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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Now displaying: 2016
Dec 21, 2016

In the final Mama Bear Dares episode of 2016, co-hosts Leslie and Tesi celebrate the season and talk through holiday preparations and expectations. The women reminisce about the ups and downs of 2016, highlight the memorable moments, and plan ahead with great hope for 2017. They also read listener comments in response to Episode 85's segment#imartyrsohard and find great relief in the fact that so many listeners came forward over the last week as Mama Bear martyrs! Tesi and Leslie wrap up this holiday mini episode with the ever-popular Obsess Sesh and encourage listeners to enjoy themselves and their families over this magical stretch of time. The Mama Bear Dares podcast is seven months in and the hosts couldn't be more grateful for YOU and your support! Happy Holidays! For full Show Notes, visit our website!

Dec 19, 2016

On Episode 86 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Leslie and Tesi go deep with Andrea Levoff, The Dope Ass Mom. Andrea is a writer, performer, stand-up comic (she's a Second City alum!) and mom to two. She's created a dope-ass web series that is purely comedic (and so, so funny!), but her message is earnest and aims to teach moms to find more joy in parenting. In the conversation between the three women, Andrea reveals her wisdom and shares her ongoing journey toward truth. The three women discuss what we can learn from our children, how we can guide them in their development into kind, loving human beings, how we can draw from our partner's strengths, how to let go of expectations and embrace the present, and how to ultimately find joy in the journey. Check out complete Show Notes at

Dec 14, 2016

On this Mama Bear Mini, Leslie and Tesi discuss ways to maintain sanity and fully enjoy the holiday season. They come up with a short, snappy list of ways that they’re planning minimize the stress of the season and celebrate its joys instead. The hosts encourage listeners to allow this season to be one of managed expectations, embracing “okay” (rather than perfectionism!), and allowing a pace that’s relaxed enough to truly enjoy the special moments this season brings. In doing so, Tesi and Leslie remind listeners that in order to outwardly spread their love in the world, they need to fill up on love themselves. Finally, the co-hosts debut a new segment called I Martyr So Hard (#imartyrsohard) in which they examine the posture of a modern-day martyr and fess up to times they’ve entered martyr-mode. You won’t want to miss it! For complete Show Notes, head to the Mama Bear Dares website!

Dec 12, 2016
On Episode 84 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie converse with Margot Starbuck about a topic back by popular demand: Youth Sports Culture. Margot is the author of the book Overplayed: A Parent's Guide to Sanity in the World of Youth Sports and offers hosts and listeners great insight and information about the current landscape of youth sports in America and encourages us to engage our Mama Bear for the sake of our kids and the American psyche. This episode of full of great statistics and research, helpful anecdotes, and wisdom that applies to parenting athletes and non-athletes alike. Read complete Show Notes on the Mama Bear Dares Podcast website!
Dec 7, 2016
On Episode 83 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie talk about food as activism. It’s a topic that’s relevant every single day, but because there is a lot of focus on feasting and eating this time of year, the hosts dig deep into how Mama Bear can be engaged as she cooks and eats this holiday season. The co-hosts focus on food as a political act of justice and the act of eating for the larger good. Their message isn’t new—social activists worldwide see food as a means for creating social equality—but their lively conversation focuses on the areas specific to Mama Bear and how she might use the table as a place for social change. For complete Show Notes, visit the Mama Bear Dares Podcast website.
Dec 5, 2016
On Episode 82 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie give listeners a conversation with Adina Rosenberg Natanson, a woman who is a wife, a mama to two, and the founder of PrenatalFit, a gym in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago designed for women before, during, and after pregnancy. Over her years in the fitness industry, Adina has established a safe and powerful place for women that aims (much like the podcast) to empower, inspire, and provide unwavering support. The three women talk about the healthy and helpful community that she has built, about the unique experience of pregnancy and birth, and about how to listen to your gut and follow through with your instincts—even when others haven't yet embraced your vision. It’s an inspiring conversation with Anita, a woman who listeners are sure to find to be simultaneously daring and darling. For complete Show Notes, visit
Nov 30, 2016
On Episode 80 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Leslie and Tesi gave listeners an intimate conversation about shame and self worth with author, mother, and all-around-wise-woman Aubrey Sampson. Based on listener feedback, it was clear that the themes of this podcast resonated: Shame. Our female bodies. How we can love them better and how we might teach our daughters to be empowered in their skin and have a healthy outlook on the human body they were born in. These themes are crucial and the women behind the podcast quickly decided they deserve a follow-up Mama Bear Mini. On Episode 81, Tesi and Leslie dive deeper into the cultural relationship to the female body and give listeners suggestions on how to promote healthy body image in their home. The two base their conversation on Tesi’s powerful blog post, “An Open Letter to My Daughter on the Precipice of Puberty,” and discuss body image, the beautiful attributes of femininity, the power of body language, sex, intimacy, and womanhood, all in hopes of shining the light on shame and furthering the conversation. For complete Show Notes, visit
Nov 28, 2016
Like so many of us, writer, speaker, mom, and activist Aubrey Sampson has been consumed with shame from an early age. On Episode 80 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi, Leslie, and Aubrey talk about what it's like to be a woman in America and the forces at play in our culture that make so many of us feel "less than." Why do so many of us live with shame? How can we combat it in our lives and value ourselves for the beautiful beings that we are? The three women discuss Aubrey's book, Overcomer: Breaking Down the Walls of Shame and Rebuilding Your Souland begin to tackle the hard but essential work of rebuilding our souls and living free from the shackles of feeling like we're not enough. For complete Show Notes, visit
Nov 23, 2016
On Episode 79 of the Mama Bear Dares podcast, Tesi and Leslie talk about how we can exercise compassionate consumerism this holiday season. The hosts give practical tips on ways to engage the Mama Bear to create ripples of hope and justice in what is typically a very intense season of buying. We believe a good Mama Bear can give their families and their children great gifts and a magical season without exploiting those producing and manufacturing, and all the while remaining true to their values and principles. The waves of our culture are very strong this time of year so the hosts hope to offer a bit of a primer and encourage listeners to lead with love as they exercise their purchasing power this holiday season. For links and complete Show Notes, visit the Mama Bear Dares website.
Nov 21, 2016
On Episode 78 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie talk to the dynamic Nikki Schultz about growing up, living a life of celebration and significance, and taking time to check on the spirit that's within to make sure she's walking through the world in the way she was designed to. Nikki, a national fitness trainer, international presenter, group fitness maven, and an inspiration to thousands, took a break from her work while the co-hosts were in Chicago and Tesi and Leslie love the time they spent together. In Nikki they found a woman who uses her platform, her body, and her voice to motivate those around her to appreciate their own bodies and everything that we as individuals are capable of. Read complete Show Notes at
Nov 16, 2016
On Episode 77 of the Mama Bear Dares podcasts, Tesi and Leslie speak to stylist, fashion blogger, and entrepreneur Yasi Back about the latest trends. All three agree that it's fun to dress up and look cute, and Yasi delivers tips to moms who want to look good but who might not have the brain space for a detailed wardrobe. The conversation is light and fun...and offers a sneak peek of the dream that Yasi is following! Listen in for a great conversation and to be inspired by Yasi's fashion know-how and her leap of faith! For complete Show Notes, visit the Mama Bear Dares website.
Nov 14, 2016
On Episode 76 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie talk to Cathy Lander-Goldberg, a mother and photographer who this month will open a new exhibit in St. Louis called the Resilient Souls Project, which encourages the inner strength in every woman through portrait and writing. The three women discuss culture, resiliency, body image, and the power of healing through art. Tesi and Leslie listen as Cathy enthuses about her work, her care for vulnerable women, her love of photography, and about her 25 years of work with children, adolescent females, and adult women. Cathy, who is also a licensed social worker, uses photography and writing to promote self-awareness and self-expression, a topic of conversation that listeners will be fascinated by. For complete Show Notes, visit
Nov 11, 2016
Regardless of the vote that you cast on Election Tuesday (which was two days ago, as of this podcast release), you're likely shaken by the months and months of drama and rhetoric leading up to the day and perhaps deeply surprised by the result. On Episode 75 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, co-hosts Tesi and Leslie discuss Tuesday's election honestly and with great vulnerability in hope of sorting through their own feelings, fears, and pain, all the while encouraging listeners to heal and move through this period with grace and love. Ultimately, they believe that Mama Bear is having her moment. She might be angry. She might be baffled. She might be thrilled or surprised by her own feelings. This podcast encourages all of us — no matter who you voted for — to access their Mama Bear for good. For complete Show Notes, visit
Nov 7, 2016
On Episode 74 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie talk to Katherine Willis Pershey, a mother, pastor, thinker, and author, about what it's like to feel the temptation of an extra-marital affair and then process that temptation within her relationship to her husband, her children, her church, and the larger world. The three women—each of whom has been married to their respective spouses for approximately 14 years—discuss our culture and how it impacts the way we live out our vows. Tesi and Leslie listen as Katherine opens up about her near-infidelity, about the hard work of marriage and the beauty and challenge of a sacred covenant, and the healing and growing process that resulted in an honest, candid book called Very Married: Field Notes on Love and Fidelity. For complete Show Notes, visit
Nov 2, 2016
On Episode 73 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, co-hosts Tesi and Leslie discuss privilege, racism, and 10 ways they believe white moms can use their privilege to fight racism and spread love. They trust that the podcast community is a safe place to express their observations, experiences, and beliefs about this topic and humbly ask readers to consider their perspective, poke holes in their theories, and promise to journey together to make a better tomorrow. Lovers of actionable steps and lists, Leslie and Tesi come up with 10 tangible ways to engage their Mama Bear in this fight. The 10 steps are listed below; for complete details and explanation, listen in! For complete Show Notes, visit our website!
Oct 31, 2016
On Episode 72 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie talk to Amanda Simkin, the woman behind the popular Chicago blog, Queen of the Land of Twigs and Berries. Amanda is a thirty-something coffee and wine drinker raising two boys with a simple goal of exploring and enjoying her hometown through the eyes of her children and helping the new mamas who look to her for parenting advice and adventure. Together, the women talk about what makes place an important element of who we are as people, about the importance of re-discovering and nurturing our true selves, and why Amanda believes that an engaged Mama Bear lives local. It's a delightful conversation that reflects life in the city ... it's boisterous and exciting, but holds deep pockets of wisdom, connection, and love. For full Show Notes, please visit
Oct 26, 2016
It's been getting a little hot in here. Tesi and Leslie have recorded a string of Mama Bear Minis focusing on the hard work of marriage, on the rampant rape culture prevalent here in the U.S.A., and how racism plays out in our homes and our responsibility as Mama Bears to do our best to squash it. Because of the serious nature of these episodes, the hosts decided they needed a little break from the intensity and talk about lighter fare on Episode 71, specifically, books, television, and food. Listen in as they do their best to embrace a little levity. For entire Show Notes, visit
Oct 24, 2016

On Episode 70 of the Mama Bear Dares podcast, Tesi and Leslie talk to OB-GYN and health coach Nicole Rankins about pregnancy, birth, and the long road of taking good care of ourselves throughout the many stages of life. The women dive into the state of healthcare in the United States of America and grasp a practical understanding of the nuances through Nicole's experience and examples. The three spend the hour discussing they why and how of healthcare and learn from Dr. Rankins as she advocates for women becoming the expert on their own lives. For complete Show Notes, visit

Oct 19, 2016
It's one thing to stand at the altar dressed in your very best and tie the knot with your beloved in front of family and friends. It's another to live with your betrothed day in and day out for the next 14...25...50 years. On Episode 69 of the Mama Bear Dares podcasts, the hosts speak honestly about what marriage requires of two individuals hoping to make a life together. They sort through gender differences, how a union can become complicated by changes (jobs and kids, to name a few), and the enormous and unavoidable impact that the American culture has on the way we marry and (do our best to) stay married. It's a complex partnership that can be beautiful, but that is not always all that sexy. Co-hosts Leslie and Tesi tackle these ideas and then jump into a special marriage edition of a fan-favorite: Things We Should Probably Feel Guilty About But Don't. Check out the Mama Bear Dares website for complete Show Notes!
Oct 17, 2016
On Episode 68 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie talk to Eirene Heidelberger, the CEO and founder of GITMom, a full-service parent coaching and advice company that endeavors to empower moms by offering effective parenting techniques and help with common parenting battles. Though Eirene has been frequently featured in the national news media, on today's podcast the women get intimate while sitting down in Eirene's home as she opens up to discuss her childhood, her struggles with new motherhood, her frustrations and her hopes, and the way she found her way to becoming the thriving woman, mother, and business owner that she is today. Here's a secret: very few of us arrive at motherhood with complete understanding and a full knowledge of what it will be like. Sometimes we simply need a hand to hold or a tribe to join in order to catch glimpses of light. Eirene, Tesi, and Leslie hold a discussion that will contribute to that sunshine...offering hope, understanding, and a few practical tips on life in the trenches. Complet Show Notes can be found HERE.
Oct 13, 2016
On today's special episode, Tesi and Leslie explore a topic that they touched in Episode 30 but believe warrants further discussion because of recent news events. On this episode, the co-hosts discuss rape culture—what it means, how it’s perpetuated, who's at fault, how it plays out in our lives, and the repercussions for us as women and moms. Ultimately, the two hope that by engaging in the conversation in the safe space of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, they will encourage listeners to engage their Mama Bear and help move the dial forward toward a safer world. Main points include the following. Head to the Mama Bear Dares Podcast website for complete Show Notes. A definition of rape cultureA discussion of what rape culture has been and how it continues to be perpetuatedThe repercussions — on all of us — for living in this cultureHow moms of boys can help squash rape cultureHow moms of girls can help squash rape culture
Oct 12, 2016
On this Mama Bear Mini, co-hosts Leslie and Tesi announce the winner of the bundle of Leslie's new release, Mama Bear's Manifesto: A Moms' Group Guide to Changing the World. After celebrating this listener and her thoughtful comment, the women discuss Leslie's publishing journey in depth, pulling out five steps that might make listeners a bit closer to publishing their book, pursuing their passion, or following their dream. The hosts encourage listeners who have ideas for books, blogs, or businesses, but have yet to put pen to paper. Always encouragers, Tesi and Leslie hope listeners will learn from Leslie's journey and embrace their own exciting pursuit! For complete details and Show Notes, visit our website!
Oct 10, 2016
On Episode 65 of the Mama Bear Dares podcast, hosts Tesi and Leslie introduce listeners to Kendra Thompson. Kendra is mother of two, a pastor, and a writer, and together the three woman focus the conversation on words like myth, habit, routine, ritual, vows, and discipline. Throughout the conversation the women play with these ideas as they try to understand how each of these rather grand-sounding terms fit into our lives. Tesi, Leslie, and Kendra enter this conversation from all sorts of angles: from a mothering standpoint, a spiritual standpoint, and from a partnership standpoint — focusing in on marriage in particular. For complete Show Notes, visit
Oct 5, 2016
Coffee and wine, wine and coffee. It's a thing! In Episode 64, co-hosts Leslie and Tesi try to get to the bottom of why these two seem so important to the moms. The women discuss how sometimes we do things out of habit, sometimes we do things out of necessity, and sometimes we do things are done out of sheer joy. We dare listeners to dig deep and ask yourself what motivates you to consume the things that you do. On either side of the conversation of coffee and wine, they answer a listener-submitted question and then they reveal their current favorites in the ever-popular Obsess Sesh. For complete Show Notes, visit
Oct 3, 2016
On Episode 63 of the Mama Bear Dares podcast, Leslie and Tesi spend the hour with Julie Lyles Carr, an incredible and inspiring woman who is a writer, photographer, pastor, and the founder/director of a non-profit called Legacy of Hope. Julie drops by the podcast to tell the hosts about her new book, Raising An Original, but the three women end up covering not just the topics inherent to writing and the content of what she's created, but the importance of staying curious, taking care of the Other Self (for Julie, running, reading, bathing, and quiet time does the trick!), and best practices in parenting original kids as the original women and men we were created to be. The conversation stretches in all sorts of ways and Leslie and Tesi spend their time soaking up the wisdom of this delightful woman. Julie is thoughtful and intelligent, loving and charming. If you are for growth, action, and intentional and nuanced parenting, you'll adore today's conversation. For complete Show Notes, visit the Mama Bear Dares website.
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