Book details

The Essential Hip Mama

Writing from the Cutting Edge of Parenting

Edited by Ariel Gore

About the Book

It’s been over a decade since Ariel Gore, in a caffeine-induced brainstorm, invented Hip Mama as her senior project in college. The zine that has grown up alongside Gore’s daughter, has covered subjects from weaning to home schooling with a political edge and a puckish sense of humor. The Essential Hip Mama captures the heart of a decade’s worth of earthy, honest, soulful parenting—and topics from circumcision to dating, abortion to the (mistaken) belief that “mothers don’t fart.” Gore has gathered in one volume the whispers and conversations heard in homes, on playgrounds, and in coffeehouses around the country. Reassuring and hopeful, The Essential Hip Mama is a brilliant testament that one becomes an “expert” simply through the act of mothering, echoing Gore’s own words, “Whenever I’ve needed parenting advice, I’ve put out a call for submissions.” This paperback original offers the most hilarious and heart-wrenching essays from ten years of this quintessential alternative-parenting bible.

About the Author

Ariel Gore is the founder and editor of Hip Mama and author of The Hip Mama Survival Guide; The Mother Trip; Atlas of the Human Heart; Whatever, Mom; and co-editor of the anthology Breeder. She lives with her family in Portland, Oregon.


“Hip Mama explores the real stuff of parenting with a proper recognition of the ambiguity of it all—and plenty of love and humanity.”—Utne Reader

Table of Contents

Part One: Nobody Said it Would Be Like This
Ain’t No Bowl of Cherries by Judy Smith
"You’re the Stupidest Mommy in the World and I Hate You!" by Christine Malcolm
Mothers Don’t Fart: Kitchen Sink Insurrection by Laura Allen Sandage
News Flash: This is Your Brain, This is Your Brain Without Gravity
The Ideal Candidate to Raise My Child by Ingrid Block
The Baby Bank by Kathy Briccetti-Clark
News Flash: Get a Grip, Mama
51 Harassment St. by Janice Wood
Northern Mama by Sara Crangle
Ask Yo Mama: You have questions, She has answers!
Anonymous Was a Mother by Anonymous
Editorial: Why Get Pregnant?
Letters to the Editor

Part Two: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Mom
Motherhood: The Ultimate Creative Prompt by Soo Young Lee
I Shouldn’t Feel This Guilt by Jillian Brady
How I Became a Cartoonist by Katherine Arnoldi
News Flash: Ironing Boards Found to be Obsolete
Babe in the ‘Burbs by Wendy Suzanne
A Case for the Countryside by Leslie Gore
News Flash: Pop Music Good for Studies
Motoring with Mary: Molly Gove interviews Mary Water
10 Ways to Have Fun for Under $2: Advice From the Edge by Wendy Dutton
Letters to the Editor

Part Three: Transitions
Pregnant Again by Susan Ito
I Don’t Wanna be a Mother Anymore! by Opal Palmer Adisa
Widows I Have Known by Miriam Sagan
So You’re Trying for the Girl??? by Kathryn Reiss
News Flash: Barbie Gets a Makeover
Weaning Sucks by Keely Eastley
The Other Day When I Was Poor by Maia Swift, age 7
Been Around the Block by Bill Donahue
Turning by Annaliese Jakimides
News Flash: Grandmother of 15 Gives Birth to Triplets
Surviving Step-Motherhood by Ann Berry
Another Train (Uncertain Destinations) by Jillian Brady
What this Mama Wants by Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner
Letters to the Editor

Part Four: Looking For Love
Personals Muriel Johnson
The Dating Game Spike Gillespie
News Flash: The Statisticians Start to Wonder
I Can’t Figure Out How Passion Works: Melancholy in the Age of Recovery Annie Downey
Single Moms OK
Murder of a Jumping Bean by Girl-Mom Anne-Marie Keene
News Flash: Gyration Inspector Needed
Letting Go Yantra Bertelli
There Oughta Be A Law... American Sex Laws Currently On The Books
Letters to the Editor

Part Five: The Parental is Political
Yo Mama for President
News Flash: Right to Bear a Nose Stud
How to Raise a Draft Dodger: Leslie Gore Interviews Utah Philips
Abortion after Motherhood Julie Bowles
Just Lock ‘em Up
How the God Squad and the Right-Wingers Intend to Mess You and Your Family All Up Yo Mama
I am Your Welfare Reform Annie Downey
News Flash: Stats to Lie By
Moms Just Wanna Get Paid Lucinda Marshall
With Liberals Like These Editorial
Saying No to Circumcision: How Hunter Convinced Me to Quit Performing Circumcisions Dr. Barry Brown
Ohio Judge gets a Clue
Letters to the Editor

Part Six: Faith & Irreverence: UnVirgin Births
Road Revelations by Nanci Olesen
Hip Mama Asks: Got Faith?
News Flash: PBS Gives Voice to New Age Demons
The Spirituality of Cleaning by Maria Doss
A Patron Saint of Housewives
Sentences That Have Actually Appeared in Church Bulletins
Looking for Answers: The Virgin Birth by Laura Allen Sandage
A Close Encounter With Nina Hagen: Kimberly Bright interviews Nina Hagen
News Flash: Universe Running Away with Itself
A Woman Named Mary by Nanci Olesen
Letters to the Editor

Part Seven Lineage
Mama Said (the best and worst advice we ever got from our mothers)
More than Plastic Sushi by Susan Ito
Hip Mama Asks: What’s Your Lineage?
Newsflash: People Came from Nowhere
How to Make Ariel’s Childhood Thanksgiving Dinner by Eve DeBona
Grandma is Old and Has White Hair by Geraldo Valerio
How Did You Find Me? By Shelley