Finding Joy

I posted on Friday about the juggling act in my life and how I’m trying to fight a case of bitterness that seems to want to settle in. (Thank you for your comments – either online or via text or in person. Last week was a bad week. Hormones are partly to blame. This week isn’t shaping up to be a good week either. I blame the news.)

Jesse and I went away for a weekend and it gave me some time to think and reflect and plan. I also made myself a list of things that are working for me (so I need to incorporate more) and things that aren’t (and need to jettisoned).

What I need to get rid of:

Facebook. I reactivated my account for about five hours last week. Within minutes, I was regretting my decision. I hoped it would get better. It didn’t and I deactivated it again. 1. I don’t need to know the politics of casual acquaintances (and they don’t need to know mine).  2. I don’t need someone’s dramatic reaction to an already dramatic event.

Screens at night. I’m finding that there are lot better ways to unwind and I’m much better about going to bed at a decent time when I’m not binge watching something. Music and podcasts while knitting or reading a book or writing have been better for my sleep routine.

Other people’s problems. I am ridiculously porous when it comes to other people and I need to develop some boundaries. It’s one thing to listen to a friend and show support. It’s another thing to allow myself to be a punching bag or take on the responsibility of solving whatever problem is brought to me.


Things I need more of:

Reading. I love it. I will always love it. I’m working on Rita’s reading dangerously list, though I’m not perfectly on schedule (I haven’t managed to finish September’s book yet) but I’m enjoying how they’ve made me think. I’m sticking to newspapers and light reads otherwise. It’s a good balance of stretching my brain and escapism.

Knitting. I have a pattern and yarn for Jesse’s sweater. A pattern and yarn for mine. I’m working on a pair of socks right now and I’m trying to teach myself how to do the Norwegian purl.

Making my bed. I get up. I throw the covers back to air it out while I get ready and then I make it. It just feels good.

Daydreaming/journaling. It helps to sit down with a pen and paper and just..write. Lists, plans, dreams, thoughts, feelings. It’s been awhile since I’ve just thrown it all at a piece of paper and it feels good.

Eating better. I’ve been meal planning and trying to stick with food that isn’t overly processed. I love a good can of tomatoes and frozen veggies and there isn’t a grocery run that goes by where I’m not throwing in a box of triscuits and summer sausage BUT I’m trying to focus on the food that makes me feel better overall.

Going to bed. I’m working on a new night routine that as the kids are brush their teeth in their bathroom, I’m washing my face and putting on my pajamas in my room. It’s restful.

Masks. I’ve always loved a good mask. I’m trying to make time to do at least one a week for myself. My two favorites are Farmacy Honey Potion (I got a sample of this and I’ve used it 3 times. Once it’s gone, I’m going to have to get a full sized jar. I love it.) and Youth to the People Superfood (This one smells exactly like my favorite green breakfast smoothie – no lie – but I’ll be reordering it.)

Quality interactions. By nature, I’m a bit of an introvert but I also tend to get mopey if I go for too long without some meaningful friend time. I need to make sure to schedule the small meet-ups that feed my soul.

Taking classes. I recently started a 4 week photography workshop because I haven’t been picking up my camera as much as I’d like and I want to get back into the habit of using it. I’m toying with the idea of taking a Spanish class starting in January. I don’t know if this will eventually lead me back to full time school work and a career, or if it will lead to more hobbyist classes.

* * * *

I know this isn’t my typical Tuesday Things post. But the usual knitting, reading, watching thing doesn’t really apply this week. How about you? What’s on your plate this week?



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  • Oh, Kate, I’m so sorry I missed your last post. I know ALL about dropping those juggling balls these days. I would have told you that I’m in a similar place. My therapist last week told me that I need to just stop doing things I don’t want to do that I don’t have to do. This requires figuring out what I do, actually, want to do. My wants are so tame. I want time to read. To make things. To cook real food. To rest. To move. To notice and enjoy the parts of the world that are still enjoyable. To write. I’m a little puzzled as to why I can’t seem to make that happen, now that my kids are out of the house. But I still can’t–which leads me to believe that the issue is more me than the world or my life. But I think it is likely different for you, still in the throes of mothering. (I’m guessing my therapist would disagree, though, for whatever that’s worth.) Let’s cheer each other on this fall as we both figure out what we want/need and how to get it.

    • Yes! I love the idea of having a joy seeking accountability partner.

      And yes, my therapist would probably agree with your therapist that it’s not the throes of motherhood so much as it’s my own roadblocks. Thank you, though, for giving me grace. How quick we are to give people room that we don’t give ourselves. I was thinking as I was reading your list, “but she WORKS.”

      Not to be all hipster feminist, but I feel as if I am WOKE. So woke. And I think that’s part of my bitterness. I don’t understand why some people (namely men) can compartmentalize their lives without blinking and I’m struggling to say, “I want more joy in my life” without thinking “so I can be a better wife and mother.” When the truth is I want more joy in my life…because I want more joy in *MY* life but even my BRAIN is always considering how to to be a better wife and mother. Am I making any sense? I tried talking to my mother (who has worked her whole life) and she just laughed at me and said, “It’s getting better, but that’s just the way the world IS.” Why aren’t more women just PISSED? Or have I been living in a cave my whole life? Do I even get to be that pissed considering I made the choice to be a stay at home mom?

      Sorry for the tangental rant. I just feel like there are external factors mixed in with my internal factors. Maybe for you too?

      • Yes, me too. The waking thing has been so hard/uncomfortable. And I know that my hard is nothing compared to the hard of those whose plight I’ve been woken too, but it is hard to realize that my worldview of the past 50+ years has been off. It makes me wonder what else I’m not seeing now–which might be part of why I have a hard time deciding what is reasonable/right/good and what is not.

        We do deserve joy in our lives just for us, just because. Because we only get one life. But I know how hard it is to put that belief into action. And the truth is, part of what I want (have always wanted) is for those I love to have joy in theirs. I want that for myself, for my own selfish reasons. Their joy contributes to mine, and so when I do things for them I’m not just doing it for them. When my therapist asked me why I had children, my answer was immediate, with no hesitation or thought: “Because I wanted them.” What I meant was that I wanted them for me.

        It’s a bit of a tangly ball, all of this. Let’s keep picking out the threads together?

      • Oh, and I wonder on a daily basis why more women aren’t pissed. And feel like I’ve become much more angry and short and impatient than I’ve ever been. Because I’m kinda sick of a lot of things. I don’t think this is a bad thing. I think it might be necessary.

  • I’m so glad to see this post from you, Kate, and to know that you had a weekend away to think and plan.
    I love your two lists. Your “things you need more of” — yes to all of it. (Can I just say how strange it seems that making a bed can have such a profound impact on a day? And yet, it does…) Like you, I need to work on evening screen time as well, and get back to reading more and knitting more. This summer I read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, which was lovely and moving and heartbreaking and funny all at once. I confess it was SO nice to read a contemporary novel (ie. one that didn’t feel like WORK!) that I think I’m going to look for more of the same. I need a break from all my deep thinking, especially if I’m going to try to write more.
    My week is crazy. Something scheduled for every single day and my older two kids (and one Significant Other) coming home for Thanksgiving and a birthday celebration this weekend.
    I hope your week gets better, Kate.
    Sending you a hug…

    • I loved Eleanor Oliphant! And I want more books like that, too. It wasn’t shallow, but it was also enjoyable. I’ve been trying to figure out what it is that I liked about it, because I seem to have such a hard time any more finding a book I want to read. Will read.

      • Well, if you both are recommending it I am putting that one on my list! I’m currently tackling Unraveled (about raising teen/tween girls) and Thinking in Pictures. Thinking in Pictures is a HARD haul for me..I need something not shallow but enjoyable to follow!

    • I do find it weird how important bed making is to me. When I was a brand new mom, I did it because it was the *one* thing I could do during the day that would stay done until I was the one who undid it and I DESPERATELY needed that feeling of getting something accomplished when I was breastfeeding and couldn’t even manage to get in a shower some days! It makes me laugh for all the years I used to give my mom grief and tell her I would never make my bed as an adult because it was the stupidest waste of time. 😉

      I’m so glad to hear you’re going to be trying your hand at writing more – whether via the blog or just for yourself. Currently, my writing is a lot more listing and doodling and dreaming than anything important and concrete, but just the act of putting a pen to paper feels so good to me. I hope you find it as soul filling as I do!!

      And the week is getting better. Much like you we have something scheduled every night this week (so hard for us introverts, isn’t it?!) and I have two big people-y events – one tomorrow and one Saturday – so I’m going to take a big rest on Sunday. Maybe watch an old movie and finish up the pair of socks I’m working on and get started on Jesse’s sweater.

      Thanks for the hugs and wishes, Marian. I’m so grateful for our interweb friendship!