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Out of the Mouths of Babes: Giving Motherhood a Voice

The Event. The Blog Series. And You.

The world is a better place for having its stories told.

~Grace Paley


Gathering by Terry Wise
Gathering by Terry Wise


Out of the Mouths of Babes is dedicated to giving motherhood a voice.

Out of the Mouths of Babes is a live event and a blog series fueled by the creative work of women who mother, who run businesses, who wrangle tots, teens and this tenuous time in history. We are breaking out of the old stories that have held women to certain roles, carving a new reality into the expectation riddled world that likes to see us a nice, fine, and sane.

In a world where the bar on FINE is constantly being raised, the messy and chaotic reality of women’s lives inside motherhood roils on, sudsy, grimy and unmatched in challenge and beauty. Here at Laundry Line Divine, I value women’s creative fire as necessity, not luxury. There is absolutely no need for any woman to apologize here for taking up space, for sharing her reality by joining this discussion.

To lift the domestic into the poetic is quietly radical.
-Jayne Benjulian

At Laundry Line Divine, I tend the domestic with an ear for the poetic.
Out of the Mouths of Babes is one of the results of listening to my own yearning and to the women I hang with, the women I teach.

I discovered I have something to say about the longing that was masked by the chaos of motherhood. I have found wild grace inhabiting real life. There are other women who work in this way and I am devoted to unmasking this work in the world.


Out of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others March 7, 2015
Out of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others March 7, 2015

Out of the Mouths of Babes is a forum for other creative women to write and create from inside motherhood. This new genre of women’s writing finds itself in-between memoir, personal narrative and poetry. It is a little of each of these literary styles, but speaks with a bare truth that steps out of shame and FINE in the same way a worn pair of jeans slips to the floor, heavy with use, limp with wear, stained with the way we were supposed to behave, and revealing an utter raw beauty that deserves a place on our bookshelves.

Many women I speak with do not think of themselves as creative, even though we are, as a human species, wired to create.

Why is a woman’s creativity so important to the world?
To her children?
To her community?
To her family?
To her self?

  • Because a woman’s creativity feeds her soul.
  • A woman’s creativity re-members her to the Divine, to the holy which dwells within her.
  • A woman’s creativity expresses her true nature.
  • Fully engaged women raise fully engaged children.
  • Women who value their own creativity are advocates for others, for children and the planet.

They are citizens of the world operating from the power centers of their kitchens, studios, laundry rooms and boardrooms. Empowered, creative and voiced women carry hope for the future for, “in the realm of our imagination we begin to manifest a new reality”. As activists seeking equal representation, as mothers seeking full expression of our experience, as women seeking equal pay as our gifted male colleagues, we find, through our creativity, a super highway to a productive and healthy life.

In Tara Mohr’s Playing Big, she speaks of women who find satisfaction in both raising families and in their professional lives, women who defy the cultural norm of motherhood as overwhelming and wearing, an effort hardly worthy of contentment or a resource for insight. Tara writes that when a woman rests in the goodness of her motherhood and her professional life, she transgresses this cultural expectation. This new ground of a woman “declaring her enoughness about herself and her life” is where the power of Out of the Mouths of Babes resides. We are all extracting ourselves from the expectation Brené Brown speaks of, where if we don’t make motherhood look easy and fine, we generate discomfort for everyone who counts on us to carry that weight. Women are moving in to a new paradigm with their partners and families, finding new ways to manage time, responsibilities and their creative expression. One of the fruits of this labor is Out of the Mouths of Babes.

Gloria Steinem has a wish for the future that births in us daily is:

“My wish for women is to tell their stories.”

We do this every year at the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers and in this ongoing blog series.

Today, I offer you a gift from the women of Out of the Mouths of Babes. Please enjoy this very short movie and consider the question at the end. Leave me a comment here; share this work with your people. Gather round this warm fire of women caught in the act of making while they mother.

The Permission Slip from Suzi Banks Baum on Vimeo.


Here are views of

March 7, 2015

Dewey Memorial Hall   Sheffield, MA

The Village: Who Else is Here as You Mother?

  Intrigued? Have something to offer?

Out Blog Series Submission Guidelines 2015. Please add your voice to this conversation on Laundry Line Divine.

The Women of Out of the Mouths of Babes and the Permission Slip:

See Terry Wise’s paintings here.
Listen to Terri Bocklund’s music here.
Ingrid Wendt’s poetry is here.
See Lynnette Lucy Najimy’s work here.
Read more of Janet Reich Elsbach here.
Leigh Strimbeck is in a play here.
Rachel Seigel is in this play.
Serene Mastriani created this radio show.
Amy Dryansky’s blog is here.
Linda Jackson blogs here.
Sarah Hains DiFazio blogs here.
Nichole Dupont’s work is all over, but go here for her blog.
Ursula Kern teaches the Art Table in the Pasing section of Munich, Germany.
Tania Pryputniewicz recently published November Butterfly here.
Tracee Vetting Wolf offers creativity coaching and her paintings here.
Mandy Thompson offers her paintings and the best short videos here.
Lori Landau offers her meditation classes and art work here.
Karen Arp-Sandel offers her paintings and classes here.
Laurie May Coyle is a creativity coach, teacher and facilitator here.
Annabelle Coote has a new blog about movement here.
Camille Roos shows her paintings here.
Rose Tannenbaum’s paintings are here.
Christina Rahr Lane’s photographs are here.
Jennifer Currie’s paintings are here.
Jennifer Gandin Le’s blog is here.
Anni Crofut’s jewelry is here.
Pippa Best’s amazing tribe, Story of Mum is here.
Amy Thompson’s writing is here.
Monica Devine’s writing and photographs are here.

  • Thelma Zirkelbach

    I’d love to contribute, especially on creativity.

  • Suzi

    Terrific Thelma, I will contact you by email. Thank you for reading. I look forward to sharing your wit and insight with the readers of Laundry Line Divine. xoxo S

  • Karen Arp-Sandel

    Looking forward to blogging away.I’d like to answer some of those probing questions you pose! Great Collage SBB!
    Yes, a woman’s creativity feeds her soul!
    I’ll take seconds on that one!
    mmm, karen

  • Suzi

    Maybe that is a line for our letterpress date? I will talk to you about possible dates for your guest blogpost. xoxoxo Love, S

  • Jennifer Gandin Le

    Happy, happy, happy! And welcome to this new space on the internet. It feels so good already, with that exquisite balancing act of a collage at the top. I feel completely lost in the midst of my first year of mothering, mostly out of touch with the comfortable forms of creativity I love, but I would love to try my hand at putting words to this experience, if you’ll have me.

  • mary

    You are brilliant, Sister Suzi. This whole page, your own manifesto here written. I am honored to know and love you!

  • Suzi

    Terrific news to hear your enthusiasm, Mary. I am so happy to feel the momentum of this project and here at the Laundry Line. I am thrilled to love you too- over the moon and back again, S

  • Suzi

    Texy, as you know, you are my sought after guest blogger, if all you have to offer is a short list of your desires…which, upon writing, would open the valves of your creativity in an instant. Thank you for expressing so clearly what it is that occurs with the arrival of our beloved families and the changes that occur. xoxox Love and hugs, S

  • monica Devine

    I would love to offer a blog post. Nearing sixty, I feel I have come full circle from a full inclusion in women’s rights issues of the 60’s & 70’s, to current involvement with the oppression of women today in developing countries. Of great interest to me at present is how women in post-war torn countries heal: Where “talking therapy” fails, storytelling and dance and creating art are creating bridges to forgiveness and empowerment. There is great hope.

  • Lori Landau

    Suzi, as you might imagine, I would LOVE to guest blog here. you know what I (like) to write about: the liminal place where creativity and consciousness meet–the limitless realm of creative spirit where labels (mother, artist, writer, yogi etc). fall away and we just dive in and co-create along with divine spirit……..happy to write about any of the above–from the specifics: how I nurture my own creativity every single day (along with mothering)–to the esoteric philosophical tenets of creativity and consciousness……..

  • Marilyn

    You are my hero! ~_~

  • Suzi

    Right back to you my Marilyn! So glad you are here with me. Love, Suzi

  • Suzi

    Yup, readers of this blog will soon be graced with some of Lori’s brilliance! Keep your eyes on the Out of the Mouths of Babes page. Thank you Lori! Love, Suzi

  • Julia Warr

    Please DO include “My Friend Maia”.

  • Lori Landau

    just saw this reply to my offer, Suzi–I’m so already “percolating” and refining ideas for my guest blog–can’t wait to share my own personal connection to this dynamic dyad: merging creativity and motherhood! thanks for all you to do help boost my own practice!

  • Berry

    Hey Suzi, thanks for visiting my site and your comments on my blog. I love what you’re saying here and ADORE Gloria Stenheim – that’s one stylish 77 year old lady!
    Congratulations on providing a space for women’s stories and creative lives.
    I look forward to reading more of your work.

  • Suzi

    Dear Berry, Welcome to the Laundry Line. We will string a piece of cotton rope between here and OZ for you to hang things on. So glad to have you here. Love, Suzi

  • Suzi

    YES! Love and thanks to you Julia, S

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  • http://! Cheryl Paley

    I wrote for 5 years for International Family Magazine on single, adoptive parenting. Would love to be a part of this!

  • Suzi

    Can’t wait for your blog post Cheryl. Love, S

  • Susan Hajec

    I’d love to submit on this great topic.

  • barbara stanny

    Wow! You did a fabulous job with this site. I LOVE it. I really feel your loving energy in every word. And I’d love to contribute or support you/this site anyway I can. This is awesome.

    Well done honey.
    Barbara Stanny

  • sandra mattucci

    ‘Delighted’ in being ‘present ‘ at the Festival of Women Writers at Simon’s Rock College of Bard. The muse stirred in me listening to the gift ‘mothers’ had to share. It awakened in this single woman again & again…not able to birth yet birthing the creative child within only now through my soulful artistry and the breaking open of the Divine story that dwells in ‘all’ of us~~~
    “Thank YOU Suzi…U R gift”

  • Keith Emerling

    What an fantastically rich inner landscape. A completely bewildering and raw expression. Alana’s new book is beautiful. I especially related to all the talk about food (who can blame me ;~ ) including Janet’s Raisin & Porpoise. Deeply intimate personal experiences and amazing writing and reading by all. Truely a humbling measure of craft!

  • Jimmy Lawrence

    A lovely, rich evening Suzi!
    Love the blog, fab-u-lous!
    Skyrockets of praise to all who opened up the books of their hearts and souls and read them out to us the other night at Mouths of Babes. We really loved it! (Too many exclamation points Jim; chill, as the kids say, Dude.)
    I wish my daughters (Jamie in LA, Bridget in Istanbul) could have been there to bathe in the cool waters of all you women and your strong, clear, radiant voices. So uplifting, ultimately humanizing, and in answer to your call for sharing a creative moment from today, here’s mine!
    I talked with my daughter in LA on the phone for half an hour and shared with her how much we had enjoyed the event the other night. That’s always been a big part of my creative parenting/ partnership with both of them, now 32 and 34. I’ve taken its evolution, our relationship I mean, very seriously; from the day they were born. It will never be over. We are always growing in our creative regard for each other. She writes, sings, dances, makes videos, edits them: the whole package, yet is fundamentally sweet, kind, loving, self-aware, independent but gentle of heart, and so talented. She belongs in the Berkshires!
    The creativity in talking with her was in how we honor each other’s…creativity! We share what we’re working on, give each other encouragement to push through the self doubts and fears, tell each other it’s alright, and remind each other (and ourselves) to take it one day at a time.
    It’s a work in progress.
    A magnum opus.
    The best novel/poem/screenplay any of us will ever write, and the plot is so simple! — How to love the soul that flew into that body you created with someone you loved, and how to grow and water and celebrate that soul every day for all your days. Sounds like a self-help psychobook. Why not? We’re all Masters of our own learning. Sharing what we’ve learned is the PhD.
    I love the story of me and my girls. And like a good Saturday matinee, it’s never going to end until we take that next door north, and even then it just shifts, like wheat from dawn to dusk, from seed to chaff, to nourish in unimaginable new ways the Great Mystery.
    That’s my creation for today, and the one that informs the center of my existence: that I have these wonderful children to love utterly, completely, joyfully and simply every single day of my life, and that it’s all still so miraculous to me.

  • Suzi

    Thank you Jimmy. Your words are clear nutrition to me today. Thank you so much. I look forward to seeing you around the Festival this month! Love, S

  • Suzi

    xo Thank you for all your support Keith! Love, Suzi Subscribe to LLD and you can be registered in the next drawing for Alana’s book! xo S

  • Miranda

    Wow. How is it possible that we are only just now meeting each other? Thank you, interwebs, for this most fabulous connection. And thank YOU, Suzi, for this important work.

  • Jenn

    love the blog, and love the collage above – amazing. I work a lot with collage, but never do stuff that’s so imaginative and transformative. thanks for the inspiration.

  • Suzi

    I am looking forward to your blog posts here Jenn. Perhaps someday we will be together and spark off of each other’s work? xo S

  • Gwendolyn

    This is a beautiful project. Love Maya Angelou’s quote. I hope BRIDGE can be involved in some way!

  • Ann Marie

    Thank you for Mothers Reading to Others on March 1 as the opening to the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. I had deep belly laughs (“Eat dirt, for all I care!”) and shared the pain of Jenny Laird’s image of love shining like the crescent moon. Thank you for hosting such a classy event.

  • Kyusoku Bihaku

    creativity to make life brighter! thank you

  • joannethiemehuffman

    I so totally agree with you about the importance, value and need for creative expression.

  • jbrowdy

    I can’t wait for this event–what a perfect way to kick off our monthlong Berkshire Festival of Women Writers!

  • Lorrin Krouss

    After a winter that will not quit and with so much snow, ice, freezing temperatures and wind, we here in the Berkshires are so ready for the warmth and love radiated from the “Out of the Mouths”… event.

  • Suzi Banks Baum

    What a great night! What wonderful, deep, brave words were spoken by all. More photos and a blog post to follow….just gotta unpack my car first. xo S

  • Lin

    Hi Susie! I loved your blog piece; Motherhood and Creativity and the Ted for Women clip with Gloria Steinnam. I was creative today by having my dear friend and sister writer Eva over for lunch. We get together monthly to talk about our lives, kids and whatever else needs talkin,
    and then we share about our writing… what we’re working on and what support we need to keep writing. Yummm. I feel so nourished.
    The quiche was good too!

  • Suzi Banks Baum

    Oh Lin, this is great news. I am so happy to know you share your bright light with others. And that your meetings are monthly, even better! Thank you for offering us this peek in to your day! xo S

  • JulieJordanScott2

    I love love love this line! “Fully engaged women raise fully engaged children” So very true, proven over and over again in my life with my kidlets who are now fast racing into being adultlets. :-)

  • Brenna

    Wonderful! And full of wonder. The video came out perfectly. Thank you for the good work of connection that you do. xoxoxo

  • Heather Ash

    This video makes me want to make something! Write, draw, paint, craft, take photographs! Thank you for the inspiration.

  • Suzi Banks Baum

    Yippee Heather. Thank you. Take a look at the submission guidelines for our blog series also on this page. I would love to host a post of yours here Heather. After you do a bit of that painting or photographing, let those be illustrations- SHOW us what permission looks like! xoxoxoS PS Okay. I think you just gave me the theme for the next batch of posts…..”This is what permission looks like”….xoxoxoS

  • Heather Ash

    That sounds good! I’m feeling inspired… I love your idea for your next batch of posts.

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