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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Feb 1, 2017

On this Mama Bear Mini episode, co-hosts Tesi and Leslie make an announcement about the podcast, update listeners on Leslie's health scare, and engage in a lively and honest conversation about the epidemic of busyness that they believe has taken over in the Western world. The women lament the pressure they feel to perform and the risk of wrapping individual worth with individual production. Leslie talks about how BUSY has been like a DRUG to her over the last year and about how she's learning to slow down and be better. As is often true, the new year is the perfect time to evaluate your relationship to what you give your time to and where your priorities lie. The sisters-in-law hope that listeners will find some reassurance as they share their journeys and will join the conversation on line. The episode ends with a sobering story in the segment So What Happened Was... and then lightens up a bit with a Mama Bear wrap-up and a dare for braver, better living. For complete Show Notes and to sign up for the Mama Bear Newsletter, visit our website!

Jan 30, 2017

On Episode 96 of the Mama Bear Dares podcast, co-hosts Tesi and Leslie sit down with Devon Schaaf to talk about mission, motherhood, and the indescribable grace that Devon has shown the world after losing an infant and a nearly full-term baby. The honesty, optimism, and quiet fortitude that Devon reveals during this interview will inspire listeners to reflect on their own lives as well as the incredible resiliency of humanity. Tesi and Leslie loved getting to know this remarkable Mama Bear who turned her grief into a salve for others and know that listeners will too! For full Show Notes, visit our website!

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Jan 25, 2017

One of the largest marches in our country's history happened over the weekend and co-hosts Tesi and Leslie spend Episode 95 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast discussing its meaning for the Mama Bear community. The women spend this mini episode talking about who participated, why they participated, the positives, the backlash, and, perhaps most significantly, what a Mama Bear can do now that the march is over and the real work begins. The hosts hope that listeners of all political orientations will take the time to listen to the voices around them and to carve out space and time to think about their relationship to America and the ways in which they might take action (even if it's nerve-wracking or falls out of a typical comfort zone) to make the world a more loving and compassionate place. For complete Show Notes, visit the Mama Bear Dares website!

Jan 23, 2017

Have you ever wanted to reach out to a parenting coach or take a class on how to be a better parent but just not been able to find the time or make the commitment? On Episode 94 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie spend an hour with parenting coach Randi Rubenstein and learn all kinds of new parenting tips and tricks. Throughout the interview, Randi offers buckets of advice on how to improve your parenting game. As an author and coach, Randi helps parents stay calm and think clearly during triggered moments with their kids and to change unhealthy patterns, including ones that were passed down through generations of their family. It’s an enlightening interview that will leave listeners with new, practical parenting tools...and a taste for more advice from Randi! For complete Show Notes, visit the Mama Bear website!

Jan 18, 2017

On this Mama Bear Mini episode, co-hosts Tesi and Leslie talk about minimalism and how to intentionally live with less stuff ... even with a big family or kids in tow. Prompted by the new year, Tesi's impending move, and the viewing of Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, Tesi and Leslie talk about their own consumer habits, both the good and the bad. Together, they brainstorm ideas on how to live a lifestyle free of over-consumption, how to teach children to value human beings, relationships, and interactions over the quest for more stuff, and how to embrace this counter-cultural way of life when it constantly requires swimming upstream. The new year is the perfect time to evaluate your relationship to your things, and to possibly purge, or at least pick up a few new habits. The co-hosts admit that they are nowhere close to figuring out the right balance, but are ready to learn. They conclude the episode with a segment called The Struggle Bus, admitting all the ways that they value, yet fail at, this important idea, and ask listeners to chime in on how they board the struggle bus with their own consumer habits, triumphs, and failures. For complete Show Notes, visit the Mama Bear Dares website.

Jan 16, 2017

On Episode 92 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Leslie and Tesi sit down with Tatiana Amico, a health coach who works to empower women to take control of their health and life. Tatiana is generous with advice and offers listeners great tips and tricks, drawing from her own experience and expertise. Tatiana reveals her past as a yo-yo dieter and negative thinker who struggled with work, her relationship to food, and anxiety and depression. Once her son was born, Tatiana’s Mama Bear came out in full force and she set out to change her lifestyle and do the work she felt most called to do. The three women discuss the ways that Tatiana began taking control of her life, learning the practical tools that she employed to leave diets behind and stop making excuses, building a successful business, and embracing a life she wants to live. Tatiana, Tesi, and Leslie spend their time focusing on the how-to behind Tatiana’s mission and the ways in which we can all stop complaining, start taking action, and love ourselves completely. For complete Show Notes, visit the Mama Bear Dares website!

Jan 11, 2017

On this Mama Bear Mini episode, co-hosts Tesi and Leslie talk about the reason behind your new year's goals and resolution. As a personal trainer and fitness professional, Tesi has observed countless New Year weight and fitness goals and has turned what she's witnessed into a few practical steps that she has found must be in place in order for success to be had. The women talk about the basics like working out and eating, but they also dive into meditation and therapy, the need to fail before rising strong, the power of positive self talk, and the importance of finding a community of people invested in health. Finally, Leslie gets vulnerable and tells the story of her current health journey and how she is currently wading through a health reality that has shocked and scared her. The women process all of this and then leave listeners with a resolution: You are in control of your health and destiny. Pay attention to your body and nurture it well. Why? Because at their core, Tesi and Leslie believe that every single one of their listeners is worth great health, a strong mind, and a live lived to its fullest. For full Show Notes, visit

Jan 9, 2017

Natalie Hanson is a mom of five, a blogger, a woman passionate about ensuring all of Tulsa, Oklahoma is fed and taken care of, and a young woman from Georgia who married Taylor Hanson. (Yes, that’s one of THE Hanson brothers). One of Tesi and Leslie’s all-time favorite guests, Julie Lyles Carr, recommended “one of her favorite people in the history of all time” and after listening to the conversation that takes place with Natalie, you’ll be able to see why. Natalie, Tesi, and Leslie dive into marrying and mothering young, involving kids in community service, teaching sons and daughters to “show up,” and taking note of what’s going on in your own backyard. As always, Leslie and Tesi highlight the incredible work their guests are doing and hope listeners take away nuggets of love in action, as all of us journey toward understanding and living our best lives! (This episode also includes The Obsess Sesh!) For complete Show Notes, visit

Jan 4, 2017

On Episode 89 of the Mama Bear Dares podcast, Tesi and Leslie get practical. As a family unit in a complex world, they know that listeners are just like them...they’re continually evolving and redefining who they are and where their values lie. How do we identify those values and live them out on the daily? How do we express our values as a family? One way is through the creation of a “family brand.” Tesi and Leslie follow cues from Bruce Feiler’s The Secrets of Happy Families and dive into how to make a family brand. Similar to a mission statement, a family brand is a motivator when obstacles mount and articulates success in times of celebration; can help parents make decisions in moments both big and small; and is easily repeatable and ultimately can unite your household and serve as a reminder of what you hold dear. The Mama Bears love the promise that the new year brings and today’s episode will follow the theme of new beginnings and narrow in on how our intentions of lovingkindness might play out as a family unit. Be sure to listen in as Tesi and Leslie reveal their own family brands and help you create your own! For complete Show Notes, visit the Mama Bear Dares website.

Jan 2, 2017

Like many of us, mom, friend, PhD candidate, and activist Tabitha Mpamira-Kaguri has become consumed with by the brokenness of the world. Unlike some, she’s experienced it firsthand, and, heroically, is working for redemption—not just for herself but for victims of sexual assault living in America AND those a world away in sub-Saharan Africa. On Episode 88 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi, Leslie, and Tabitha talk about what it looks like to turn heartache and rage into action and healing. They deep dive into the treatment of women worldwide, the dominance of the pervading rape culture, and the ways in which we can turn the tide toward dignity and equality. The conversation is far-reaching, and will ultimately inspire listens to be open to the pain of the world and engage their Mama Bear to work for justice in ways big and small. For complete Show Notes, visit

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!
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