To say I’m a coffee lover would be a vast understatement. I’m completely obsessed with it. I honestly believe java has the power to give me wings. It turns my grumpy mom frowns into smiles and instantly perks me up after a sleepless night with the kiddos. Basically, it’s my best friend (sorry, hubby!).
So, you can imagine my utter joy in seeing mom blogger January Harshe holding a cup of the stuff with a big grin on her face in a recent Instagram post.
I wasn’t, however, prepared to tear up at the reason she was holding that cup.
“There was a time where I could not afford coffee,” Harshe writes. “Like literally, even a $4 small can of cheap coffee would have taken away from the food budget we had for the week and could have been four cheap loaves of bread to feed my children, and I could not justify that.”
The mother of six explains that it wasn’t until her family moved to a small town in Texas that their chiropractic business helped them get on their feet. When she found the only coffee shop in miles that had its own espresso machine, she instantly became a beloved regular. She’d chat daily with the ladies who worked there, drop four or five bucks on a cup of coffee, and feel a sweeping wave of appreciation for that simple act.
“When you go from having nothing to being able to have these small luxuries again, the humility of the hardships give you a new perspective,” she continues. “Now, even four or five years later, every single time I have a coffee… I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude flow through me.”
Cue all the feels!
The response to Harshe’s post has been beyond heartwarming and she couldn’t feel happier about it. “The comments of ‘me, too!’ and the stories shared in solidarity were comforting and beautiful. Not just for me, but for anyone else in my online community reading through them,” she tells Babble.
Going without coffee wasn’t the only sacrifice this mom made when money was tight. At one point, the family’s only source of breakfast was the free muffins and bagels available at the motel they were living in. Her husband was barely making ends meet as an associate chiropractor, and the couple was feeling the financial stress in a major way.
“I felt so much shame. I actually didn’t eat muffins for a few years after this time in our lives and still cannot look at one without being reminded of walking my children to the tiny lobby to feed them breakfast,” she says.
Even though she’s no longer feeling the pinch of a tight budget, Harshe makes it a point to recall earlier feelings as a way of finding gratitude in her current life. And as with everything this incredible mom does for her online community, she makes a meaningful point to share that the dark moments are worth sharing publicly as much as the positive ones.
“It’s easy for us to say on social media to ‘stay positive!’ and ‘choose happy!’” Harshe explains. “But many people are in a place where getting out of bed and taking care of their minimal responsibilities is all the energy they can manage. It’s okay to not be okay.”
As someone who used to make weekly pasta and bean dinners for my family, I completely relate to the refreshing candor of this superhero mama. I’ve learned how to navigate life on a negative bank account, struggled with the shame of mounting debt, and even gone months without health insurance. Luckily, my family is in a much better place now, but the memories of those hard days are not lost on me.
Harshe’s post serves as a humbling reminder of how important it is to hold ourselves in compassion and love as we live and parent. It’s easy to tear ourselves down for not being able to provide everything for our kids. But even in the darkest financial moments, the truth remains that the best parts of parenting are completely free.
“Remember when you were a child and you just wanted your parent to listen and validate you? You can do that and it’s free. Even if it’s mentally exhausting, keep showing up. And remember, things never stay the same. Change is coming because it’s inevitable,” she shares.
So, how does Harshe like her morning coffee nowadays? Poured over a fresh batch of frozen coffee cubes and topped with some almond milk. And at night, she happily curls up with a warm cup if she’s feeling the desire.
“Coffee is my sister wife,” she jokes.
Same, January Harshe, same.