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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

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In Kids & Family

Mother Friday's Center Street home.

Mother Friday dishes up meaningful parent talk


For her first two years as a mother, Melissa Scherrer Paré lived in New Mexico, and other than a few mom friends, she had very little support.

"I didn't have any family to help and often found myself Googling late at night things like, 'what does it mean if your baby's poop is yellow?'" says Paré.

When she moved to Milwaukee in 2012, Paré was invited to be a part of a local online community board of mothers with over 1,000 very active members.

"This was very helpful to me, I could ask questions like, 'what is the best playground to take a 3-year-old?' and I would immediately get at least five responses," says Paré.

Paré believes that because so many parents don't live near family members, the need to communicate with other parents is more integral than ever and the internet has been a great resource for parents in the past 10 years.

"Discussions on the board often go beyond general baby product and health inquiries, moving into intimate tales of mothering experiences," says Paré.

Inspired by the online posts, Paré thought it would be interesting to hear these experiences as a talk radio show. She thought, perhaps, a radio program would generate more storytelling.

So, Paré asked the women in the online group if they would listen to a radio show for mothers.

"I got an overwhelming amount of 'yes' responses, and my co-host Isabella Gargiulo spoke up asking if she could help, wondering when could we get started," says Paré.

And just like that, "Mother Friday," a radio show by moms for moms, was launched.

Mother Friday airs every Friday night at 9 p.m. on Riverwest Radio, a web-based community radio station that operates out of Riverwest Film and Video, 824 E. Center St.

The station is run by volunteers and is currently in the process of getting an FM radio license. Programming airs from 3 to 11 p.m. daily. It is available to listen to through upstream, RSS or iTunes.

"If you ever walk down that block at night you'll see people in the window broadcasting a show. There are over 69 radio show producers involved; the shows are varied in content and the local Alderman has a show in which he talks about the Packers," says Paré.

There are usually 1-3 guests per show – a mix of local people and callers from other parts of the country.

"Our goal is to create a platform outside of mainstream media for parents to tell their stories, listen and learn from each other," says Paré.

The first show, which aired in summer 2013, was about body image after pregnancy. They invited local musician and mother, Lauryl Sulfate, to be a guest and the conversation went so well that she became a host, as well.

They recently interviewed the creator of Rad Dad magazine over the phone along with two of the producers of the performance series "Listen to Your Mother."

Locally, they talked with a single mom farmer with three kids living in Viroqua, a Milwaukee mother dentist who provided information about taking care of kids' teeth and a mom who lost both of her own parents right when she became a new mother, which was their most listened to show.

Paré says the three hosts all bring something different to the airwaves. For example, Garguilo asks questions that are more political in nature.

"She asks questions I wouldn't think to ask," says Paré.

Paré is an artist, so she has one guest on a month who's also a practicing artist, including Washington-based papercut artist Nikki McClure, the Los Angeles-based group Broodwork and Christa Donner, a Chicago mother / artist and creator of the website Cultural ReProducers.

"We're interested in interviewing anyone who's interested in sharing their thoughts or experiences of parenting and this also includes people that don't have children," says Paré, who has one daughter, age 4.

"She's an only child, and so am I."

When asked if she could interview on the show any mother in the world, Paré had a tough time narrowing it down.

"Oh, man. So many good ones. Two mothers right off the top of my head I would love to interview: Madonna or Patti Smith," she says.

Listen to archived "Mother Friday" shows here.


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