Samantha Parent Walravens
Inspired by her four children, intrepid journalist Samantha Parent Walravens put out a call for submissions for “true stories from the trenches of modern motherhood.” Thousands of essays poured in from women from all walks of life exploring the conflict between “the need to nurture and the need for work.” Walravens carefully selected 47 sparkling essays by writers, teachers—even a soldier who fought in Iraq—and compiled the simultaneously poignant and hilarious Torn: True Stories of Kids, Career and the Conflict of Modern Motherhood.
The real-life stories of the women in Torn range from low moments to the exhilarating high points of motherhood. Some share the inevitable challenges and crises that life brings ,from battles with cancer, lost jobs and broken marriages to the heartbreak of infertility and lots of “bad mommy” moments. Other stories play up Dora the Explorer, Heidi Klum, and pink Post-it umbrellas.
These stories exemplify women who feel torn between the desire to achieve and the expectation to selflessly serve those around them. “Torn highlights the experiences of a variety of mothers today who are trying their best to harmonize family life and employment in a world where a balance struck either way is risky,” Walravens explains. “One of the key messages of Torn is that there isn’t a right or wrong way to ‘do’ motherhood. As women, we have far more to gain by joining forces to help one another.”
Joining forces became reality when The New York Times writer and Motherlode blogger Lisa Belkin featured Torn as the first selection for her Motherlode Book Club, choosing it as an ideal book to set off extensive discussions on her parenting blog. A posted video chat between Belkin and Walravens rounds off the conversational component of Torn. As Belkin proposed to her readers, “[Torn] is filled with the voices of women trying to solve an impossible equation, all doing the best they can. All of them have one thing in common — they have all compromised. Whether theirs is a compromise they can live with is the central question.”
The Huffington Post praised Torn as “A fascinating look at Mothering 2.0. In Torn, a new generation of mothers explores the delicate balancing act of work and family life with intelligence, wit, and candor.” Torn was chosen by New York Times parenting columnist, Lisa Belkin, as the first selection in her “Motherlode Bookclub.”“Torn is filled with the voices of women trying to solve an impossible equation, all doing the best they can,” says Belkin.
Samantha Parent Walravens is an award-winning journalist, writer and mother of four children to whom she dedicated Torn. She was an editor for PC World magazine, where she wrote on business and technology, before leaving journalism to chase the “Internet dream” in the mid-90s. She has since returned to her true passion, writing, and has authored articles on topics including politics, business, lifestyle and women’s issues. Torn is her first published book. She can be found online at http://samanthawalravens.com/main/
Photographed above, the author with contributors and members of Big City Moms at a New York City launch event.