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Motherhood Capture’s Nation’s Attention

It used to be that nobody gave a rat’s patooty about the daily grind of motherhood. After all, nothing’s glamorous about changing poopy diapers, crawling on the floor in search of a pacifier in the middle of the night, scrubbing crayon off walls, and accidentally packing a pomegranate wine cooler in a child’s lunch box. Besides, only a mom can truly appreciate the talents of another woman who simultaneously cradles an infant in one arm, pushes a double stroller filled with shopping bags in the other hand, and squeezes a cell phone between her shoulder and ear without spilling her chai tea latte.

Nowadays, the subject of raising children is considered entertaining. Tabloids practically follow the fertility cycles of Hollywood moms like Angelina Jolie and Katie Holmes, who, by the way, make play dates in the park look hip and sexy. Having kids used to be considered a career setback for moms, but little tykes actually can boost the status of a movie star. Just ask Tori Spelling, who went from has-been teenage soap opera actress to author of “Mommywood.”

Another well-known mom capitalizing on her fallopian tubes is Nadia Suleman, who recently gave birth to octuplets and now wants to trademark her coined name “Octomom” for a television show and new line of diapers. I can’t blame the 33-year-old single mother of 14. Day care and college are a fortune.

Perhaps the most influential mom to capture the nation’s fascination—but for much different reason—is First Lady Michelle Obama, who gets more publicity for her parenting skills and vegetable garden than her ambitious political agenda to equalize rights for women in the workforce. This Ivy League graduated lawyer has the chutzpah to hug the Queen at Buckingham Palace, but her efforts to strengthen global alliances don’t compare to how “Mom in Chief” lays down the law at home. As you may have heard, her daughters Sasha and Malia make their own beds, and the family actually eats dinner together whenever possible. During the Obama dinner hour, they play a game called “Roses and Thorns,” in which they share with each other the best and worst parts of their day. Now that’s true diplomacy.

So motherhood has officially hit the main stream, and now the big screen, thanks to Dr. Laura Schlessinger, better known as “Dr. Laura.” As America’s most listened to female radio talk show host, she is also the most controversial one. (She still considers herself Jewish even though she renounced her affiliation with Orthodox Judaism back in 2003, but that’s another story altogether). Coming to a theatre near you is a new stage performance called “Dr. Laura Live! In Praise of Mom,” which originates May 5 from the Irvine Barclay Theatre in Irvine, California. The 1-hour, 40 minute presentation will be simulcast to more than 400 movie theatres around the country, including AMC Chesterfield and AMC Esquire. In the show, Dr. Laura recounts her transition from a powerhouse career woman to a fulfilled stay-at-home mom folding laundry.
An encore performance is scheduled for May 6 with show times at 7 p.m. on both days. Tickets are $20 (May 5) and $18 (May 6) and can be purchased at the theatre box office.

Moms are getting their share of attention on the small screen, too. In the new ABC sitcom “In the Motherhood” episodes are based on the hilarious real-life experiences of the viewers. In a recent scene divorced mom Jane, played by Cheryl Hines, locks herself out of the house with her crying baby inside. She jumps on a trampoline and tries to catapult herself through the second story window. Okay, so maybe the screenwriters use a little poetic license. In another vignette, the perfect stay-at-home mom Emily, played by Jessica St. Clair, tries to convince her husband and two kids that a “staycation” is just as much fun as a real vacation, only they don’t have to leave home. Everyone is miserable and bored when their backyard wading pool fails to inflate, so they end up taking a cruise anyway.

“The truth is better than stuff you could make up,” says executive producer Jennier Konner, who lives in California and has two tots of her own. “We like using (real stories). It makes our life easier.”

If the producers use your idea, by the way, your name is mentioned on the show, and that might be the gimmick “In The Motherhood” needs for a second season.

As you may recall, one of my own parenting adventures about a disastrous overnight camping trip was featured in the original “In The Motherhood” webisode series (March 2007), but so far Hollywood hasn’t come calling me again, at least not yet. That’s why I’m announcing a contest with my own readers and invite you to send me your funniest or most embarrassing parenting experience, and I’ll publish the best ones in my column. It can be anything: temper tantrums in the grocery store, colicky newborns, first words, homework hassles, carpool mayhem, juggling work schedules, whatever makes you laugh and cry at the same time.

“Mishegas of Motherhood” is the creation of Ellie S. Grossman, a St. Louis freelance writer and stay-at-home-mom who never stays home. Currently, she is dropping hints to her children about what she wants for Mother’s Day. You can reach her at ellie@mishegasofmotherhood.com or visit her website at www.mishegasofmotherhood.com.