From Changing Diapers to Changing the World

From Changing Diapers to Changing the World

International Women’s Day is a great time for women to lift up other women and the author of this post does just that. Our World Mom Contributor in California, USA, Ewa (Polish Mom Photographer), reviews a fantastic book, RELEASED TODAY, about mom advocacy , and written by fellow World Mom in Missouri, USA, Cindy Levin.

My Journey

I’ve been a part of World Moms Network since the beginning. Never too involved but always with a post or two, sharing whatever wisdom I thought I had. As a new mom I had a lot going on. Sound familiar? I was rediscovering myself, this time as a mom. World Moms Blog (as it was known then) was quite the community for a person like me. An expat, new mom, new experiences, new lessons learned (or not).

I was just starting my life anew, at 28. In a new country, a continent apart from my home and family, I was starting my own. A little lost. A little scared. Full of hopes.

Looking at the history of my posts here on World Moms Network, I go back in time. I see how far I’ve come, and how much one’s life can change.

World Moms’ Evolution

After a break, WMN came back to life, and we, the “old team” of contributors, were asked to start collaborating again. I said yes. After a few months of being back on the team I still didn’t know where to start. What would I write about? The Mom Photographer who used to write here doesn’t exist anymore. There were blog posts about postpartum depression and feeling like a nobody (as a new mom I seriously thought that). I wrote blog posts about passionately throwing myself into opening a business. I even wrote about DIY projects.

Today, I’m a full-time single mom of two, a business owner, a VAWA petitioner and a non-profit private school founder. I feel there’s a book within me but every time I sit down to write there is silence. For now, I will read about other Mom Heroes and learn from masters to conquer the always expanding challenges of being a mom.

Finding Inspiration

When an email from my friend and fellow World Mom, Cynthia Levin, came in, ding! I don’t remember the last time I hit the “reply” button so fast.

“My book is coming up and I would love if one of you could help out. Here is the title: From Changing Diapers to Changing The World… I was like: “YES! I’m taking it!”

I finally found something to contribute. Cynthia’s book sounded like a step-by-step guide that I feel like I need, or some sort of funny memoir.

Well, it’s both.

Mom Activists

So, here I am following Cynthia on her journey to become a world leader. Because, let’s face it, she is a freaking hero! And here I am writing a review for her book. What an honor. What feels even better is to know that even world activists start small.

So, Cynthia, my answer to your question is, “Yeah! I would love to join a movement of powerful moms who want to change the world”.

After almost 3 years of my own battle for VAWA rights, Cynthia’s book feels like something I wish I had when I started. This book represents what I needed the most: a voice of protection and assurance.

The book is like getting under warm and safe wings, with the voice of a mother empowering other mothers to take their steps in the world of advocacy, even if it was something you previously never thought of, because well, let’s face it, “You’re just a mom”.

A Must Read

So, if as a mom, you have these thoughts of fear and hopelessness, From Changing Diapers to Changing The World is a must-read. It’s a great example of the big-things-start-small mindset. Do what you can with the things you have. Fail and start over – almost like running a business. And so many of us know the glory of bringing our kids to work.

That’s what’s great about Cynthia’s book. She brings back the normalcy of being a woman while being a mom and still pursuing things that are important. Don’t overestimate the power of Mom. She knows how to pick the battle and she will show up when it counts.

You might think, “How can I change the world? All I change are diapers” or, “I’m just a housewife. What can I do?” Well, I say just read Cynthia’s book. It will give you a roadmap for expressing your voice in ways that could make a difference even while carrying a bag full of diapers.

Not Your Ordinary “Motherhood Survival Map”

Cynthia’s story about overcoming the postpartum hopelessness and fear of the future by taking baby steps toward advocacy is inspiring. This book connects mothers from everywhere. It is not your ordinary “motherhood survival map”. This is a map to a hidden treasure of a “mother on a mission”. Regardless of your marital, economic or political status, advocacy could be coffee with a friend or advocacy could be volunteering in your kid’s classroom to do an art project and send it to your senator. I love that Cynthia’s message behind it all is to become passionate about something instead of getting angry. Be outspoken with passion, not anger. I love that!

The Role of Motherhood Can Feel Heavy

It’s overpowering and often lonely. I remember my first day in the hospital after a long natural labor ended with an emergency c-section. It involved a slow walk into the bathroom in my hospital room. I looked into the mirror hanging over the sink and I saw a different person. This book is about this transformation. Transformation from a woman to a mother.

That period in life where we transition from woman to mother can send our entire self-identity and self-assurance for a spin like a blender. That’s a fact. For some of us, it’s a painful transformation. For others, it is like finding a calling.

When we become moms, we become new. After tapping into the ancestral consciousness of motherhood our entire being changes. It’s almost like the “I am” no longer exists. From that moment it all becomes “we are”.  We are mothers, protectors, nurturers, leaders, healers.

We can feel helpless and tired at first.

Cynthia’s book delivers what she promises:

I spent too many years aimlessly wondering what to do and how to do it. I want to help you skip right past those questions and frustrations. I’m sharing my story and the lessons I’ve learned along the way to clear the path for you and make your journey easier and a bit more comfortable.

-Cynthia Changyit Levin

Motherhood can be tough. Especially first-time motherhood. It can be a little depressing if you don’t have a support system or some sort of outlet. The outlet can be art or meditation or yoga. The outlet can be a quiet childless walk. And for some people, the outlet can be activism.

After you have your children, you can find yourself anew. Yes, you will have a second hip from now; your favorite saying becomes “It is what it is”; the smell of stinky diapers follows you around like a magic cloud – but that should not stop you from feeling like you can still change the world, mama.

Because whatever you want to be passionate about, you can start taking baby steps towards it right now, from the comfort of your home.

Redefining Identity

I remember when I felt like my existence was limited to two words: “unemployed housewife”. What kind of change can I be if I feel like my whole existence is to sit with my boobs out and change diapers day and night? How can you feel like a hero? How can you not feel depleted of basic human aspiration? I’ve been there and done that. How could I claim “this Mom-power, contribute to society, become a Mom-activist when so much of my day is consumed by diapers?”

Well, you can, and Cynthia’s story will leave you nothing but inspired.

Today, on International Women’s Day, with all the craziness of the world happening right now, with people asking, “How can I help” and “How can I contribute?” Cynthia’s book is heaven-sent.

From Changing Diapers To Changing The World by Cynthia Changyit Levin is available for order on Amazon.

This is an original post for World Moms Network by Ewa Samples in California.

Ewa Samples

Ewa was born, and raised in Poland. She graduated University with a master's degree in Mass-Media Education. This daring mom hitchhiked from Berlin, Germany through Switzerland and France to Barcelona, Spain and back again! She left Poland to become an Au Pair in California and looked after twins of gay parents for almost 2 years. There, she met her future husband through Couch Surfing, an international non-profit network that connects travelers with locals. Today she enjoys her life one picture at a time. She runs a photography business in sunny California and document her daughters life one picture at a time. You can find this artistic mom on her blog, Ewa Samples Photography, on Twitter @EwaSamples or on Facebook!

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SOCIAL GOOD: International Women’s Day

SOCIAL GOOD: International Women’s Day


Photos by Elizabeth Atalay

This past Sunday the world celebrated International Women’s Day.

What does it mean to be a woman? For me, it means the sky is the limit. I can be a wife, a mother, a corporate woman, an entrepreneur, a philanthropist and an artist. Yes! All at the same time! Because I was raised by a woman of such strength and power, I’ve never set any limits for myself. Frankly, I didn’t even know they existed. I have always felt propelled, even at a very young age, to DREAM BIG and move beyond the status quo.

As a mother of two girls, I live my life in a way that proves to my daughters that a glass ceiling is non-existent. Who says they can’t become engineers and architects because they are female? What about an astronaut, fire fighter, dancer, fashion designer?

I often remind them that wherever their minds can take them, they can reach any of those goals and beyond. Why? Because there are no boundaries, unless they create them.

Women around the world measure happiness and success differently. Whether it’s bringing your children to school safely in a dangerous area, raising your child to dream of and follow the profession of their choice, standing up so your daughter is not married off in childhood, giving your children the support they need to do well in school, or providing food for your family by working hard at a job just to make ends meet, these are all great efforts we are making to pave the way for a better world. We all share the desire for happiness and success for our children worldwide.

I encourage you to celebrate the women around and beyond you! In order to stay empowered, we must reach out to lift another woman up. Help her to find her happiness and success!What is your idea of happiness and success?

This is an original post written by Shootiegirl creator LaShaun Martin for World Moms Blog. 

What is your idea of happiness and success?


LaShaun Martin is National Director of Social Media and Community Service for Mocha Moms, Inc. a national 501(c)(3) support group for stay-at-home mothers of color. LaShaun currently works to manage and promote community service programs for the organization to include teen mentoring, Boys Booked on Barbershops literacy program, America’s Promise, MomsRising, Moms Clean Air Force, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Department of Education. She is a frequent guest of the White House for events focused on women and girls including tea with First Lady Michelle Obama.

LaShaun holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. LaShaun spent 20 years with the State of California, the State of Maryland Department of Corrections managing public education, research, FBI programs and later Hewlett Packard. LaShaun now serves as CEO and Designer of her own company, Shootie Girl™ Custom Rhinestone Apparel and Shootie Girl™ Blog – Positive Messages for Women and Girls. Shootie Girl™ designs have been featured with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, Sherri Shepherd of The View, Carol’s Daughter, Clinique Cosmetics, Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Still Standing Movie, Dr. Sherry Blake of Essence Magazine and Aja Dantzler of R&B singing couple Kindred and the Family Soul and Blogalicious.

LaShaun is passionate about giving back and ensures her company reflects a heart for service by donating many “t-shirts for a cause” to Heart of Haiti, the women of Zimbabwe and The United Nations Foundation Shot@Life Campaign. She also serves on the Advisory Board of MOMentumNation and the Epilepsy Foundation.

LaShaun’s greatest passions are her husband, two lovely daughters and music.


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Saturday Sidebar: The Question Oxfam America Is Asking On #InternationalWomensDay

Saturday Sidebar: The Question Oxfam America Is Asking On #InternationalWomensDay

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I know what you are thinking, and you are right, Everyday is International Women’s Day for us here at World Moms Blog, isn’t it?  However, today, on March 8th, International Women’s Day is celebrated by many countries around the world, so our global moms are joining Oxfam America in honoring the women who have inspired us in our communities or in our lives!

Today’s Saturday Sidebar question is:

Is there a women leader who is helping to strengthen her community by whom you are inspired?

Here are the women who have inspired some of our World Moms …………..

Karen Van Der Zwet in New Zealand: was inspired by Mother Theresa, the legendary Catholic missionary and Nobel Peace Prize winner who was known for her selfless work with the poor.

Jennifer Burden, USA Wrote: I am inspired by a young college woman, Vivian Onano. We met on twitter, and she never ceases to amaze me of her commitment to the people of Kenya, where she is from and her advocacy for women and girls worldwide with the ONE Campaign and the Half the Sky Movement. Most recently, she interviewed Bono at a ONE Campaign event. Need I say more? This soon-to-be graduate is a woman to watch!!!

Kristyn Zalota in Nicaragua says: Aung San Suu Kyi, who is a Burmese opposition politician and chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma who had been previously on house arrest during the 1990 general elections. She was released in 2010, becoming one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners.

Suu Kyi received the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.” The list of her awards is long, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilan honor in the United States. She plans to run for President of Myanmar in 2015. — Wikipedia.

Alison Fraser of Canada wrote a post about her inspiration, Eleanor Roosevelt, for International Day of the Girl Child on World Moms Blog.

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”  – Eleanor Roosevelt

Purnima Ramakrishnan in India Wrote: There are two women whom I really admire. One is World Moms Blog’s very own Jennifer Burden. She started out our community as a blog. And now, look, with about 60+ moms from 25+ countries, there is no stopping this wonderful conglomerate of World Mothers united in their spirit to do the best for their own children and to all the children all over the world!

From India, I admire Mother Teresa. Though not originally from India, this short lady with beautiful compassion within her worked for the downtrodden all over our country. Making Kolkatta her home in India, she said that the best gift we could give to others is our love and compassion because God never stops giving this to HIS children.

These two wonderful women, one from my own community of Kolkatta, India (now no more, she passed away) and the other from my own world community, who is trying to make the world smaller and smaller in unifying this amazing gender of women by love and compassion are, both, women I admire today on International Women’s Day.

Elizabeth Atalay in the USA says: I was recently inspired by Angela Maiers who brought her program #Choose2Matter to our local high school where she showed kids how they can have an impact on others lives and encouraged them to make the world a better place.

Eva Fannon,USA wrote: Melinda Gates. As a World Moms Blog representative at the #GatesSocial for International Mother’s Day yesterday, I learned so much about the different areas of focus for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation today. Amazing!

Tinne De Beckker in Belgium wrote: Marie Popelin, first woman – in Belgium – to obtain a law degree. Isala Van Diest, first female doctor. We’ve come a long way – and have a long way to go – when it comes to education for women/girls. Let’s not forget the pioneers!

You can join Oxfam in honoring a woman who has inspired you in your life and help raise awareness about women’s efforts to change the world. Do you have a story of a woman to share?  Post it on the Oxfam site and read some of the inspiring ones already collected there. Together, we can change the world!

This post was compiled by World Moms Blog editor of World Voice (human rights and social good), Elizabeth Atalay of “Documama” in the USA.

Photo credit to World Moms Blog of some of our 2013 contributor meet ups around the world!


Elizabeth Atalay

Elizabeth Atalay is a Digital Media Producer, Managing Editor at World Moms Network, and a Social Media Manager. She was a 2015 United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellow, and traveled to Ethiopia as an International Reporting Project New Media Fellow to report on newborn health in 2014. On her personal blog,, she uses digital media as a new medium for her background as a documentarian. After having worked on Feature Films and Television series for FOX, NBC, MGM, Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, and Castle Rock Pictures, she studied documentary filmmaking and anthropology earning a Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School in New York. Since becoming a Digital Media Producer she has worked on social media campaigns for non-profits such as Save The Children, WaterAid,, UNICEF, United Nations Foundation, Edesia, World Pulse, American Heart Association, and The Gates Foundation. Her writing has also been featured on, Johnson & Johnson’s,,, and Elizabeth has traveled to 70 countries around the world, most recently to Haiti with Artisan Business Network to visit artisans in partnership with Macy’s Heart of Haiti line, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans. Elizabeth lives in New England with her husband and four children.

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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: International Women’s Day – A Wrinkle In Time

250px-WrinkleInTimePBA1As I write this post, it’s International Women’s Day, which is both a good and a not-so-good thing. If everyone in the world spent an entire day thinking about issues relating to women (education, health, environment, economics—pretty much everything) that would be great. But then again, think about it: do they have “CEO Day,” or “Take Your World Leader to Lunch Day?” Nope. Commemorative days (weeks, months) belong to those who have been, historically, pushed to the margins, which means we should all be crossing our fingers that eventually this day will be obsolete.

Yesterday in class, I was talking with my college students about Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, a book that I loved as a child (I was Meg Murry, people, except for the whole genius-brother and time-travel thing). When I’ve taught this novel in previous semesters, students—male and female—generally like it, but not this term.  “The ending—all that love, love, love—it’s totally cheezy,” complained one student.

You remember the end of the novel, right? Meg’s little brother Charles Wallace has been absorbed into IT, the huge brain that controls everyone on the planet Camazotz—a nightmare of totalitarianism fueled by Cold War fear. Meg realizes that the only weapon she has against IT’s strength is the love she bears for her brother and so, yes, she stands in front of IT and “loves Charles Wallace.” When I read this section, I get a little choked up, but my students apparently are made of sterner stuff. (more…)

Mannahattamamma (UAE)

After twenty-plus years in Manhattan, Deborah Quinn and her family moved to Abu Dhabi (in the United Arab Emirates), where she spends a great deal of time driving her sons back and forth to soccer practice. She writes about travel, politics, feminism, education, and the absurdities of living in a place where temperatures regularly go above 110F.

Deborah can also be found on her blog, Mannahattamamma.

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HUMAN RIGHTS:  Celebrating International Women’s Day in Guatemala

HUMAN RIGHTS: Celebrating International Women’s Day in Guatemala

 A few weeks ago, when I was in Guatemala learning Spanish and volunteering for a week, I had a special surprise. I witnessed my first ever El Dia de la Mujer (International Women’s Day), and it was an extraordinary experience.

Before heading out to Guatemala, I honestly admit that I had never even heard of International Women’s Day before. It wasn’t until I opened my email on March 8th and saw the post written by World Mom’s Blog founder/editor Jennifer Burden that I realized today was the day.

Back at home in Minnesota, I had never read any media coverage on the celebration or even knew it existed. Yet in Quetzaltenegao (nickname: Xela), Guatemala “El dia de la mujer” was a huge day. Not only was it the largest celebration of women’s rights ever to fall upon a traditionally “machismo” society, it was also attended by all walks of life. Men, women, children, school girls, Mayans, non-Mayans, foreigners (like me) and more. It was an unbelievably special day and I felt so lucky to have been there to see for myself what we western women often take for granted: Basic women’s rights. (more…)

Nicole Melancon (USA)

Third Eye Mom is a stay-at-home mom living in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her two children Max (6) and Sophia (4). Her children keep her continually busy and she is constantly amazed by the imagination, energy and joy of life that they possess! A world wanderer at heart, she has also been fortunate to have visited over 30 countries by either traveling, working, studying or volunteering and she continues to keep on the traveling path.

A graduate of French and International Relations from the University of Wisconsin Madison, where she met her husband Paul, she has always been a Midwest gal living in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Chicago. This adventurous mom loves to be outside doing anything athletic (hiking, running, biking, skiing, snowshoeing or simply enjoying nature), to travel and volunteer abroad, to write, and to spend time with her beloved family and friends.

Her latest venture involves her dream to raise enough money on her own to build and open a brand-new school in rural Nepal, and to teach her children to live compassionately, open-minded lives that understand different cultures and the importance of giving back to those in need. Third Eye Mom believes strongly in the value of making a difference in the world, no matter how small it may be. If there is a will, there is a way, and that anything is possible (as long as you set your heart and mind to it!).

Visit her on her blog, Thirdeyemom, where she writes about her travels and experiences in other lands!

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