1. Jenny says...

    The Goldfinch is worth it! I avoid devastating books (since I’ve had kids…just, no tolerance for spending my precious free time like that) — and, despite the plot description, I didn’t think this one really was. Really solid, dive-into book!

  2. Jiaming Ou says...

    I am not a parent yet, but reading blogs like yours help me appreciate my mother even more. While the post may be on the funny side, I think that in many instances the sacrifices of mothers are overlooked. Looking at my personal experience, I know my mother sacrificed even her career to care for my brother and I. So, shoutout to all mothers out there. YOU are amazing!

  3. daisy says...

    Just giving up TV altogether on weeknights gives us such a relaxing evening. It’s amazing how it quietens the nerves and takes the pressure off the backlog of responsibilities. We play relaxing music instead. There is magically enough time to get everything done. Then a chapter read in bed to get into sleep mode and I’m out like a lamb.

  4. K says...

    Cartoons/commentary like this only serves to fuel the idea that life without kids is a picnic. Guess what? People without kids get older and busier with professional and personal lives, and it’s not all a breeze either. Having kids changes things, certainly, but those of us without kids also struggle with time, life, “balance”, etc… and it’s not all breezy and effortless.

    • I totally hear what you are saying. Before I had children, I could not understand parents that complained they were tired all the time. I was tired too. Guess what? Nothing prepares you to the whirlwind that your life becomes once you have children, and being tired takes on an entirely different meaning. No offense to you or people without kids, but you cannot truly relate to it until you’ve experienced it.
      That being said, I don’t think parents assume that lives of people without kids are always easy and peaceful, far from it. But we can remember the time we had before that has suddenly evaporated because a tiny human being requires all your attention. We know the difference. Things that seemed important (and sometimes were) are relegated in the background, not because we want to, but because we have to. That is, if you want to properly take care of your children, and don’t have a nanny, a maid and a cook.
      These cartoons are incredibly realistic, but I agree they might focus too much on the hectic side of life with kids, and not the joy and love they bring into your life. Which make it all worthwhile. The first time I heard my children say ‘I love you’, it magically erased all the stress and exhaustion of the sleepless months. That is truly unique.

    • I’ll second Miss Agnes – you don’t know until you know. I could write a book about all the things I took for granted before pregnancy. And I truly never would have understood without going through it myself. This cartoon is very surface level for me – all true, but it doesn’t get anywhere near the real stuff for me.

    • Melanie says...

      I was always very resentful when people where I worked thought it was fine to dump their extra work on me/ because I didn’t have kids. They were so much busier than me. And I get it- if you have a sick kid, that comes first. But please don’t assume that child-free people are living leisurely lives. My sister doesn’t have kids. She takes care of everything for our elderly parents; one is in a nursing home with dementia and the other insists she can live by herself in an apt. My sister deals with doctors’ appts, paying all bills, taking her grocery shopping and works 45-60 hours a week.

    • C says...

      K, I’ve been feeling this lately too. I totally appreciate Miss Agnes’ response to your comment, but my childless husband and I moved, bought a house, both changed jobs and introduced grad school into the mix this year, and I just feel so. damn. tired. I completely recognize that life with kids is another universe that I can’t fathom, but I don’t think I’ve had that ‘before kids’ column feeling since I was in my early twenties! Life is hard! I guess as time goes on it’s natural that we fill our time with more commitments, kids or not.

    • Janet says...

      K, I agree 100% with what you’ve said and I would ask all the parents out there who talk about how life changes to consider the fact that life changes for ALL of us. There is an assumption by parents that they *know* what childfree people’s lives are like simply because they were once childfree. But you don’t know how OUR lives have changed as we have gotten older because you haven’t lived through this next development
      al phase (e.g., caretaking, volunteering — often for organizations that support YOUR kids — job promotions, etc.). Let’s stop these comparisons. You don’t know what our lives are like and we don’t know what your lives are like. We all make choices and there is no better choice.

    • Peggy says...

      Janet, thank you for putting that so beautifully. K, I’m with you.

      Cartoons like this conflate “a kid free life” with “what life was like before I had kids,” ie when you were younger. You also don’t know until you know what life asks of you as you get older, regardless of whether or not you have kids. For example, as my peers had children, and therefore could do less (at work, in organizations, in my family), I have seen my workload in all of those spaces increase to take up the slack.

      I think the thing I bristle at the most is the value judgment implied in things like this, which we childfree women get all the time, that we’re faffing about doing silly things and not using our time in the correct and moral way, ie in the service of reproduction.

      (All that said, cartoons like this do help confirm my life choices…)

    • SK says...

      I totally understand that people without kids can be just as busy as those with kids! I think this cartoon is not comparing people without kids and with kids but instead comparing the life of people who have kids now and their life before kids specifically in regards to the amount of time it takes to do these certain tasks. And not meant to offend and compare (or think those without kids are taking part in silly things! Not at all!) in those ways. :) No judgment either way please.

  5. Michela says...

    Not only it takes 3 nights to watch a 60 minutes show, but my husband and I also have to put the subtitles on because we keep the volume so low we can’t hear anything. The only idea of waking up the kids because we were watching tv is terrifying. They wake up anyway…but at least it is not our fault. Desperation.

    • Melanie says...

      I’ve started using subtitles recently and it’s such a game changer! No worries about bad language or sex scenes or violent gun scenes…

  6. Gemma says...

    Toilet plus child on scooter ARE YOU SPYING ON ME because that is me. Every. Day.

  7. Caitlin says...

    I mean absolutely no offense to the author, but starting and then deciding NOT to finish The Goldfinch was such a liberating experience for me. I thought to myself, “I’m not really enjoying this and now that I have kids, every free minute is worth so much more to me. I’m done with this book!”

    • Jackie says...

      Caitlin,
      I hear you. I read the whole book even though I was not enjoying it. At the end of it I thought “I should have put that down”.

    • Deb says...

      Came here to say I LOVED The Goldfinch… but I am not a parent and read it on a rainy holiday- I don’t know if it’s the kind of book you can enjoy if reading sporadically or with a lot of mind-chatter!

    • Sasha L says...

      Caitlin, agreed! I wish I had the hours back that I completely wasted on that damn book.

  8. Mina says...

    This makes me so sad. I’m trying to find my groove as a parent, four month veteran, and I feel so lost. I miss myself and this makes me suspect I will never feel like me again..

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh mina i hear you! those first months are so, so hard and disorienting and relentless. i felt like i had been swallowed up. but i promise you will feel like yourself again. with toby, on his first birthday, i remember feeling like myself again. sending you a big hug. xoxo

    • K says...

      I’m so sorry to hear you’re struggling Mina. I missed myself too when my son was a newborn/infant… it’s a hard hard time physically and mentally. I look back and think, wow I was so unlike myself then. I can’t believe it. But things get better. For me it started getting exponentially better when he was 9 months (and gradually better before that too). I know it’s hard to believe and seems so far away when you’re in it (well, it was that way for me at least:)) but you’ll get there, I promise. Rhythms in life change but the joys get bigger and bigger, and it’s so worth it. One thing that helped me was seeing people with older kids and thinking, “see, one day they sleep all night, eat on their own, can put on their own clothes, etc.” You’ll feel like yourself one day. Much love.

    • Callie says...

      You’ll find a different version of yourself. You’ll hit a groove, and then you’ll hit a bump, and you’ll be ok with that. Kids really teach you to roll with anything and everything. That 4 month mark is hard, but you’ve got this.

    • Sasha L says...

      Mina, I know it probably sounds silly and trite and just unbelievable, but you will block and that four month old will be off to kindergarten, high school, college. I can’t even begin to explain the weird time Warp that is mothering. The days seem unending with a small baby, but the years will whiz by at light speed, whether you want them to or not. And you’ll look back and think, wait, no, not quite yet….. And it will be all over, and the house will be so quiet and you’ll look at yourself in the mirror and think, oh, hey you, where have you been?

      I know it doesn’t help right now. But if you could know how much you’ll miss these days, I promise they would seem easier.

  9. Emma says...

    My husband and I like to say parenting is all about learning how to do things you once did quickly, slowly and learning how to do things you once did slowly, quickly. :)

  10. Loesie says...

    I started the Goldfinch a few years ago after I’d gotten it from the library. Never got past the first chapter, so I just brought it back haha.
    But! There’s a movie out now so I can find out what it’s all about after all!
    The trailer sure looked promising!

  11. Bronwen says...

    Haha! Yes! 1 to 3 are completely true for me and the only reason 4 doesn’t apply is because I don’t drink coffee

  12. JJ says...

    hi! very random, off-the-wall question here, but: I’d love a post on what it looks like when it comes to moderating comments. Is someone on staff going through every single comment and approving/disapproving? It would be lots of work!

    I’d even enjoy a post about the technical sides of things: scheduling posts, brainstorming sessions, and stuff like that. I know you often take reader suggestions, so this is mine :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much for your note! we’d love to do a post like this! yes, we moderate every comment that comes in — we share the job during the workdays, and i often moderate again a couple times during the evening/early morning/weekends. we approve almost all comments (and welcome respectful debate), but just leave out ones that are overly harsh, inaccurate, etc.

      for something like david’s house tour, for example, i knew his apartment was great because we’ve been friends for years (i remember i actually went over there for drinks on my 30th birthday 10 years ago!), and i reached out in january to see if he’d be up for a tour. he was into it (yay!). our regular interiors photographer was out on maternity leave, so i hired the wonderful stephen kent johnson, whom my friends erin and linsey had highly recommended, and arranged the shoot date/time and gave stephen overall art direction. sadly i was out of town during the shoot, so david and stephen did the shoot on their own and had a wonderful time, according to both of them! a week later, stephen sent the photos, which were really beautiful, and i thanked and paid him. the next step was to set up a phone interview with david. before interviewing him, i read a few other interviews he’s done over the years to get an even deeper sense of his story/aesthetic/background (this is especially helpful when you don’t know the person). we talked for about an hour and a half, and then i condensed/edited down the interview into short, tight blurbs. then i edited down the photos (stephen had sent more than what appear here — it was hard to cut down!) and arranged them into the post with the blurbs, moving around the blurbs to fit the photos and flow of the story. i also emailed david some follow-up questions, like the question about which TV shows/movies he likes. we then resized the photos to fit our site specs so they’re not blurry and renamed them for SEO purposes. at that point, we usually scout and add house tour credits (for furniture, decor items, paint colors, etc.) but since david mostly shops vintage, we didn’t have many to do for his tour. then i had another editor read over the post with fresh eyes, and we addressed any bumps/questions. finally, we formatted the post, coded it up and pushed it live! :) then we promoted it on social, sent the link to david and stephen and a few other friends, and began moderating and answering comments.

      it looks easy (and should look easy) but it’s actually a careful, multi-step process to produce any of our posts. i remember once reading a comment from someone who thought homeowners just emailed in photos and blurbs themselves — which would be awesome, haha — but it’s actually much more carefully produced on our end. hope that helps answer some of your questions! thank you for asking! xoxooxxo

    • JJ says...

      Joanna — what a thoughtful response! Sp fun to read about the processes behind the scenes. Thanks for taking the time to answer with so much information; it was basically a post in and of itself :)

    • Melanie says...

      I would love to know that as well! For example- I’m commenting way after this was posted…does anyone read it?

      How far in advance do you plan stories? How do you decide what to post?

    • Melanie says...

      Joanna- great response! So interesting…I just live behind-the-scenes information. How blogs and magazines decide topics must be fun and stressful.

  13. Louise says...

    For us it’s wait until the kids go to sleep, start movie, fall asleep fifteen minutes in to movie.

  14. nora says...

    HAHA!
    I recently uttered this as my husband then 5 year old came into the bathroom to ask me questions, “Can you please let me pee in peace while holding the baby?”

    • Em says...

      Hahaha, oh my gosh :-) Love this.

  15. Katie says...

    Ha! I love this so much. I would also add showers – I used to take 30 (!) minute showers as a teen – that part of my routine has sped up a lot after having kids!

    • Joyce says...

      Haha! The Goldfinch was excellent motivation for me to read other books. I started The Goldfinch and maybe completed 5 other novels start to finish before completing it? Although it was a great book, I think it was about 150 pages too long. I think most books are generally 10-20 percent longer than needed and when it comes to books that are long to begin with it gets extra exhausting.

      Would love to hear if anyone disagrees with this opinion: HE WAS IN LAS VEGAS FOR WAY TOO MANY PAGES. Curious to see how that is condensed in the film :)

  16. Diana McNeill says...

    lol re: The Goldfinch as the example image. I don’t even have kids and it still took me about 4 years to read it. Weirdly though, I read Secret History (Donna Tartt’s earlier novel) in 4 days–couldn’t put it down!

    • Kate says...

      Same! Took me several excruciating months to read The Goldfinch, but read Secret History in a matter of minutes (or it felt like that).

    • Kate says...

      Same! I devoured Secret History and The Little Friend in no time at all, but it took me about 6 months to get past the first chapter of The Goldfinch and now, 5 years later, I still haven’t finished the last two chapters. I just can’t make myself do it!!

    • Lora says...

      I gave up on the Goldfinch and I hardly ever give up on books (and I was childless and between jobs at the time! Can’t image how it would be now!)

  17. Sam says...

    So much truth. As a mother of three children under 5 years of age my biggest recommendation to mamas wanting to read more is USE AUDIOBOOKS! So many classics are free and have been turned into podcasts for easy listening and the Libby app that connects to what’s available at your local library is a revelation. Folding laundry, washing dishes, walking the dog, lying face first one the couch while your kids nap, all great times to put in an earbud or two and “read” again.

    • Leanne says...

      Libby changed my reading too! I haven’t gotten into audiobooks yet, but I’ve devoured novels again by choosing to read for a few minutes rather than scroll Instagram/Facebook.

    • Sarah says...

      As another mother of three under five I second this so hard. I was unprepared for how unstimulating some of parenting can be, and not just the drudgery of housework but also the mundanity of conversations with children. Early on I felt like my ability to communicate with others was withering, like I wasn’t funny or quick or interesting anymore. I almost feel like audiobooks have saved me. They make me look forward to cleaning up after bed, they help me connect with other adults, and they are FREE through SF’s awesomely well stocked library. I cannot imagine my life without them. And whenever people recommend downloading an app and oh it’s so easy just do it! I feel like everyone is like yeah yeah someday. But really, just do it. It’s so worth it. It is SO WORTH IT. Get on those waitlists. It’s so worth it.

      p.s. The goldfinch audiobook is excellent. Such a phenomenal reader. Wouldn’t never ever ever have finished it otherwise.

  18. Lorraine says...

    Yes, exactly this! How long does it take to roll out of bed on a Sunday morning? Before kids, 3 hours. After kids, 0 seconds – you are woken up by an alarm clock that beeps and even shakes you awake.

  19. Jessica says...

    Ah I actually just finished The Goldfinch (with a toddler at home). I read it on my walk to and from work (and, once, at a coffee shop on my way to work because I needed more time with my book). I’d add: How Long Does it Take to Walk ANYWHERE? Before kids: A reasonable amount of time. After kids: Forever, and you seriously consider giving up and going home multiple times during the Journey (and it’s now called a Journey instead of a Walk, because it takes so long).

    • Jessica says...

      I mean on my subway ride to and from work (though sometimes I did walk and read bc it’s that good).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      did you read it while walking? i love that!!

    • Kelsey says...

      I’ve recently read while walking on the sidewalk, and then I saw another woman doing it a few days later, and people were looking at her like she was a freak. But honestly, it isn’t any more distracting or dangerous than walking around with your head stuck all the way in your iPhone?

    • Deb says...

      It’s no more dangerous but people shouldn’t walk around looking at their phones either! People who walk around reading anything instead of paying attention to where they’re going force everyone else on the street to do all the work of avoiding a collision- this is something we all do for each other naturally when we’re paying attention but if one person is reading, what was a 50:50 responsibility is now 100% on the person who’s actually looking where they’re going. #petpeeve ;-)

    • Karyn says...

      Loved this part of the comment thread. I have a friend who hates audio books but is a voracious reader and she once confessed she reads a few pages at long stoplights (!) when she’s driving the car (!!)

  20. Jeanne says...

    Get in the car: Before kids- 3 min. After kids-30 min.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, and getting out of the house!!! 1 minute to tell them we’re leaving, 2 hours to put shoes on, and 1 minute to lock up.

    • Eliza says...

      And an extra 15 minutes when they pee their pants just as you’re about to leave.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      @eliza, or suddenly need to leisurely poop.

    • Laura C. says...

      @Jeanne and @Joanna: I am not alone!😣

    • Jessica says...

      We’re so lucky that my two year old is so in love with her Crocs (of all things) that as soon as we say “do you want to go outside?” she’s sprinting across the room, doing slide toward the shoe cubbie, pulling on her Crocs, and walking out the door while I’m still gathering up the snacks and drinks and sunblock and chapstick and sunglasses and etc.

    • Louisa says...

      SHOES! Please please please someone help me figure out how to get my fully capable 5 year old child to put shoes on because I am going berserk. I am thinking of putting a 3-minute timer by the door, and then having some kind of reward if she can get out the door before the timer goes off. Like, keeping marshmallows in the car or letting her choose the music. Does anyone have something that works? I hate giving rewards for meeting simple expectations … though it’s seeming not-so-simple lately.

  21. Kim says...

    Pre-kids it took a single afternoon to clean my entire house. After kids, my whole house has never been clean all at once. It doesn’t matter how much time I spend cleaning. There are just pockets of cleanness that could at any moment be overtaken by chaos.

    • Amy says...

      Me too Kim. That is THE hardest part about mothering to me!

  22. Amy says...

    Omg, I used to love clothes shopping, perusing bookstores and grocery aisles, idling away weekend afternoons in town. Ha! Now I might have a mad dash to buy clothes – and not for me but the kids!

    • Loesie says...

      For this exact reason I’ve decided yesterday evening to bring baby to the mother in law tomorrow, to get myself some shopping! It’s Sale season! Even if just for a couple of hours. 😊

  23. Julie says...

    I’m literally The Goldfinch right now at a snails pace! This was spot on!

  24. GoBlueMom says...

    SPOT ON! Post-kids it takes me so long to make it through a movie (rewind, rewatch, catch up, five more minutes…) that I now just stick to shows. Attention span of a gnat.

  25. Elizabeth Aitken says...

    Don’t finish the goldfinch! Ilthe first quarter is fan and the rest is awful. X

    • Rebecca says...

      Ditto – totally not worth the effort!

    • TC says...

      It was the best book I’ve read so far this year! (And I’m currently on book 31!)

    • Sara says...

      Oh, I have to disagree. I love it. Just reread it on vacation and loved it just the same the second time.

    • Diana McNeill says...

      That is exactly how I felt about The Goldfinch, too! I would highly recommend reading Secret History if you haven’t already. In my opinion, it is a far superior book all the way through, and to this day, one of the best books I’ve ever read.

    • Dianne says...

      Agreed. It is a very bad book. Bloated, clumsy, dull, and confusing at the point (the end) where it should be exciting.

  26. Ramona says...

    Hahaha! “power pee!” :D

    • Annie says...

      My friend called it “peeing like a race horse” and I had no idea what that meant until I googled it! 😂

  27. Amy says...

    Ha ha ha! So true. So true. Ah, but they are worth it :)