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Tell Me About Your Mother

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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...