We moms love to bond over how motherhood has irrevocably changed our lives -- mostly for the better, of course, but with some notable exceptions involving high quality sleep, a narrow waistline and the ability to accept spontaneous social invitations.
If you're a mom who also misses her art and culture (and you're just not feeling it when you schlep the kids to Disney On Ice) -- you really must check out Mom Culture, created and curated by TwitterMom of the Week Lenore Moritz.
Lenore, 39, a married mom of two young boys (3-1/2 and 1-1/2) now living in Minneapolis, says the idea for Mom Culture first struck when her older son was three months old, and she'd taken him to a "moms & movies" event.
"It didn’t matter what the film was, I was just psyched to have the chance to see an entire film," says Lenore, who grew up in Clarks Summit (just outside of Scranton), Pennsylvania -- a two-hour drive to both Philadelphia and New York. "On my way home, I decided I needed to figure out a way to get culture in my life on a regular basis. I’d always loved to go to museums, see concerts, films, dance, etc. and I didn’t want to have to give this up as a parent. I wanted to find a way to be both things at once -- mom and culture lover."
Four months later, Mom Culture was born -- Lenore hosted her first live event when her son was seven months old.
"The goal is to bring moms their culture fix," says Lenore. "I want to make culture and arts easy and accessible to anyone who wants and needs that in their lives. The tagline is 'a culture fix for your inner grown up' -- it’s about filling the piece of you that needs to engage in things that are for You, the Grown-Up. I’m a firm believer that creativity -- whether you’re doing it or observing it -- brings us more energy, creativity and productivity in our own lives."
Mom Culture makes the arts accessible to parents in three ways: online at www.momcultureonline.com; through live events such as dance performances, docent-led museum tours and concerts in the Twin Cities area (which have amassed a huge following); and via the web Gallery, where members of the Mom Culture community can share their own creative work.
Online, you'll find entertaining and intelligent Q&A's with artists in a variety of fields, such as dance, photography, writing, film, music and visual arts, along with video samplers and photos. Lenore gains access to artists usually "just by asking," and says the vast majority have been enthusiastic about being interviewed, especially when they hear about Mom Culture's mission.
In past weeks, Lenore has featured interviews with Tom Slaughter, a Warhol-inspired visual artist and designer whose work has been seen in children's books as well as the Whitney Museum and Museum of Modern Art; Alec Soth, one of the country's most highly regarded photographers; and Kaitlyn Gilliland of the New York City Ballet -- who last year danced the coveted role of the Sugarplum Fairy in the NYCB's production of The Nutcracker.
Mom Culture live events have gained the attention of several Twin Cities media outlets, including Minnesota Public Radio, which recently featured an exclusive performance of the Minnesota Opera -- just for the parents, toddlers and babies who make up Mom Culture's local community. Listen here:
"Who are you REALLY?" Questions & Answers:
What's been your proudest professional moment so far?
"When a mom came to me at an event and told me that the events were filling the void she’d been feeling since becoming a mom -- that’s exactly why I’m doing Mom Culture, because I have the same need. I need culture in my life and am thrilled to share my finds with others who also feel culture-starved. It’s also really great to see repeat moms at the events and loyally following Mom Culture Online -- when they come back I know it’s resonating with them."
What makes your heart sing?
"A warm, sunny day... especially a sunny day at a beach."
What drives you crazy?
"Pretentiousness and a sense of entitlement."
What bores you to tears?
"Someone who complains but doesn’t try to find any solutions."
If you had a day alone -- without kids and without guilt -- what would you do? Where would you go if money were no object?
"Assuming I could get there in one day and still have time to do something, I’d fly to Hawaii (is anything more gorgeous than that place?!) and spend time on the beach and getting lots of spa treatments."
How does your family spend time together?
"Playdoh and reading books are big favorites. Dance party always makes its way into every day -- there’s nothing funnier than seeing my 1-1/2 year old dance... there’s not one part of his body that’s not fully into it. My 3-1/2 year old and I like to bake together -- a great winter activity when we have loads of time indoors."
Food: Wood-fired pizza; chocolate, most any form
Film: "Borat" (love what Sacha Baron Cohen can get away with!); "Play It Again, Sam" (Woody Allen)
TV show: "Mad Men"
Book: Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Downtime: Doing the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle
Sound: When my kids say “i love you”
Lea Curtes-Swenson is a happy, Twin Cities-based freelance copywriter and married mom of two girls. Find her at Lea Writes and Lea's Blogging Life. (Happy Holidays, TwitterMoms!)