Spend Mother’s Day with mom reading stories from ‘Tough Mothers’

Your mom is tough as nails.

The minute you were placed in her arms, she became your personal warrior, cheerleader, and banker. She remembers the good things you did and (sigh) the dumb things you tried. She pretends to forget why she ever gave you That Look. And in the new book “Tough Mothers” by Jason Porath, you’ll meet other women just like her.

Good old Mom.

Through the years, she’s worn many hats: nurse, playmate, disciplinarian, chauffer, chef, advisor. Without her, let’s face it, you wouldn’t have been born. Mom’s made you laugh, she’s made you cringe by living “fully, brashly, boldly” and, says Porath, “You are not alone.” In this book, you’ll read about other kids’ moms.

Take, for instance, Toronto mom Vera Peters, a cancer doctor who, in 1949, proved that new ways of treating breast cancer were better than the old ways. Male doctors didn’t want to believe her but once they finally did, Peters’ methods undoubtedly saved a lot of other mom’s lives.

Bella Abzug was a “wrecking ball of a human being,” says Porath, but some preferred to think of her as fierce. No doubt she was: even today, minorities, LGBT individuals, and women enjoy the fruits of Abzug’s work.

In first century China , Mother Lü’s son was killed by a corrupt government magistrate. No one would blame her for wanting revenge, but she didn’t get it immediately; instead, she turned to her neighbors with works of sweetness and charity. Of course, they became steadfastly loyal to her, took the stockpile of weaponry she’d amassed, and went to war against Lü’s enemies on her behalf.

Sojourner Truth became one of the first black women to successfully sue a white man in America . Susan La Flesche Picotte built a hospital for the Omaha nation that opened in 1913; not long afterward, she died there of bone cancer. Aborigine Molly Craig walked across Australia twice: once, carrying her sisters away from a government “concentration camp” and once, carrying her daughter. And despite being beaten, arrested, and jailed, Fannie Lou Hamer marched…

When you first pick up “Tough Mothers,” don’t let yourself be confused. Yes, it looks every bit like something you’d read to a six-year-old, but don’t: this is no butterflies-and-unicorns princess book. As author Jason Porath asserts in his introduction, the majority of what you’ll read here is absolutely for a mature audience.

Indeed, you’ll want to brace yourself (and warn Mom!) if you’re the sensitive sort: Porath recounts violent tales of war and cruelty, death and abuse, outrageous laws and senseless loss throughout the centuries, and some of it is cringe-worthy. To the good, though, and to be fair, this is well-researched, historical information; it’s tempered with humor; and Porath warns his readers with color-coded indications of what’s to come.

Get this book for yourself and loan it to Mom — although you may never get it back. Between the incredible illustrations, the laughs inside, and Mom Tales you’ll eat up, “Tough Mothers” is a book you’ll both sink your nails into.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Life

Local scouts greet attendants at the Renton First United Methodist Church on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. Photo courtesy of Patrick Montemerlo.
Local scouts celebrate big milestones

Scouts in Boy Scouts of America celebrated Scout Sunday, a national opportunity… Continue reading

Luis Hernandez. Courtesy of Renton Schools
He didn’t care much for class until his teacher encouraged his photography

Local Renton student’s photographs featured in exhibit in Spain

Courtesy of Armondo Pavone.
“I’m enjoying all of it”

Pavone speaks on his first weeks as mayor

PHOTO BY HALEY AUSBUN
Tommy the Turtle returns

Historic, interactive art placed at Kennydale Beach

Photo by Haley Ausbun. The International Lion Dance & Martial Arts Team performed in honor of Lunar New Year at the event, Jan. 28 at Renton Technical College 2020 Celebrity Chef event. RTC President Kevin McCarthy and Advanced Sommelier Christopher Chan participated in the demonstration, offering heads of lettuce to the lions. The Lion Dance is meant to bring good luck.
A tasty Lunar New Year

Renton Technical College got a tasty start to the new year with… Continue reading

Casey Pearson, Natalie Schlappi and Oliver Taylor are Renton Rotary Club’s January 2020 Teachers of the Month.
Teachers of the Month for January

As part of their commitment to education, and to celebrate teachers in… Continue reading

Photo by Haley Ausbun. On Jan.22 about 60 St. Anthony’s students put together gift bags with school supplies for their sister school in Haiti, with the help of the WE and NFL Huddle for Good initiative. The schools connected after the devastating earthquake in Haiti killed a young missionary connected to the parish in Renton.
Students volunteer for sister school in Haiti

St. Anthony’s Parish works with WE, NFL for students

Photo courtesy of city of Renton. Council President Ruth Pérez speaks at Centro Rendu de San Vicente de Paul for the Reyes Magos event.
Census campaign joins Reyes Magos celebration

Members of Renton’s Hispanic community gathered Jan. 10 at Centro Rendu de… Continue reading

Photos courtesy of Renton School District.
                                Students across the district are hosting events, assemblies, celebrations of the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. Pictured are Benson Hill Elementary students reenacting lunch counter sit-ins and other Civil Rights actions against segregation. The district stated in a tweet that schools blend these activities into existing work to teach students history; Black scholars in math, science, medicine; segregation; race; and other topics of U.S. social and political climate.
Renton students honor Doctor King

Students across the district are hosting events, assemblies, celebrations of the life… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of Carol Kaelson. Christel Tucker, a Renton resident and flight attendant, stands at the wheel at Wheel of Fortune. Her episode airs Monday, Jan. 20.
Rentonite spins the wheel of her dreams

Local finds herself winning thousands on Wheel of Fortune

Photo courtesy of Patrick Dodd
                                Patrick Dodd and his father, Stan Dodd, at Hannegan Pass, Cooper Lake Trail. After Stan Dodd died in 2019, Patrick decided to dedicate 2020 to hiking and raising money to Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center.
He lost his dad, now he hikes for him

Local man turns to nature, blogging to fund cancer research

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Have you visited the Highlands new brewhouse? The new Bickersons Brewhouse opened on Nov. 9. Two months later, Jan. 9, business leaders and the Renton Chamber of Commerce celebrated its opening with a ribbon cutting, featuring owners Frank Castro and Shaunn Siekawitch. Go bicker with the “Bickersons” at 4710 NE Fourth St., Renton.
Ribbon cut for new Renton brewhouse

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Have you visited the Highlands new brewhouse? The… Continue reading