'Listen to Your Mother' Performance Sunday in Crystal City

Patch chats with Stephanie Dulli, the Germantown, Md., blogger, writer and actress directing the Washington-area production of “Listen to Your Mother.” The show is 2 p.m. Sunday at the Synetic Theater in Crystal City.

Actress, stand-up comedian — In Los Angeles, Stephanie Dulli’s identity used to be clear.

“And then I had a baby,” said Dulli, who is a blogger, writer and stay-at-home mother.  At the moment, Dulli is directing a production of “Listen To Your Mother,” a series of monologues written and performed by blogging mothers.

The show is Sunday at the Synetic Theater at Crystal City.

Between play dates and rehearsals, Dulli chatted with Patch from her Germantown, Md., residence, where she spoke of motherhood and how blogging helped her redefine her identity, which she said was set adrift during her first pregnancy.

The performance is part of a national movement launched in 2010 by Wisconsin actress, writer and mom, Ann Imig. Similar LTYM performances are scheduled in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

The idea is to offer a cross-section of motherhood, as told through the voices of more than a dozen D.C.-area bloggers, according to the show’s producer Kate Coveny Hood.

“D.C.’s blogging community is really full of confident women who have a point of view,” Hood said. “Most of them aren’t writing about ‘this is what was going on in my house.’  They really have something to say.”

Dulli, who now has two young sons, is married to Zach Dulli, a Germantown native and actor who runs a nonprofit in Washington.

They left L.A. in 2008 seeking stability for their new family. The initial plan flopped. 

Zach took a job as an artistic director for a theater in Akron, Ohio, but the theater folded in 2009. Zach’s parents convinced the young couple to settle down in Germantown.

By the time her first child arrived, Stephanie was suffering from postpartum anxiety disorder and was having obsessive-compulsive thoughts. Everything about motherhood made her nervous, she said.

“Everything matters more,” Stephanie said. “I wonder what I ever worried about before. Everything is personal to me now. This world — I feel so much more connected to everything. We all have differences, but we all have children and want what’s best for them.”

Gradually, she eased into the blogosphere, having discovered a community of blogging moms. She credited blogging with helping her find her own identity.

“It’s so cool,” Stephanie said. “When we talk about education, you blink your eyes and you’re talking to the secretary of education. The stakes are so high here in D.C. But not only are we talking about what we’d like to make happen, were’ talking to the people who can make it happen.”

Few topics are off limits on Stephanie’s blog, Dial M for Minky. There is a range of lightheartedness and seriousness — messy food photos, scenes from White House Easter Egg Roll are fair game. She references the death of her father in a post about Trayvon Martin.

But she tries to keep her kids anonymous.

“My son is a character,” she said. “He’s so much like me. But I will never write anything that will embarrass him or another family member. But I will write about myself.”

Dulli said she gains mom-to-mom wisdom from her own mother, Dianna Stearns, who lives in Colorado.

Be safe, but not overcautious, Dulli said.

An assailant shot her father to death when she was 18 months old. “He kissed my mother goodbye and never came back,” Dulli said.

When Stephanie became a mom, she said took cues from her own mother, channeling “new mom” nervousness into positive messaging, like telling her son every night that she’s proud of him, not taking for granted being able to tell those you love that they are loved.

If you go …

What:  “Listen to Your Mother,” a performance of staged readings by blogging D.C.-area mothers.
When: 2 p.m. Sunday. The show is approximately 90 minutes.
Where:  Synetic Theater at Crystal City, 1800 South Bell St.
Cost: Tickets cost $18, plus processing fees if purchased online; a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Susan Niebur Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Fund
More: For more information go to ListenToYourMotherShow.com/dc


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