by Jennifer Burden | May 19, 2014 | 2014, World Moms Blog, World Motherhood
This weekend World Moms Blog editors met in person and on Skype to work on our organization’s strategic plan. Senior Editor, Elizabeth Atalay of Documama, hosted Kyla P’an of Growing Muses and myself in Rhode Island, USA, where we had a packed agenda full of brainstorming, organizing, meetings and calls with our international counterparts around the world.
Before we had even put the pedal to the metal and got started, we received news from India that our site had been featured in the Times of India on Mother’s Day and topped the list of online resources for mothers. That was the perfect morning rally we needed going into a full day of strategic planing and global meetings!
First, Kudos to Senior Editor, Kyla P’an, who made us peg down a weekend for the planning session. Kyla joined World Moms Blog as an editor in 2011 when I went on “maternity leave” with my, now, 3-year old. Like Senior Editors, Eva Fannon, Kirsten Doyle and Purnima Ramakrishnan, she’s been editing weekly with us ever since. To have such a rock solid, committed team behind our site has been critical for our survival…and our sanity. 🙂
We started off our retreat on Friday night with a bonding dinner at an amazing vegetarian restaurant in Providence Rhode Island, The Grange, and toasted to our well-planned agenda for the next day!
In the morning, we got an exciting, motivational phone call in to fellow editor, Nicole Melancon in Minnesota, USA. And then, Elizabeth and her beautiful golden lab, led us on a hike in the woods. After our blood was flowing, we headed back (ok, rushed to make our 10 o’clock!) to Elizabeth’s house for the first of our planned meetings and vision boarding.
Coming out of the weekend with clear objectives seemed to unleash a whole new upper level of excitement we have for running this organization. And being able to share our ideas with the editing team and getting all the contributors involved in our planning felt very democratic, a reminder of how much of a global movement World Moms Blog is.
In the late afternoon, we took a break in between calls for an inspiring walk near the Atlantic and then out for an early dinner. Then back to work on our evening calls with our editors in Asia, who had already begun their Sunday morning. The energy that all of the women around the world have brought to this strategic planning effort has humbled me. If things couldn’t get even more global, Kyla, Elizabeth and I ended the evening by watching “Baraka”, a wordless documentary on culture around the world from the 1990s.
Before we parted ways on Sunday morning, we glued the final pieces on our vision board and had an in-person meeting with Meg Wirth from Maternova, a company that helps get the products mothers need to increase maternal health worldwide. Online, we know Meg well from her support of our 8 month #Moms4MDGs campaign, and it was great to be able to sit down with her over a cup of coffee and hear more about her life, her passion and how Maternova came to be. Did you know they’ve made an impact in the lives of over 115,000 mothers in over 35 countries? (Interview with Meg to come!)
Alas, I boarded my train back to New Jersey with our vision board in tow. Now that we’ve set our goals and objectives, we certainly have our work cut out for us. And, without revealing any specific, amazing plans until they’re ready to be unveiled to the world, there will be some exciting changes and projects in the pipelines, so do keep up to date with World Moms Blog!
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This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Founder, Jennifer Burden of New Jersey, USA.
Photo credits to World Moms Blog.
Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India.
She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post, ONE.org, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls.
Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.
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by Kyla P'an (Portugal) | Mar 24, 2014 | 2014, Awareness, Being Thankful, Childhood, Education, Eye on Culture, Family, Feminism, Inspirational, Language, Life Lesson, Parenting, Preschool, Relationships, USA, Womanhood, Women's Rights, World Mom Feature, World Moms Blog, World Motherhood, Younger Children
From almost the moment our daughter came onto the scene eight years ago, we knew she had a strong personality. She was one of those incredibly alert and determined babies; the type you could tell was processing her surroundings and trying to figure out what to do about them.
While many babies and toddlers her age were delighted to be pushed in a swing, my daughter would have nothing to do with swings until she was old enough to figure out what made them go. She had no desire to be the passive recipient of being pushed, instead she wanted to be in control; she wanted to conquer it. She took the same approach with toys, puzzles and games. She was an early walker, a determined eater, and an all-around intense little thing.
My husband and I frequently got comments like: “boy, you’ve got your hands full with that one,” or “she’s going to keep you on your toes.”
As our daughter grew, by far her favorite activities involved sorting, organizing and problem solving. I have one vivid memory of her toddler music class, when she was just two years old. About three-quarters of the way through the class, the teacher put out a basket of instruments for the children to choose from and play along with. Our daughter, who was particularly fond of the little plastic eggs filled with beans—which she called shake-a’s—was determined to collect as many of them as possible. Driven by this singular motive, she went around the room delivering alternate instruments to fellow toddlers and parents alike. Anytime she encountered an individual who already had a shake-a, she’d attempt to persuade them with an alternate instrument in exchange until she had gathered a significant cache.
During these displays of self-assured behavior and go-get-‘em spirit, I often found myself shrinking into the background, hoping other parents wouldn’t fault me for having such a pushy, precocious child. At this particular music class, however, a parent approached me afterwards and commended me for having such a “strong child with clear leadership potential.” With her few words of encouragement, this parent liberated me from my deep mommy guilt about having a child with drive.
I was in constant conflict because, even though I am a child of the 70’s—a time when many of our mothers here in the US were breaking down stereotypes and entering the workforce en masse—I was raised by my father, who came from an old-world upbringing and had old-fashioned views of how boys and girls should behave.
I am reluctant to admit that, rather than celebrating my daughter’s inherent leadership qualities, I labeled her as “bossy” and occasionally even criticized her for being too demonstrative.
Bossy, a word inferring that someone is behaving “boss-like,” should be a compliment heralding someone’s leadership skills but ironically, instead it criticizes her for it. It’s a label reserved primarily for girls. You rarely hear it applied to boys. A little girl on the playground, organizing kids into teams and assigning them roles will quickly be knocked down a few rungs by calling her “bossy,” whereas a little boy taking the same actions might be respected and followed.
I’m ashamed to admit, even I supported this stereotype. I was concerned my daughter was too confident interacting with adults, leading activities and organizing groups. I was concerned she wasn’t “girly” enough, lacked empathy and a gentle, nurturing-side. As a modern, liberated and independent woman myself, I still didn’t want her peers to ostracize her or put her down.
Why was I struggling between nurturing and diminishing my daughter’s inner boss? Why was I uncomfortable with her being a leader, or overly-confident or intensely goal oriented? What could I do to help raise this new generation of girl-leaders?
Two weeks ago I got some reassuring answers. They were in the Wall Street Journal, on a full-page, front-of-section article titled, “Don’t Call Us Bossy.” And the women giving the encouragement were the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, and the Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts, USA, Anna Maria Chavez.
Sandberg and Chavez’s goal is to redirect our thinking about the way girls lead. To relabel our vocabulary about girls’ take-charge behavior. Instead of bossy behavior, recognize it as executive leadership potential, like CBS television anchor, Norah O’Donnell does. Instead of discouraging ambitious goals, support girls to recognize their inherent ability to achieve whatever goal they set out for.
I think the world would be a very different—and frankly far more pleasant—place to live in if there were more “bossy” women in charge.
Let’s take a stand to have more female bosses in the workplace; Here’s to raising our girls to be the leaders they are capable of being, not the followers our lexicon makes them feel they are supposed to be!
Did anyone ever call you “bossy” growing up? Do you see these qualities in your own child? How do you feel about assertive and confident girls?
For ways to encourage leadership in girls, visit LeanIn.org and BanBossy two of the movements supported by Sheryl Sandberg, Ana Maria Chavez and Girl Scouts, USA.
This is an original post to World Moms Blog from our managing editor and mother of two, Kyla P’an.
The image used in this post is credited to Pat Moore. It holds a Flickr Creative Commons attribution license.
Kyla was born in suburban Philadelphia but spent most of her time growing up in New England. She took her first big, solo-trip at age 14, when she traveled to visit a friend on a small Greek island. Since then, travels have included: three months on the European rails, three years studying and working in Japan, and nine months taking the slow route back from Japan to the US when she was done. In addition to her work as Managing Editor of World Moms Network, Kyla is a freelance writer, copy editor, recovering triathlete and occasional blogger. Until recently, she and her husband resided outside of Boston, Massachusetts, where they were raising two spunky kids, two frisky cats, a snail, a fish and a snake. They now live outside of Lisbon, Portugal with two spunky teens and three frisky cats. You can read more about Kyla’s outlook on the world and parenting on her personal blogs, Growing Muses And Muses Where We Go
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