Writing the next chapter as Mojo Mom

My mind has been churning for about six months now, grappling with the question of “what’s next as Mojo Mom?” It has been such a big question that I have hardly been able to write about it yet. I tried to take the summer off but in the process, family caregiving duties became very intense and refused to let up. We don’t always get to choose. (This entire experience opens my eyes to the fact that the illusion of choice is magnified to a blinding glare in our society.) I will write more about that specific issue another time–while I could probably write a book about elder caregiving, honestly, I don’t want to.

The issue of what’s next has come to a head for me, and, I suspect, other writers who started out five years ago or more as “Mom bloggers.” Today I joined in a very interesting talk about The Future of the Mom Blogosphere on The Motherhood.com where I posed my defining question and first reaction:

What happens to Mom bloggers when the kids grow up? What does that feel like, and how do we write next chapters?

Since I have been blogging for about 7 years, life has really changed for me. I have always written about motherhood in the big picture more than my family stories. But even the 10,000 foot view of what it means to be a Mojo Mom looks very different as the mother of a Middle Schooler rather than a toddler. Interesting times–definitely lots to write about. Both of us are getting ready to head out in new directions.

So far there are almost 20 comments in reply, so I felt I had hit a nerve with the question. You can still read the archived chat and even add your perspective there, or here on my blog, of course.

A couple more thoughts for now: one of the first signs that this issue could be a global phenomenon among a certain “generation” of Moms came to me from talking to Karen Maezen Miller, whose fabulous first book was Momma Zen. She could have ridden that wave for a long time, but as a Zen priest her newest writing, her memoir Hand Wash Cold, shows her naturally gravitating more toward Zen and less specifically toward Momma.

Karen’s daughter and mine are almost exactly the same age, so Karen and are hitting similar stages of motherhood at the same time. If you have not hit “age 11” yet, it’s a trip. They are still kids, yet grown up in ways I could not imagine, and ready to learn so much, and be independent if we can just let them and teach them how to be safe in the world.

Last month, on her blog, Karen wrote more about her daughter Georgia and also reads out loud the Last Chapter from Momma Zen. Karen makes me smile because she reminds me that the Last Chapter is also the First Chapter, the Next Chapter.

So please know that I am incubating the Next Chapter of Mojo Mom. It may come in a form that is slightly surprising, but not unexpected for anyone who has been following my path as a writer. I will give you a hint that tells you a lot about me: I see myself as a writer who aspires to be not Dr. Benjamin Spock, who wrote a parenting column into his eighties (hat tip to Melissa Stanton in Courageous Parents, Confident Kids for that fact), but rather I would like to be more like Gail Sheehy, who wrote Passages in the 1970’s, and many more books on the seasons of life, up to this year’s Passages in Caregiving. (Both authors’ paths are valid. I can just feel it I my bones that I am more of a “write the book I need to read now” kind of writer. Both Spock and Sheehy reached the top level of writing success in their own ways. I should be as lucky!)

I have a good idea of what the next chapter will be, and it is developing in my mind like a Polaroid Picture. I hope to be ready to share more details with you soon.

I am interested for you to tell me, what are your major turning points as a mother right now? What makes you feel differently about life and writing?