Mamapedia Contributor Spotlight: Joy Page Manuel

Mamapedia Contributor Spotlight: Joy Page Manuel

A former academic, Joy Page Manuel takes an analytical approach to parenting, journaling all of her adventures in motherhood on her blog, Catharsis. As she puts it, blogging “continues to save my sanity.” Here’s a little more on how she manages to balance parental duties and still be active in the blogosphere.

What made you want to start your own parenting blog?

The short answer is that I needed to save money on therapy while pursuing my love for writing. In 2009, I had just stopped seeing a therapist who was helping me process the sudden life changes I’ve gone through. In 2004, I unexpectedly and permanently migrated from the Philippines to the United States, got engaged and married, went through assisted reproduction and then had a baby in 2007, all without the immediate support of my closest family and friends. (You can read more about this whirlwind process here). After a sensitive pregnancy and giving birth to my son, I ended up quitting my office job and became a SAHM. In an effort to try to stay in touch with the outside world, I created a Facebook account and there I saw some of my friends writing ‘notes’ on Facebook, which were really mini essays, and one of them even had their own website. I didn’t know that it was called a blog at the time but I thought, ‘I can do that!’ From all that, Catharsis was born and it continues to save my sanity.

What three words would you use to describe your blog?

Insightful, playful and certainly cathartic!

What is your favorite blog post to date?

This is a difficult one but I’d have to say it’s “Romance is Relative.” It combines two topics I’m most passionate about, namely love or relationships, and parenthood. It gives a snapshot of how it’s like to go through IVF and see it as a love-filled and even romantic experience.

What’s your go-to tip for balancing blogging with parenthood?

Give up on perfection in both areas— it’s impossible—and learn to forgive yourself. In my earlier years of blogging, I tortured myself and refused to hit ‘publish’ on anything I’m completely and profoundly satisfied with. Then I realized creativity doesn’t work that way. You can’t always write your best piece week after week or every time you sit down and try. And on those days or weeks when you’re simply unable to, know that it’s okay to recycle evergreen pieces. You won’t feel as crappy, you’d still feel somewhat productive, and you can buy yourself more time to find inspiration for your next potentially awesome piece!

What is the best piece of parenting advice you’ve ever received?

Start as you mean to go on.

What’s a typical day like for you?

You can pretty much break up my typical days into four main categories: Household chores/ errands; Writing and Social Media; Fitness; ‘Me Time.’ I get up ahead of my son and husband to prepare breakfast and then a quick school drop off by around 8 a.m. As soon as I get back, I hop on the treadmill for about 30 minutes straight, and then just hop back on intermittently throughout the day to get me as close as possible to my goal of 10k steps daily. Anytime between 10 and 4 pm, before my son returns from school, I make friends with my cleaning caddy, the kitchen and the laundry room. As a break, I sometimes watch those ‘Clean With Me’ videos on YouTube to inspire the domestic goddess in me. By 4 p.m., you will most likely find me and my son sitting side by side in my office as he does school work and I try to write. Family dinner is at 7 and my son’s bedtime at 9 signals ‘Me time.’ That’s when my husband and I talk, read books and watch our favorite t.v. shows. Every moment during the day is spent wondering where the next inspiration for an essay will come from. I can assure you it’s rarely from watching reality shows, but it’s a guilty pleasure my over-thinking brain needs in order to unwind.

What’s the best insight you can offer other parenting bloggers?

Take long showers. I’m not telling you to waste water but take showers that are long enough to relax you. I do believe that people come up with the best ideas in the shower and science has backed this up. They say it’s because of the relaxed and solitary experience that allows for creative thought to occur and I can attest to this. Some of my most heartfelt and insightful posts started in the shower, mid-shampoo.
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