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Mom's the Word

james hörner

gritty, shitty, and honest. that's the way this great play by the Mom's the Word Collective represents one of the oldest professions (being a mum). it's also full of well written humour and insight into the world of motherhood.

Mom's the Word book cover this play isn't a rant, complaint, or political tract. there are moments when it has these elements, but what comes across strongest is the sincerity with which these women have approached the topic of being a mom. they are in a state of wonder (and paranoia) at the fragility of their children. as well, they are definitely performing undervalued labour. but it is a great job, with mom's getting to witness those little, but profound, moments in a child's development.

in "Letter #5" Linda says to her husband:

I cannot believe you said "Looking after children should come naturally!" Who says? About as naturally as writing a symphony or learning how to juggle burning torches on a tightrope!

Mom's the Word picks up on a lot of these stereotypes about motherhood and has a good laugh at them. the mothers here do not glorify what they do. this play is reality based. that is what makes it so approachable and personal.

one of the things it made me think about was how women are pressured to take care of children by themselves (if they aren't being pressured back into the workforce, that is). it is a reminder that we need paternal leave, so that fathers too can enjoy being a nurturer (even if it means changing diapers, cleaning up puke, and being freaked out about the little one banging his/her head on the coffee table).

with titles like "Car Seat", "Sex", "Shit", and "I've Made a Mistake", the little vignettes that form this play cover a lot of ground. they have looked at the miserable moments, but also revel the invaluable payback that parenting brings.

with so many writers having their hands in this play there are a lot of unique voices throughout it. this doesn't hamper the play at all, though. each voice brings something new and valuable, a personalized lesson that i'm sure most parents can relate to. i would absolutely love to see this play performed.

this is by no means a parenting manual. rather, Mom's the Word is a funny and thoughtful presentation of different experiences and insights each woman brings to being a mom.

published by talonbooks
ISBN 0-8892-431-5

james hörner edits canadian content.

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