Ask Amy – Why Do We Include Men?

A note from Amy, about Ask Amy…

Tribe of Women unofficially started in 2014 after my TEDx Talk “I Believe in Tribes of Women” after which I started digging deeper and asking YOU the question – “Why do we need tribes of women?” I knew what it meant to me, but I wanted to know what it was (or wasn’t) for you. A couple of years later, I started Tribe of Women, and now here we are! During the time I have been asking questions, I’ve also been gathering answers. “Ask Amy” is based on your common (and ongoing) questions, and mine. These answers are a culmination of where we have arrived on this journey. Together.

How or Why do we include men in conversations about equality?

Yup. This is one of the common ones! People are attracted to and intrigued by “Tribe of Women”. If they don’t know much about us, I get questions like: 

  • “Men want to help as well. Why don’t you include us?”
  • “If women have their own spaces/meetings/clubs, why can’t men?”

If they do ask, “Oooo. What’s that!?” and I say, “We build cultures of women supporting women and more good men”, it doesn’t take long for:

  • “Why would/do you include men in Tribe of Women?”
  • “Why should we include men when we have been excluded for so long?”

I want to begin by referencing a few of my favorite good men organizations. One of the things that men have to face again and again is, “The Man Box,” the stereotypes of what a man should or shouldn’t be. There’s a wonderful organization called Catalystfocused on “workplaces that work for women”. Some of their research addresses the man box as part of the equation of inequity and inequality. And I agree! The stereotypes of what a man should or shouldn’t be are just as limited as who we should and should not be as women. Another organization started by a good man, Tony Porter, is “A Call to Men. “ It began after his TED Talk and works to break down the components of a “man box” and help men break free of it.

So, “why do we (Tribe of Women) include in men in conversations about equality?” Like many-a powerful thing, it begins with my favorite F word – Feminism. Feminism, despite its name, is not just for my fellow “females”. Feminism is for everyone, because feminism is about choice. That’s right. We don’t want to be in a box about whether we go to work or stay home, wear pants instead of a skirt (it was not so long ago, ladies), or become a doctor instead of a nurse. When women have this choice without judgment, it opens up the door for men to have choices as well (without being called “m-urses” for, pity’s sake).

Not that long ago, there was no choice in this matter. Women stayed home, and men went to work. You didn’t hear about “stay-at-home dads.” Remember the 80’s film “Mr. Mom”? A comedy about a man staying home with the kids. It was a comedy, of course! Who’d ever heard of a man taking care of home and family!? Haha!!!… That was only 30 years ago, friends.

Yes, AND

When I’m asked about the exclusivity of a group of men or women coming together, I say, “Yes, and.” And what I mean by that is – Yes, women need safe places to connect and empathize with one another, to put it all on the table so we can deal with it. As Michelle Obama says, “Women straighten each other out on some things,” – that’s what those safe places for women are there for – a place where we can sort out our mess and work through it. The problem seen is a problem solved.

Now for the men, I want to finish that quote from the lovely Michelle, “Women straighten each other out on some things… But y’all (men) need to go talk to each other about your stuff. Talk about why you are the way you are.” So Yes, women need exclusive places to sort things out, And, men should do the same! Get together and sort out your stuff as well. Yes, we need exclusivity in some respects, And, we need to continue coming together because it is in our time together where we build empathy, compassion for one another.

I think it’s very important that women have places where we can be exclusive and talk about things that only women have to deal with. Women need places to work out our stuff and figure out how to navigate and support one another, and men do too. Men need to have spaces where they can discuss the “man box,” talk about paternity leave, showing emotion, and being partners, fathers, men in the world. Then, we can come together, feeling confident and comfortable sharing our whole selves. (Have you seen Man Enough”!? That. Do that!)

Tribe of Human

Ultimately, when I get asked specifically about why “more good men” is a part of our mission statement, it’s because our vision is Tribe of Human: a tribe that listens to one another and cooperates through empathy, sympathy, and compassion. At Tribe of Women, our goal is to create places where women can be fully themselves. And that means men can be fully themselves, too. One of the things we say a lot is that when we celebrate good men (when we see it, point it out, and cheer it on), there will be more. We include men in our conversations about equality because women finding our place at the table does not mean pushing men out. We include men in our conversations about equality because it’s through these conversations that men and women alike will find a way to share who we are, empathize, show compassion and get one step closer to our ultimate goal – Tribe of Human.

I still have questions! And I bet you do, too. Please send them directly to me at amy@tribeofwomen.modthink.net with “Ask Amy” in the subject line and we’ll keep the conversations going. Together.

Love Your Tribe – Get 1 & Gift 1

We feel so loved, and we have YOU to thank!

A few months ago, the Tribe of Women team spent the day in one of our favorite retail shops in our hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas – Handmade Market. Owners Shannon and Bryan Gott have been supporters of our mission and vision since the very first sparks of the movement started to fly, and we were thrilled to have our inaugural retail merchandise available in their shop throughout the month of February, which we have dubbed “Love Your Tribe” month.

Love Your Tribe event at Handmade Market | TribeofWomen.com

Our first batch of Love Your Tribe t-shirts arrived from our sponsor Wildheart Printing just in time  to be premiered that month, and we were tickled to hear that you love them as much as we do. Now, the shirts are for sale online on our website, under our Shop tab!

Thanks to our partnerships with Arcade Coffee Roasters and Savageann products we were able to promote our “Get 1 Gift 1” motto. Handmade also has some of their regular merchandise priced to inspire the desire to get one for yourself and gift one to your tribe.

Love Your Tribe event at Handmade Market | TribeofWomen.com

During our open house at Handmade, love busted out all over in the back room. We covered a couple of tables with paper and stickers and assorted supplies and encouraged anyone who wanted to get their craft on to make cards for their tribe. We love the conversations that happen when women come together – some who know each other, some who don’t – and get busy making.

Love Your Tribe Recap | TribeofWomen.com

So, thank you so MUCH to everyone who was part of this first foray into the retail world and bringing Tribe of Women swag to market. If you are a retailer or creator that would like to do retail partnership or events with us, please contact us at info@tribeofwomen.modthink.net.

Just want to stay in the know about new products, get coupon codes, and be entered to win gifts from us when you Join THE Tribe and our newsletter.

We love our tribe. And thank you for loving us RIGHT BACK!

Bitch, Take it Back

Raise your hand if you’re a woman who has ever felt personally attacked by the word ” bitch”. Yeah, that’s about all of us. What does the word even mean? “Female dog”, appropriated and used as a derogatory term toward women. There’s no certain characteristic or checklist of qualities that have to be met to be called a bitch, but it’s often associated with being independent, passionate, confident, strong, fearless, and I-see-right-through-your-crap-and-am-not-gonna-take-it. If that’s being a bitch, I’m in. Because when we own the word, it will stop owning us. Bitch, take it back!

Divided we fall

strong womanIf where we put our energy is the direction we tend to go, why go backwards? We’re familiar with “nerd” and “geek” being used by bullies to keep their prey cowering and small. What has happened now that the glasses-wearing, long-word using, high IQ having people of the world have united in owning the attributes of nerd and geek-dom? Companies like NerdyGirl and GeekSquad wear it loud and proud. Shows like “The Big Bang Theory” have cult followings. Girls everywhere are throwing on their Zooey Deschanel “New Girl” specs and unabashedly being the gaming, inventing, robot warring, and cancer curing women they want to be. Why? Because knowledge is power. And what we know is that the basis of bullying and act of keeping others down stems from insecurity and fear. What are they afraid of? In the case of nerds and geeks, it’s how smart they are. In the case of women, it’s how powerful we are.

With a divide and conquer mentality and mission, anyone wanting to keep women down has a wealth of distracting derogatory terms to hurl at us and veer us from the path and the direction we want to go.  Forward. It’s time to ignore the bully and keep our eye on the prize.

bitches get stuff done tina feyTake it back

Instead of standing against the word, let’s stand for it. In her article, To “Bitch” or Not to “Bitch”, Rosalie Maggio says, “if being an outspoken woman means being a bitch, we’ll take that as a compliment… if we choose to reappropriate the word, it loses its power to hurt us. And if we can get people thinking about what they’re saying when they use the word, that’s even better.” 

And it’s not just the word “bitch”.  Amy Poehler reapproriated “bossy” when she simply, but directly, said, “I just love bossy women. I could be around them all day. To me, bossy is not a pejorative term at all. It means somebody’s passionate and engaged and ambitious and doesn’t mind leading.” Her colleague, Tina Fey did it by simply, but specifically, titling her book Bossy Pants, and then filling it with her strong, smart, witty, and wonderful wisdom.

What’s in a word

Pantene tackledno hate the gender stereo types of boss v. bossy, persuasive v. pushy, dedicated v. selfish, neat v. vain, and smooth v. show-off in a popular advertisement ending with the message “don’t let labels define you.” One of my favorite (forever and) Always ads is giving girls everywhere the permission and perspective to turn “like a girl” into the power statement it should be. As Rihanna knows, you can (and should) “be a girl with a mind, a bitch with an attitude, and a lady with class.” We have more power over perception than we give ourselves credit for, and collectively we can change anything.

So, let’s bring it full circle, shall we? What is used as an all purpose insult and attempt to keep us down and distracted from the trails we are blazing is, in reality, affirming that we’re heading in the right direction. So, next time I’m called a bitch (bossy, pushy, sassy, feisty), I’ll say thank you and go about my business, because I’m clearly doing something right.

Join me, won’t you?

Have you had a shocking or empowering experience with the word “bitch” or other terms that are meant to shut you down? Tell us about it in the comments below.

 

Surviving Summer: How Your Tribe Can Help

I think most moms have a love/hate relationship with summer. Sunshine at the pool, vacations, and family time. It’s wonderful when the kids are out of school and the house is full, warm, and loud. But what about our lives? Our work and personal responsibilities have not changed. But instead of having the hours between 8 and 4 to get-stuff-done, we have the added responsibility of the fun, enrichment and entertainment of the growing hearts and minds of our kiddos 24/7. I have far from perfected the summer work/life equation, but in my years of trying and failing, trying and almost succeeding, and trying again (and again), I’ve realized the one thing that makes it all easier is relying on your tribe.

girls playing summer

Asking for help isn’t easy. PMS (perfect mom syndrome) is real (thanks society!), but it isn’t possible. So let’s let that one go, shall we? New society mantra: “We can have it all. Just not all at one time.” Now that we have that covered, we can be open to being honest with ourselves and each other, and comfortable with asking for help.

Lean on your tribe and let your tribe lean on you. I call it “reaching out and reaching back”. You would be there if someone asked, right? You recognize the reach out and you reach back. Your tribe is there to do the same for you. Summer is the perfect time to ask for the help, support, or affirmation when you need it. Here are some “Surviving Summer Tribe Tips” to help you reach out to your tribe:

1. Play-date swaps

Sometimes asking for help is easier when we know we can reciprocate. The “I’ll scratch your back if you busy calendar to do listscratch mine” mind-set is easy to get our heads and hearts around. Have a meeting or desperately need some time to yourself? Make an arrangement with a good friend in the same boat. She takes the kids for a few hours, a few days in a row, or a whole week, and you return the favor. I have a friend who can work from home and so can I. Our projects and “intense times” flex, so we are able to look at our calendars and say, “Hey, I have a busy week in June. Would you be able to take the kids that day (days, week) if I can take them for a day (days, week) in July?” We have dubbed it “Cousin Camp”. The kids love it, and so do we!

2. Work/Play-date together

Go to one another’s house, let the kids play and each of you relax (together or separately), or get some work done. So much of our lives revolves around our kids, so the likelihood that you have found a “kindred spirit mom”, who you like and your kids like to play together, is pretty high. If you’re lucky, they are also a person who doesn’t care if your laundry is done or your floors are vacuumed. The beauty of women together is that we intuit what one another need. There have been times when both my girlfriend and I are heads down at the dining room table and working away when one of the kids comes in. Depending on intensity and deadlines, one of us will get up and take care of things while the other gets-stuff-done. It’s a beautiful thing in every way.

3. Share the struggle

women laughingSummer is hot enough without wearing your stress jacket everywhere you go! You have to learn how to take it off. It’s important to share your frustrations and built up stress with your tribe and not insulate it. That’s why girlfriend dates are so important. Whether it’s for dinner, getting pedicures, grabbing coffee, sitting on the couch with a bottle of wine, or just a phone call (yes, those still exist), find time with your tribe. See each other, hear each other, feel each other. Take solace in your friends with similar struggles and obstacles. Validate each other’s frustrations, and share your own strategies. Take off that damn stress jacket and cool down.

4. Say “yes” to you

I will never stop saying this. Saying “yes” to you is the best gift you can give to others. Schedule time for yourself this summer. relax sleep rejuvenateIt’s rare that you have free time, so when you do have it, use it for rejuvenation. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shut the door behind the kids only to turn around to my quiet house to… fold laundry, do dishes, or pay bills. What!? No. Stop it. This will not give you the energy cushion your need to get over the summer hump. When you find free time, use it for you. Get to that yoga class, paint your toenails, go for a run, or (gasp!) take a nap. You heard me ladies: YOU ARE ALLOWED TO NAP. Do whatever is going to refill your cup, not continue to empty it.

Are we perfect mothers? No. Never will be. And that’s okay! “Balance” is a myth if it’s summer or not, and while we do love the family time, vacations, and oddly comforting chaos of summer, it’s okay to admit that it’s hard and we kind of hate it too. Luckily, if we reach out to our tribes, they will be there. And when they reach back we will tribe it right back to them!

Can you relate? Have you figured out some ways to take care of yourself this summer? Comment and share with THE tribe!

30 Day Challenge – #BeTheChange

photo credit: @bruno_nascimento

Facing challenges is so much easier when we do it together! I mean, we all know how to be nice people, but with all of the carpooling, meal making, laundry, doctor and dentist appointments, we don’t always remember to compliment a friend or schedule some “me” time. Nurturing and growing your tribe takes work, so we’re here to help by giving you daily ideas of ways you can “be the change” and “tribe it forward” one day at a time.

  1. Call a long-lost friend
  2. Write an “I’m thankful for you” letter and send it.
  3. Set up coffee dates w/ 3 friends over the next 3 wks.
  4. Be free with hugs to your tribe!
  5. Do something for yourself today.
  6. Compliment a stranger (or 2 or 3 or 4 or more!)
  7. Find a favorite book you’ve read & give it to a friend.
  8. Invite a friend over for dinner.
  9. Say “No” to something by saying “yes to you” first.
  10. Surprise someone you know could use a break from making dinner tonight.
  11. Publicly compliment 5 or more friends on social media.
  12. Make a list of the people that fill your cup, then write down what you will do to spend more time with each of them.
  13. Compliment a woman on her shoes! Then, listen to the story she tells & enjoy the conversation.
  14. Call a friend that you haven’t talked to in over a month.
  15. Donate $5 (or more) to a charity that supports women.
  16. Encourage a friend to do something for herself & help her do it if needed!
  17. Read a favorite storybook of yours to a child.
  18. Take a 1-day social media break.
  19. Meditate.
  20. Look in the mirror and compliment yourself.
  21. Turn off the tv and play games with friends or family.
  22. Take a nap (without guilt)!
  23. Write an honest letter to a friend or family member – how much you love them or how they’ve hurt you, and why. Sending it is optional. Just write.
  24. Go on a walk-n-talk with a friend.
  25. Talk w/ a woman older than you, or a younger girl, & ask them about themselves.
  26. Schedule a volunteer day for yourself where girls or women benefit.
  27. Smile at as many people as possible today & keep track of how many you get in return.
  28. Schedule a tribe time at the movie night!
  29. Seek out opportunities to help others today – open a door, pick up a dropped item, pay for coffee, park a cart or carry groceries.
  30. Sign up for the next 30-day challenge #loveyourtribe (here) and continue on the journey to be the change.

Don’t worry if you don’t make all of the challenges, you’re not perfect and frankly,  neither are we. If you miss one, make it up another day. No worries! And, if you haven’t started, no time is better than today!

Tribe Talk Podcast – Who Are These Ladies & Why Should I “Tribe Talk” With Them?

Our first two podcast episodes are ready for you to listen and we look forward to your feedback! We thought you may be wondering – who are these ladies and why would I want to “tribe talk” with them? So, we took a unique approach to launching our podcast and started with our “Origin Story”. 

Episode 1 – Who Believes in Tribes of Women?

In Episode 1, tribe teammate Laurie Marshall interviews founder Amy Robinson about how (and why) Tribe of Women came to be. Amy tells us about how she was inspired to take a stand against the acceptance of “mean girl” culture and dared imagine a world where all women support each other. Her story takes us from her early career and through corporate culture to her entrepreneurial journey that took her to Pakistan where she met the women that would help her test her theory that women supporting one another makes a difference in our individual lives, and the world. She took the TEDx stage soon after, declaring “I believe in tribes of women.” She thought she was preaching to the choir and that life could go back to “normal” afterward,  but when she stepped off the stage she discovered that, not only was there a call for a movement, those asking for it were the last she expected.

Episode 2 – The Making of a Movement

Episode 2 is Part 2 of the Tribe of Women “origin story”, where Amy and Laurie discuss the winding road of starting a movement and how she was compelled to take on the role of “leader”. They talk about how the merging of “my tribe, your tribe, and the tribe” makes us stronger, and the evolution of a Tribe Talk conversation through Amy’s year of listening. They cover the fundamentals of the “3 Pillars of Tribe” – I see you. I hear you. I feel you – and what it mean when we say we are addressing “Mean Girl Culture”. And why are “More Good Men” part of a movement about women supporting women? Finally, they share where Tribe of Women is now and ways to be part of THE Tribe on the journey to “what’s next.”BANNER TRIBE TALKPODCAST LOGO | TribeofWomen.com

Both episodes are full of great conversation AND resources! These two episodes reference, TEDx Talk “I believe in tribes of women” by Amy Robinson, Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott, Tribes by Seth Godin, and Mending the Sisterhood by Susan Skog. 

What’s Up Next!?

So, guess who our Episode 3 and first interview guest will be? Tribe Talk will feature the one and only Karenann Terrell, CIO of Wal-Mart, on February 14th! She shares her experience, wisdom and what it means to stand on and be the shoulders for other women to stand. What a way to celebrate the day of love. We LOVE our tribe!

Be In The Know

Be the first to hear about upcoming podcast guests when you Join THE Tribe and our newsletter! You’ll also learn about events and have access to specials around our product releases and give-aways.

If YOU Believe in Tribes of Women

Have you already listened to Tribe Talk? Share your comments here. Did you love it? Subscribe, comment, and rate the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict or any other major platform and share with your tribe.

We’re so happy to be able to share the collective wisdom of the tribe through this podcast. We believe in tribes of women, and we’re so thankful that you believe too!

Women’s March on Washington – Women Supporting Women

Last weekend, I spent a chilly, overcast day with several hundred thousand other women and men of all ages, colors and creeds on the Mall in Washington DC. Several things compelled me to go to the Women’s March on Washington, but one of my goals was to capture some of the stories of women who would be attending with me – stories that also compelled them to travel to the nation’s capital to make their voices heard.

Women's March on Washington | TribeofWomen.com

As I was traveling, several friends contacted me to wish me well and tell me that I was marching for them because they couldn’t attend a march at home. I cannot put into words how humbled I was by their sincere gratitude for my willingness to do something that I was not at all hesitant to do. It felt a little silly to say “you’re welcome” when I would have gone for the sheer enjoyment of traveling, seeing my brother and his family, eating amazing Lebanese food, and getting to hang out with the friends who flew out with me. Standing up for women’s rights was kind of the cherry on top.

At some point, I realized that if each of the 200,000 attendees that march organizers were anticipating in DC were marching for others, we would be representing an amazing number of women across the country. To our astonishment, the total estimate announced Sunday was around 500,000. Considering how many friends I was representing, there were around 5 million people represented by marchers in DC alone.

Women's March on Washington | TribeofWomen.com
Women were not alone in DC. I would guess approximately 1/3 of the people at the Women’s March were men marching for their partners, mothers, daughters, sisters and friends.

Extrapolate that out for the total number of people marching in the entire U.S. – estimated at 3 million – and 30 MILLION people were represented by the women and men who marched last Saturday. Even if you cut that in half to account for people who weren’t representing as many as I was, 15 million is not paltry. Obviously, a lot of people felt strongly about the mission and vision of the event.

But Monday, social media started looking sad. Friends of mine were sharing status updates they found online – some were pretty hateful – about the Women’s March. These posts didn’t just communicate a lack of information about the purpose of the women’s march or ask genuine questions to learn why women marched, they directly questioned the need for the event at all, and in some cases, harshly criticized marchers with personal attacks and name-calling.

Now, I and others like me could simply scroll past these posts and move on, choosing to “go high” when others “go low” (thanks Michelle!). For these situations, I am particularly fond of the “unfollow” feature on Facebook. On the other hand, I strongly believe I have a responsibility to respond. Because, while I most definitely marched for women of color (who have been marching a hell of a lot longer than I have), and my LGBTQIA friends and family, immigrant women raising children my son attends school with, women with disabilities, victims of sexual violence, women who worship in mosques and temples, and the rights of my daughters to be in control of their own reproductive health and earn what they deserve in the workplace, I also marched for women who aren’t aware their rights are being threatened, and who lash out against things they don’t understand with criticism and disdain. To those women, I say “It’s okay if you don’t understand why I chose to march (or even oppose the stated reasons for the march online) – I marched for you anyway.”

Women's March on Washington | TribeofWomen.com

All the freedoms women enjoy today – our freedom to make our own decisions about our healthcare, the ability to take out a loan in our own name, the right to vote, the ability of our daughters to play sports just like your sons, the right to speak out against sexual harassment and demand equal pay in the workplace – ALL of those freedoms were won in part by women who were willing to march. Some of them may were probably told they don’t speak for their peers, but they still marched. I am grateful for those women. And last Saturday, I was proud to take my place in line with those women to keep those freedoms from disappearing.

At the very root of everything Tribe of Women stands for is the desire to create a culture of women supporting women. We have more similarities than differences – we must remember that. I spoke to dozens of women at the march about our mission last Saturday. I watched eyes light up and smiles break across faces when I proposed the idea that we can come from different backgrounds and have different lives and goals, and STILL STAND TOGETHER.

I think I can safely say that we have all been the victim of the normalization of “mean girl” culture in our society: the judgement and criticism that transpires among women, directed toward women they disagree with. The belief that women are inherently mean to each other. We have witnessed useless debates over breast vs. bottle, work outside the home vs. staying home, judging the size of one’s family, are leggings pants or pajamas (yes, some debates are this silly)… the list seems endless.

But in the end, we are all women. We should be demanding the right to decide for ourselves what is right for us, as individuals, based on our own personal life-choices and beliefs. We should be encouraging each other to make those decisions even if they are not the decisions we would make for ourselves. And we should be able to make those personal decisions without suffering the backlash of other women questioning the decisions we have made for ourselves.

It’s simple, really: If you want to understand why I marched, I am happy to share. If you don’t want to march, you don’t have to. But every day, whether or not you know why, I’m still marching for you.

— Laurie Marshall

Tribe Stories – When Less IS The More We Seek

As the first days of the new year have us pushing ourselves to do more, stretch further, and grow bigger, consider that sometimes less IS the more that we seek. Today’s wisdom of women and “Tribe Stories” contribution comes from our friend, Hannah, who wrote these words and told us we could share them with you. Thank you, Hannah, for sharing your story. Thank you, Tribe, for listening.

girls-writingDear 2016

Thanks in advance for indulging my long-winded stream of thought. I’m sure you’re completely overwhelmed by many people who are yelling at you right now. So I’ll try and keep it short and polite.
Here’s what I’ve taken away from you, and resolve to learn from and do better with after you’re gone:
I’ll be focusing on a smaller group of people I love dearly to give to. I’ve learned from you that I don’t have to give to everyone. Only those who appreciate it or can give back.
I won’t be giving myself away for free. My heart, my knowledge, and my experience is valuable. And it’s ok for me to ask other people to value that as well. And I’ll learn to value it, too. There are people out there who want those things at too great a cost for me, and too little a price for them. And those things are just not for the taking anymore.
I won’t be underestimating kindness or compassion. They’ll never be out of style or overrated. And I’ll continue to lead by example when I can afford to give those things.
I’ll be spending more time getting freckles on my nose in the sun, and letting my feet get wet in rain puddles. I’ll quit stressing about our lawn being overgrown, and try to keep my flowers watered. I’ll scratch our dog in all the right places that make his foot tap.
I’m going to try and be present for this beautiful tribe of people we have. And always be on call for them when they’re in need. As they have for me.
And I’m waiting for my cue from the universe to stand on the front lines of a revolution, the revolt against hate and thoughtlessness and quick reaction. I’ll be punching my fist in the air to fight for fairness, democracy, and kindness. Because that’s the life I’ve chosen for my family. And my son has a whole life ahead of him. And that’s the lesson I want him to take away from me.
carousel-hand-holdingI’m going to try and stop balancing my life. I’m going to just ride this carousel of crazy filled with people and things I love, music that makes me dance, and events and volunteer positions that fill my soul. Even if this adventure kills me. Because I built this Merry-go-round. And I like it this way. Even if I can’t find clean socks and the kitchen remodel never gets finished. I’d rather die knowing I did the things that were important to me and fill the chapters of my book with stories that others want to read.
So, it’s been fun, 2016. And it’s time for you to head on out. You can take your meanies, miscommunications, complicated fixes to seemingly easy problems, and I’m going to build on bonfires with new friends, asking for what I need, skipping laundry if I don’t want to do it, diving in head first on gut instincts, and fighting for what I believe in.
Thanks so much,
Hannah

Thank YOU, Hannah.

We love to hear from the tribe. Share your Tribe Stories at http://www.arrobinson.com/tribe-stories/

Tribe on!

Holidaze – How To Fill Your Cup During the Holiday Season

‘Tis the season! There is nothing like the holiday spirit to energize. . . and exhaust you. While the cooler weather, twinkling lights, and hot cocoa mugs inspire list making, envelope licking, cookie baking, and guest room scrubbing, it also takes a lot away from – or completely obliterates – any time we have to fill our own cups. Often, by the time the celebration days arrive, we’re lost in a fog of package tracking, family finagling, late night wrapping, decoration debates, and – admittedly – too much cookie dough testing.

holidaze-fill-your-cupFill Your Cup

When we’re not really mentally, physically, or emotionally “ourselves”, we’re left with two choices: 1) Put on the ugly sweater and a smile, drink up some egg nog, and get through it; or 2) stay in our PJ’s, say that we’re sick, and secretly watch “How to Get Away with Murder” on your phone under the covers while everyone enjoys the spoils of your labor in the other room.

Here are some ways your fellow Tribe shared for filling your cup during the holiday season so you can enjoy these last weeks of the year!

The gift of time

“I like to spend time with old friends when everyone comes back into town from their different colleges. People from my high school graduating class have an annual “white elephant” party and, even though everyone is now scattered across the country for college, jobs, etc., we all make time for each other during the holiday season. These are the people who have helped shape me into who I am and it’s so important to keep contact with old friends.” Lauren

“We get together for game night.” Nicole

“We have a lot of houses that put up light displays for the holidays. I’ve met friends at a coffee shop to get cocoa, then we all get in one vehicle and look at lights and chat for an hour or so. It was fun!” Anne

The gift of food & drink

“I bake with my daughters, and enjoy a cookie exchange one of my friends hosts every year.” Laurie

“Cookie swap.” Jill

“Cookie swap!” Melissa

“Progressive meal (one place for apps, one place for main course, another place for dinner).” Summer

The gift of self-careholidaze-gifts

“‘There are consequences to being highly productive.’ This is by far the hardest thing for me to remember and keep in balance. This time of year it gets almost impossible. So here is everyone’s reminder: take care of you. It will make you better at taking care of those around you. I know its hard to reconcile, but it will also, shock and awe, make your life more enjoyable. Yes, even more than all the laundry being done or the movies being sorted into genres. The struggle is real, but it’s worth it.” Kristin

“I think a walk and talk is fun!” Jaqueline

“Take a hike! Seriously, that’s my favorite way to connect with friends these days.” Melanie

“Sometimes an opportunity to visit with people you like without the burden of bringing something, buying something, making something, or in some way having to be clever, is just too much. How about a simple shout out for a fun happy hour somewhere?” Angie

The gift of new & old traditions

“I like to create new traditions for my family and work around others schedules so I can see them and be with them and not compete with stress. My family and I created a seasonal event we call “pumpkin chunkin”- each family group builds a trajectory machine and sees how far it will throw a pumpkin. It’s so much fun. It’s okay to be non traditional and to be who you want to be for the reasons that you believe.” Loray

“I’m having girls over for an ornament exchange this weekend.” Jill

“Invite [friends] to a craft making session at your house! I have a friend who picks 1 craft and has supplies enough for everyone and then has them over and each person brings cookies or drinks or appetizers.” Monica

“Always have a jigsaw puzzle going. People can’t help gravitating to it.” Dede

“What about an old fashion telephone call?” Patricia

How do YOU tribe?

What are some ways you fill your cup, keep end-of-year stress away, or take time to take care of you? Share your thoughts in the comments. We love hearing from you!

Women Supporting Women – What Does It Mean Now?

This has been a tough political season for tribes of women everywhere. Mine, yours, THE tribe of women. Like everyone, our team has been talking and mulling, spinning and assessing, reading and contemplating the weight and meaning of it all. The question we keep coming back to is “What does it really mean for women to support women?”

Like many, we also feel it is an important and unprecedented moment for women, and a time to make a statement as an organization and be very clear on some things on behalf of ourselves and women everywhere.

Election’s Toll on Women

We observed the back and forth of loaded words and accusations between political parties and continued to stay the course reminding all of us that we are in this together, no matter who you vote for, or what the outcome.

And, we concluded that the toll of the election on relationships between women would have been the same no matter who won the White House. The election season and its associated media headlines exposed many things about our collective culture that we may have been able to minimize or explain away at any other time, or under other circumstances – but not this time.

So, if women supporting women is 100% the focus of our organization, we know how to maintain those supportive relationships, right? Yes… Although, after the election, the question became, “What does it mean now?”

statue-of-liberty We’re All Women

Tribe of Women came to be, as a movement and organization, because the acceptance of “mean girl” culture had the phrase “women are mean to each other” rolling off the tongues of men, women, mothers, fathers, teachers, politicians, media, and business leaders, and into the ears, hearts and minds of girls and women.

The prevalence of this concept has been so pervasive that even if we did not believe or act on it ourselves, we accepted it as part of an overall cultural norm. This acceptance has women moving away from the very thing that we had in common. No matter our experiences, opinions, or outlook, we are all women.

When we look at what is possible if we do not accept “mean girl” culture as inevitable, the whole world changes. The lens of tribe recognizes our commonalities in our struggles and our joys, our motivations and inspirations. It sees our under-tapped abilities and perspectives.

So, we do know what to do! Now, why aren’t we doing it? Why are we allowing a stereotyping culture to drown out the collective voice of womanhood that knows what we need, and that will get us all much further?

We know how to tribe. We know how to love ourselves and each other. How to reach out, and reach back. To lift up, and to lead. Assuming our tribe lens has been muddied by the social stigmas, stereo types and norms we’ve been living under – especially during this tumultuous year, it’s time to wipe it clean.

What It Means

How do we learn to tribe again? That is our quest. “What does it mean for women to support women?” Sometimes life is a matter of figuring out what something is not, so let’s address those first.

What it does NOT mean
  1. We all have to like each other. No. That would be unrealistic. We cannot ask all women to like each other any more than we can ask all humans to like each other.
  2. We all have to agree. Still, no. If we learned anything from this political season, it is the value of debate and different perspectives. If we listen.
  3. We will be contributing to gender bias by supporting other women because they are women. Uh-uh. Nope. Enough with this myth! We only won the right to vote 96 years ago, ladies. We need to be seen supporting each other, or the bias that we don’t will be perpetuated.
  4. We will be making it a bigger deal than it is by talking about it. Yeah… no. “Ignoring it won’t make it go away” is an age-old saying for a reason. The cat is out of the bag and we need to deal with it.

With some misperceptions and myths out of the way, we can see a little more clearly what needs to be done.

What it means nowheart-hands
  1. We do not actively tear one another down based on gender stereotypes. Women are powerful. Like, pow-er-ful. So, yes, it is intimidating when we stand together, and unconscious bias is the fuel for the fire that wants to make sure we have just enough, but not too much, of that power. Saying nothing when gender bias is present, or participating in it (toward a woman or man), supports the bias.
  2. We create and maintain our own boundaries and respect the boundaries of others without being offended or retaliatory. We all need to go toward our own “lights” and surround ourselves with the people that fill our cup. Our communities, lives, and work-places are filled with people that do, but also people that don’t. We all have the right to boundaries in all of those spaces. We do not have to be best friends in order to come together toward a community, life, or work goal.
  3. We find common ground.As women, our likenesses greatly outweigh our differences.” Look at the women around you. In the grocery store, the coffee shop, school, work, walking down the street. We often find fault with others because there is something we are struggling with in ourselves. See past that. See them. See that they are wrestling a tired toddler, being ignored by a co-worker, getting harassed by a jerk, or picking up groceries for another night alone. Smile at her. Reach out to her. There is a story, a person – a sister – everywhere we look. If we look.
  4. We have conversations. We tell our stories, we find connecting points, we go deep. We are good at this! When we let ourselves be. And this is where we tap into our empathy from which we lead, and we’re damn good at it.

That women are not supporting one another as much as is needed to advance, evolve, and thrive can no longer be ignored, and preventing further divisions post-election needs to be a deep calling within each of us in the coming months and years. We’re here. We’re in this together. And we will rise to all of our potential, individually and collectively, when we learn to tribe again.

profile-pic-for-websiteAuthor, Amy Reeves Robinson is the Founder of Tribe of Women

Please share your comments, feedback and perspectives with her in the comments below

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