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Friday, April 16, 2010

3rd annual haiku contest

Spring is in the air. The determined stems of our peonies have pressed their way through the mulch, the Clematis is twining its way up the trellis on the side of our house, and the pale leaves of our baby Elm are unfurling despite the damn rabbit that snacked on the tree’s tender bark during the dark days of February.

I have forgiven the rabbit because I love spring. I sit on the front step and breathe deeply, grateful for the sunshine. I go for long runs along the river. I take the girls to the park and on bike rides to the lakes, where we watch the ducks and eat ice cream.

I love spring for all of those things. But I also love spring because it means it’s time, friends, for the annual Mother Words haiku contest.

For those of you who are new to Mother Words, I launched the annual contest in 2008, when Zoë was just a couple of months old and I developed a raging case of mastitis. D was traveling, so I was on my own, juggling an infant and a four-year-old. It wasn’t pretty, people. You can read more about that here.

But from my experience with mastitis, the annual Mother Words haiku contest was born. You can read the 2008 entries here and the winners here.

Then last year, to recognize Zoë’s transformation from a sweet, biddable baby into a trouble-making toddler, I hosted the toddler haiku contest. These killed me. (You can read those entries here and here. The top seven and winner are here.)

This year, it will be the “what no one told me” haiku contest. Dig into your story bin and write me a haiku (5-7-5) about what no one told you (or what you wish someone had told you) about motherhood or raising kids. My dear friend Laura will be the judge this year. And, as in years past, humor is always appreciated.

So bring on the haiku. Please post your haiku in the comment field below. The deadline is Friday, April 23rd. The winner will receive a $10 gift card to

Don’t be shy. Haiku!


Life As I Know It said...

Love it. I'm working on mine right now!

Anonymous said...

What a great idea! And kudos to you for turning a mastitis ordeal into something meaningful and productive. I will have to check out the toddler haikus. Too funny. The other night actually my son wanted to try his hand at haiku...and he wrote one about poop...go figure. Anyway, I'll see what my little brain can come up with!


Anonymous said...

Here goes...and honestly, no one, absolutely no one told me about this:

A kitchen baster
my vagina becomes for
bath water so warm

Mary said...

What a great idea! Paul is the haiku master in our family (his family has a tradition of writing silly poetry, new lyrics to old songs, and/or limericks for big celebrations and milestones). But I think if he were to write one on this subject it would be about how no one told him his wife would be so moody and controlling most of the time and so I cannot allow him to give it a try. ;-)

Tanja Cilia said...

Chewing gum binds hair.
Babies don't always smell nice.
Two more facts of life!

Tanja Cilia

cath c said...

pre and post-partum,
the dire dangers of laughter
or sneeze, please be warned!

cath c said...

oh, and @ tanja,

peanut butter takes gum out of hair.

my mother's trick!

Ines said...

No one told me mom
clean kiss clean hug clean love clean
all day long always

Julie said...

Sighs: "No one told me
Parenthood is ironic."

Julie said...

Ooh! Another one:

Cross an item off,
Another grows in its place.
Moms multi-task. Woe.

Laura G. O'Brien said...

This entry is from my husband Tony. He came up with it in 10 min over lunch! He even remembered the haiku format from high school. And I say I'm the writer? I didn't tell him the theme until later but he said this still works because he didn't know anything about parenthood before becoming a dad.

A desperate plea
Isn't it time for your nap?
Children paint the walls.

Lisa said...

Therapists doctors
don't even know my name now
I am not your mom

Kaethe said...

The dream where she is
suffocating beside me
never lasts all night.

Pia said...

Ok, I hope I did this right.

My heart left my chest
In tiny jeans and t-shirt
Walks around, exposed

:) Pia

(might try for more if that is ok!)

Pia said...

Uterus falls out
Doctor laughs and says oh no,
silly bladder fell

Sara said...

Running would become
my sanity on days of
no afternoon nap

stace-c said...

@Pia, love yours about your heart walking around outside your body!

Here are my entries. 2 funny, one serious :)

beautiful music
has the pow'r to cause let down
had to change my shirt

my good old aunt flo
turned into a raging flood
no pad can contain

butterfly dancer
in one moment you have changed
how i define love

cath c said...

pia, having just had prolapse and bladder corective surgery 2 years after my last child's birth, i can totally relate to your uterus poem!

Emily said...

I had to go to wikipedia to find out about haiku's...but what a fun exercise! Here goes...two of them, I got carried away!

For years I pondered
Meaning of Life. Holding you -
Simple: Survival

Meet Anxiety
Here to stay. And your chest? Like
deflated balloons.

Pia said...


To Stace-C: Thanks!!!

To: Cath-C: Thanks! That one really IS one no one tells you!

Kate: I just pimped your contest on my blog.... hope you get even more entries!! :D This is FUN

Alexandra said...

Here goes. I've always loved haiku. It cuts out the excess.

Computer keys click
My words sent out to be heard
Someone hear me please

Anonymous said...

Ok Kate, here are a few tries:

No One Ever Told Me

Time morphs, replacing
day and night with three small hours:
our life on repeat.

No One Ever Told Me

Hands are for pumping
foot rocks baby and toe holds
stray paci in place.

Thanks for the assignment!
Michelle JK

Sara said...

Your doctor visits?
Go alone—instant nap. Hope
they keep you waiting.

Some night you will sleep
for five hours straight. Next day you
can do anything!

Elizabeth said...

Here's mine:

What no one told me?
I would become my mother.
But that is o.k.

Life As I Know It said...

Vomit in the night
Awakened from dreaminess
I wash sheets. A lot.

I had no idea
three boys, one arthritic dog
could fit in my car

He refused to eat
Bagels became a food group
I scratched my eyes out

Anonymous said...

Older brothers OR
Nonviolence. You can't have both.
Baby has a gun.

afromama said...

Most recent thoughts on my almost 2.5 year old daughter... hair woes and of course trying to leave the nuk... dad just had to find one!

Curly hair. Snarly.
Cute afro puffs through some tears.
Moisture is needed.

Nuk. Nuk. No more Nuk.
Threw in the street with tantrum.
Dad finds another nuk.


Kate Hall said...

What nobody told me:

it would hurt me to
worry this pretty little
heart so with longing...

Book Mama said...

Okay, as a long-form girl, I went a little crazy, but what a fun activity for the last few minutes of naptime! Here are four :-) :

No raw fish, doc said.
Nine long months--but now? Sushi-
fed kids write haiku!

Stocking up on gear--
cribs, carseats, monitors, wipes--
no one told me, "Fun!"

Ahhhhh, effluvia.
Pregnancy, baby, leaking
toddler. . . Never dry.

I'm a writing mom
with a theory: This balance?
It brings us all joy.

Speaking of joy: you,
Kate. Thank you for the word fun!
Mothers who write salute you. :-)


Jennifer Bostwick Owens said...

Lovely, the breeze while
watching sisters coloring
the sidewalk with chalk!

Jennifer Bostwick Owens said...

I try to teach her!
She--seventeen, stubborn, bold--
makes her own mistakes.

Jennifer Bostwick Owens said...

I'm swept up in it--
boys, dresses, disappointments.
My heart breaks for her!

Amber S said...

This ride is an e~
~motional rollercoast~
~er. Who knew? Not me.

(I took poetic license with that second line: only 6 syllables, unless you say it like you're on a rollercoaster and then it stretches out to 7 :-) )

Anonymous said...

Summer ash cloud
I never got my snak
Horsey cart good

Laura G. O'Brien said...

Very glad the deadline was extended! Here's my entry, boiled down finally:

"I need my snuggles!"
Dawn spreads, elbow pokes, couch shrinks.
My time drips away.

Sara said...

Glad I didn’t know
About NICU, home 02,
Surgery, good-bye.

Betsy said...

I'm late, but was totally inspired by a conversation with my (pregnant) sister last night.

move like a ninja
to catch vomit in your hands
gross instinct reflex