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.
RSS Feed
Mama Bear Dares



All Episodes
Now displaying: Page 4
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.
Sep 28, 2016
It's easy to fall victim to our inability to live an authentic life simply by giving up our agency and forgetting that we're the ones steering the ship. Whether it's because we're trying to please someone, we're trying to protect or bolster our reputation, or we just don't know how to say no, so often we end up going places that we have no desire to be, engaging in battles that ultimately don't matter, and spending precious energy on things that are soul-sucking. Co-hosts Leslie and Tesi tackle these ideas in a segment called We Read, We Loved It, Let's Discuss and then jump into a new segment called We See You, which is a celebration of modern-day motherhood and the ways that so many are wearing it with incredible grace and gusto. For complete Show Notes, visit
Sep 26, 2016
In Episode 61 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, co-hosts Tesi and Leslie talk to Christina Ceranna about womanhood, friendship, and, most prominently, failure. The three women speak openly about times they've failed, about times they've been afraid to fail, about their children seeing them fail, and about the gifts that accompany the journey. The fear of failure so often stops us from pursuing our passions, simply because we are consumed by the idea that if the proejct fails, then it means we are failures. Today's conversation challenges listeners to become bedmates with failure and begin to understand that it is just another thing can happen to us, but does not define us. Throughout the candid conversation, the hosts lean into the unwavering kindness, thoughtfulness, and positivity of Christina and her quest to constantly grow as an individual. For complete Show Notes, visit
Sep 21, 2016
On Episode 60 of the Mama Bear Dares podcast, co-hosts Leslie and Tesi tackle a question submitted by a a curious listener in their ASK US ANYTHING segment, discuss their weekend spent interviewing podcast guests in the nation's third largest city, and laugh over their embrace of weird and their acceptance of new behaviors in the OLD WIVES CORNER. This episode will make you smile, make you think, and make you want to run to the library. For links and complete Show Notes, visit www.
Sep 19, 2016
On Episode 59 of the Mama Bear Dares podcast, co-hosts Tesi and Leslie interview Lauri Levenfeld, a visionary, photographer, mother, wife, friend, and the soul behind the Project for Women, a forum showcasing inspiring women in fashion, technology, philanthropy, and business. Lauri was born a storyteller and during the podcast the three women dive deep in a conversation about gratitude, giving back, projected perfectionism, and authenticity. The hosts delight in the story of Lauri's profound (and very sweet) encounter with Nelson Mandela and are moved by her deep appreciation for the importance of connection, communication, history, and hard work. Never mind that Lauri has photographed Mark Zuckerberg and Hillary Clinton (just to name a few!), the three women peel back the layers of being a woman, wife, and mother, and enjoy a dialogue about the sweetness, silliness, and profundity of life. For complete Show Notes, visit
Sep 14, 2016
On Episode 58 of the Mama Bear Dares podcast, co-hosts and sisters-in-law Leslie and Tesi jump into a reader question regarding the realities of Mama Bear. Put simply, they discuss what to do when Mama Bear is just too tired for action and believes a hot shower to be the only nonessential thing she's capable of at the moment. Can you relate? Listen in as the hosts respond with candor and encouragement. Leslie and Tesi also dive into the topic of building a community of friends after a move. Loneliness can be devastating, so the hosts first declare "me too" and then dive into solutions and suggestions. They end the episode by exploring their Other Self as a check-in to one another and listeners about the way they engage in the ever-important act of self care. For complete Show Notes, visit
Sep 12, 2016
Your perspective, your experience, your blessings and gifts, and your unique place in this world give you an incredible platform from which to stand and sing the song that only you can. There is no one in the world like you! Leslie and Tesi believe this to be true ... and so does Natalie Grant, a four-time Grammy-nominated recording artist, author, creator of the fashion and jewlery line NG by Natalie Grant, and the co-founder of the nonprofit Hope for Justice. On Episode 57 of the Mama Bear Dares podcast, the three women discuss the power each of us hold within and encourage listeners to discover their strength and use it for ultimate good. While celebrating the publication of Natalie's new book, Finding Your Voice: What Every Woman Needs to Live Her God-Given Passions Outloud, the three women explore the ways we each are uniquely created to summon ultimate love to pour onto others. Though there are times that you feel small and powerless, the women have a strong message for you: Not only do you matter, but you are a crucial piece in the puzzle of life. For links and complete Show Notes, visit
Sep 7, 2016

On Episode 56, co-hosts Leslie and Tesi tackle the topic of youth sports. It’s a subject fraught with all kinds of high emotion and the women hold nothing back as they discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly. Tesi and Leslie encourage listeners who find themselves on the bleachers or on the sidelines to check their Mama Bear for her motives and conduct themselves in a way that engages the good and prevents the bad and the ugly from seeping into the line-up. The two are breathtakingly honest about their perception of the youth sports phenomenon in the United States and they challenge the conventions of gender, the struggle over expectations, and the physical health and well-being of the generation coming up in the ranks. It’s a huge and hot topic, and the co-hosts dive in deep as they discuss and encourage! To view complete Show Notes, visit

Sep 5, 2016
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to parent in a developing nation? Do you ever like to peer through the window of other worlds and observe how parenting plays out? On Episode 55, co-host Leslie grabs the mic in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, and sits down with Tarin Tesfaye, an American woman living and mothering in a culture very different from the one we experience here in the United States. Listen in as she shares what it’s like to live in a mud hut on her in-law's family compound, the challenges and joys she finds in her everyday life with her husband and son, and her pulse on the world refugee crisis as an employee of ZOA, an NGO that focuses on helping internally displaced people, host populations, returnees, and a large population of refugees who fled a lethal combination of violence and drought in Somalia, conflict in South Sudan, and human rights violations in Eritrea. To view complete Show Notes, visit
Aug 31, 2016
“You messed with my daughter and now I will have to fight you in the Trader Joe’s parking lot.” You guys! Even bad moms — we're pretty sure we're all bad moms — seek justice for their children and protect their young! Though co-hosts Tesi and Leslie would never condone fighting anyone in the Trader Joe's parking lot or elsewhere, they can't help but laugh with this Bad Moms movie moment. On this episode of the podcast, the co-hosts unpack their views of the movie Bad Moms, including this Mama Bear moment and many more. The two sisters enjoy their first movie review, as well as two segments meant to console and encourage: Leslie gets vulnerable in So What Happened Was... and the sisters unload some everyday hilarity and self-reflection in Things We Should Probably Feel Guilty About, But Don't... Sometimes we need a reminder, even from the cataclysmic and sometimes questionable force of Hollywood, that we can laugh! So let's laugh! This episode dares you to belly laugh down the aisle of life and to be YOU in all of your imperfect glory. For complete Show Notes, visit
Aug 29, 2016
On Episode 53 of Mama Bear Dares, Tesi and Leslie talk to Liv Ryan, a mother, a yoga instructor, an early-riser, a survivor, and an author. Liv has written a book call Bearing Hope: Navigating the Desert of Waiting for a Child and the three women discuss what got Liv to this place and the reasons why she decided to turn her experience of waiting and "the desert of infertility" into a practical book meant to guide and encourage others who may similarly be diving through the depths. After a conversation that covers topics ranging from grief, personal struggle, relationships, risks, and healing, the women leave listeners with a DARE and encourage the strugglers among us to be open to wisdom and to learn from Liv's tremendous strength, optimism, and honesty. For complete Show Notes, visit HERE. Other topics discussed: The language of griefHoly yoga, healing practice, and self careThe power of community"Project-based waiting"Preparing our kids for a life of love and imperfectionThe practicalities and joys of downsizing
Aug 24, 2016
Ever wonder how the women around you seem to get all the things done? Ever wish parenting had a playbook where rules were hard and fast and yes's and no's were easy to determine? On Episode 52 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, co-hosts Tesi and Leslie dive into both, first with an Ask Us Anything segment during which they tackle a listener question and then in a segment (We Read It, We Loved It, Let's Discuss) in which they discuss their own philosophy and daily practice of standard yes's and no's. After a lively discussion full of examples and solutions, the women wrap up the Mama Bear Mini with a segment called Maybe It's Meditation, detailing their current meditation practice and what their noticing as a result. View full Show Noter on the Mama Bear Dares website!
Aug 22, 2016
On this episode of Mama Bear Dares, Tesi and Leslie talk to Jamie C. Martin, a mother, an avid reader, a homeschooler, a world traveler, and a witness to the terrible tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. Jamie has written a book that the sister-hosts absolutely love and think you will, too! The women discuss Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time and the ways in which we can help our children develop empathy and compassion through literature and story. After a conversation that covers topics ranging from the gift of public libraries to dealing with tragedy alongside children to the dynamic appeal of list-making to the beauty of our enormous world, the women leave listeners with a DARE encouraging listeners to think about their own story and the stories of others, using the collective narratives to give children the gift of uplifting, beautiful, redemptive tales as a shield from the world's cynicism and a springboard to a life of love and compassion. For full Show Notes, head to Other points discussed: Our shared love of books!Homeschooling and intentional educationThe power of STORYParenting through tragedyHow/Why to emphasize global-mindedness in your American household today
Aug 17, 2016
You guys! Our very own co-host wrote a book! It's called Mama Bear's Manifesto and it's available for pre-order on Amazon! Leslie and Tesi spend the podcast talking about the basic idea of the Mama Bear lurking inside each of us and celebrate the arrival of Leslie's book in the world. Their excitement is real! After all, the Manifesto shares the message of this podcast: We are powerful. We are ferocious. We are perfectly positioned to wreak havoc on this world! You're going to love seeing this spelled out on the page! Within their celebration, the co-hosts discuss the power of female friendship and the way Mama Bear's Manifesto aims to encourage women to use their relationships and their incredible capacity to love in big and bold ways, all the while encouraging listeners to identify the strength of their own Mama Bear and make the decision to use her power for good. They discuss Leslie's writing process and get real about the making of the book. In both big and small ways we are meant to live authentic, LOVE-filled lives. It's a bonus when you uncover your Mama Bear and begin training her for a better world. As the book and the podcast both enthusiastically declare, it's the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world! Check out complete Show Notes here. Pre-order Leslie's book, Mama Bear's Manifesto, by clicking here!
Aug 15, 2016
On Episode 49 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, co-hosts Tesi and Leslie speak to Cathy Engstrom, a mom of three, a runner, and an all-around lovely woman. As the women discuss Cathy's life, they focus on the strength she has shown while parenting one child with a learning disability and one child with mental illness. Cathy is honest about both the struggle and the beauty of being a mom to kids who require her Mama Bear to advocate on their behalf every single day. The women celebrate the engaged Mama Bear who is awake not only to the larger world around her, but who realizes that changing the world starts at home. Cathy offers a unique perspective, incredible wisdom, and hope to mothers who are struggling through the ups and downs of parenting children with various needs. Visit for complete Show Notes. Other topics discussed on the podcast: How to approach teachers, school administrators, and your child's school district as a whole, even when it seems overwhelming to do soDepression, anxiety, attachment disorders, dyslexia, and dysgraphiaThe importance of allowing yourself to grieve if a child is diagnosed with a disability or illnessThe importance of self care (hint: People magazine for the win!)The dignity and relief of being honest when it comes to talking about the circumstances of mental illness within your communityThe ways we can help other mothers who are caring for children with a diagnosis
Aug 10, 2016
Ever wish you could be a bit more forthcoming in putting your ideas and values into the world? Do you ever find yourself apologizing for things that don't merit an "I'm sorry"? On Episode 48 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, co-hosts Tesi and Leslie dive into both issues, first with an Ask Us Anything segment during which they tackle a listener question and then in a segment (Things That Make You Go Hmmm...) in which they talk about the way women often overuse the words "I'm sorry." After a lively discussion full of examples and solutions, the women wrap up the Mama Bear Mini with an Obsesh Sesh, detailing their current favorites. Visit the Mama Bear Dares Podcast website for complete Show Notes.
Aug 8, 2016
On Episode 48 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, co-hosts Tesi and Leslie talk to Melanie Dale about her new book It's Not Fair: Learning to Love the Life You Didn't Choose. The three women discuss coping mechanisms (both healthy and harmful), bearing hope during difficult periods, and the healing power of laughter when all you want to do is cry. As they explore the themes of loss and hardship, the women also discuss the ways in which we can be good friends to those who are suffering around us and how we might better express ourselves in times of personal darkness. The conversation is honest, uplifting, and filled with lighthearted moments. Tune in to learn more about author and mother Melanie and learn from her unique wisdom encouraging women to move through difficult times with courage and steadfast faith. For complete Show Notes, head to
Aug 3, 2016
So many of us are careful consumers and stewards of the earth. We make sure to recycle, we purchase locally sourced—even organic—foods, and check products for BPA and red dye, but we often pay less attention to where our clothing comes from, who produces it, and what it's made of. Today, the co-hosts respond to Episode 45: The Management, Organization, & Coordination of Stuff and Why We'd Rather Eat Pie, in which Leslie and Tesi interview Jennie Barnds and discuss our consumer habits and the physical "stuff" that we all have so much of. The women talk about the KonMari Method of decluttering and take it a step further by exploring our spiritual relationship to physical things. In Episode 46, Tesi and Leslie continue the conversation and discuss Leslie's extreme response to a fantastic book.  Published in 2012, Over-Dressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline inspired Leslie to engage on a yearlong clothing fast. The women spend time talking about what she learned and offering tips to listeners who might be encouraged to take back the power of the purse and make big or small changes that impact their closets, peace of mind, and, ultimately, the world we live in. For links and complete Show Notes, visit the Mama Bear Dares website.  
Aug 1, 2016
On Episode 45, Tesi and Leslie talk to Jennie Barnds, a mom-of-three with an interesting perspective on our tendency to collect material things and allow "stuff" to slowly take over our homes and lives. Jennie talks not only about literally cleaning a house, but also explores the metaphor of the space that things take up in our hearts and brains. Jennie shares her experience of following the very popular Marie Kondo method of tidying up, as well as her experience of organizing and cleaning her mother- and father-in-law's home shortly after her father-in-law's sudden death and her mother-in-law's subsequent move to assisted living. The three women dive into the questions that surround our American tendency toward excessive consumerism and explore its impact on the human soul ... and on the freedom of the next generation. For links and complete Show Notes, visit our website. Also discussed on this episode: The rub of letting go: Can we let go to our clothing, things, pictures, jobs, and relationships? What's the benefit of letting go? Is there ever a reason to hold on?Other people's things: Can we form emotional attachments to other people's things? Should we?There are ways that we can help our kids navigate a world focused on things. We can also encourage our parents and grandparents to come up with a plan for what happens to their treasures at the end of life. If not, it's possible to end up living in a museum.The spirituality of "stuff": Can there be a spiritual connection to our things? WWJD with all of our things? What does Christ teach us about being men and women who live for others, not for things.
Jul 27, 2016
On this Mama Bear Mini, Tesi and Leslie reign in the mighty-Mama-Bear-poised-for-action that resides in each of them and attempt to have a disciplined, yet passionate, conversation about the world at large. Leslie just returned from a three-week vacation that involved time in Nice, so the sisters can't help but once again tackle the headlines. The women talk a bit about Leslie’s vacation and a bit about Nice, but the bulk of the conversation is a discussion of how we engage our Mama Bear in a fight for justice in the world and how to raise our kids to be compassionate and loving when it feels like the world is the opposite. Tesi and Leslie do their best to talk through two basic questions in the midst of very challenging times: How do we remain compassionate and nonjudgmental during these times? And how do we raise our kids to do the same? For full Show Notes, please visit our website!
Jul 25, 2016
On this episode of Mama Bear Dares, Leslie and Tesi talk to Lisa Gaston about death and dying. Lisa is a trained chaplain and mom to three grown children. Listen as she discusses what it's like to accompany individuals in the midst of the dying process and families as they face the death of a loved one. Together, we dig into dying, living, and the search for life's purpose. Lisa offers a unique look into a fascinating, complex, and largely avoided topic, gently encouraging listeners to face their own insecurities and views of death and dying. For complete Show Notes and links, please visit the Mama Bear Dares Podcast website. Other points discussed: Serving God from wherever we areLearning from life's minutiaeOur societal response to death: Is it the right response? How did we get here? How do other cultures respond to death and dying?How do we die with dignity?How can we prepare for death?
Jul 20, 2016
Following co-host Leslie's obsession with the story of Hamilton and the music of Lin Manual Miranda, she and Tesi jump in and discuss the phenomenon that so many mamas love! Episode 44 unpacks Hamilton's brilliance and explores the reasons why we believe that the rap and hip hop in the show has struck a chord with so many of our Mama Bears. Tesi and Leslie invite their resident music-loving, trend-finding influencer and sister Kait to the room where the podcast happens. Together, the trio dives into the power of music and its incredible ability to influence our culture and define generations. The episode ends with Kait's suggestions for Hamilton-lovin' mamas who want to expand their musical palette and step into the story-telling brilliance and sound of rap and hip hop. For full Show Notes and links, visit the Mama Bear Dares website.
Jul 18, 2016
On Episode 41, Tesi and Leslie interview Mandy Arioto, the president and CEO of MOPS (Mothers of Preschool) International, who will release her debut book Starry-Eyed: Seeing Grace in the Unfolding Constellation of Life and Motherhood in August. Tesi and Leslie absolutely love the book and were delighted by their conversation with Mandy, a woman who is smart, sweet, vulnerable, and full of inspiration. Mandy believes in intentionally showing up in relationships (even when it's hard or uncomfortable) and leaning on one another in times of celebration and strife. And, much like Leslie and Tesi, she goes BIG to cultivate joy! The women discuss the ins and outs of motherhood (both the inherent joy and pain), the challenges of finding time to embrace the Other Self, and the amazing opportunity women have to influence the next generation of humans. Ultimately, all three women believe somethings fundamental: Moms are world changers! For complete show notes and to order Mandy's book visit our website. 
Jul 13, 2016

On Part 2 of our series exploring privilege, co-hosts Tesi and Leslie focus more on what privilege even means. We hear from Kait Klipsch (another Mama Bear sister!) on how she has seen her own privilege play out, as well as how easy it is to ignore it as part of your reality. The co-hosts also explore the disheartening injustices Kait has witnessed while working in the criminal justice system in Brooklyn, New York, with the aim to educate themselves and their listeners on how injustice happens everywhere, including in places like the Midwest. Today's episode expands on Episode 39, which released Monday, so please go back and listen for context. Tesi and Leslie hope this series with Kait will give Mama Bears the frame of reference they need when they hear current conversations surrounding the phrase "white privilege." After the deaths this week in America, everyone at Mama Bear Dares believe it's of the utmost important to unpack the phrase so that we can learn to live out our lives with compassion. Read more on our website. 

Jul 11, 2016
It has been a really intense week here in America. From Alton Sterling and Philando Castle to the 5 police officers in Dallas-this week has been seemingly consumed with death. If there has been one thing that is shared among Americans, it's grief. On Episode 39 co-hosts Tesi and Leslie welcome one of their other sisters-in-law, Kait Klipsch. Because of Kait's unique outlook on life and their shared interests the sisters talked for more than 2 hours. In today's Part 1 the sisters deep dive into Kait's extensive experience in living and working in other countries. The women talk about how traveling for Kait, whether it be across the world to Sri Lanka or across the city to the south side of Chicago, opened her eyes to a new reality. One that wasn't even close to her experience as a white, upper-middle class woman. For more information on Part 1 of the series exploring privilege, go to our website. 
« Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 Next »