L is for Listen to Your Mother

LTYM badge-2015Listen to your mother:  Good advice, unless your mother is the toxic sort, in which case you should ignore what she says.

But no matter what kind of mother you have—or are, or even know–Mother’s Day is coming! And so is Listen to Your Mother, a national live performance event coming to a place near you (if you happen to live near one of this year’s 39 venues) in the run up to Mother’s Day

LTYM is the brainchild of writer and founder Ann Imig. Its tagline is “Giving motherhood a microphone,” and it does just that to local writers sharing their stories of motherhood from the heartbreaking to the hilarious. Some of the writers have been published before; some labor in obscurity; some have never put pen to paper before they submit to LTYM.

There’s no better topic than motherhood to spawn perpetually fascinating stories and a perpetually fascinated audience. When LTYM first debuted in 2010 before a live audience in Madison, Wisconsin,  almost 300 people laughed and cried as a dozen women shared stories about every aspect of motherhood.

Since then LTYM has mushroomed—not just to this year’s 39 live performances (all produced by volunteer producers with the help of local sponsors),  but to thousands of videos, and now even a book collecting some of the best stories from LTYM shows. A portion of the proceeds from each show is donated to a local charity supporting families.

I first found out about LTYM in 2012, when someone in my writing group put out the word that LTYM San Francisco was holding auditions. Late to the party as usual, I submitted a short humorous piece at the 11th hour, auditioned via Skype, and was selected! (You can watch me sharing one of the guilty secrets of motherhood live at LTYM SF 2012.)

It was incredibly fun meeting my fellow cast members—we were 11 women and one man in all—at our two rehearsals and of course for the event itself, in San Francisco’s historic Fort Mason’s Cowell Theater. Our producers, Kim and Kirsten, who met at BlogHer, epitomized kindness and grace while never seeming to break a sweat as they pulled a million details together. (Of course—they’re mothers.) Our stories ranged from the poignancy of having no mother to listen to after she dies to the comedy of persuading young children that yes, their gay grandmothers can get married even though they never wear dresses. (It turns out that as long as there’s cake, it’s a wedding.)

Now, several dynamite women of the Write On Mamas, to which I belong, are producing this year’s LTYM SF, May 9 at the Brava Theater Center in San Francisco’s Mission District. It promises to be a wonderful show. You might even want to bring your mother.

I just bought my ticket, and you can buy yours by clicking here if you’re in the SF Bay Area, here if you live elsewhere, and here if you want to buy the book–far more meaningful than flowers or chocolate for a Mother’s Day gift.


Do you listen to your mother? What’s the best and worst advice she ever gave you?