Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

Do you remember the last time you tried to catch a bubble? I suspect you held your breath as you were moving your hand into position. The bubble probably popped and splattered a soapy film across your palm, but I imagine you laughed. Then, you blew through your bubble wand and moved into position to try again.

But as they are now teenagers, there’s very little I can write about them that doesn’t kind of break that contractual obligation I have to maintain their privacy. So the things I write about are ways of questioning my own parenting, or the way I feel about the kids, without really betraying anything that matters to them.

Holding Ella close, I’ve never felt a love like this, warm and glowing, like being flooded with liquid gold from the inside out. But within a few minutes, the spell breaks and she begins to cry. I try to nurse her. She latches on and pulls off over and over again. As her cries fill the room, my jaw locks tight and a sour taste floods my mouth. What kind of mother can’t soothe her own baby?

Inside you, an acceptance
like time-lapse photography
of a meadow blooming.

When I look back to when I first became a mother, I see myself enmeshed in a tangle of emotions.

I just want this to be over. I want it to be six months from now.

I want to be exactly who I've always been: prepared and capable with a flawless plan.

I let the distance between us lengthen, frame her receding figure in my phone's lens,

"It was traumatic for her to see her like that. She didn't even believe it was her at the end."

And so I started quiet time. But it's not just quiet time for mommy.

In this month’s Essential Reading list, we're hitting the books and highlighting some of our favorite go-to titles on the craft of writing.

This is your leaving: / the thread you weave / night after night in my skin.

A stick, stripped of bark, / fit in your hand like a pistol, / the trigger bald as bone.

You don’t have to hold tight! I shout / (but what does she need me for?)

One by one they shoot out of the house, / projectiles launched at one-minute intervals, / four tow-headed boys in stairstep sizes

Inside you, an acceptance / like time-lapse photography / of a meadow blooming.

Author Rachel M. Harper discusses her recent novel, creating authentic characters, and balancing motherhood.

Author Catherine Newman discusses her latest book and how writing about her children has changed over the years.

Christine Hale's collage-style memoir about coming to terms with childhood trauma, natural disaster, shame and guilt, mothering and being mothered.

Christine Gilbert and her family launch an eighteen-month-long, three-country quest to become fluent in Mandarin, Arabic, and Spanish.