Why I Told My Hardest Story About Being a Mom Out Loud

San Antonio moms, you have a unique opportunity to tell your story this spring, for your words and experiences to reach millions of people. The Listen to Your Mother Show is coming to the Alamo City, and it is being directed by Jill, who is one of our team members here at ACMB. Woot!

Listen to Your Mother’s tagline is “giving motherhood a microphone,” and moms, your stories deserve a microphone.

You might not think you’re a writer. You might not even be a mom. But YOU have a story of motherhood. It might be funny. It might be heartfelt. It might be wistful. But you have a story.

Here is Jill’s perspective on what it was like to tell her story of motherhood. Will you tell yours?

Audition and show information are at the bottom of this post.

I’m a writer. I’ve always been a writer. I dictated stories to my mom before I knew how to spell my name. I drew pictures and created characters and stories to go with the people I made up all throughout childhood. I’ve journaled and blogged most of my life, which morphed into a career as a freelancer. I won’t go into the dark, angsty teen poetry or my failed attempts at writing romance. Ahem.

I find comfort in my words. Sometimes, I hide behind them. If given the choice between writing a letter or sending an email and talking face-to-face, I almost always choose communicating in written form. It’s safer. Less awkward. I can backspace and begin again if what I’m trying to say doesn’t come out right.

Pouring out my words on paper (or at least on my laptop) has pulled me through some hard times. Writing has helped me regroup and given me perspective, and although I joke that it’s saved my sanity, I’m not really joking.

When I decided I’d drive to Austin to audition for the 2015 Listen to Your Mother Show, I picked out one of my best pieces of humor writing. Motherhood is often funny to me…or maybe I just laugh to get myself through all the snot, stickiness, and freaking Nerf darts stuck to places I need a ladder to reach. At the last minute, I switched gears and pulled out a more serious essay I’d written the year before, during a time when I was struggling. I dusted it off, made a few edits for brevity, and read it out loud to see what it sounded like.

I don’t know if I can get through reading this.

It’s one thing to expose your soft little underbelly in written form, but standing in front of strangers and saying words out loud that describe the day where I felt like the worst mom in the world? I can do a lot of things, but I wasn’t sure if I could do that.

But, I did.

I write a lot of straight-talk stories about adoption. We get a lot of “blessed, miracle, they’re so lucky” comments about our adoptions, but let me tell you: adoption is not all rainbows and unicorn farts. Adoption is hard, and the story I decided to tell described some of the hardest days of my life.

I read my story of motherhood out loud to Kristin Shaw and Leigh Ann Torres, the producers of the Austin show in a hotel conference room on an icy January day. You know, that one day in South Texas when it was icy last year? My voice shook. If my hands had not have been pressed flat against the podium they would have been shaking hard enough to make my bracelets rattle.

As the words poured out of my mouth, I started gaining confidence. I felt strong. Validated. My voice stopped trembling. Telling my story in that audition room that day was the most cathartic experience of my life, at least to date. I finished, said thank you and left, feeling lighter and freer than I had when I came.

“How did it go? Do you think you made it?”

This asked by my waiting husband.

“It went great, and I don’t know and don’t care. This was enough.”

It was enough to tell my story, enough to know that my words had value. I was fortunate enough to be cast in the 2015 Austin show, and I had the time of my life and decided that San Antonio’s stories of motherhood needed a microphone, too. If you want to hear my story, you can watch the short video below. Throughout the entire pre-show process, I read this story out loud only three more times: two in rehearsals and once to myself for timing purposes.

Despite the excitement and buzz that surrounded show day, the memory that sticks with me was that first time in the conference room with just Kristin and Leigh Ann. The first time I told my story of motherhood out loud: my messy, imperfect story. It was something I needed to do. I didn’t realize it was what I needed to do until I did it.

I could yammer on all day about all the upsides of my Listen to Your Mother experience, but it all comes down to two things: telling my not-so-rosy story of motherhood out loud helped me to give myself more grace and hide behind my words a little less. The spoken word has power. Telling my story was a release for me, but it also may give someone else validation that she’s not alone in what she’s going through.

Maybe you think you’re no one special and that you don’t have a story worth sharing. Maybe you think you could never get up on stage or talk about your life in front of strangers.

But maybe you are wrong. Tell your story.

Thank you for letting me tell you a little part of my story. If I haven’t convinced you to sign up for an audition or to buy a ticket for our April 23rd show, here are two more stories of motherhood that might convince you that you need to be at The Tobin Center on the afternoon of April 23rd.


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