Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
From the Editor: January 2018

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With the new year comes a new (or rather all too familiar) emphasis on renewing ourselves—making resolutions, accepting challenges, shaking up old habits, reassessing our goals. Too often, however, when we look for inspiration we find shame. Pieces like this and this accost us in our Facebook feeds. We're bombarded by exhortations to live life to the fullest, upbraided for being too conventional or too responsible or not responsible enough, for merely scraping by when we could be thriving. The life coaches of the internet imply that our happiness is entirely in our own control, even when they're telling us to be less controlling.

Parents, however, know all too well the limits of control, of time, of energy, of happiness, of our own discretely contained selves. We know that we have chosen a life that cannot be primarily about our personal satisfaction, and that will, rather, involve a good deal of dissatisfaction. Our children do not exist to fulfill us. They will keep us up all night. They will keep us from running off to Paris. They will panic and tantrum, rip their clothes and break their bones. They will throw up on us, probably more than once. They will ruin our plans. Children constrain us—our activities and our identities—but they also expand us, in ways that go beyond programmed self-improvement.

This year, as always, I hope that readers will come to Literary Mama for a deeper kind of inspiration, one that recognizes the complex and conflicted happiness of parenthood and honors all of our obligations—to others and to ourselves.      

Welcome to our January issue!
Senior Editor

P.S. Stay connected between monthly issues by subscribing to our blog or by following us on social media. Also, explore our archives to discover more mothers' voices!

The Sound of a Calling: The Silence of Waiting by Julianne Palumbo

Baby Brain by Maya Silver

In Utero and Deep Plum Nail Polish by Robin Littell

Literary Reflections
Essential Reading: Courage compiled by Nerys Copelovitz

Bruise by Mary Makofske
The Shape of Uncertain Waiting by Amy Valenzuela
Interruption by Cristi Donoso Best
Early Flight by Melissa Frederick
Trendelenburg by Stacia M. Fleegal

A Conversation with Mo Duffy Cobb by Kim Ruff
A Conversation with Daneen Wardrop by Grace Curtis

A Review of Life as It by Jamie Wendt
A Review of Unpacked: From PEI to Palawan by Abigail Waldron

Photos by Kristina Koehler and Heather Vrattos

Libby Maxey lives in rural Massachussetts with her husband and two young sons. With her academic career as a medievalist having died a stunningly swift death by childbirth, she now works as an editor, writes poetry, reads when able, and sings with her local light opera company. Her work has appeared in The Mom Egg Review, Tule Review, Crannóg Magazine, Pirene’s Fountain, Mezzo Cammin and elsewhereHer first poetry chapbook, Kairos, won the Finishing Line Press New Women’s Voices contest.

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Heather Vrattos is pursuing an interest in photography by taking courses at the International Center of Photography. She is the mother of three boys, and lives in New York City.

"Children constrain us—our activities and our identities—but they also expand us, in ways that go beyond programmed self-improvement." Yes, masterfully written. Thank you.
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