. When you are going through an extremely tough health crisis, those types of small acts of kindness can really help you through.

    When I taught full time, I used to love small, thoughtful gifts from my students and it was fun to give them memorable gifts as well.

    On the other hand, my husband worked for a guy in real estate. He used to give his clients huge gifts like flat screen TV’s. This would be ok, but he wasn’t paying my husband a decent wage (under $2,000 take home) working full time, when he had promised more, and we almost lost our home. He just wanted to look like the “good, generous guy” instead of paying his employees fairly. That really sucked.

  24. jaclyn says...

    The video and the song for This is America is really, really amazing. There is nothing this guy can’t do. His performance of this song on SNL was one of the best performances I’ve seen on that show. I’ve seen his stand-up before and I wasn’t that into it. But Donald Glover has transformed himself. He’s no longer a wide-eyed goof. He’s all shirtless and woke. I love it.

  25. Katha says...

    OMG Mel. I hear you.
    Mel‘s comment resonates with me because these could have been my words exactly.
    This is me.

    • Sam says...

      Me too. I think we all need a meet-up :-)

  26. E says...

    This made me LOL: “Sandwiches should be cut on the diagonal, not straight down the middle.”

    It’s still the middle! That’s how symmetry/geometry/math in general works. ;-)

    • K says...

      Have to disagree here.. becusse of the top crust a sandwich is not a true square- cutting it “down the middle” symmetrically must be done with the top of the sandwich up so that the two sides match.
      When you cut on the diagonal you are left with two similar, but not the same, triangles.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha love these math convos!! makes my heart sing!!

    • Amy says...

      I liked this part:
      ““You are just as pretty and cool as those girls, they’re missing out by not being friends with you!” is a more typical response than, “If they aren’t friendly, why do you want to be friends with them?” or “Maybe they have enough friends.” The implication of our suspicions of cliques is that the only reason anyone has a close circle of friends is to experience the joy of excluding others, not the support of strong bonds.”
      A good reminder as my daughter grows up; she feels that the girls in her class that are tight-knit are “bullies”, but it’s more that they simply don’t click with her personality (as confirmed by her teacher). I’m trying to change her perspective on that.

    • Katie says...

      Thank you for sharing these Bethany! Very interesting reads.

      This rang true to me from the first article:

      “Instead these women are reduced to “mean girls,” their interior lives and their intentions made into unflattering speculative fiction because they would not perform the emotional labor of actively expanding their social circle.”

      I love spending time with my few “mom friends” but frankly I don’t have the emotional energy to invest in meeting new friends all the time. Of course I would never be intentionally rude or ever want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but constantly expanding my circle just isn’t for me, and it’s taken me MANY years to realize and respect that about myself. (Also…time! I just don’t have enough time to grow the great relationships I already have.)

      It’s an interesting topic I haven’t read much about before.

  27. Lorena says...

    Thank you, CoJ, for posting “This is America,” which holds up the mirror, shines the light on, and rips up the carpet to reveal the stark truth that this national conversation is still not over.

  28. MS says...

    Pretty sure this photo is of a young Billie Holiday and not taken by MAV of 3191 Miles Apart.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh yes, we swapped the photo at the last minute and forgot to update the credit, thank you so much!

  29. Amanda says...

    I rarely comment but I wanted to say thank you to the Cup of Jo team for including the article about unconventional mother figures. I did not have a good relationship with my own biological mother, but I had a lot of mother figures – friend’s moms, my grandmother – who stepped in when I needed it. It’s nice to see acknowledgement of those relationships on a weekend that has always been a challenging one for me emotionally.

    And thank you for donating to free mothers awaiting trial from jail, and for speaking out against the bail system that disproportionately affects low-income people.

  30. -- says...

    THANK YOU for for featuring National Bail Out (and, for that matter, This Is America). WOC reader here, and I deeply appreciate your efforts to showcase a wider range of voices and issues, and generally to be an inclusive space.

  31. Melody says...

    Wonderful organization to donate to, thanks Cupofjo

  32. A few things. First, I’d never really thought about bail and how it affects the lives of people awaiting trial, but when I think of what might happen if that happened to me, I get a little sweaty and scared. There is so much need and so many ways to help. Also, now someone wants to wallpaper her bathroom with removable wallpaper, which will absolutely thrill her husband. Finally, I began ballet lessons six months ago, at 42, and when I watch that video, I have so much more appreciation for all of it. Great list. Happy Mother’s Day! Amy

  33. J says...

    While I appreciate the story about physicians giving patients gifts, it would have been nice to have a nurse-focused story during national nurses week

  34. MandyH says...

    Thank you for making that donation! ❤️❤️

  35. JMT says...

    Loving impossibly much that you’re donating to and publicizing the mama’s day bail out.

  36. Kelsi says...

    I am thrilled you are supporting National Bail Out. I just read about this organization in The Sun and I was deeply moved. Important work being done.

  37. Lisa says...

    On a cursory search ‘equal justice works’ supports public defenders. These are the attorneys that represent accused folks and can make a huge difference in getting low or no bond amounts and zealously advocate up to and through trial which can have much more impact than just getting someone released while waiting for trial. As an ex prosecutor I can say that a dollar spent toward better representation is soooo much for powerful than just being able to post a bond.$$

  38. Amanda G says...

    Oh my goodness, I love Playland! Haven’t been in ages, but the Derby Racer will forever be my favorite :)

  39. gretchen says...

    the dancer in the middle is @marachok on instagram. She is graduating from Vaganova ballet academy in St. Petersburg Russia next month, and might be someone to keep an eye on in the future. :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you! she’s phenomenal.

  40. Lily says...

    Best link list. Thank you for all you do.

  41. Sara says...

    Same, Mel! Down to the one year old. Many friends and acquaintances, a wonderful husband, but no bestie. Even tougher, we moved almost a year ago to a new city and I still haven’t met a local friend. How does one even meet friends as an adult, especially as a stay at home parent? I’ve always met friends through work. Can COJ please tackle this?!?!

    • Sarah says...

      I hear ya. I’m in a big city, away from childhood friends and family, and a stay at home mom, and it’s hard to meet good girlfriends. It seems that everyone around me has their childhood friends from growing up here and/or family and are busy already with them. I try to be as social as I can be, attending parent/child classes, MOPS, going to parks, church, and trying to talk to others but it’s a hard step to go from being a fellow mom who I do playdates with our kids (and being distracted… Talking one moment and then being interrupted because one kid wants another kid’s toy, etc.) to hanging out one on one without kids and having deeper conversations. Being a stay at home mom can be full of so many moments of joy, but loneliness too. Hoping we both find a good girlfriend soon.

  42. Sammy says...

    Re: giving gifts to patients and the cited article about Dr. Gordon Schiff – My husband and I are both physicians taking care of some very poor and needy patients, and I had no idea that giving my patients gifts was considered “unethical,” especially at a hospital that I have personal experience with and usually think very highly of (shame!) Among the gifts we have given to our patients include: bus fare to get home (the patient said he literally had no money left and would have to walk 2 hours to get home), gift cards for groceries (for a patient whose wife had terminal cancer with 2 young children), gift card for a restaurant (for a single mother who used it to take her son out for his birthday), gently used or new baby items that we no longer need (for new parents), and straight up cash to certain very needy families. It doesn’t happen often but sometimes it just feels like it’s the right thing to do and especially when we have things we would donate to Goodwill anyway, it is wonderful that we know who we’re giving to and know that the things will be put to good use. I don’t understand at all what is unethical about taking care of people and meeting their needs in some small way – it rather seems quite ethical to me.

  43. Susie says...

    I grew up in Westchester County, NY. I spent many summer days/nights at Playland. I rode the dragon coaster a few years ago with my oldest son. It was his first roller coaster ride:) Have fun and Happy Mother’s Day!
    P.S. Did you know that part of the movie, “Big” was filmed at Playland?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      no way, susie!!! what a fun fact!

  44. a says...

    I love that article on doctors giving patients gifts. I do it all the time. We had a 7 yo boy who stayed with us on the unit the entire summer because he was underinsured. Hospitals aren’t made for people to stay for weeks to months. It’s mostly just to get you through a tough overwhelming couple of days. So I got him super hero themed toothbrush, toothpaste and animal theme dental floss. His mom cried and he no longer had an excuse to skip brushing his teeth! Working at a county facility has meant that I sometimes I spend some of my own money to create a more therapeutic environment. I try as hard as a single person reasonably can to not let an underfunded system compromise the care that I deliver. I think it’s ok as long as it’s a gift freely given (which I literally tell them, that they owe me nothing for this. They can give it away, throw it in the trash or enjoy it. It’s up to them.), it doesn’t strain the giver financially, and the purpose is to further a therapeutic environment. I give my time, my attention, my care, my sweat, my sleep, my commitment and my expertise. Why can’t I also give a toothbrush?

  45. aga says...

    Love the links!! I always look forward to them on Fridays.
    Koodos for the donation! What a great cause to donate to.

  46. Jen says...

    Currently reading through these links as a contraction distraction! Am due on Sunday but he/she seems to be arriving just a bit sooner. As luck would have it my toddler is sick and calling for me in her sleep, which is breaking my heart into a million pieces. Ohh the emotions. And the pain!

    Have a wonderful Mother’s Day! Big thumbs up to the CoJ donation; sounds like an organization incredibly deserving of support.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      jen!!!!!!!!!!! how exciting/intense/emotional!!!!!!!!! sending you so much strength and luck!!!! please keep us updated :) :) :) you’re our hero today!

  47. Gosh, that hot tub tip is fabulous! Too bad we’ll probably never have one ? And thank you for making that donation…also, as a reader who loves COJ but might not appreciate all the places money on behalf of the blog could go to, thanks for choosing something so unequivocally good.

  48. Virginia says...

    The correct sandwich cut was a hotly debated topic in my home growing up— and it continues to be today! My mom and I agree that diagonal is right, because they are bigger halves (obvi). My sister prefers the rectangular cut because she thinks the triangles taste like lemons (???). When she was a freshman in college and was feeling homesick, she ordered a sandwich from the cafeteria and asked the woman making if she would please cut it in rectangles. The lady looked her in the eye and said “NO!” while simultaneously cutting the sandwich diagonally. Our family still laughs about that 15 years later. Any obvious “no” is accompanied by an emphatic diagonal slicing motion

    • Kara says...

      Omg ?

  49. Virginia says...

    The correct sandwich cut was a hotly debated topic in my home growing up— and it continues to be today! My mom and I agree that diagonal is right, because they are bigger halves (obvi). My sister prefers the rectangular cut because she thinks the triangles taste like lemons (???). When was a freshman in college she was feeling homesick, she ordered a sandwich from the cafeteria and asked the woman making if she would please cut it in rectangles. The lady looked her in the eye and said “NO!” while simultaneously cutting the sandwich diagonally. Our family still laughs about that 15 years later. Any obvious “no” is accompanied by an emphatic diagonal slicing motion

  50. Lisa says...

    Dear Joanna,

    How exciting that you are going to Rye Playland. I work about 5 minutes from there and live in the area. My kids love it and if you are planning on spending the day, there is a beach! You may also wish to pack towels and extra clothes in case the kids want to ride the water rides. You’ve probably been there many times and don’t need this advice! Have fun!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you, i had no idea!

    • Lisa says...

      Did you guys have fun??? ☺️

  51. Rue says...

    Anyone noticed how hot tub tip ultimately is different form of “Add water” parenting mantra?
    Amazing !

    • Michelle says...

      I didnt! But thanks for pointing this out. ?

  52. MelTown says...

    When I had my third baby I had a very scary post partum complication. I remember being nervous about my children at home, my new baby, and my husband…not to mention what would happen to me. The doctor had to come rushing back to the hospital about two hours after my surgery to save my life. Hours later she arrived with cake balls from a bakery across the street. It was a small gesture, and 100% unnecessary, but it meant so much. She is one of the few doctors I have met who really nurtured me. It makes me worry for her…will she take on too much? Will she burn out? But that gesture was so sweet during a very scary time.

    • MelTown says...

      Also, thanks for sharing my comment ❤️

    • Whitney says...

      Oh, this is so true! I too have hoped that loving people won’t burn out. When I delivered my first baby, our nurse was the most incredible person – exactly the nurturing nurse that a first time mother needed. I actually drove to the hospital and delivered her a note and chocolates after we got home because people who love hard need to be loved hard.

  53. Cynthia says...

    Happy Mother’s Day, Joanna, and Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms.

  54. nestingranch says...

    The correct and only way is to cut it into a sailboat sandwich.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha yes!

  55. Kathleen says...

    Wow… no comments yet. Anyhow, thank you for mentioning “This is America” and a link to some of the references, as well as your donation and bringing attention to the National Bail Out. You’re one of the few “mainstream” blogs that regularly brings attention to social justice issues and I’m so grateful to you for using your significant platform in this way.

    • Came here to say this too. I really appreciate the Cup of Jo team for rallying behind these causes.