“The universal concepts of motherhood are of gentleness, self-sacrifice and unconditional love. And this is all true. But there is another part of motherhood that is just as vital — the primal, overwhelming desire to defend and fight for what is best for our children.”

That’s a quote from the essay that local writer Cindy Green will read this weekend as part of a several-woman show that examines motherhood in all its good, bad, funny, sad and powerhouse incarnations.

The performance, “Listen to Your Mother,” makes its Washington area debut Sunday at Synetic Theater in Arlington as part of the LTYM nationwide movement.

“Listen to Your Mother” was launched on Mother’s Day 2010 in Madison, Wis., by actress, writer and mother Ann Imig. She pulled together other mothers to read personal stories on stage. When the results were posted on YouTube, the audience grew, and other women began calling Imig to ask to stage similar performances in their cities.

The next year, the show was staged in four more cities, Los Angeles, Austin, Spokane and Valparaiso, Ind., and those performances were also posted to YouTube.

Here’s a clip from Imig’s reading in 2011. The essay was called “The 35th Trimester.”

That’s when “the whole thing just blew up. Suddenly everyone wanted to produce a ‘LTYM’ show in their city,” said Kate Hood, a DC blogger who is producing Sunday’s show.

The 14 women who will be reading in Crystal City were selected from 50 who auditioned. Many more wanted to.

Hood said the producing team, which includes director Stephanie Stearns Dulli, also a local blogger and mother, held open auditions but was so overwhelmed with applicants that it had to eventually close them.

Hood described the two days of listening to essays as both emotionally exhausting and enlightening. There were stories that were “so different from my own experience, and some that took my breath away with their familiarity.”

It was during the auditions that the producers heard Green and decided to organize the performance around the idea of mothers as “warriors.”

“We’ll present stories about the power of motherhood — of mothers as empowered people who fight for their families. Because that’s what we’re all doing, right?” Hood said.

“Even in our quiet everyday lives . . . sometimes a mother warrior just wants her toddler to eat one bite of peas.”

“Listen to Your Mother” will be performed Sunday, May 6, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Synetic Theater in Arlington. Tickets are $18. A portion of ticket sales will be donated to the Susan Niebur Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Fund. Find more information here.

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