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Tell Me About Your Mother

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Season 2, Episode 9: Journalist Maya Francis on What Her Mom Has Taught Her About Being a Working Mom and a Black Woman Who Owns Her Story

In the Season 2 closer, we talk to journalist and commentator (and Critical Frequency co-founder!) Maya Francis about her mom being a teen mom long before she had Maya, having siblings who had completely different childhoods from her own, how her parents taught her about race and gender, and how despite being a fiercely protective mother, her mom has also always maintained her own personhood.


Season 2, Episode 8: Lauren Muscarella on Maternal Loss

Author Lauren Muscarella lost her mom when she was 20, and says there were aspects of their relationship that she had to work through on her own, long after her mom passed. In this episode we delve into how Lauren did that, why it was so important to her mom that Lauren pursue every opportunity, and how she eventually turned her own journey through grief into a book that might help others (especially her dad and brother, who Lauren thought might only read a book on loss if she wrote one),...


Season 2, Episode 7: Documentary filmmaker Amanda Micheli on Feminism, Infertility, and What Family Means

Filmmaker Amanda Micheli found the subject of her latest documentary, Vegas Baby, while researching financing options for her second round of IVF. In this episode we talk about how her upbringing impacted her views on family and relationships, and how that impacted her reproductive decisions.


Season 2, Episode 6: Leticia Aguilar Is a Bearcat

In this crossover episode with the Bearcat podcast, we meet Leticia Aguilar and hear how her mom's experience showed Leticia what sort of woman she did and did not want to be. Now she helps other Latina women figure out how to carve out their own paths.


Season 2, Episode 5: Marcella Arguello on Moms, Men, and Machismo

Comedian Marcella Arguello grew up in the rural town of Modesto, Ca where her El Salvadoran parents dealt with plenty of casual racism long before Trump. Marcella learned how to entertain herself as a kid, and how to combine the best of both feminine and masculine traits in one badass comic. Check her out @marcellacomedy everywhere, or at her weekly LA show, Women Crush Wednesdays. Also, please check out our Patreon campaign if you haven't already!


Season 2, Episode 4: Sammy Nickalls on Her Mom and #TalkingAboutIt

Sammy Nickalls (a writer and editor at AdWeek) says her mom has always been super supportive, even when she hasn't totally understood or agreed with her daughter. Sammy started the hashtag #TalkingAboutIt in the wake of her best friend's suicide to encourage people to more openly discuss mental health, and says her mom supports her but sometimes worries that it might hurt Sammy professionally to be so vocal about mental health. We talk about that and a whole lot more in this episode....


Season 2, Episode 3: Aparna Nancherla on anxiety and comedy

Aparna Nancherla's mom was finishing up her residency as she was having Aparna and her sister. All three women dealt with anxiety and depression at different points in their lives, and for Aparna taking care of her mental health ultimately resulted in a successful career in comedy. Critical Frequency Patreon is here. Aparna's episode of The Standups, is on Netflix here.


Heather B. Armstrong ("Dooce"), Part 2, on Being a Super Public Mom

In part two of our Season 2 opener, writer Heather B. Armstrong (aka "Dooce") opens up about the challenges of living a lot of your private life publicly, how she's navigated writing about family, and how her kids feel about all of it. Check out our Patreon link here!


Heather B. Armstrong, aka "Dooce" on the Wild World of "Mommy" Blogging and Why Her Mom Keeps Her in Utah

Heather B. Armstrong was one of the original "mommy bloggers," drawing an audience of millions with her honest accounting of motherhood back in the early days of blogging. These days she has built a small media empire, but it's still a struggle to keep all the balls in the air, especially as a full-time working single mom. That's where here mom comes in. Heather describes her as "the village" that makes her life work. In this 2-part episode we get into all of that, plus how Heather...


Getting to Know Your Mom as a Person, with Renita Parker Mobley

When Renita Parker Mobley heard comedian Sasheer Zamata interviewing her mom on This American Life last year it suddenly made her realize: she'd spent years mad at her mom for leaving her dad and kicking off a messy divorce, maybe it was time to get to understand her better as a woman, not just a mom who had failed to live up to Renita's expectations. So began an ongoing project through which Renita interviews her mom regularly about her life. In our Season 1 closer, it's Renita being...


Episode 5: Samantha Ladwig on Maternal Estrangement

Maternal estrangement impacts tens of thousands of American women, but is still a fairly taboo topic. Writer Samantha Ladwig chronicled her estrangement from her mother in an essay in the June/July 2017 issue of Bust that went viral. In this episode, she talks us through her decision to separate from her mom, how she's dealt with it, and what she thinks the future holds. Read Samantha's essay in Bust and her report on maternal estrangement in Vice's Broadly.


Episode 4: Wesley Allsbrook

Wesley Allsbrook is the artist behind the first-ever illustrated virtual reality film, Dear Angelica (produced by Oculus Studio. The film centers on a young woman (played by Mae Whitman) who has recently lost her actress mother (played by Geena Davis); it depicts an idealized relationship, and focuses on the daughter's sense of loss. Wesley feels a similar sense of loss for her mom, who's still alive. Since sharing that her stepfather sexually abused her as a child, Wesley has rarely seen...


Episode 3: Alli Maloney

Allison (Alli) Maloney is the news and politics editor for Teen Vogue. Recorded on Mother's Day 2017, in Brooklyn, this episode centers on Alli's story and her complicated relationship with her alcoholic mom who left when Alli was three and never truly re-entered her life after that except for the occasional visit or call. Shortly after her mom died in 2013, from alcohol-related cancer of the liver, Alli got sober. Not gonna lie: this one's a tearjerker.


Episode 2: Porochista Khakpour

Porochista Khakpour is a highly acclaimed author. Her fiction books, Sons and Other Flammable Objects and The Last Illusion, have received and been nominated for various awards and she also contributes essays frequently to a variety of outlets. Her forthcoming memoir, Sick, chronicles her journey in dealing with late-stage Lyme disease. Porochista also teaches writing at Columbia University and has also taught at Bard College. She immigrated to the United States as a refugee from Iran as a...


Episode 1: Ashley C. Ford

Ashley C. Ford is the senior features writer for Refinery 29, and has also written for a wide range of other publications, including The Guardian, Elle, and Teen Vogue. She was raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, by a single mom, after her dad was incarcerated when Ashley was six months old. In this episode, Ashley talks to us about how she dealt with her mom's anger growing up, her mom's role in her career, and what has changed--for better and for worse--for black mothers in recent decades.


Trailer - Tell Me About Your Mother

Our relationships with our mothers are complicated, and that's especially true for women, each generation of which has lived through decades filled with changing norms and expectations. Your mom is likely the first female role model you had--good or bad. In Tell Me About Your Mother, journalist Amy Westervelt will talk to a variety of women about what their mothers taught them, connecting these personal histories to the broader story of modern women. Here's just a taste of what's in store...