Motherhood & Words

(I posted this yesterday, but it vanished. I’ve no idea why.)
Spring has been slow in coming to Minnesota this year, but finally, it’s here. The plants in the garden have begun to fill out, the grass is green, and even our spindly Maple in the front yard has sprouted leaves. All of this means that it is time, yet again, for the annual Mother Words haiku contest.
For those of you who are new to Mother Words, I launched the annual contest in 2008, when Zoë was just a couple of months old and I developed a raging case of mastitis. D was traveling, so I was on my own, juggling an infant and a four-year-old. It wasn’t pretty, people. You can read more about that here.
But from my experience with mastitis, the annual Mother Words haiku contest was born.
This year, the subject of the haiku contest will be (drumroll please): surprise. What has surprised you most about motherhood? What surprises you about parenting your specific child? (Take this any direction you like.)
I’m very excited to announce that Caroline Grant, editor-in-chief of Literary Mama and co-editor of the wonderful anthology Mama PhD, has agreed to be the judge this year. And in addition to the $10 amazon gift card that I’ll send to the winner, Caroline will send a copy of Mama PhD!
I love funny haiku, but anything goes. Just remember 5 – 7 – 5. Put your haiku in the comments section below. The deadline is Monday, May 23rd!
Come on and haiku today!
Posted in


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. Ironmom (Julie) on May 16, 2011 at 10:41 am

    OK, diapers, sure.
    But this is ridiculous.
    There's poop everywhere!

    Sadly, this is a true story. Thanks for the contest!

  2. Sarah on May 17, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Give me board books strewn
    and dripping, bright paint projects—
    mess!—a sign of joy.

  3. Kara on May 18, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Three girls, now a boy.
    Trucks, cars, trains and planes delight.
    And sparkly red shoes.

  4. kate hopper on May 18, 2011 at 8:46 am

    I'm loving these, ladies. Keep them coming.

  5. Kaethe on May 18, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Spring clucking forward
    and the will of my toddler
    a lake of iron

  6. Sluiter Nation on May 18, 2011 at 10:22 am

    depression sneaks in
    warm and soft my baby boy
    i don't deserve him

  7. caro on May 18, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Give birth, sleep, stand up.
    What's that tumbling down my leg?
    Lemon-sized blood clot.

  8. Tami on May 18, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    My daughter so grown,
    at twelve, a transformation;
    I watch with wonder.

  9. Pia on May 18, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Heheh!! I hope I can post more than one! But here is my first:

    my self fades away
    as he becomes the center
    that I rotate round

  10. Claire on May 18, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Who would have thought it?
    Grocery shopping alone.
    This old chore's a gift.

  11. Carrie on May 18, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    I wrote 4 Haikus. They are chronological and can be read individually or as a set…..

    Pink plus sign, Oh shit
    Should I keep it, Oh my God
    Sweet son at my breast

    Attempt at homeschool
    Toddlers, naked, too much fun
    Roll in olive oil

    Oldest, car keys, prom
    Pre-teens tangled close behind
    Toddler loves chickens

    Son at college far
    Leaves a void in family's soul
    Can't wait for summer

  12. Carrie on May 18, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    Oops. The plural of Haiku is Haiku. My apologies.

  13. darcie on May 19, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    you guys I love these!! LOVE them!! I haven't written a Haiku since, well, elementary school – I thought I could but reading the rest…wow! you girls are GOOD!

  14. kqchristopherson on May 19, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Just one more minute
    Please can I have attention?
    Yes, my trying love

    so fun, Kate!!!
    hope you are well-

  15. kate hopper on May 19, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    I love these all so much. I'm so glad I'm not the judge. Keep them coming!

  16. Lara on May 19, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    they are energy
    enamored of company
    we as much as they

  17. Lara on May 19, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    and one more, this one with a title:
    Motherhood surprise:
    Redefine passion!
    Ambassador skills advance
    my new PhD

    thanks Kate! This was so much fun!!

  18. Tami on May 20, 2011 at 11:39 am

    This is really fun, Kate! I am have been thinking in haiku now for the last few days!

  19. Karla on May 20, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Tears come easy now;
    Pride I've never felt before
    My spring-time babies

  20. Kim on May 20, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Lusty open lips
    Eagerly seek fake nipple
    Rejection stings me.

  21. Pia on May 21, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Here is another:

    My deep fear, Autism.
    Isn't as bad as I dreamed
    My little man glows

  22. mary on May 23, 2011 at 9:00 am

    A new baby now
    So you and Dad still do it
    My lunch crowd's grossed out

  23. Miss Frangipani on May 23, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Hasty Haiku flows
    You sit on my lap, content
    Teletubbies sing.



  24. mary on May 23, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Forgot to include title of my haiku. It would be something like "When Your 18 Year Old Shares the Blessed News at His High School Lunch Table"

  25. Kristine on May 23, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    little boy, not mine
    takes my breath away in gusts
    step love, grown fiercer

  26. Merle on May 23, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Daily five-year-old's rage
    leaves dead and wounded feelings.
    Remorseful kisses.

  27. Lisa on May 23, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Cow-licked blond hair boy
    Billy-goat on my shoulder
    My life is a zoo

  28. Lisa on May 23, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    He has brain damage…
    But he runs and skips and laughs
    Constant dance party!

  29. kate hopper on May 23, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Keep them coming! These are wonderful! You have until midnight tonight to post. I'm sorry to those of you who have had trouble commenting. If you can't post for some reason, e-mail me at katehopper (at) msn (dot) com, and I'll post for you.

  30. Suze on May 23, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Sammy's Take on Toilet Training

    Oh! I'm not hiding.
    I DON'T need to poop right now,

  31. kate hopper on May 24, 2011 at 7:09 am

    These are from Francesca, e-mailed to me before midnight last night:

    God's Gift
    Lower cancer rates
    Good for mom; good for baby
    Suck! Suck! ¡Mas Leche!

    Mood Swing
    Frightened with the first
    Now pregnant with the second
    Complete elation

    Lemonade Stand
    Lunchtime, balmy day
    Lemonade, rice krispy treats
    Fifty cents a pop