A few weeks ago I posted that my family and I were using StoryWorth. This is a service that asks designated relatives (generally the older ones) questions, shares their answers with a private email list, and keeps an archive. While there’s nothing about this that you couldn’t do on your own, the truth is that most people don’t. I’ve learned more about my parents’ childhoods in the past few months than I have in years.
Anyway, the folks at StoryWorth came across my post, and asked me to guest judge this week’s Mother’s Day essay contest. So I’m inviting you all to enter. Just submit a short essay (like a blog post) and a photo answering this question: What are some stories from your mother’s life that inspire you? As StoryWorth puts it, “We want to hear about extraordinary moments, acts of everyday bravery, and the stories about your mom that you’ll just never forget. This is your chance to celebrate the woman that made you who you are – and if that woman happened to be your mother, grandmother, aunt, or someone else, we welcome you to honor them by telling their stories too!”
You can submit your story to Hope at [email protected]. She likes to announce the winners on Thursday, so sending it in Tuesday or Wednesday would up your odds. There’s a new winner each week, and the winning story will be published (Hope will work with winners to edit their posts so they’re in tip-top shape). The weekly winner will also get a $50 gift card, and be considered for the grand prize of a $150 spa certificate. Plus, you’ll get extra cool points with your mom for lauding her this way.
The complete rules are here. You can read some previous winners here and here (I sympathize with the mother in the second story, giving birth to her fourth kid in the cornfield as she was on her way to the midwife). My family and I are regular customers of StoryWorth. I don’t do advertising or affiliate links on this blog. You can use this link if you wish to sign up for StoryWorth and get a 20% discount. You don’t have to be a customer to enter.
I’d be remiss as the guest judge if I didn’t write one of my memories of mom. I spent 7th and 8th grade at a middle school that could be called, at best, mediocre. I had been accelerated a few years in math before at a different school, but was given a math textbook in 7th grade and told to sit in the back of another math class and teach myself. This didn’t go well. However, I did get one shot at math challenge: my mom volunteered to found and coach a MathCounts team for the school. We met every week or so through the winter. While I don’t think that coaching a MathCounts team was high on her List of 100 Dreams, she turned out to be good at it. My 8th grade year, we won the chapter competition, and placed in the top 10 at the Indiana state competition. This from a school that hadn’t fielded a team before mom showed up. The math I learned from MathCounts helped a lot on the SATs. To this day I’m pretty quick at mental math. I don’t think I would have been without the chance to participate on a competitive team.
This week, in honor of Mother’s Day, and leading up to next month’s publication of I Know How She Does It, I’ll be examining a few faulty narratives about careers and motherhood. These are the tropes people trot out that aren’t actually true. Please follow along and comment!
In other news: Publisher’s Weekly reviewed and praised I Know How She Does It, calling it “solid, thought-provoking, and substantive.” Booklist likewise gave it a thumbs up, noting that “A self-help book on managing time gets a heckuva lot more punch with major data behind it.” These trade journals matter a lot, so this is good news.
In other other news: I finished the Broad Street 10-miler on Sunday. I ran the whole time, but I did not remotely meet my goal time. The day was hot (rising to about 80 degrees) and I felt tired and undertrained. I guess this was to be expected 3.5 months after giving birth, but I had hoped for better. Here’s hoping I get a bit faster for the half-marathon I’m signed up for in early June!
If you enjoy my blog, you might also enjoy my next book I Know How She Does It. If you pre-order a copy before June 2, you can join my book club and access two exclusive webinars I will be hosting in June. Follow those links to learn more.