The ProCreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the 16th edition of  this scholarly discourse intersects with the artistic to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the academic, the para-academic, the digital, and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work, and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. #JoinMAMA

March 1, 2016 Minna Dubin and Judy Kronenfeld

#Momlists

#MomLists is a guerrilla public art project, consisting of 150 handwritten lists about my early motherhood experiences. The lists are posted around three cities in the Bay Area: 50 in Berkeley (Spring/Summer 2015), 50 in Oakland (Winter 2015/Spring 2016), 50 in San Francisco (Spring/Summer 2016).

Each list is handwritten on a 4×6 card. A layer of bright decorative paper is placed over it and the two are sewn together across the top. The act of making—cutting, sewing, hand writing, stamping—then feeling the tangible, finished product in my hands is a relief. Each piece is a clearly laid-out goal—the opposite of the uncertain nature of raising a child. The lists dangle from ribbons in public spaces (coffee shops, laundromats, community centers) looking like flattened gift bags, waiting for strangers to stumble upon them. #MomLists requires interaction. Readers must lift the pretty exterior to access the gritty, vulnerable list underneath.

The project began in March 2015, 2 years after I gave birth to my son, as an attempt to make sense of (and peace with) my new “Mom” identity. Motherhood can feel isolating. Social media, our modern-day connector, is a barrage of happy mom-and-tot selfies. I am not living that picturesque motherhood life, and my suspicion is: neither is anyone else. In search of an alternative motherhood narrative, #MomLists lifts the societal surface of motherhood and exposes a messier, more resonant truth.

#MomLists adds to conversations about motherhood by expressing feelings most moms don’t talk about in a public way. The writing is both personal and universal. This is clear in the conversations #MomLists stirs online. The project title, stamped at the bottom of each list, contains a hashtag to suggest: “This is a conversation. Go online, join in!” Each time a list is posted in the real world, it also goes up on Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Moms share the posts and even contribute their own lists or make list requests.

More about the artist:

Minna Dubin is a writer, public artist, and teaching artist with a Bay Area zip code and a Philly heart. She writes essays, monologues, and lists about motherhood and identity. Minna facilitates creative writing workshops for teens and adults. When not chasing her toddler in circles around the dining room table, she is eating chocolate in the bathroom while texting.

http://www.minnadubin.com

Words by Judy Kronenfeld 

BABYSITTING INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE OLDER GRANDPARENT 

From MER Vol. 13 

Swiftly retie your grandson’s sneakers while he insists I do it myself! Snuggle him into the car seat, and buckle it (don’t awkward-angle that doddery knee!), give him plush pup and his sippy cup and whisk him from day-care lickety-split singing wheels of the bus wheels of the bus, saying yes! to every gleeful TRUCK! while the leaves blaze gold and crisp and drop without a sound, without a sound, and a muster of crows flaps over the trees. Praise the tiny tupperware cups you must fill with raisins or teddy grahams, and praise the lunch-box you have to find, and the bedtime story you have to read, and the desperate cries for a third from the crib, Snowy Day! Snowy Day!, before the child plummets to sleep. Praise falling into the guest bed, exhausted, with granddad, exhausted, who ran repeatedly to the slide in the playground to grab the flame-cheeked, careening boy, and cleaned and diapered the fusser’s bottom and hustled him into nighttime footies, and hunted down that rascal blue cow. Praise sleepy caressing and sleepy forgetting warm flesh will be ash, and gravity rules, and granddad’s beating heart’s precarious, when nothing’s the matter In the Night Kitchen, or anywhere.

Keep reading here

Judy Kronenfeld’s most recent books of poetry are Shimmer (WordTech Editions, 2012) and the second edition of Light Lowering in Diminished Sevenths (Antrim House, 2012), winner of the 2007 Litchfield Review Poetry Book Prize. Her poems have appeared in many print and online journals (such as Calyx, Cimarron Review, Natural Bridge, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Sequestrum, The Pedestal), and in eighteen anthologies. http://judykronenfeld.com.