Mama Bear Dares

The Mama Bear Dares podcast explores the intersection of the Mother Self and the Other Self and, in doing so, encourages listeners to discover their inner Mama Bear and unlock her power in the pursuit of a life of love and compassion.
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Mama Bear Dares




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Jan 15, 2018

On Episode 146, Leslie and Tesi fall in love with Tara Cousineau, PhD, clinical psychologist, meditation teacher, well-being researcher, and author of the new book The Kindness Cure: How the Science of Compassion Can Heal Your Heart and the World (available February 2018). Dr. Cousineau discusses her cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience and teaches simple practices of kindness that can dissolve our feelings of fear and habits of indifference. The women discuss with great enthusiasm and passion the belief that a practice of kindness can revolutionize our lives and just might save the world! For complete Show Notes, visit the Mama Bear Dares website!

Sponsor: RXBar Kids (Promo Code: MamaBearDares)

Jan 8, 2018

On Episode 145 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Leslie and Tesi discuss their Top Ten Cultural Influences of 2017 and share the hopes they hold for the new year. The episode is filled with laughter, book/movie/music recommendations, and a bit of motivation for 2018. The main message: Take a minute to laugh with your sisters. And as we rush into 2018, remember that whomever you love, whatever you do, and wherever you go, you can live this year like a Mama Bear. For complete Show Notes, visit

Jan 1, 2018

On this throwback episode of Mama Bear Dares, Leslie and Tesi talk to Cynthia Vanderpool Desalegn about immigration, advocacy, and neighborliness. Cynthia, mom to two children and an immigration lawyer, explains what it's like to be on the front lines of immigration in America. Together, the three dig into the immigration process, compassion fatigue, and the complexities of the system of immigration. Cynthia offers a look into a fascinating world, gently educating us and encouraging us to live our lives well. For complete Show Notes, visit the Mama Bear Dares website.

Dec 25, 2017

On Episode 143 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, co-hosts Tesi and Leslie dig back into the archives for an interview with Tara Livesay, a native Minnesotan who has spent the last 10 years living with her family in Haiti. Tara is a mother (by birth and adoption), Certified Professional Midwife, blogger, and advocate for sustainable change throughout the developing world. She and the team at Heartline Ministries spend their days empowering, educating, and encouraging women in Haiti through relational midwifery and a focus on keeping first families together.

Tesi and Leslie loved the time spent with Tara and were blown away by her vulnerability, bravery, and extraordinarily good humor. Listeners will enjoy hearing Tara's fascinating tales of worth, wisdom, and a life well-lived (in Haiti!)... and may even be inspired to think about social change and the ways that they can make waves in their own small corner of the world. For complete Show Notes, visit the MBD website.

Dec 18, 2017

On Episode 142 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Leslie and Tesi have a little fun with their holiday episode ... but not before discussing the election of Doug Jones in Alabama, gerrymandering, supporting Black businesses, #METOO, and the will to bid adieu to the patriarchy. After hashing out the headlines, the pair digs into two long-overdue segments: Things I Should Probably Feel Guilty About, But Don't and The Obsess Sesh. The episode ends with a dare to seek joy, laughter, and relaxation this holiday season. Cheers! For full Show Notes, visit the Mama Bear Dares website.

Dec 11, 2017

On Episode 141 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie sit down with Jamie Bruesehoff, a fierce Mama Bear ally and advocate of transgender people. Jamie shares her beautiful story of raising three children, the oldest of whom is a strong and precocious transgirl. She is unabashedly honest about her journey and her advocacy and graciously educates listeners on how to be supportive to the marginalized throughout the globe. The conversation tackles many aspects of being transgender in the United States and is tender, honest, and full of hope. Tesi and Leslie hang on Jamie's every last word as she generously unpacks what it's like to mother a transgender child, explores the ways in which we all might struggle and thrive when our expectations are not met, talks about current state and national laws protecting those in the LGBTQIA community, and opens up about her Christian response our country's much-obsessed over social issues. For complete Show Notes, visit

Dec 4, 2017

On Episode 140 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, co-hostesses Leslie and Tesi sit down and discuss a powerful TED Talk given by mama bear Julie Lythcott-Haims that left them both nodding their heads with great enthusiasm. The talk, entitled How to Raise Successful Kids Without Over Parenting, is less than 10 minutes long but drives home something that both hosts believe in their core: Our kids need to be loved and they need to do chores. Tesi and Leslie spend the episode celebrating and dissecting Lythcott-Haims theory and strengthening the message with their own research and experience. They end with a brand-new little segment they aptly titled CHORES OUR KIDS DO THAT DRIVE US RIGHT UP TO INSANE BUT WE LET EM DO IT BECAUSE #INDEPENDENCE. We think you'll love it! For complete Show Notes, visit the MBD website!

Nov 27, 2017

On Episode 139 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi sits down with Mike Becker and Kori Reed, a couple with over twenty years of counter-cultural parenting experience—Mike has spent his career as a stay-at-home dad while working mom Kori has had a career spanning global companies. The conversation is delightful and insightful, and explores the duos contemporary perspective on parenting and their new book, ZigZag Parenting. Listeners will catch a glimpse of their relationship, hear honest talk about the emotional weight of their choices, explore the societal expectations of men and women, and explore the natural consequences (good and bad) of varying parenting styles under the same roof. For complete Show Notes, visit

Nov 20, 2017

On Episode 138 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, co-hostesses Leslie and Tesi sit down and talk about Water Party 2017, an annual event that the two hosts throw with a group of fierce Mama Bears in their community. The party occurred in an empty warehouse space on November 11th, and after just a few days to decompress, the women discuss their collective exhaustion and appreciation, re-cap the WHY of the work they did, and dig up a few take-aways that result from planning a massive fundraising effort with a group of powerful women. Ultimately, this episode is an honest reflection and celebration. (Stay tuned to the end for a final number...and reason to celebrate!) For for more information, how to participate, and detailed Show Notes, please visit

Nov 13, 2017

On Episode 137 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Leslie sits down with the delightful Nikki Yeager, entrepreneur, mother, and founder of Every Bean Boutique, a source for non-gendered clothing. The women talk about children's fashion, societal norms, and, in particular, how gendered children's clothing has come to be. It's an interesting conversation that spans the horizon; the women discuss gender norms, sustainability, and parenting in the way that feels right to you and your family. Listeners will be encouraged to consider the impact of everyday choices in purchasing and parenting, all the while giving themselves grace in each moment. For complete Show Notes, visit the Mama Bear Dares website.

Nov 6, 2017

On Episode 136 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, we revisit a past conversation between Tesi, Jake (Leslie's hubby) and Zach (Tesi's husband) about embracing a plant-based diet. The convo took place while Leslie was in East Africa with the NGO she contracts with, Empower Tanzania. In this one-time-only appearance of male voices on the podcast, Tesi and the pair of brothers discuss their plant-based lifestyle, offer resources for those interested in learning more, and share anecdotes about how becoming vegan has impacted their health and their lives. Finally, in a nod to the ever-present phenomena of "Mommy Guilt," they tackle "Daddy Guilt" and try to determine whether or not it truly exists. (Hint: It does!) For complete Show Notes, visit the Mama Bear Dares website.

Oct 30, 2017

On Episode 135 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi grabs the mic for a conversation with Dr. Carrie Hardy, a woman, friend, past Navy hospital corpsman, and physician who was recommended by a listener as a valuable resource to all of us. With the recent opioid crisis on our minds, Tesi and Carrie dive into pain management, healthcare in America, and treating people rather than symptoms. This episode of the podcast provides great information and personal experiences that listeners will learn from and is meant to prompt further thought about our health as individuals as well as the well being of our families. For complete Show Notes, visit

Oct 23, 2017

On Episode 134 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Leslie and Tesi talk about the recent social media phenomenon #metoo and what it means for them as women, as people in relationship with men, and as mothers. They sift through the collective cultural response, talk about strategies to use to educate their tweens and teens, how to show up for suffering friends, and how to talk to the men in their lives about gender equality, harassment, and assault. Their deeply held belief that we can all do better once we know better is at the forefront of this episode and the two women hope listeners will listen and feel empowered by the conversations on "me too." For complete Show Notes, visit

Oct 16, 2017

On Episode 133 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Leslie and Tesi sit down with the dynamic Heather Chauvin. A mom, social worker, thought leader, podcaster, and altogether wise women. Heather's mission is to "crack women open to their deep potential and help them create the life their soul craves" and the conversation recorded in this interview reveals just that. The women talk about their journeys to motherhood, the strength we each hold within, and ultimately point to the power of mindfulness and meditation as a transformative parenting technique for all involved. The conversation is honest and hopeful— so much so that listeners will feel inspired to take back their joy in parenting. For complete Show Notes, visit

Oct 9, 2017

On Episode 132 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Leslie and Tesi find themselves once again trying to find the language to respond to the events of the world as mothers tasked with helping their children navigate life in America in 2017. The two women offer their experiences in talking to their children ranging in age from young elementary to tweenager to teens. They discuss strategies that will help parents engage their children during anxious times such as the one Americans find themselves in currently after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, after multiple natural disasters, and after Charlottesville. Finally, the women look for HOPE in the midst of heartache and explore one way to keep it alive. For complete Show Notes, visit

Oct 2, 2017

On Episode 131 of the Mama Bear Dares podcast, Tesi grabs the mic and sits down with Shannan Martin, a mom, writer, and advocate for those on the fringes. Shannan makes her second appearance on the podcast and she and Tesi continue their conversation about Shannan's her book Falling Free: Rescued From the Life I Always Wanted through a discussion of community, neighborliness, committing to relationships with those to whom you are connected by proximity, and being an advocate for the voiceless when opportunities arise. Through their conversation, Shannan and Tesi will inspire listeners to reflect on the meaning of kindness, their social position in America, and the ways in which they interact with their community and the world around them.

Sep 25, 2017

On Episode 130 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Leslie and Tesi do their best to lighten things up a bit. After an intense week (natural disasters, healthcare, #TakeAKnee), the sisters decide to spend the episode checking in on the lighter side of life and dare their listeners to do the same. They discuss life happenings, what's poking at Tesi at the moment, and Leslie's short foray into Native American healing. The women hope listeners will follow their lead: Grab a girlfriend, discuss the things that move you, and share stories. Doing so will give your Mama Bear the strength to carry on. For complete Show Notes, visit

Sep 18, 2017

On Episode 129 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie sit down with Cari Roberts, a guest nominated by a listener for her activism, love, and belief in the good. Immediately smitten by Cari's lovely personality, the hosts dive deep into her story, the challenges she's had to overcome, and how she has been changed because of them. The three women discuss everything from the grief that followed the tragic death of Cari's parents to the way we can talk to our teenagers about hard things to raising chickens in the backyard. Somehow, it's a conversation that's simultaneously deep, difficult, and an absolutely delightful. Click HERE for complete Show Notes.

Sep 11, 2017

On Episode 128 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Leslie and Tesi continue the theme of talking about education in America. On this episode, they focus on the ways in which even the most progressive and earnest among us perpetuate segregation in our public schools. It's a tricky subject, but the hosts bring their hearts...and their hours of the table in order to shed a bit more light on the subject. Drawing from personal experience and many, many fantastic articles and podcasts, Tesi and Leslie continue to encourage one another (and their listeners) to pay attention to systematic racism, publicly funded injustice, and the stories of the marginalized. In doing so, they endeavor to engage their Mama Bears on the path toward justice and equality in America. Show Notes are rich with links. Find them at

Sep 4, 2017

On Episode 127 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie sit down with the dynamic Elisheva Schwartz, a dyslexia researcher, mother, wife, intelligence re-definer, and podcast host. The hosts are enthralled by Elisheva's story (by third grade she was being kicked out of class and into the hallway, by fifth grade she was getting suspended, and by the time she was a junior in high school she had dropped out school all together unsure if the classroom was the place for her) and by her Mama Bear instinct to not only own and explore her experiences, but to share her fire and know-how with others dealing with learning differences and challenging school settings. Elisheva shares her expert knowledge on dyslexia, learning differences, self actualization, and holistic human flourishing, and absolutely captivates Leslie and Tesi in the process. Listeners will leave the conversation brimming with empathy, compassion, and a renewed love of humankind. Show Notes are available at

Aug 28, 2017

On Episode 126 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Leslie and Tesi talk about the new school year, the quality of education in America, and how we can use our Mama Bear instinct for good when it comes to our school communities. As Leslie and Tesi ask difficult questions about public education, they challenge listeners to think about school (and school supplies!) broadly in terms of educating the next generation of American citizens. They discuss their findings in their informal research poll of teachers and educators and share a special Mama Bear plan in the hopes of mobilizing listeners and shining some light into the world. (The springboard for this conversation can be found HERE.) Complete Show Notes can be found HERE.

Aug 21, 2017

Erin Odom grew up among the neatly manicured lawns of upper middle class America. She did everything "right" — she went to college, married the love of her life, even bought a house within their means. She never expected to end up living with her husband and three children and relying on food stamps and government assistance to make ends meet. On Episode 125 Erin shares her story with Leslie and Tesi and the three women discuss poverty in America, redefining the "good" life, and the Mama Bear response to the economic disparity present today. Listen in to this challenging and honest conversation between Mama Bears! For complete Show Notes, visit

Aug 14, 2017

On Episode 124 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Leslie and Tesi find themselves recording on Sunday evening (just hours before the episode drops), processing the violence and hatred on display in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. The two sisters offer a raw reaction to America in 2017 and try to find a way forward. As Leslie and Tesi rehash the raw emotion and extreme sadness of the weekend, they implore listeners to make the connection between overt racism and the systematic encounters that people of color face every single day in America and to amp up their outrage and pour it into social action. They offer resources and make suggestions on how to respond, listing everything from using JOY as resistance to SHOWING UP at peace rallies to DONATING to the Charlottesville NAACP or Meals on Wheels program. One thing they know for sure: They will not be silent and will not allow hate to grow. Full Show Notes are available on the MBD website.

Aug 7, 2017

Lisa Norman has always known that she is a writer and has always followed her passion — even when others discouraged her. Today she owns her own independent publishing company and on episode 123 of the Mama Bear Dares podcast she talks to Tesi and Leslie about the constantly changing book business, listening to your gut, and creating the life you were meant to live. She a shepherd of books, and on this episode, she's a shepherd of ideas and wisdom as well! For complete Show Notes, visit the Mama Bear Dares Podcast website HERE!

Jul 24, 2017

On Episode 122 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Leslie sits down with the lovely, talented, and wise Molly Ades, a mom, designer, and woman hungry to share wisdom and a sense of community with new moms everywhere through her video series, Mothering in Style. Her cute and functional clothing line makes it possible for new moms to feel stylish and confident while nursing their child and her conversation is rich in observation and insight. Listeners will love learning about Molly and her complex views on fashion, motherhood, and living a full, beautiful life. For complete Show Notes, visit the Mama Bear Dares Podcast website!

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