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Monday, April 11, 2011

Motherhood

It's amazing how much you love your own child. Although motherhood can be hard sometimes, and the juggle of work vs. life vs. baby can feel impossible to get right, Toby and his little bald head and his powdery/milky scent and his drooly smile and his throaty laugh make me so moony every time.

They say that when you have a baby, your heart lives outside you, and that phrase has come to mind so many times since Toby was born. It even feels physical: Funnily enough, when I'm away from him, like at a work meeting or dinner with friends, I often get a constant nagging feeling that I've left something behind; I keep checking my pockets for my cell phone and my wallet and my keys, and then I realize, oh, yes, of course, I left behind my Toby!

I read a great Carl Jung quote the other day: "Loneliness does not come from being alone, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important." And I realized that I'd love to talk more about the real-life, day-to-day experiences of being a new mom. So I'm excited to start a new weekly series called Motherhood Mondays, where we can talk openly about everything from babysitters to breastfeeding (and Alex will finally share his side of our birth story). (And is there anything specific you'd like to talk about or have been wondering about?) Much love to you all! xoxo

(Photos by Alex)

269 comments:

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13bees said...

j - i think this is such a wonderful idea. and the timing is wonderful for us:) looking forward to reading and joining in these conversations xo

allison said...

i can't wait for Monday Motherhood Moments! yours is the first blog i look at every morning...so i am definitely looking forward to this new series!

Casie Haley Photography said...

Fantastic! I love that you share with us your experiences of motherhood! I'm a mom of three beautiful boys all under the age of 5. My morning consisted of cereal being spilled on the floor, hugs & kisses, lots of smiles from the baby, & tackling 3 loads of laundry! It's a crazy & wonderful job being a mom!

Jessie said...

I'm a new mom of a 6 month old baby boy and so happy to know of your plans to share Monday Motherhood Moments.

Heather MK said...

Looking forward to this, Joanna! Whenever you put so much of yourself into something, there is undoubtedly growth and change and strife but there is also an amazing amount of depth to every day that you are living it. I think becoming a mama is a huge leap in one's life and one that has brought me so much richness and joy.

Heather said...

I'm excited about this. I'm a newlywed and I'm curious about how to balance being a wife, a working gal, and a mother. I would love your insight. How did your husband react to you getting pregnant on your honeymoon? Was it something planned or was it a surprise to you both? I'm guessing you talked a lot about having kids before getting married. Did you both want a baby very soon?

Designwali said...

great idea...address guilt, imperfection, pressure and expectations and how us mommies and mommy judgers are way too harsh for their own good.

Marianne Eee said...

I have a ten month old son myself. These are some of the topics I think about a lot:

1: How having a baby changes the relationship to your partner. In my case both for good and bad. I have never loved my husband more, but christ, I have never been angrier with him either. Our arguments usually start becase we don't have enough time for ourselves, or we don't have enough time to be with each other without the baby.
2: How the baby changes the relationship to your family. I have seen my parents so much over the past months, much much more than before I had my son. For the most part it's a joy - I love spending time with them, and I love seeing the relationship between my son and my parents form. I also get frustrated at times - and this has to do with no 1: My husband, son and I seem to have so little time for ourselves.
3: How you think about the birth after a few months. Giving birth was a traumatic experience for me - the baby was healthy and well, but apart from that everything went wrong. And I still feel so shaky when I think about it. Today a colleage of mine asked about the birth and I almost started crying. I never imagined that I would feel this way after ten months. And I wonder, how do other women think about their births after a while? Have they forgotten the bad things? Do they hurt emotionally still like I do?

Anonymous said...

That sounds like a great read for all sorts of women.
I can't wait to be a mom!

traderjoeismyhomeboy.tumblr.com

Notes from Holly St. said...

beautiful post...I know how you feel when you say you have a nagging feeling that you're missing something when you're away from Toby. It's amazing how motherhood grabs a hold of you and never lets go. I'm so looking forward to reading Monday Motherhood Moments. I'd love to hear more about how other mothers balance motherhood and work and how to handle the guilt of it all! :) Thanks for this, Joanna!

Shalini said...

I love to read about daily experiences of other mothers, so this is great! Looking forward to your series.

Jenny said...

This is a great idea Joanna! My little girl is only a couple of weeks younger than Toby and I can completely relate to everything you just wrote. Especially the loneliness quote. I will look forward to this each week. Lots of love to you and sweet Toby xxx

Owl Tree Yoga said...

I am so excited to hear this!
I'm expecting in November, and am already baffled by the strangeness and bliss of what I'm feeling!
I would love to hear about your early pregnancy experiences!

JennySue said...

I think this is a fab Monday idea. And don't feel you have to cater to everyone and their feelings- this is YOUR blog and you can celebrate motherhood any day you want. I had trouble conceiving for years and was bitter for a long time of others that bragged on their kids. But I went thru 3 rounds of IVF, and now have 3 beautiful children to show for it. And the painful journey that got me to these 3 angels makes them even more worthwhile! Keep up the great work.

julia christianne said...

Hi Joanna,

I read the comment from the anonymous person and my heart skipped a beat. My little Edwin is 2 months on the 14th (a very special valentine's day baby!), I knew that having a baby would change my view of children, but since having him I learned how to LOVE in a whole new way, a way I never knew was possible. It's so incredible, it wasn't while I was pregnant, but afterward, my heart grew many times over to accommodate my little boy. And to read that person's comment, while thinking about my experience lately, I wouldn't be able to write a blog like how you do without including your "motherhood moments" it's who you have become, and that's why I log on everyday and enjoy what you write. Please be encouraged and continue doing what you are so good at :)

Amber said...

i look forward to this too! I'm nowhere close to motherhood, but I hope you can talk about the thing that scares me the most: maintaining your interests outside of motherhood. I always feel discouraged when friends tell me I'd have to give up my hobbies, or interests, when I have children. You seem to have struck a great balance, and I'd love to hear about any pressure you've faced from others about time spent away from Toby or interests outside of motherhood. I want to be a mom someday, but I also still want to be me, you know?

*** KITSCH *** said...

I Totally agree you...
I feel the same every day since Jon came into my life.

kss from Spain

La Franglaise said...

Last night, the hubby and I were watching out little man sleep and we were just saying how absolutely amazing it is it, the love for one's child. It is stronger than anything I have ever experienced, and I am grateful each day to be so lucky to have a beautiful son. I look forward to these weekly posts Joanna! From all the comments above already, the discussion are bound to be interesting!
Bisous bella donna xx

glp said...

i'll look forward to this series & hopefully some discussions about balancing work/mommyhood. being a mom is the hardest thing i have ever done but the past 13 months with our daughter have also been the most wonderful.

Anonymous said...

I don't have kids but I'm very excited about this--I enjoy your take on things and your writing is genuine and eloquent.

M said...

What a great idea! I'm really looking forward to it! I'm a new mom too and I totally agree that once you have a child, your heart lives outside yourself.

Cath said...

I welcome anything you have to share. Though I wonder if there's any way you might be able to maybe have a post or a mention about adopting a child. It's long been something my husband and I have wanted to choose over the choice to reproduce. Just a little plug for that part of motherhood!
Thank you.

latentgoddess said...

love the idea! i have an 8 month old boy so i was very excited to watch your pregnancy progress as i was almost at the same stage as you!
Maybe a blog about finding time for friends. I am finding that i am seeing less of my close friends and more of friends who have had babies who i wasnt so close to before. Just too tired to go out partying like i used too!

mary said...

*sigh* isn't it true. I love my little bean so much I find myself grinning from ear to ear on my way to pick her up from daycare. Isn't it amazing we all go through this? That every mother shares this beautiful bond?

the lil bee said...

Keep meaning to email you since I saw this post on FB. I constantly have the feeling that I'm missing or forgetting something, and I always attributed it to Mommy Brain or some other intangible. But you are 100% right...it's the feeling of not being with D and B that gets to me! They are so a part of me that I feel completely out of sorts without them. I'm looking forward to this series, Jo;) xo

Kristina L said...

I too would find it interesting to hear how (or if) you and your husband knew you were ready for a baby. I am not yet a mother, and although I am looking forward to someday having children, I can't imagine ever feeling totally ready.

kate said...

Thanks for this post! I'm thrilled you'll be writing more on motherhood. My daughter is about to turn one and it has been the most amazing year. I sometimes feel like I'll just burst there is so much love and other times like I will just die if the babe doesn't take a nap.

I'd love to hear more about now relationships with our own parents change when we have children. Specifically regarding things you do or don't do because your parents did or didn't do them. Being a parent has brought up so many memories, good and bad about my own childhood. I had a wonderful, happy childhood with 2 loving parents but I think about how I can pass along certain things to my child and NOT pass along others. I find myself having little empathy towards my parents for some of the ways they raised me, even though now I know that everyone just does the best they can as a parent. Is this kind of thinking just indulgent self-analysis?

Mary said...

after over 10 months of motherhood, one thing that is still so hard for me is striking the balance between taking care of myself and my baby. physical fitness seems to be a thing of the past. i'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic! so excited for these new monday posts!

Carissa said...

what a beautiful post! and a great series idea! I am not a mom yet but I'd love to be one day! your posts about Toby tug at my heartstrings and I honestly have learned a lot about birthing, breast feeding and just being a mom that I never knew before. so thank you and I look forward to more! and honestly, who can get enough of looking at Toby's adorable face?! :)

Chessa! said...

I think that this is such a wonderful idea.

I noticed that you replied back to an anonymous commenter who was unhappy with the apparent shift in your content. I actually really admire how you have stayed true to your voice even though you have become a parent. As a new mom I know how difficult it is to try to find a balance - I'm not sure it's possible to balance, really. Also, I completely understand where that person is coming from since we wanted to have a baby for so long and couldn't. Infertility is so heart-breaking and frustrating and before I was able to become pregnant and then thankfully have my baby I felt so hopeless. I think that seeing a site like yours that I already loved and enjoyed, with this type of series, would have made me feel full of joy. It's not that I felt jealous (which is ok too since it's totally normal!) of other people having kids when I couldn't - for me it was possible to feel happy for other people and sad for myself at the same time. Your tone is so down-to-earth and optimistic but I also think that you are a realist and at the end of the day that's what always makes me want to read your blog. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion though and everyone's situation is unique. I never talked about what was going on when I was going through it and certainly never on my blog but now that I am on the other side of it I feel like I have to share our story so that other people who feel hopeless like I did can at least see that sometimes miracles happen. I'm not invalidating other people's situations or feelings and I hope it doesn't come across that way - it's just that for me, my blog and my work and enjoying other blogs like yours was an escape from what I was going through and I really needed that to keep me sane and to keep me believing.

I'm so looking forward to this new series. x

Lexi said...

This is such a perfect post. I have always enjoyed reading your blog, but I officially hang on every word you write. Keep it up!

xox Lexi
Glitter & Pearls

Anna said...

Such a sweet idea! Very much looking forward to this!

Julie said...

SO CUTE!!


www.CelebrityOwned.com

Nora said...

aww... this makes me want to have a baby now.

conbotasdeagua said...

As a mother of an almost 8 months little girl, I completely understand what you said. You can love you parents, your husband, your friends, but the love you feel for your own baby, it's not compare to anything. I can't imagine a life without her...

I'm looking forward to follow this serie.
Thank you for sharing your feelings with us.

XOXO,
Bea

Gracie said...

Beautiful pictures of you and Toby, and the Jung quote struck an unbelievable chord in me.

Joanna Goddard said...

thanks for these amazing comments. and chessa, i LOVED your comment -- thank you so much for sharing your beautiful, honest and moving thoughts. xo

A Merry Mishap said...

You two are beautiful together!
Looking forward to the new series!

Gabriella said...

What a great idea, Joanna! To be honest, I love all your motherhood/personal posts so much. You are a great inspiration to me, although I'm nowhere near being a mum.
So a BIG thumbs up for the new Monday weekly series!
xo, Gabriella

alma said...

I'm a few days late but that's the story of my life ever since my little on was born. He is 18 months old and last night while I was giving him a bath I realized that looking at his profile he was changing. He was looking more like a boy and less like a baby, and just for a fraction of a second I felt deep sadness. Emotionally I have become in tune with myself ever since he was born. For that I'm eternally thankful.xoxo

Anonymous said...

oooh! i think i will love mondays here on cup of jo!

hello said...

The life of mothering is meant to be shared, l Iook forward to your stories. Love to read the many ways families are created, I'm 52 with a two year old!

Ginger said...

A tiny bit late in saying so, but I'm positively thrilled! I'm sure if you treat it with the same lovely personality that you treat all your daily subjects it will a fantastic addition to Cup of Jo!

Kathleen said...

As a mom of "older kids" (11 and 7) I can tell you that part of evolving as a mom is remembering to nurture yourself as well as your kids. Good for the mental health! But not always easy to do since kids turn into a big priority. I'd love to see a post on that. Not just "spa pampering" types of things (low priority for me) but really remembering to make time to be with your friends and do things that reinforce your identity as YOU and not just as a mom.

Also, with regard to the post from Anonymous that you addressed already, I have 2 kids but have also had several miscarriages. So I can see it both ways. I think reinforcing the idea that there are many ways to be the best you can be, whether you are a mom or not, or married or not, would be great.

Keep up the awesome work! :)

Joanna Goddard said...

@hello, that is awesome that you're 52 with a 2-year-old, good for you! @alma, that is so sweet. and @kathleen, you'er so right--and i totally agree that anyone can be the best they can be, whether they have kids or not, are married or not, have a career or don't work, etc. etc. to each her own path! :) xoxoxo

krisel keeper said...

Joanna,
I meant to tell you that I look forward to a mother post from you because your blog has such a kind tone to it. The best advice I've received has come from mothers who are willing to be honest and open about the difficulties of the job. That kind of dialogue has only happened in circles where judgment is put aside. Your blog fits the bill.

On another note. I know exactly how anonymous feels. Although I have a beautiful daughter who I"m so grateful for I've also been through an abortion at 23 weeks pregnant and 3 miscarriages. The aborted child was due to the baby not having a cerebellum. So, I know how heartbreaking it is to want to have a child and not have one....well, i know the frustration to a certain extent since I was blessed with one first. Its tough being a mom. It's tough wanting to be a mom and feeling like your body is not doing its most basic job. But each situation calls for support. I hope anonymous finds a supportive circle/blog. I still have hope that another child will come to our family. Seeing pictures of Toby and the way you describe him makes me want to keep plugging away despite our recent "batting average".

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'll try and say this in the best way possible. I love reading your blog. I'm thrilled for you about the addition of your son and glad to hear that you have such joy from parenting. And I'm sorry that I can't agree with the 200+ people who felt compelled to comment on your blog, but I really don't care to read about the thrills and pains of motherhood. I don't want children. I never have. I have no interest in children and frankly, I find them annoying. I thought I was strange, that I would eventually come to love and want my own child, but the older I get, the more grateful I am that I don't have any. I hear it constantly from friends, family, and complete strangers, but I have no interest in hearing about other women discuss their experiences about being a mom on their blog as well. While you are very inspiring and I appreciate what you share in your blog, to be honest, I have no interest in hearing more about motherhood. There are other ways to share in the joys and pains of others, to find fulfillment, and to grow with and through people besides parenting.

America's New Family said...

there is nothing more precious than your love for a child...I cannot breathe sometimes when I am without my boys (3 and 1) - and then...there are those times I cannot breathe with them! But even in the hard moments that "milky smell, drooly smile" as you said, will always get you at your core

The Inside Source said...

I am really excited that you're doing this and can't wait to hear more about motherhood with Toby.

With Mother's Day approaching, I want every mom to feel super glam:

http://theinsidesource.com/article/fashion/mothers-day-gift-guide-disco-glam

Joanna Goddard said...

anonymous, i hear you that you're not interested in motherhood posts -- the good news is, you can just skip those posts! :) and i TOTALLY agree that there are other ways to find fulfillment and joy and connection in life -- absolutely. i'm just sharing my personal life experiences, which, in my case, includes a baby. so feel free to skip Mondays and read all my other posts about art, fashion, design, etc! :)

tara nissl said...

i love that quote :)
lovely post.

Jill GG (good life for less) said...

I love this idea! I love to get peeks into the lives of other busy and successful moms!

bluebirdbylucie said...

I so agree with the "heart living outside your body" saying. My little guy just turned 3, and I have to say that things get better, harder and different. I’ve definitely had my share of bad mommy moments in the past 3 years of Kaleb’s life. I wrote about one on my blog:
http://bluebirdbylucie.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/bad-mommy-sunday/

It’s a new challenge everyday, and a lot of times I feel like a loser, but it is also so amazing as well. I cry harder, laugh harder a live more now that I have him. Plus, the feeling that I have actually grown a human being is amazing.

Anyways, I’m looking forward to your series. It’s good for moms to connect and share, so we don’t feel alone.

Oblio and Arrow said...

Hi Joanna!
I am a new mom as of 3/2/11. The first few weeks with my Ellie (after the first two days of bliss) were very hard for Ellie and I because of our struggle with breastfeeding. I wanted this so bad, and because of some issues with her mouth, I ended up having to let go of this dream. The roller-coaster of emtions, the struggle, and the lessons I learned in such a short time were amazing. Sometimes I feel like its all rainbows and sunshine on baby blogs and I'd love to hear about struggles and lessons learned!

Joanna Goddard said...

thank you for all these lovely comments! so excited to get conversations started :)

krys kirkpatrick said...

So...I can't quite fit into the bikini and I don't like cheese...but I get your love for Toby. I am a grammie for the first time and My Sam and Toby are a couple of weeks apart. I have to say, the love I feel for that boy is so big it makes me weep, laugh and just feel so full I want to pop. I am a mom...to 3 amazing adult children that I love with all my heart. Being a grandmother tops every experience I have ever had in all my 55 years.

Marianne Eee said...

I have no problems understanding that children is not for everyone. Of course you don't need a baby in order to have a meaningful life.

That doesn't mean that Joanna's blog is completely irrelevant. As a mother myself I really enjoy reading Joanna's thoughts on motherhood, but there are lots of posts here that doesn't interest me. I don't care much for cheese, some of the fashion shown here isn't my taste etc, but it really doesn't matter. I just don't read them. I have never found a blog where every post interests me, and that's just fine.

If I can skip the cheese posts, then women who don't want to have children can skip posts about motherhood. Easy peasy.

Cristi said...

really lovely to know carl jung inspired you to share more of your inner world on here, joanna. thanks for the thoughtful post.

all my best,
cristi

tea with lucy said...

such sweet and true words.

i know i thought my heart couldn't possibly grow that big to feel the same love for another baby, and yet it did.

xo

kellyinbellyland said...

So looking forward to these posts! I'd love to read more about parents' experiences of going back to work after maternity leave and what it's like to drop their child off at day care, and how parents have gotten creative in keeping day care to a minimum. I'm due at the end of June, and I'm already starting to stress about that. It's not necessarily the cost (although that sucks!), but more the emotional detachment and guilt. I really don't want to leave a 3-month old in day care 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. I think we have a plan in place so as to not let that happen, but you know how plans fall through...keeing my fingers crossed!

Bronwyn said...

This sounds absolutely incredible! Just this post made me all melty....

windeater.blogspot.com

Rebecca (becellington at gmail dot com) said...

Hi, Joanna. I have (surprisingly) really enjoyed your Motherhood posts. While I often pour over all things related to pregnancy/babies/motherhood, it is often with a very heavy heart. My husband and I have tried for 4+ years to conceive (on our own and with the help of a reproductive endocrinologist) with no success. Just wanted you to know that I appreciate your words. I love that reading about your experience being a mother makes me joyful that I might experience it, too, but it doesn't make me feel like my life would be incomplete without it...

Hannah said...

i know this post is months old now, but i just stumbled upon it. As a mommy myself, i think you put it just right. It is amazing to be a mom, and sometimes all of the wealth of feelings that come with it are too many to express, and sometimes too precious to share outloud. Isn't motherhood unbelievable? What a gift. Thanks for sharing!

Zechariah said...

In my view one and all may read this.
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compte bancaire à hong kong said...

I really look forward to your posts! Not yet a mom (maybe someday?).

Thanks for sharing :)

A Student Cook said...

I'm not sure you'll see this so many months/years after you posted it. I thought i'd add that from a childs perspective (not so distant from my lofty 21 years of age)the love your mum gives you defines so many things, but having recently left my family home for the first time permenantly, i sometimes feel the reverse. In a given situation i feel somethings missing and i realise its my mother, or the ease of telling/sharing with her.

Your Toby is precious and he loves you back.

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