I have many thoughts about Sheryl Sandberg’s new “Lean In” project, but before I get into the heart of that discussion, I just wanted to give a shout-out to women’s circles. Whether you call it a support group, a consciousness-raising group, a sewing circle or a Mojo Mom Circle, women have been gathering to talk and plan since they first sat around a campfire–which is to say, forever. Doing it in a thoughtful way with a group of women whom you trust can change your life! I am part of an Advisory Circle of about a dozen women. We have been together in an evolving form for about six years now. We’ve provided support, inspiration, guidance, advice, and collaborative career opportunities for each other. Our circle has intentionally focused on career development as well as personal support, and we have generated well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars of business opportunities for one another. So it’s not all banana bread and a shoulder to cry on, though we are good at that too!
Women’s Circle resources include:
The free Mojo Mom Party Kit that I offer though this site is a good way to get started, particularly if you are looking to gather a group of new mothers. You can receive the party kit by instant download by signing up on my home page, www.AmyTiemann.com or www.MojoMom.com The party kit goes along well with my book, Mojo Mom: Nurturing Your Self While Raising a Family.
The Millionth Circle: How to Change Ourselves and The World–The Essential Guide to Women’s Circles A classic book by Jean Shinoda Bolen.
Books by Renee Trudeau: I got to know Renee well when we worked together on the collaborative book, Courageous Parents, Confident Kids: Letting Go So You Both Can Grow. I appreciate her wisdom and compassion as she guides mothers. I highly recommend her books, The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and her brand new book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family. Renee offers Personal Renewal Groups for mothers, organized through her website.
Yesterday’s blog post featuring the poem “One Woman Awake” was inspired by my friend Irene van der Zande, who for more than twenty years has taught people around the world how to keep themselves safe through the Kidpower personal safety programs that she has developed as co-founder and Executive Director of Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower International.
Irene founded Kidpower when she was a young mother of two school-age children. Now, two decades later, Irene is mother of two grown children and a grandmother who is proud of both her family and the fact that Kidpower has taught over 1.2 million people how to protect themselves from many forms of violence, bullying and abuse.
Irene is a wonderful collaborator and mentor, and she does love to get up early to work. Yesterday I scrambled on the East Coast to get ready for a morning call that was three hours earlier in California, where Irene was ready and raring to go. So “One Woman Awake” makes me think of Irene on that literal level as well as appreciating the amazing work she has done by spreading Kidpower strategies far and wide in the world.
I recommend that you check out the Kidpower website for a wide variety of safety education resources, many of which are available for free.
And here is an encore posting of the poem that made me think of Irene:
One Woman Awake
The second awakes the next door neighbor
And three awake can rouse the town,
And turn the whole place upside down.
And many awake
Can raise such a fuss
That it finally awakens the rest of us.
One woman up
With dawn in her eyes
I have “finished” my Dad’s move and today finally feels like the first day of summer that I have been dreaming about for so long. I dropped my daughter off at camp this morning and I didn’t have to drive to all the way to Raleigh to pack or clean. Instead I could feel the gentle moment of early morning, quiet, warm and humid, but not a blast furnace quite yet. (I put “finished” in quotes because I still have to gradually assimilate many belongings into my house, but I don’t want to think about that too much right now. I will focus on the contentment that Dad is settled in to his new place!)
So what’s next? The part of the summer I have been waiting for: I am going to give myself the gift of three weeks off to recharge my batteries. Some time will be spent writing or thinking about writing, much time with family, and my overall focus will be on getting a lot of exercise during the day so that I can sleep at night, and letting my mind run free for a while. I can feel the seeds of “what’s next” growing inside me but I need to give them the time to sprout in the dark soil, exploring the potential paths for sending shoots up into the light.
I have managed to just about run myself into the ground by rushing from one project to the next for the past two years now. First I pushed to get the second edition of Mojo Mom done, only slowing down slightly for an emergency appendectomy that cropped up in the middle of editing. Then last summer I jumped into Courageous Parents, Confident Kids full-steam ahead, wanting to see if we could get a new book out in a year (we did!). I thought I had given myself enough of a break last year, but now I can see that I did not. Coming to a full stop might have been more uncomfortable than I had imagined. I felt restless, with much urgency to plow forward once again. An addiction to adrenaline and busyness? Probably!
So I want to try something different this year, and we’ll see how I feel after three weeks off. If I want to write and blog, I will, but I just can’t predict how that muse will arise. So if I am not here for a while, or if I just put up really short blog posts, don’t worry, I will be back.
As I was thinking about all this, my Courageous Parents, Confident Kids contributor Maya Frost’s latest newsletter popped into my inbox. Her piece Why I Stopped Blogging About Education really speaks to me–having the courage to move onto the next phase of your life, even if your expertise is in full bloom in a different area. What I like most about what Maya says is that she is moving on because she has written the book on Bold School Global Education, and that resource is still out there for anyone to use. Perhaps what is holding others back from trying her ideas it is not more information from Maya, but their own fear of trying something new.
I am not trying to make too much of a literal connection between what Maya is saying and Mojo Mom, but it reminds me that as my life and career evolve, I need to have the courage to stretch my comfort zone to pursue interests that take me in new directions. I think that as women, we can be prepared to expect lifelong reinvention, again and again, if we are lucky!
I have wonderful seeds sprouting in my secret garden of the mind, so stay tuned….
We all know that as kids get older, they crave more responsibility and independence. They also need to develop a strong sense of accountability for their own actions.
In our current culture, this can be especially challenging, as kids and young teens today may not be given as much responsibility as they once naturally encountered on a family farm, household, or business.
I’ll be hosting a free live webinar this Wednesday evening, in which Amy McCready of Positive Parenting Solutions (and a Courageous Parents, Confident Kids contributor) will address these issues and more.
We’ll be gathering online for this live training from 9 to 10 PM Eastern time this Wednesday, May 26th
Amy McCready will share her insights about “Choices & Consequences –-How to Foster Independence AND Accountability” in your family.
I am the host of the webinar and I’ll be participating in the live chat with all the participants, while Amy McCready presents the training via live video.
The training is offered to you at no cost but we need you to register in order to participate. To learn more and sign up, just follow the registration link you’ll find on my MojoMom.com Classes & Events page.
Feel free to share this class info with friends! If you have older Elementary kids and especially rising Middle Schoolers this training is for you. If your kids are younger you may want to join us for a preview of things to come.
I’ve always hated the iconic image of a mother juggling the baby, keys, and briefcase. (In my opinion it was only original once, on the cover of Allison Pearson’s book I Don’t Know How She Does It.)
But I am posting this crazy photo here precisely because IT IS AN IMPOSSIBLE image. We don’t have six hands yet we continually set up unrealistic expectations as if we do.
Right now I feel like I have to make a 9-1-1 emergency call on behalf of all the Moms in America. I have covered a lot of topics as Mojo Mom but I have a continued interest in mother’s self care because I have not seen the needle move very far, if it all, on Moms’ Self Care Reserves in the seven years I have been talking about it. So many of us (myself included, I will admit) find ourselves on square one, trying to find time to eat a nutritious meal without gulping it down, and getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis. (Now my friend “Momma Zen” Karen Maezen Miller can tell you how to come to terms with the fact that we are always on square one, and how to work with that, much more eloquently than I can. I will accept my own limitations on that topic and recommend that you read her!)
It helps to talk honestly with other women about this issue. My Courageous Parents Confident Kids collaborator Renee Trudeau is a wonderful expert on the topic, providing lots of great advice, motivation and inspiration, as well as guidance on forming your own Personal Renewal Group. And recently I have connected with a new kindred spirit, Dr. Christine Carter of the Greater Good Science Center at U. C. Berkeley. Her new book Raising Happiness covers the science of raising happy kids, including the fact that parents’ self care is an important foundation for any family.
Christine has offered to give a copy of her book to one lucky MojoMom.com reader. Leave a comment either here or on my Mojo Mom Page on Facebook, telling me one specific rejuvenating and kind activity you will do for yourself over the next week, that is, before Memorial Day Weekend, and I will enter you in a drawing to win a free copy of Raising Happiness.
You can also check out recent Mojo Mom Podcasts with Christine Carter and Renee Trudeau.
Welcome, new readers to MojoMom.com! I’ve had an unbelievably cool week, sharing the digital download of Courageous Parents, Confident Kids with more than 30,000 readers all over the world.
We’ve also had more than 1000 people get the book shared with them by a friend after initially receiving the offer from me. It’s exciting to see that kind of response in two days! Thanks for spreading the word!
The free digital download ends tonight, officially at midnight, but I’ll let it go a few hours past East Coast midnight to give our friends on the West Coast and Hawaii a fair chance to get their download. Please make sure to download the file and save it to your hard drive, because after tonight, the free download will no longer be available.
I hope you’ll find Courageous Parents, Confident Kids to be a truly practical resource packed with ideas you can start using in your own life right away. If one chapter in particular speaks to you, please leave us a comment!
Thanks to my team of collaborators who worked on the book, from the expert writers, to my copyeditors and book designers. We formed a “publishing flash mob” who came together for an intense time on this project. It’s been an honor to work with each member of this talented team!
Now through April 21 you can get a free digital download of Amy Tiemann’s brand-new book, “Courageous Parents, Confident Kids–Letting Go So You Both Can Grow.” Sign up now on MojoMom.com and we’ll instantly email you the instructions and a link to access the download. After April 21, the e-book will be available from the Mojo Store for $15.95. The paperback edition is for sale now on Amazon.com.
After months of hard work, our book launch day is finally here! We are already poised to reach at least 30,000 people with our free e-book launch. Last night I did the math and realized we are offering nearly a half million dollars worth of digital downloads for free! Am I are inspired or crazy? Only time will tell. But that’s how much I believe in this work. Thanks to digital publishing and the collaboration among all 14 experts who contributed to the new book, we can afford to launch by getting the digital download of the new book into as many people’s hands as we possibly can.
I keep thinking of our book as a box of chocolates. We’ve put together twelve delectable chapters, and I really believe that for any parent, there is at least one chapter in the book that will really speak to you, and possibly even change your life. But since we all have different families, challenges, and communities, I can’t predict which chapter will speak to each reader. That’s part of the fun then, sharing information that will resonate with you in a way that is specific to your own parenting journey. When I invited people to become book contributors, I thought really carefully about the information and encouragement that parents need, but do not always receive.
Maybe you are feeling a bit lost in the early years of motherhood, and you want to figure out how to take care of yourself and create a big-picture view of your own development. We’ve got that covered.
Or you are wondering how all those parenting experts got their expertise, and want to know how you can develop the confidence and knowledge to serve as your own expert. We have four contributors who explore these issues in depth, helping you parent with more courage and less worry as your kids get more independent.
Then we have two chapters of essential information about real-world safety and internet safety. We delve into the details of safety rules and how to guide your kids through the process of exploring the world (online and real world!) safely. I am really proud to be providing this information from two world-class experts, because this represents knowledge that all parents need, but most just don’t have.
Then, finally, we explore the important issue of finding your voice and raising it for the community. I like to draw a line that runs from self-care to leadership, and the final chapters come full circle from our individual exploration that opens the book.
I hope you’ll agree that this is a yummy box full of variety, and whether you want salt-crusted bittersweet, or strawberry-filled milk chocolate, there is something in here for you. Take a bite, and after you do, I’d love to hear your comments about which chapter speaks to you!
This week is so exciting and so hectic at the same time. You know I am totally psyched about next Monday’s release of the new book Courageous Parents, Confident Kids. We’ve been getting great feedback about the book which I’ve been dying to blog about but I can’t even find time to BREATHE this week.
I know that’s not good but sometimes that is how life truly is. So I am a frazzled stress monster on the inside, but the good news is that this does not detract from the awesomeness of the book. I gathered 14 writers to collaborate on the book that I need at this stage in my life, not just a book that I could write myself!
So for now with two minutes left on my 7-minute blog post, which is all I can create right now, I want to share the video that one of my wonderful book collaborators, Maya Frost, made to tell you about her chapter, The Courage to Let Our Kids Solve Their Own Problems.
You can still register to receive a free digital download of “Courageous Parents, Confident Kids” when the book is released next Monday, April 19th. Sign up now on MojoMom.com.
Our Courageous Parents, Confident Kids–Letting Go So You Both Can Grow book release including our free digital download offer is only nine days away! So as you can imagine, I am getting really excited to share this new book with you. It has been an intense time bringing together this new parenting resource that draws on the knowledge of 14 experts. This has already been a very rewarding project, and that’s even before we get to release it into the wide world. This week the book’s contributors have seen the finished paperback for the first time and their response has been tremendous. We have pulled together into a powerful team!
But don’t just take our word for it. Read early reaction to Courageous Parents, Confident Kids:
“Wondering why kids used to play and roam outside, but things are so different today? This book brims with courage for today’s parents, and ways to pass that power onto the next generation. Read on!” — Lenore Skenazy, Founder of FreeRangeKids.com and author of Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry)
“Tiemann’s ‘letting go so you both can grow’ is the shift parents need to nurture themselves and their families with absolute confidence and joy.”
—Michele Borba, Ed.D., Educational consultant, TODAY show resident expert and author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries
We also value and appreciate reviews from across the blogosphere, and Emily Geizer of the Child Perspective, Real Parenting Solutions blog just wrote a rave review of Courageous Parents, Confident Kids. I love Emily’s opening lines, in which she says, “I’ve been enjoying a great read this past week. You know how some books (some messages, really) come at just the right time? I’ve felt nourished by this book like water nourishes my thirsty body.”
Emily agrees that we’ve met one of our goals, which was to write and publish at a fast pace to create a timely book that will get practical parenting strategies into your hands as quickly as possible. Most books come out many months to a couple of years after the manuscript has been finished. Now we are accustomed to getting our information much more quickly. In this age of Twitter and CNN.com, by the time I pick up my morning newspaper, I have already read at least half of the information online the day before! So for our book we tried to combine the best that a book can offer–deep expertise and professional editorial and production quality–with lightning-fast publishing. The book’s content is current as of March 2010, which is really unusual in the world of book publication!
The paperback edition of Courageous Parents, Confident Kids is available on Amazon.com and our official publication kickoff is Monday, April 19th, when we’re offering a free digital download of the new book to anyone who signs up on MojoMom.com before April 19th. We recommend that you sign up now while the offer is fresh on your mind! The digital download is a PDF file that can be read on any ordinary computer, and can be printed out if you wish. If you already receive my MojoMom.com updates, you do not have to sign up again–you are all set to receive the digital download.
Finally, a quick note to fellow bloggers, my digital download special offer is a $15.95 value and we’d love to have you share it with your readers. Get instant karma points with your readers for just a minute of action! Here are sample Tweets or Facebook updates you may use:
Check this out: “Courageous Parents, Confident Kids”–new book from Mojo Mom. Sign up now for free digital download. http://www.amytiemann.com
Stress less! New book “Courageous Parents, Confident Kids” shows you how. Sign up now for free digital download. http://www.amytiemann.com
Raising “Courageous Parents, Confident Kids”–14 experts show you how. Sign up now for free digital download. http://www.amytiemann.com
We also have a few spots left in our blog tour outreach. If you are a blogger who is interested in receiving an e-galley of Courageous Parents, Confident Kids, and you can turn around a review by the end of April (and make a brief blog mention of our e-book offer before April 18th), please send an email to: info (at) amytiemann.com with a link to your blog and short description of your work, and if it’s a good match we’ll send you more information along with an e-galley right away.
It is time that we turn our old notions about “Stranger Danger” upside down. My second post is up on the TODAYMoms blog and I was honored to be able to share Kidpower strategies about Stranger Safety.
Read my complete TODAY Moms post, Beyond ‘stranger danger’: Real safety rules for kids
I am thrilled to be able to spread the word about Kidpower through our new book Courageous Parents, Confident Kids, featuring a chapter by Kidpower Executive Director Irene van der Zande. Kidpower personal safety training is revolutionary because it gives parents and kids new tools that will help all of us explore the world with enhanced safety and confidence. I don’t blame parents for getting stuck on “Stranger Danger”–it’s what many of us were taught as kids, even though it’s not an accurate or helpful concept. But thanks to Kidpower’s work over the past twenty years developing an excellent safety curriculum, now we have much better resources available to us. Irene has a wonderfully ambitious goal of sharing this information with everybody in the world and I am doing my part to help!
You can learn a lot more about Kidpower training and access many useful resources at the international organization’s website at www.Kidpower.org
As Irene and I were working on our TODAYMoms blog post, at the same time the latest news about the Catholic Church’s abuse scandal was unfolding at a rapid rate. It seems like the time has finally arrived to talk about abuse committed by people we know within organizations we trust. Irene and I are working on an outreach to address this very difficult but extremely important issue, and we are starting with the basic strategies and articles posted blow. The revelations of abuse and the mishandling or cover-up of abuse reports are very disturbing, but it’s important not to single out any one organization in a way that could lead us to ignore the issue in the many organizations we are part of. Organizations may be in denial about abuse for a number of reasons, even well-meaning groups who might just think “we are a close community–this could never happen here.” We as organization members and leaders have to be willing to be aware of potential abuse and speak up when necessary, no matter how uncomfortable that may be. The truth is this is an issue that every parent needs to become educated about and learn how to teach personal safety skills to every child.
This can be an intense and lengthy conversation, but to get us started, Irene shares the following strategies and Kidpower resources:
To keep young people safe from harm by making it hard for anyone in a position of trust and power to abuse this authority, everyone needs to know–
1) What is safe behavior and what is not.
This needs to be clearly defined. See article on Touch in Healthy Relationships
2) That sometimes important people have problems that cause them to do things that are unsafe. See article on Sometimes the People Kids Love Have Problems
3) That unsafe behavior, especially by an adult in charge, should NEVER have to be a secret. See article on What Kinds of Secrets are Okay to Keep and What Are Not
4) That it is NEVER the child’s fault if an adult does something unsafe.
5) How to speak up and stop unsafe behavior.
6) How to be persistent in getting the help you need.
These articles provide an important start, and as a trained Kidpower instructor myself, I highly recommend taking a Kidpower workshop if you can. Kidpower training is positive, success-based (not fear-based), interactive, and effective. Irene says of the workshops, “Kidpower has found in our research that people under stress tend to do what they’ve practiced rather than what they’ve been told. This is why we have children practice making wise choices in a wide variety of situations—from de-escalating confrontations with bullies, to being aware enough to leave a situation before trouble ever starts, to getting away and running for help if necessary.” Personally, I will add that a great thing about Kidpower skills is that find myself and my family using the training all the time in everyday life, especially being aware of our surroundings and what is going on. I also appreciate boundary setting skills, which often comes up with people we know in everyday life. Even as parents it is good role-modeling to show our kids that we can set boundaries with them, as we teach them to set boundaries with other people.
The Kidpower website can help you find a Kidpower center near you. And don’t forget to sign up now on MojoMom.com to receive the free digital download of our new book, Courageous Parents, Confident Kids when it is released on April 19th.
Can you help us spread the word about Kidpower? Use the “ShareThis” button below to email this article, or share a link on Twitter, Facebook, or other social networking sites.