Motherhood & Words

Happy Mother’s Day, mamas!! I’m wishing you a day filled with pampering and loving hugs from angelic children or grandchildren. If your children are grown, may they call and profess their appreciation or take you out for a fizzy beverage.

I’ll be spending most of the day in the car driving with my girls and mom and step-dad back to Minneapolis from Chicago. I’m looking forward to a nap, no sibling arguments (ha!), and a special dinner when we get home. We’ve had a great trip, but we’ve missed D and sweet Aguita.

I have a special Mother’s Day contest for you all: The Fifth Annual Motherhood & Words Haiku Contest. Yes, it’s that time of year again.

(Insert cheering here and a little music.) You can haiku if you want to, you can leave your friends behind.

You know you want to.

The theme of this year’s Motherhood & Words Haiku Contest is (drumroll, please): Something your child said to you. You can interpret that however you like. The rules: 5-7-5, leave your haiku in the comments section by Sunday night, May 20th. My own dear mother, Nancy, and my sister-in-law, Anne, will be the judges this year. The prize will be a signed copy of Use Your Words (of course!) If you already have a copy, you can give it away or donate it to your local library.

For the story of how this haiku contest began, click here.

So don’t be scared, haiku!! And happy, happy Mother’s Day! I appreciate each of you!

New: Contest deadline has been extended to Memorial Day. Haiku now!

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I have been teaching creative writing for almost twenty years. Reading about other women’s lives and experiences has expanded my world. To be able to walk in someone else’s shoes, whether it’s for a moment or an hour or a few days, is an incredible gift, providing me with insight into the human experience. It takes courage to write your truths, especially if it doesn’t seem as though anyone cares, as though anyone is listening. Let me tell you: your stories matter, I’m listening, and I’m here to help you find the heart of those truths, to get them down on the page, to craft them, and to send them out into the world. Together, we will change the world, one story at a time.


  1. Amber on May 14, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Alex Said

    I love you more than
    I love you. And I love you
    more than that, Mama.

  2. patty born selly on May 14, 2012 at 11:50 am

    It’s mother’s day, mom.
    -that means you have to be nice
    to us All Day Long.

  3. jenn on May 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    “where did the clouds go?
    the moon ate them, she answered
    they’re in his tummy”

  4. Kara Thom on May 16, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Watery footprints.
    Blinking mud flocked eyelashes.
    “I’m soaking dirty.”

  5. Minh-Triêt PHAM on May 16, 2012 at 9:50 am

    red rose fragrance oil —
    I am still missing you in
    this Mother’s Day, Mom!

  6. abbie foster on May 17, 2012 at 10:44 am

    (big smile) Hi”

  7. Mary on May 22, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Rats! Did I miss your deadline? Was it a firm deadline? You inspired me to write one for each of my children. Here goes:

    After Illness – for Stephen

    My firstborn’s wedding
    wheelchair-bound but I made it
    “Let’s dance anyway”

    “I Found An Apartment” – for Molly

    The void left behind
    salsa, yoga, stacks of books
    stained coffee mugs too

    A Practical Boy – for Leo

    We named you Leo
    for strength, courage and goodness
    “Easy to write too”

    Role Reversal – for Tom

    Burying my dad
    grief and dirt unsteady me
    “Here, Mom, I gotcha”

    Morning Breath – for Conor

    Too early to rise
    come sandwich between us Con
    “No, you be the cheese”

  8. Rachel on May 23, 2012 at 8:38 am

    A late submission, but still worth sharing…a toddler’s mispronunciation of a local state park:

    An Outing to Remember

    Bike ride adventure
    Yeah!!! Fart Smelly here we come!!!
    Um….it’s Fort Snelling

  9. caro on May 23, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Ma Ingalls irons
    on a wagon plank. Child asks,
    “What is ironing?”

  10. Tamara Robinson on May 23, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Mary inspired ME to share three..thanks for the extension Kate!

    From my teenage son…

    Mom, help me NOW please!
    Food, laundry, driving, cleaning?
    No, I need to talk~

    Words from sweet liza lou~

    Beautiful mom now~
    Always ready to hug me
    My favorite mom

    Cam my 11 year old chef…

    I made you breakfast
    It’s ready now please enjoy
    Mom, are you awake?

  11. Barbara Brouwer on May 23, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Night comes early
    Siena goes to doctor
    The sky is pink!

    Actually, I’m the grandma.

  12. Kate Edenborg on May 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    “Mommy,” she whispers.
    A brilliant bedtime delay.
    “Love you all my life.”

  13. Marge on May 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    So, here goes nothing:

    Mommy, you’ve lost weight!
    Your belly is shrinking, now
    What will I cuddle?

    My little Bubba loves to snuggle and rub my belly… lucky for him I still have lots left, but he was concerned that it is disappearing! I love my children!!

  14. Mary Sterns on May 23, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    “Can’t hear myself think.”
    “What were you thinking about?”
    How do I answer?

    I can still remember this event as if it were yesterday yet my daughter was maybe three at the time (now nearly 21). While I was cooking dinner the TV was too loud so I went to turn it down, making the comment that the TV was too loud and I could not hear myself think. I certainly didn’t expect this question coming from her after I said that as she was into the show she was watching (probably Barney) along with the fact of her developmental delays. I was caught unprepared. What was I thinking about?

  15. Cat Poland on May 24, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Mommy, please tell me
    a story with your mouth, k?
    As opposed to what?