Motherhood & Words

Happy late Mother’s Day, my friends. I meant to write a post on Sunday. I *thought* about posting. I even *planned* my post. But then I fell asleep on the couch.

It was a much needed nap after an exciting (but very busy) previous week, which was full of readings in celebration of mothers’ stories. Both the Motherhood & Words reading and the first Twin Cities Listen To Your Mother event were huge successes. No one who attended either reading could deny (not that they’d want to) the power inherent in writing and telling our stories, or the incredible high you get from supporting other who are doing the same.

I’m grateful to have had the fabulous Caroline Grant and Katrina Kenison fly across the country for the Motherhood & Words reading. Thank you, Katrina and Caroline! What grace and poise and talent these two women possess. What an honor to share a podium with them.



And then last Thursday, I was thrilled to be a part of the inaugural Twin Cities Listen To Your Mother show at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis. Holy kit-kats, people. There was a crowd of almost 500 people! I laughed, I cried, I got chills. My fellow readers blew me away.


(Photo by the wonderful Jen of Jennifer Liv Photography.)


Of course you know that I’m not about to stop celebrating your mother stories just because Mother’s Day has passed. No, no, no. I’m just getting started. It’s time once again, my friends, for the annual Motherhood & Words Haiku contest.

For those of you who are new to Motherhood & Words, a little background: I launched the 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. And in fact, it was such a traumatic experience that I felt I needed to honor it in some way.

What better way to do that than with a haiku?

Thus the annual Motherhood & Words haiku contest was born. You can read the 2008 entries here and the winners here.

Since then, we have celebrated toddler haiku, “what no one told me” haiku, “what surprised me about motherhood” haiku, and “something my child said to me” haiku. This year, the topic is—wait for it…wait for it…

a moment you won’t forget.

It could be a motherhood moment that you cherish, that made you collapse with laughter, or that shattered you with grief. Think small frame, detail.

I’m honored that the fabulously talented Jill Christman has agreed to be the judge of this year’s contest.

Remember: three lines – 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables. Please put your entry in the comments below. The deadline is Monday, May 27th!

Don’t be scared. Haiku!!

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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. Kate on May 15, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Oh yes, and I forgot to mention: the prize is a $10 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of Use Your Words (unless you have three copies already, in which case I’ll send you a different book).

  2. Christine Rico on May 15, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    two o’clock a.m.
    in the silence i awake
    the youngest sleeps through

  3. Heather on May 15, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    he runs all the lights
    baby listless, passing out
    he prays, I scream, Go!

  4. Peyton Price on May 15, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    My arms circled him
    from the minute he was born.
    Now, his circle me.

  5. Kate on May 15, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Oh, oh, I love these so much. Keep them coming, people!

  6. Lisa Romeo on May 15, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    1. She patted his back.
    Finally he relaxed. Then
    vomit splashed her cheek

    2. “My hair’s red. Dad’s brown!”
    What color is Mommy’s hair?
    He thought, paused, grinned: “Striped!”

    3. It’s not Asperger’s.
    I exhaled, smiled. Yes, but?
    Borderline, he said.

  7. Melissa N on May 16, 2013 at 4:39 am

    I’ve never tried haiku before, but here I go:
    Watching the sun rise
    Sleeping baby on my chest
    Needed more than sleep.

  8. Jenny on May 17, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Four pairs of scared eyes
    Looking at me…”What now, Mom?”
    Life, without him- starts

  9. Jenny on May 17, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Sterile hospital.
    My boy, still. On a gurney.
    My tears don’t help him.

  10. Jenny on May 17, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Run to the bathroom
    Made it! Sit down on wet seat
    Mother of three boys.

  11. Carol Allis on May 18, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    My haiku (hi, Kate!)

    First son

    Born to me, you were
    Moments after birth, plotting
    Your independence

  12. Lisa Wurtinger on May 19, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Our spring has arrived.
    My daughter asks me if I
    will go barefooting.

  13. Lisa Wurtinger on May 19, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    Cold gel placed on me.
    “Oh no,” she says. “What?” I ask.
    There are two babies.

  14. Lisa Wurtinger on May 20, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Two babies screaming,
    the hard decision was made.
    Back to work I go.

  15. Tricia on May 21, 2013 at 9:42 am

    1. A rough morning time
    Two littles giggling away
    Turn it all around

    2. Nursing, cuddled close
    Doorbell rings. Nanny is here.
    I don’t want to leave.

    3. She runs. She falls down.
    Bump growing. Tears are streaming.
    Emergency room.

    p.s. I love haiku!!

  16. Kate Edenborg on May 23, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Words that melt away
    Frustration gone with these words
    Mommy, you’re my star.

  17. Esther Wifler on May 25, 2013 at 7:03 am

    Forty three hand prints last count
    Boys, take sponge and scrub!

    Chubby baby feet
    Love cute squeezable fatness
    Mom stop it I’m nine.

  18. Kelly on May 26, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    I teach him how to

    eat fresh snow — so many smiles

    on the walk to school

  19. Kelly on May 26, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    “Lips off the toilet!”

    Oh, the things I find myself

    saying as a mom.

  20. Kelly on May 26, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    dog puke in my bed

    Han Min in trouble at school –

    it’s not even noon

  21. Vikki on May 26, 2013 at 5:13 pm


    There are many firsts –
    The first smile, tooth, day of school
    And the first forged note.


    An ocean away
    Feet big and small in the sand
    This is Portugal

  22. Sarah on May 26, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Colleagues go to work
    And I am home, rinsing poop
    out of a onesie

  23. Kristen Foster on May 26, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    Migraine stuck in bed
    Bongos and singing by kids
    Though sweet, does not help

  24. Erin tanner Jospe on May 26, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    Friday trash truck comes
    He stands on the kitchen chair
    Waving “bye diapies!!”

  25. Erin tanner Jospe on May 27, 2013 at 4:44 am

    Up again at three
    Babe in belly is growing large
    Three more weeks to go

    Forty-two weeks- still
    A house full of boys- no girl
    I miss her-grateful

  26. Stacy Kinkade-Erickson on May 27, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Never far from Home
    Thoughts of my children’s fate
    Face the world again

  27. Mary Allison Tierney on May 27, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Don’t Slam The Back Door!
    reminded thousands of times
    Mom slammed. Mom sweeps glass.

  28. Mary Porth on May 27, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Hi Kate,

    Congrats on all the good things happening! On a trip to NYC this spring, I visited Ground Zero with my ten year old son.

    Hesitant fingers
    tracing names etched in cold stone
    now share the burden

  29. and the winner is… | Motherhood & Words on June 4, 2013 at 10:10 am

    […] you so much to Jill Christman for being the judge of the 6th Annual Motherhood & Words Haiku Contest. And thank you all so much for submitting your wonderful poems. It was so much fun to read […]