Truth and Beauty: Mamalode Print Collection—A Review

Angela Youngblood reviews & interviews

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Mamalode is an insightful parenting magazine full of personal essays, poetry, interviews and more. 

Mamalode is also truth and art and beauty and storytelling.

To date, the print magazine collection includes 17 issues. It is a library that every parent should have in their home. Each issue is like a yearbook of motherhood detailing the ups and downs, the pain and the joy, the absurdity and all the amazing that is the business and heart of raising children. The writers feel like real friends, their stories like mine.

Each issue has a theme explored by the writers: First Things First, Identity, Village, Adventure, Connection, Work, Home, Enough, Letting Go, Faith, Flow, Humor, Balance, Capacity, Space, You and Perfection.

I keep the collection next to my bed. Sometimes when the noise and the pressure of life (and my four children) gets a little too loud, a little too much, I sneak into my bedroom to take a mamalode time out. Whichever issue I pick up to read, I always find something that makes me nod my head in agreement, cry, laugh or both at the same time. There is always something that makes me see myself or find myself. I feel connected, less alone, less crazy.

Something like this:

“When I became a mama I felt exposed and hyper-aware in a really lovely way.”
-Nici Holt-Cline, excerpt from ‘In Pursuit of Life’, Identity issue.

Or this:

“It is me who needs to quit steering the boat and focus instead on ballast, speed and my crew. My boys. My sweet, salty pirates who call me Mama. Every aspect of my life challenges my notions of effort, control and when to succumb to the moment.
I can do better. I know this. I can feel the winds blow. I can find the current that is easy smooth, and mine.
I can flow.”

-Elke Govertsen, ‘Letter from Elke’, Flow issue.

I take an issue of mamalode to the gym with me. Sometimes I only have seven minutes on the dreaded stair climber to read. But that's all I need to be inspired by a story in mamalode. Like when I am huffing and puffing and cursing my recent weight gain and aging and flaws and I read this:

“Wandering the mall feeling too old for many stores and too young for others…
Scouring the plastic surgery ads in the paper, contemplating boarding the Botox train…
Hearing my husband of 17 years tell me I look better than ever. Perfect.”

-Colleen Reed Rosbarsky, excerpt from ‘40’, Perfection issue.

In those few lines, I am reassured I am not alone and that I some kind of normal.

An issue of mamalode is always in my purse in case I have a few minutes waiting for the kids’ practices to be done or in the parking lot before my son’s speech therapy class gets out. A few  minutes to read lines like these:

“Motherhood is a complex role, and while initiation into its esteemed society is achieved simply by having a child, it’s responsibilities, gifts and challenges are deeply emotional….
We are always enough…even when we think we aren’t.”

-Kelle Hampton, excerpt from ‘Secret Reserves’, Enough issue. 

In those few lines again I feel connected and understood.

I choose the magazine in those moments instead of my phone or iPad because there are no distractions. No one can interrupt my few minutes of quiet inspiration with a text about what time the committee meeting is. It never fails when I pick up my phone that I end up on Facebook wishing someone a happy birthday and Twitter re-tweeting a life-changing recipe and checking emails and starting replies and Instagram-ing the gorgeous sky all at the same time. And I love that—most of the time. But it can get a little scattered and I usually don’t finish the emails, never make the recipe and forget someone's birthday.

Instead, I’ve been choosing to pick up a copy of mamalode. Slowly turning the pages, admiring the artwork and pictures, re-reading a line or two that really speaks to me. A line or two like these:

“I haven’t found myself in Africa or India or Finland or the long, long list of places I still want to go. But, somewhere, I found my way.”
-Jennifer Savage, ‘I’m A Tiger Mom’, Village issue.

Then there are those special occasions when I have more than a few minutes and I can get lost in more than one issue and more than one story. My chin trembles and my eyes fill with tears when I read in the Balance issue about one mother's heartbreaking loss of a child in My Little Pistol, My Dragonfly, an essay by Kathy Jackson. I laugh along with stories of clutter and chaos in Manifest Destiny by Todd Smith featured in the Space issue. I remember with overwhelming, gut-gripping love what it was like to cradle my kids when they were babies when I read the short piece called Toes by Ann Flavin, in the Faith issue. 

My compassion grows when I read stories about being a foster family from a mother’s perspective and a daughter’s perspective in Blockbuster Babies by Kerri and Destiny Riley in the Capacity issue. After reading Julie Osborn’s essay in the Adventure issue, Journey to Motherhood, I dream of what it must be like to travel around the world. I am motivated to make a difference in my community when I read stories like the interview with Dr. Georgia Milan in the Connection issue about her personal and professional passion to help women and mothers.

You see mamalode is not just full of “been there” stories. Nope. There are stories and poems and interviews about people that I want to be. Stories about places I want to go. Reading mamalode makes me want to ask more questions, go more places, be more still, love deeper, dream bigger, hug tighter, go faster, go slower, take more pictures, write more poetry…be more myself. 

Mamalode is my past, my future and my right now.

About the Author

Angela Youngblood

Angela is a mom of four who documents their imperfect, often hilarious adventures on her personal blog . She is a freelance writer, videograppher, runner, dreamer and doer.

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