Last year, a friend encouraged me to audition for the 2016 Listen to Your Mother (LTYM) San Antonio show. Fast forward to four months later and I was on stage at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts telling my story of motherhood in the first local installment of the show.

If you are not familiar with LTYM, it’s a national movement that gives motherhood a microphone. It began in 2010 in Madison, Wis., and has grown into a nationwide event in more than 30 cities. In the two weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, people – not just women and not just moms – will share stories about motherhood and all the ways it touches us as humans. Ticket sales benefit a local charity, but the benefits to readers and audience members are priceless.

As a cast member, I found it to be one of the most empowering and uplifting experiences since becoming a mom.

Proceeds from the 2016 LTYM show went to Child Advocates of San Antonio and proceeds from this year’s show will go to Clarity Child Guidance Center.

Emboldened by my friend’s support, I sat down to write a five-minute story about my relatively brief experience as a mother.

I got lost in the video archives of the LTYM YouTube channel which has hundreds of stories of motherhood. I was encouraged by the breadth of stories shared in previous shows. In fact, I really wanted to be this mom from the 2014 season:

YouTube video

But her story comes after years of being a mom and embittered by a pre-tween son, whereas I had but one year under my belt and a still-so-sweet baby boy. Many years down the road, I may be Kerry Rossow, but for now, I must be Moira Duggan. How can you go wrong when “you do you?”

Okay, it can go wrong – often. But it’s still the best way to go.

I do not know what your story is, but I know this: There is no wrong story. The best story is an honest one, and you probably already know which story you need to share.

From audition to show day, there were just three months and two rehearsals in between. We reported to the venue early that morning before our mid-afternoon show to do a run-through and take some photos.

After our final walk-through, one of my fellow cast mates (who I think was very nervous about reading her difficult story) asked me, “Can you wait for it to be over?”

I said, “No! I’m having the time of my life!” Yes, I am comfortable speaking in front of people and yes, my story was on the lighter side, but I still had to read first. But for me, it was a real honor and a treat to get new shoes and a babysitter, and enjoy time with my fellow mamas and storytellers.

Here’s what happened when the lights went down:

YouTube video

To view all of that night’s stories, click here.

I learned from my experience last year that it is both personally uplifting to share your story and a powerful movement to give voice to motherhood. Embrace and articulate your personal story of motherhood and make the experience of motherhood less isolating. Validate it.

After telling my story, I now own my story. Up until the show, my story was just a sad time that I tried to not think about and definitely not talk about, but after getting on stage and telling my story, I feel stronger and more confident as a person and as a mom.

Come and listen to the 13 stories that will be told on Saturday, May 13 – the day before Mother’s Day – at 5 p.m. at the Carver Community Cultural Center. Grab your mom, your daughter, your mom tribe, or anyone who wants to see a great, uplifting stage show.

Be part of this movement. There’s some exciting stuff happening with live storytelling in San Antonio. Be in the audience and find out how your story is going to be part of the fabric of San Antonio.

Telling my story meant something to me. Come and hear, and then tell yours.

Tickets can be purchased here, and incur Ticketmaster fees. You can purchase no-fee tickets at the Carver Community Cultural Center’s box office from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 226 N. Hackberry.

Listen to Your Mother is not a presentation of the Carver Community Cultural Center or the Carver Development Board.  

Moira Duggan is the common name given to the Lady of Tottering Hall. Born in Washington D.C., she holds degrees from Colgate University and the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is...