Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Listen to Your Mother and a Giveaway!

I love thinking about the words of wisdom from my mother: "Don't be afraid to leave a man at the altar" and, "Anna, quit trying so hard." Each mom imparts something different to her kids, and in different ways. I don't know of any other mothers who gave angry, quarreling kids good china bowls, sent them out into the yard and wouldn't let them back in until the bowls were broken, and of course, the fight had morphed into laughter. My mom was pretty creative.

Eight months after Jack's death I was honored to take part in a spoken word event in Washington, DC called Listen to your Mother. I shared a piece I'd written about how very DIFFERENT I felt from others as a bereaved mother. You can watch the video here.



I was grateful for the chance to share my story, and I was blessed by the stories the other participants shared, either of mothering, or having been mothered. Each year since then, I have gone to the show and been inspired, usually though laughter and tears. This May the show will be in 39 cities and it is a wonderful way to celebrate motherhood.

And there's more exciting LTYM news! Today, a beautiful book containing essays from various Listen to Your Mother shows launches into the world.

Listen to Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We're Saying Now edited by Ann Imig plumbs the depths of motherhood.

I will treasure my copy, and I have another copy to give away to one of my readers! Enter to win here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The reviews are coming in and they are excellent. You can check the book out here:



I love hearing women's stories. Thank you for being part of mine!

34 comments:

My Inner Chick said...

You take my breath away...

I had this posted everywhere after Kay's murder:

"Be Still & Know That I Am God."

So few words...So much power.

The Hickman's said...

Can't wait to get a copy! Thank you for the recommendation.

Laurie said...

{ Sorry if I entered the giveaway multiple times. I was having trouble adding a comment. }

Two pieces of advice from my mother have stayed with me:

1: I had to take a year off between high school and college to work three part-time jobs and save money. I was bemoaning my fate, counting down the months and days until I could go away to college. I couldn't wait for my real life to begin. My mother, in a fit of exasperation, yelled "This IS your life!" I've remembered that whenever I have been unhappy or unsettled with what's going on. Each and every day IS my life, good, bad, and everything in between. I can't waste my days wishing they were something else. It's ALL my life.

2: After a series of dud boyfriends who subtly and not-so-subtly failed to support my success or ambitions, my then-boyfriend (now husband) wrote me an incredibly kind and supportive letter. I was so taken aback because I had never experienced anything like that, and told my mother about it. She replied "That's the way men are SUPPOSED to treat you." Whether or not I married that guy (and I did), that statement would have stuck with me forever, and I doubt I would have ever settled for a dud again.

One crazed mommy said...

Oh I am so excited about the book! I have never been to LYTM but I have gone online and watched several of the shows (including yours). I found out last year that they have one in our city, and am so excited about that - hoping to be able to make it this year.

tacykay said...

Once, my mom was trying to help me with homework and I was just being such a brat by arguing and telling her that she was doing it wrong. She finally threw down her pencil and said "Fine. I've already got my diploma. You can do it by yourself." I did, slowly and angrily, but her words reminded me to accept help when it's offered. Now, as an educator, I find myself using those same words, (in a gentler way) especially when I'm working one-on-one with students and I see them shut down. I remind them that I already know this stuff and I can help them, if they let me. Tough love , but it works.

April said...

Not sure if I did it correctly!!

My mom has always wanted me and my sister to have careers. And not be dependent on a man.

Love a copy!

Anonymous said...

My mom told me I had to learn to type or I would never get a good job. I never did learn to use a typewriter, but I still wish I could "type" faster!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Unfortunately my mother was an alcoholic and was depressed all the time. She passed away at 56. I don't remember any advice from her. I would love to read this book.

Jamie Reese said...

Love the idea of this book! So many different ways to mother. So hard to mother when your child's no longer here

Anonymous said...

Would love to win the book. My mother didn't impart much advice by words. She was an alcoholic while I was under her roof and it was quite a struggle for her but she finally got the help she needed through AA and God. When she passed, she'd been sober for 34 years. To persevere in the face of great struggle is her legacy to me.

Sheila said...

My mom said, "do the best you can. if you try hard and treat people as you want to be treated, all will be well"
I miss her.

Anonymous said...

My dear Mom taught me that there is "3 sides to every story. -- your side, my side & God's side. I have tried to follow this advice throughout my life & it has proven to be excellent advice. I miss you, Mom!I

Anonymous said...

As a kid who was very anxious to get to the next big thing, and was always saying "I can't wait for..." My mom would always tell me not to wish my life away. I do try to savor the present thanks to that advice.

katrynka said...

My senior class trip was to Disney World, and we lived in Southern PA, so it was quite the trip. I remember my mother telling me in regards to boys: "keep a quarter between your knees... And don't get drunk, because then the quarter will fall out."!! My mother was never one to really pussy foot around about such things, but for some reason she decided to use this funny piece of advice to get her point across!

Something more profound that I learned growing up is that family is who you love. We had biological children, adopted children and foster children. My mother never differentiated, we were all brothers and sisters, all,her children. While we lived under the same roof, we were treated the same.

Anonymous said...

My mom is one of the best listeners I've ever met--she's helped me through countless 'crises' just by listening as I talked it out. My favorite advice from her..."it'll all work out in the end, just trust."
Thanks for the book recommendation!

Earlybirdmom said...

I don't remember any words of advice but I do remember feeling loved and supported. Mom represented a safe place and I didn't ever want to do anything to hurt her. Feeling that way made me think twice before doing anything stupid!

Norma said...

My mom always encouraged us to be honest, for better or worse. This has been invaluable to me; once you're honest about the things that make you happy...life become so beautiful.

Anonymous said...

My mom always said, "Never complain, never explain." It cracked me up when I was younger, but just last week my best friend called and said, "You know how your mom always said that weird thing? I've been using it a lot lately!"

Anonymous said...

I would love a copy of this book. My mom is my rock and I don't know what I would do without her.

Carol L. said...

My late Mother's words throughout my life are always right there for me to reflect on. At one point in my life I was a single parent to 7 children and truthfully I was so young and scared, always stressing and one day she grabbed m by the shoulders and told me all I had to do was "get through today". Forget yesterday and don't worry about tomorrow, just get through today . To me it made all the difference.
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

Marsha said...

My mother always told me that a woman can do anything she sets her mind to.

Anonymous said...

I have a great mom! She is also a pastor at our church, so she rountinly gives me great advice.

Kerry said...

I just discovered your blog recently, and have not yet commented. I find your writing so moving and beautiful and honest. I bookmarked your post on how to help a grieving family because you're absolutely right that we often don't know what to do or say and can take silence as an indication that our words or gestures are unwelcome. I've used some of your tips to guide me in supporting a friend with cancer, so thank you.

I think the best piece of advice (life guidance) from my mother was "You make your own happiness." Don't depend on other people or external circumstances to make you happy. It's up to you (me) to be grateful and appreciative do the best with what we have. Not that she (or I) is a pollyanna by any stretch, but it has been good advice that has helped me remain optimistic and resilient, as modeled by my mom.

Dianne S said...

My mom didn't give a lot advice (my dad was the vocal one) but she always listened to me, supported me and told me how much i was loved. When she thinks I am getting weary she'll just say, "you're strong daughter" and her faith in me reminds me that I am.

Gin said...

My mom's favorite pieces of advice continue to be "more money than brains" and "have them put it in writing"

Chris J said...

My mom said that we (my sisters and I) should always be able to take care of ourselves.

Lady Jennie said...

I just caught up on many of your posts. I've missed reading your words in the craziness of life.

Love you!

Cheri said...

I don't (but I do) know how you could show such strength in your speaking. I have such a hard saying out loud "my son is dead".

Amy said...

It is a great show- I saw it in NYC last year! Your words are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

You are amazing in that video! I don't know how you did it.

XO! Jen

Margie said...

I can't recall a specific saying or quote, but my mom always let me know she loves me. And I want to impart that on my kids - that I love them, just as they are, no matter what.

Alexandra Rosas said...

The power of community, is holding us up, in giving us support and love. xoxoxo I'm so lucky to know you, friend.

Ten Coffee Day said...

My mother taught me that it's not just birth that makes a mother. My dad married my preschool teacher and I thank God every day that I was blessed to be raised by a woman who proved that she wanted me every day.

julie gardner said...

I ordered my own copy and cannot wait to hold it, like the hearts of the 56 contributors right there in my hands.