Welcome to “Mama Sez,” a new column written by the editors of Literary Mama. We don’t have a central editorial office; in fact, the editors are scattered all over the world. But that doesn’t stop us from talking and emailing and getting together when we can to discuss the world of mama writing. This column is one way for you to eavesdrop on our conversations and add your own voice to the mix.
Most of the editors here are also writers, pitching our own books and articles and stories to other publications and publishers. And we’ve met with some great successes. But the road to publication is paved with many rejections, and the one refrain we hear over and over is that “Moms don’t read.” According to the publishing fat cats, we’re too busy, we’re too tired, we’re too distracted. The books on our shelves are nothing more than dusty artifacts of life before baby. And when we do read, it’s a glossy magazine article about hoochie mama diaper bags or yet another way to lose those post-pregnancy pounds. Our brains are simply too exhausted to read anything else.
We beg to differ.
Every month, tens of thousands of people — mostly moms, we bet — read Literary Mama. Our books about motherhood are selling quite well, thank you very much. And at bookstore readings and Mother Talk events around the country, we’ve been amazed at how many moms show up to listen, talk, laugh and even cry just a little bit.
I admit, since I became a mom my reading habits have changed. My old two-novels-a-month routine is out the window, although my book club keeps me reading at least one every month. And I do read some parenting magazines and advice books. But I also read a lot of books and blogs written by other moms. The isolation of motherhood — and the abject terror of not knowing what the hell I’m doing half the time — makes me long to hear the experiences of other mothers. Does anyone else fantasize about getting in the car and just driving away? Am I the only one who is besotted with her child, and yet wears the role of mother like an itchy wool sweater? Why do I feel so invisible all the time?
Literary Mama was born of the desire to read about motherhood. We’re a resourceful bunch, so when we couldn’t find what we wanted to read in the bookstore, we decided to write it ourselves. And it’s been incredibly gratifying. But now it’s time to take it to the next level by involving our readers a whole lot more.
As the new Columns Editor, my main goal is to redefine Literary Mama as less of a publication and more of a conversation. That’s an important distinction. We’re not interested in hearing only our own voices. We want to hear yours, too. So, starting with this column, we’re adding a Comments section and inviting you to respond. As new columns appear they will also include room for comments, plus the ability to email favorites to your friends. And we’ll add a lot more juicy goodness down the road.
So tell us. How have your reading habits changed since you became a mom? What do you like to read? What are you sick to death of reading? Please — join our conversation.