It’s my honor today to introduce you to Leslie, one of our newest additions to the QCMB writing team. Not only is Leslie bursting with talent but her fierce mama bear spirit is birthing SO much good into the world!
Beloved readers, sit back and relax because you’re about to get a treat of an interview with mama, author, PTA President, and social justice advocate … Leslie Klipsch!
Q: Lots of our mama readers feel like they have a book inside of them. What made you write a book, and more specifically, this book?
A: When I moved back to Iowa nine years ago, I was fortunate to be a part of a group of moms (mostly stay-at-home mamas with gaggles of toddlers underfoot!) that started a service project that ultimately raised over a half of a million dollars for clean water solutions in developing nations. I am a writer and editor by trade and I couldn’t help but report on what I observed. The momentum these women captured was astounding and their outward love was completely contagious. I knew it was a story that had to be told. It was with this recognition that Mama Bear’s Manifesto: A Moms’ Group Guide to Changing the World was born! (The QCMB reported on part of this ongoing effort HERE.)
Q: Can you sum up in a couple sentences what “The Mama Bear’s Manifesto” means?!
A: Moms are world-changers. The “Manifesto” is meant to cast vision and further the idea that by engaging the fierce and beautiful Mama Bear inside of us (we ALL have one!) and channeling our anger, our tenderness, and our strength into loving the world around us, we can make earth-shattering, ground-breaking social change.
Q: I love this quote from the first chapter: “If we could allow Mama Bear to show her teeth not just when our own child is hurting but when we see another human being suffer, I am convinced that we, as mothers, could wreak havoc on injustice and summon radical, forceful, lumbering change. We could be the protectors of not just our own offspring, but of the baby bears all over the world.”
What does social justice mean to you and when did this fire in your belly ignite?
A: I believe that we all share a common humanity and that we all have the right to equitable treatment and a fair allocation of resources. It’s a tenet of my faith and something I believe in to my core. After becoming a mother, I began to experience these impulses viscerally. My eyes were opened to stories of mothers struggling to feed, shelter, educate, and protect their children. Nothing of value separates us from one another and I just can’t shake the feeling that I can use my privilege as an educated, white woman living in the United States of America to help a struggling sister either down the block or across the globe. Each of us has tremendous power to yield. I believe we can spend it on our own nuclear family and then have plenty leftover to share with others who did not win the lottery of place and time.
Q: What would you say to the overwhelmed mama who is barely keeping her head above water with the kids under her roof, but who still wants to make a difference in the world?
A: Your home is your sanctuary and your first setting for social change. Diapering a newborn is an act of love. Packing lunches for a 3rd grader is an act of compassion. Teaching our boys to respect women and teaching our girls their worth is an act of justice. By mothering your children and teaching them kindness, you are making enormous waves in this world. Don’t ever discount that. If you find yourself in a season where you have energy to spread this lovingkindness beyond the walls of your home, take the things you love doing and the things that make you angry and find a way to marry them for the greater good. Mama Bear’s Manifesto is filled with examples of endlessly creative women doing the things they love in order to make their neighborhood, communities, and world better, safe, and more beautiful.
Q: You talk in the book about “identifying your rumble.” Explain what that means and how our readers can figure out their rumbles to make the world a more beautiful place.
A: We are all unique in our interests and our talents. What is it that makes your blood boil? Beyond the more petty concerns of mothering (our kids’ playing time on the soccer field, whether or not we send our children to school with the “right” backpack or shoes), what makes your Mama Bear come out? Once you identify your rage (the refugee crisis, the lack of quality healthcare for underprivileged women, gun violence), you can make small steps to social change by addressing it through your individual talents and sphere of influence. Loving the world around us can come not from our sense of obligation but from our great joy. When your passion collides with the struggles of your neighborhood, community, or world, serving others can be a source of fulfillment. When we find this sweet spot of widespread healing and personal fulfillment, change happens.
Q: You believe in the importance of finding your tribe. (We believe in it too! We recently wrote a post about finding your mom tribe in the QC.) How did you find yours? And what would you say to the mom who feels lonely and afraid to start the search?
A: A tribe is so important! If you haven’t already found it, take heart. I found my tribe through sheer boldness. I’m a fairly reserved person but in times of loneliness and desperation, I have shown up (albeit very nervously) to group gatherings, struck up conversations, gone on blind mom-dates, and said yes to invitations that were out of my comfort zone. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
Q: One of my favorite chapters of your book was entitled “Simple is the New Super.” Explain what that means and why it’s so important.
A: It’s completely counter-cultural, but every single day I strive toward a slowed-down, simple life. I don’t do it perfectly, but I try to fight the Western disease of busy-ness, place value on my time, and guard my priorities. In order to love the world, you’ve got to love and take care of yourself and those closest to you. I think this quote from the book sums up the idea that we don’t need to be “Super Mom” and that there is great benefit from living simply instead:
“A simple life allows us more time to notice our neighbors—to love them and serve them and learn from them. It allows for more moments of listening to the stir of our hearts. It allows more time to dream of ways in which to make a difference in the world and more space to start planning and executing. Before there are grand gestures, there needs to be room to breathe. And to think, this can all begin from your perch on the couch, coffee cup in hand, children linking Legos in the corner.”
This Q&A just scratches the surface of all the complex and wonderful mama bear topics that are covered in Leslie’s new book, but I think we’ve given you some yummy food for thought and you can look forward to more from Leslie as she posts more for you each month right here on the QCMB!
(If you want to read more, check out the Mama Bear’s Manifesto here!)
This is not a sponsored post. I didn’t receive anything in exchange for writing the post and all opinions are entirely my own.