Archive for the ‘Podcasts’ Category

[Podcast #226] The Internet and Parenthood with Jill Smokler of She’s Got Issues

Brave Writer Podcast

The internet has been a great tool for creating community. It has given us ways to connect, commiserate, and even start entrepreneurial adventures. In the 90s, we were just figuring out blogs and message boards. Now, there is TikTok, Instagram, and going viral.

Jill Smokler
Jill Smokler

Founder of Scary Mommy and She’s Got Issues, Jill Smokler joins us to talk about how being a parent on the internet has changed, and stayed the same, over the years. We talk about our experiences with figuring out what stories to share about our kids, and which to keep private.

We also talk about:

  • being an entrepreneur,
  • growing older,
  • and parenting adult kids.

Tune in to the Brave Writer podcast and enjoy the conversation.

Show Notes

Choosing What to Share on the Internet

In the 90s, it was much easier to be anonymous on the internet. In fact, anonymous confessions catapulted Jill Smokler’s Scary Mommy website to fame. Now, true internet anonymity is much harder to achieve, making privacy more precious than ever. As parents, especially parents who write public works, we need to think carefully about what we share about our kids’ lives, and seek their affirmative consent.

Being an Entrepreneur 

Although Jill knew pretty early on that Scary Mommy could be profitable, it took years for it to bring in significant money. Julie experienced the same with Brave Writer. Our advice? When starting an entrepreneurial endeavor, be realistic about how much time it may take to start making more than a supplemental income. Also, build a team of support– this will help prevent burnout so you can stick around to see the full fruits of your labor.

Parenting Adult Children

As parents of adult children, we know that “it gets easier” does not necessarily apply to parenting. Although we now end up with more time to ourselves, we still worry about our grown children. Plus, our worries get multiplied by spouses and grandchildren. If you find yourself struggling with this stage of parenting, don’t worry, you definitely are not alone.

The internet may change, but the fundamentals of community stays the same: Share your authentic self, support others and ask for support, and be mindful about sharing stories that are not solely your own.


More About Jill

Jill Smokler is a New York Times bestselling author and entrepreneur who became an authentic voice for millions of imperfect moms through her Webby award winning blog, Scary Mommy. Launched in 2008, Scary Mommy began as a chronicle of Jill’s stay-at-home days with her children and quickly transformed into a vibrant community of women brought together by a common theme — parenting doesn’t have to be perfect.

Over the next eight years, without advertising dollars and on a shoestring budget, Jill and her team provided the destination for high quality, humorous, sharable parenting content. In 2015 with millions of followers, three books and the top parenting site in the country, Jill became the first “mommy blogger” to sell her brand to a media company. After three years acting as Chief Content Officer, Jill departed in 2018. Following a much needed break, Jill returns with She’s Got Issues – a brand for Gen X women focusing on the myriad issues uniting them.


Resources

Connect with Julie

Connect with Melissa

Produced by NOVA Media

Brave Writer Podcast

[Podcast #225] Homeschooling with Babies & Toddlers in Tow

Brave Writer Podcast

Today’s Brave Writer podcast episode is about how to homeschool while you have a baby or toddler in tow.

First, Julie and Melissa talk about daily routines, like finding pockets of time to teach your older kids while your toddler is napping or when you are all taking a family walk. Then they give specific activities that can keep toddlers occupied.

They wrap up by covering a few strategies to involve friends and family, including:

  • co-ops,
  • babysitting swaps,
  • and grandparent-led science experiments.

Show Notes

Find Natural Pockets in the Day

Homeschooling is all about the 5-15 minute pockets of learning throughout the day, evening, and even weekends. Get a feel for the natural flow of the day for your toddlers and your older kids. Is there a time of day when your toddler naps, or tends to be slightly more calm (relatively speaking)? Just as importantly, are there times during the day when you know, realistically, you can’t force any structured learning to happen?

Find what works for you and your kids, and be okay with seizing teaching moments whenever they arise. Most learning happens through conversation, and those conversations can happen any time, even while taking a walk with a toddler in the stroller.

Time-Tested, Toddler-Approved Activities

The cold hard truth is that most of the time you do need to distract the beast baby. Julie and Melissa’s now-grown kids contributed to their list of tried-and-true distraction activities like:

  • dot paints,
  • magnets on a cookie sheet,
  • bubbles,
  • water play stations,
  • a sheet of contact paper with the sticky side up,
  • a soup pot (yes, just a soup pot…toddlers love putting things in things),
  • indoor play equipment,
  • post-it notes and stickers.  

Another tip is to pick certain beloved toys that are only pulled out in situations when you really need to bribe the toddler.

Tap Into Community

Remember, just because you are in charge of your children’s education doesn’t mean you have to do it all by yourself. Team up with other homeschool families in co-ops or just informal, temporary meet-ups. If grandparents are in the picture, get them involved, either with the babies or with the older children. Consider putting your toddler in a forest school, YMCA program, etc. for a day or two a week. It takes a village, as they say.

At the end of the day, just remember this is temporary. Babies grow fast. Just because one year of homeschooling isn’t super shiny and perfect, doesn’t mean that your kids aren’t learning or that next year won’t be better. Before you know it, they will be teenagers wondering whatever happened to their dot paints.

Resources

Connect with Julie

Connect with Melissa

Produced by NOVA Media

Brave Writer Podcast

[Podcast #224] A School Principal Chooses Homeschooling: An Interview with Mandy Davis

Brave Writer Podcast

In the realm of homeschooling, the journey from traditional educational frameworks to embracing a homeschooling lifestyle is both inspiring and transformative. This transition, often sparked by a desire for a more personalized and engaging learning experience, is richly illustrated by the story of Mandy Davis, a former traditional education professional who embarked on a homeschooling journey with her family.

Mandy Davis
Mandy Davis

Through Mandy’s experience, we uncover:

  • the profound benefits of child-led learning,
  • the integration of real-world experiences,
  • and the importance of community support.

Show Notes

The Beauty of Child-Led Learning

At the heart of homeschooling lies the principle of child-led learning, a philosophy that respects the child’s natural curiosity and interests. This approach allows children to explore subjects that fascinate them, leading to deeper understanding and retention of knowledge. Mandy Davis’s transition from a structured education system to homeschooling highlights the flexibility and freedom homeschooling offers, enabling her to tailor the educational experience to her children’s unique interests and needs.

Integrating Real-World Experiences

One of the most compelling aspects of homeschooling is the opportunity to integrate real-world experiences into the learning process. Whether it’s through hands-on projects, exploring nature, or engaging in community activities, these experiences provide valuable life lessons that go beyond academic learning. Mandy’s move to a 10-acre land, for example, offered her family an invaluable platform for experiential learning, from homesteading activities to exploring the natural environment.

Overcoming Challenges through Community Support

Transitioning to homeschooling is not without its challenges. However, the support of like-minded communities plays a crucial role in navigating these obstacles. Mandy shares how finding support in communities like Wild and Free helped her family adjust to the homeschooling lifestyle, offering both resources and a sense of belonging. This underscores the importance of seeking out and engaging with homeschooling networks, both locally and online, for guidance, inspiration, and companionship.

Embracing Flexibility and Trust

A key takeaway from Mandy’s story is the importance of embracing flexibility in the homeschooling journey. Letting go of rigid schedules and curricula to allow for child-led exploration requires trust in the process and in our children’s innate ability to learn. This flexibility not only fosters a love for learning but also accommodates the unique pace and style of each child, ensuring a more personalized and effective educational experience.

Resources for the Homeschooling Family

Mandy Davis’s commitment to supporting other homeschooling families is evident in her offering of free resources and her book, A Matter of Principle. These resources provide practical advice, inspiration, and support for those embarking on or currently navigating the homeschooling journey.

Homeschooling offers a unique opportunity to create a learning environment that is tailored to the child’s interests, needs, and pace. Through the experiences of families like Mandy Davis’s, we see the transformative power of a homeschooling approach grounded in child-led learning, real-world experiences, and community support. As we navigate the challenges and celebrate the successes of homeschooling, we are reminded of the profound impact this personalized approach to education can have on our children’s development and lifelong love of learning.

Resources

Connect with Julie

Connect with Melissa

Produced by NOVA Media

Brave Writer Podcast

[Podcast #223] Lessons from Leaving a Cult with Sarah Edmondson and Nippy Ames (The Vow)

Brave Writer Podcast

In our latest Brave Writer podcast episode, we took a closer look at the tough topic of leaving cults and the importance of thinking for ourselves.

We had a deep chat with Sarah Edmondson and Anthony ‘Nippy’ Ames, who shared their brave story of getting out of the NXIVM cult.

Sarah and Nippy
Sarah and Nippy

This episode isn’t just about their story; it’s about how we all can learn to think more critically and stand up for our own beliefs.


Important note about content: Since the Brave Writer podcast is usually a family-friendly show, I wanted to make you aware that the content of this episode touches on adult experiences and there’s a pretty casual use of language throughout, so you might want to listen with earbuds or tune into this particular episode when your kids are not in earshot.


Show Notes

Thinking for Ourselves

One big takeaway from our talk is how crucial it is to always ask questions and think critically. Cults, and really any kind of misleading information, rely on people not questioning what they’re told. By teaching ourselves and others to always question and think deeply about the information we come across, we can protect ourselves from being misled.

Learning as a Way Out

Education plays a huge role in helping people move away from cults. When we learn about how cults work and the tricks they use to control people, we’re better equipped to avoid them. This is why it’s so important to include lessons on how to think critically and how to spot misleading information in what we teach our kids and each other.

Support for Those Affected

Recovering from being in a cult is a tough journey, but there are a lot of resources out there to help. Support groups, books, and podcasts like Sarah Edmondson’s can offer guidance and understanding to those trying to rebuild their lives after leaving a cult.

The Power of Sharing Stories

Sarah’s book, “Scarred,” and the “A Little Bit Culty” podcast are great examples of how sharing stories can help. These stories not only raise awareness about cults but also show people going through similar experiences that they’re not alone and that there’s a way out.

Building Strength and Keeping the Conversation Going

Sarah and Nippy’s story underlines how important it is to be resilient and to keep talking about these issues. By sharing our own experiences and what we’ve learned, we can create a supportive community where everyone feels heard and understood. This is how we help each other stay strong and keep our minds open.

Reflecting on this conversation, we’re reminded of how powerful education and open conversations can be in overcoming challenges. Even though our chat was about cults, the lessons we talked about apply to all areas of life. As we go through our own learning journeys, let’s remember the importance of questioning, understanding, and supporting each other.

Resources

Connect with Julie

Connect with Melissa

Produced by NOVA Media

Brave Writer Podcast

[Podcast #222] Becoming a Critical Thinker with Julie Bogart

Brave Writer Podcast

When you’re cultivating a critical thinking space, you want to create a supportive, emotionally safe environment. -Julie Bogart

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information available to us today?

In this Brave Writer podcast episode, we delve into the critical need for fostering critical thinking skills in our children to navigate this complex landscape.

Show Notes

Understanding the Challenge

In an era where traditional journalism is intertwined with alternative media, discerning truth becomes increasingly challenging. Our children are growing up in a world where information is tailored by algorithms, creating echo chambers that often reinforce biases.

Equipping Our Children with Tools

To counter this, we emphasize the importance of teaching children to question and analyze information. It’s not just about understanding the content, but also the intent behind it. We believe in nurturing an environment where children feel safe to question, explore different perspectives, and critically analyze the information they receive.

Practical Applications

Through real-life examples, like a simple visit to the dentist, we illustrate how critical thinking can be applied in everyday situations. It’s about teaching our children to:

  • distinguish between being critical and identifying crucial information,
  • understanding various perspectives,
  • and recognizing underlying motives.

Creating a Supportive Environment

Critical thinking flourishes in an environment free from pressure and judgment. We discuss strategies to create a space where children can openly express their thoughts and ideas without fear of rejection or evaluation.

As we navigate this age of information overload, equipping our children with critical thinking skills is more crucial than ever. By doing so, we prepare them not only to discern truth in their immediate world but also to become thoughtful, informed citizens of the global community.

Resources

Connect with Julie

Connect with Melissa

Produced by NOVA Media

Brave Writer Podcast