All posts filed under: Conversations

Swati Khurana | Mama’s Writing

Mama’s Writing is Raising Mothers’ monthly interview series, curated by Deesha Philyaw. What fictional mother gets on your nerves?  In Vikram Seth’s novel A Suitable Boy, Mrs. Rupa Mehra is an insufferable mother. She is a widow, the mother of Arun, Savita, Varun, and the dear young, romantic, yet single college girl Lata. Rupa Mehra is consumed with Lata’s marriage, an all-encompassing obsession (spoiler…) that encourages her daughter to choose suitability over a sweeping love. Rupa Mehra shows us that gender has nothing to do with who is an agent of the patriarchy and how matrimony may be the thing that actually kills love.  What real-life mother do you admire in your community? What attributes do they have that inspire you? My dear friend Racheal is such an inspiration to me. She has been a professor of and thinker on social psychology. She’s so generous! She mentored me as a new parent in my daughter’s school community and always has an ear to help me problem-solve and talk through social situations. She is really justice-oriented, as …

Mama’s Writing | Tyrese Coleman

Mama’s Writing is Raising Mothers’ monthly interview series, curated by Deesha Philyaw. What’s the best motherhood advice you’ve ever gotten? The funny thing is that any advice I’ve ever gotten about being a mother or about motherhood has gone through one ear and out the other for me. My children were one pound each when they were born. Sometime during their NICU stay, I stopped listening to anything anyone else had to say about parenting because it felt like no one had gone through anything like what I was going through. So, I realized that advice is relative, not necessarily useful, and mostly just platitudes.    How has motherhood shaped your priorities? I’ve always been independent and selfish. Motherhood has made me put someone, or rather others because I have twins, first and think of them more than I think of myself. My priorities are shaped around them and their needs. It’s honestly one of the hardest things I’ve had to accommodate because it’s not in my nature, but kids change you. You may not want them …

Mama’s Writing | Kelli Stevens Kane

Mama’s Writing is Raising Mothers’ monthly interview series, curated by Deesha Philyaw. How has writing influenced your parenting?  “Show don’t tell” is good writing advice that also works for parenting. Writing gave me ways to show persistence, how not to take rejection personally, and that there are nerdy ways to be adventurous. Who are your writer-mama heroes?  Aside from you, Deesha, some of my writer-mama heroes are Lucille Clifton, Toi Derricotte, Aracelis Girmay, Yona Harvey, Amanda Johnston, Robin Coste Lewis, Toni Morrison, Marilyn Nelson, Sharon Olds, Khadijah Queen, Adriana E. Ramírez, Patricia Smith, and Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie. What surprised you about motherhood?  Realizing that each of us has been the beneficiary of enough mothering, from someone, to survive. What’s your least favorite thing about being a mother?  It was the sleep deprivation. What are three words your kid would use to describe you?  My guesses were respectful-of-privacy, curious, and strict, but my daughter said fun, reliable/consistent, and thorough. I love that!  How has motherhood shaped your relationship with the world?  Moving up a branch in the …

Mama’s Writing | Celeste C. Smith

Mama’s Writing is Raising Mothers’ monthly interview series, curated by Deesha Philyaw. Are there days when you feel like a mother who writes, and others when you feel like a writer who is a mother? No. I would have to say, I always feel like a mother who writes. For me, my writing has never taken first place or even shared first place. My life’s work, for the last 20+ years, has been in service to supporting artists who are artists first. Whether through communicated encouragement or financial support, my work has always centered on showing folks they can.  Funny how sometimes you don’t see it so clearly for yourself. But when I do, I like to imagine living in a beach house adjacent to the Atlantic, writing in balmy 87 degree weather exorcising this novel out of me. I am patient and believe that the time for me to write full-time is coming and it will be abundantly clear.  What three words describe you as a mother? Mindful, apologetic, and open. What fictional mother gets …

Mama’s Writing | Medina Jackson

Mama’s Writing is Raising Mothers’ monthly interview series, curated by Deesha Philyaw. What surprised you about motherhood?  I’m not sure if anything surprised me but the life adjustment was huge. Knowing that my son was going to nap for two hours and having to decide if I was going to cook, clean, sleep, do some work, sit and stare off into the distance, etc. Looking back, I would have always chosen sleep! Who are your writer-mama heroes?  Writing comes from a very personal place for me.  My writer-mama hero would be my mother, Shirley Jackson. Getting to know her woman to woman over the years, when I asked her what she wanted to be, she told me she always wanted to be a good mother and to give her children the affection and emotional support she didn’t receive as a child. She broke that generational pattern and is my #1 example for mothering.   My mother doesn’t consider herself to be a formal writer, but she, to this day, writes handwritten notes and letters. When she has …