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Fifth annual Listen to Your Mother event returns to St. Louis

By: Bonnie Krueger

A foster mom. A minister mom. A gay mom. A stepmom. These are just four of 14 cast members who will give motherhood a microphone in two shows at the 5th annual Listen to Your Mother event on Saturday, May 13 at St. Luke’s Institute for Health Education in Chesterfield. Their words – poignant, real and raw – will make audience members laugh, cry and feel inspired.

The St. Louis 2017 cast of Listen to Your Mother.

Listen to Tiffany Hoeckelman, whose journey to motherhood was through infertility and then the foster care system. Her story shares her struggle of being stuck in the middle of the foster care system and learning how to balance loving a child who has two families. In “The Mother I Thought I’d Never Be,” Hoeckelman sprinkles an emotional journey with laughter and shares how she forged a relationship with her son’s biological parents.

“Infertility stinks, but it’s not the end and despite all the horrible foster care stories out there, it isn’t always that bad,” Hoeckelman says. “An unexpected branch has been grafted to our family tree.”

Listen to Lauren Drummond, a journalist turned Christian minister, who cofounded The MERCY Project to encourage racial reconciliation for the sake of today’s children and future generations.  MERCY stands for Mothers Encouraging Racial Compassion in our Youth.

In “I Won’t Let Your Fear Block My Son!,” Drummond tackles the challenges associated with raising black sons in St. Louis.

“In my own personal journey and struggle in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death, it became painfully clear to me that my path for mothering my two sons, ages 11 and 14, would be much different than that of my white West County friends. I also discovered that some of those same people would rather keep their heads in the sand than talk about racism,” Drummond shares.

On a lighter note, Rebecca Linz O’Laughlin shares a funny piece about a serious current topic – the “two mommy” family. Rebecca is married to Carolyn. Together, they are raising their two young sons and dealing with society’s misconceptions and misunderstandings of their family life.

“My story is called ‘Mama and Turkey,’ and it’s a humorous piece about the different names my children have called my wife and me throughout the years,” said O’Laughlin. “It’s also a reflection on the similarities many families share despite superficial differences.”

Amy Latta tells a funny, bittersweet story about being a stepmom, in her story “On Being A Good S’Mom.”

Listening to Amy, audiences hear a touch of humor, a touch of heart, and a thought-provoking point of view. Going into the stepmom role, expectations versus reality means making mistakes and asking forgiveness, often of yourself.

“As a mom, there are tons of memes about parenting fails and we joke about hiding in the closet, etc. But stepmoms don’t have that luxury,” says Latta. “It’s assumed that we are mean and admitting mistakes just reinforces that.  My story is about me admitting my mistakes, as well as my intense love in being my stepdaughter’s s’mom.”

To purchase tickets for the 11 a.m. or 3 p.m. show on Saturday, May 13, visit www.listentoyourmothershow.com/stlouis. Always a charity event, this year, a portion of the ticket sales goes to The Missouri Eating Disorder Association, which brings hope, compassion and education to the fight against this deadly disease.

Listen to Your Mother is sponsored by St. Luke’s Hospital, West Newsmagazine, Pirate Pictues, Photography by Layne, DIBA Shoes Outlet Store, OneLegacy.com, Valenti’s Market & Catering Co., Kathy Wiesman Photo Story Video, The Cup, D24 Printing, Girls in the Know, Vintage Vinyl, Brain Dead & Cooking, Kranzberg Art Center, A Votre Sante, The Wolf Cafe, Trickle Down Happiness, The Elegant Child Early Learning Center, kidzxplor and Vicky Shrum Insurance Services.

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