Stephanie Sprenger

  • The Social Media Cold Shoulder

    In this month’s HerTake question, Nina discusses what to do if you think a friend is purposely ignoring your posts on Facebook. Have you been on the receiving end of a digital dissing? Have you ever purposely withheld likes and comments from a friend?

    Dear Nina,

    I’m confused by one of my friends who is great in person, but ignores me on Facebook. Yes, a modern “problem,” but one that does affect our relationship or at least how I view our relationship.

    First, some background: I met “Jana” in a support group as we were both going through infertility. We hit it off and have been friends now for eight years. (By the way, we both have babies so it all ended well.)

    When we’re together, just the two of us, whether in person or on the phone, we have a wonderful time connecting, and I feel like she’s one of my closest friends. But then she completely ignores me on social media. We are friends on Facebook and Instagram, and I see that she likes and comments on (seemingly) everybody else’s feeds but mine. I also write a personal blog that I know she reads diligently because she mentions things she’s read there, but she has only commented on my site twice in the last eight years.

    To see the rest of this question and Nina’s answer, please visit Nina’s post.

    FULL RES - Badzin-03 copy-1You can follow Nina on her blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

  • So Glad They Told Me Publication Day is Here!

    It’s finally here!! We’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of this book ever since we chose our fantastic contributors nearly a year ago, and the day has finally arrived! So Glad They Told Me: Women Get Real About Motherhood is now available for purchase as a paperback or e-book!

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    We are so proud of the 60 talented contributors who shared their stories about motherhood with us, and we think there is something for every parent in these pages, whether you’re newly pregnant, immersed in the first year, raising teens, or experiencing a brand new empty nest.

    This book was inspired by our #SoGladTheyToldMe social media movement and viral essay; here is more info from the back cover of the book:

    In the increasingly competitive culture of modern motherhood, parenting advice can often be judgmental, unrealistic, or smug. Or sometimes, there isn’t anyone there to offer advice or support. Mothers may feel isolated and lack a support network to provide honest advice, and others may face a barrage of unwarranted, unhelpful tips or warnings.

    This collection of essays from 60 mothers will empower and unite parents with real, honest advice from women who have been there. These writers share the advice or support they received—or wish they had—on everything from pregnancy to surviving the first year to parenting teens to empty nest syndrome. Inspired by the viral essay and #SoGladTheyToldMe social media movement, this book aims to change conversations about motherhood by presenting a broader, more realistic, and more balanced image of motherhood so that women will feel less inadequate, adversarial, and isolated. So Glad They Told Me is filled with compassionate, honest advice, and the poignant, painful, and sometimes hilarious truths you wish your best girlfriends had told you about motherhood.

    And to give you a taste of exactly the type of supportive, honest advice you’ll read in this book, here are some photos of our contributors sharing their messages in their own words.

    This collection will share advice on surviving the early years of parenting:

    14045971_1098388620223828_7054636289806110149_n

    And work-life balance:

    13932684_1098382153557808_86847994578706347_n

    It speaks to the importance of finding a tribe and being there for other moms:

    13924936_1098372256892131_8323372958167355961_n

    And being honest with one another:

    14040108_1098371016892255_335358026752135790_n

    With so many fantastic contributors and a foreword by the incredible Ann Imig, founder of Listen To Your Mother, Jessica and I are bursting with excitement to release this book. We would love your support today! You can order a paperback or e-book here. Here are a few things you can do to help us spread the word and make our release day a success:

    We are having a Twitter party on Thursday evening at 9 pm EST to celebrate the book, interact with the authors, and share our own motherhood stories. We’d LOVE for you to join us. Use the hashtag #SGTTM and join us! Details here:

    14138329_10157279048855648_1370323123_n (1)

    We are so thrilled to finally share this book that has been over a year-and-a-half in the making. You can learn more about the project here. We can’t wait for you to read our contributors’ stories– we are so glad they shared them with us, and we think you will be, too.

    ~Stephanie & Jessica

  • Publication Day for So Glad They Told Me!

    It’s finally here!! We’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of this book ever since we chose our fantastic contributors nearly a year ago, and the day has finally arrived! So Glad They Told Me: Women Get Real About Motherhood is now available for purchase as a paperback or e-book!

    motherhood-web1

    We are so proud of the 60 talented contributors who shared their stories about motherhood with us, and we think there is something for every parent in these pages, whether you’re newly pregnant, immersed in the first year, raising teens, or experiencing a brand new empty nest.

    This book was inspired by our #SoGladTheyToldMe social media movement and viral essay; here is more info from the back cover of the book:

    In the increasingly competitive culture of modern motherhood, parenting advice can often be judgmental, unrealistic, or smug. Or sometimes, there isn’t anyone there to offer advice or support. Mothers may feel isolated and lack a support network to provide honest advice, and others may face a barrage of unwarranted, unhelpful tips or warnings.

    This collection of essays from 60 mothers will empower and unite parents with real, honest advice from women who have been there. These writers share the advice or support they received—or wish they had—on everything from pregnancy to surviving the first year to parenting teens to empty nest syndrome. Inspired by the viral essay and #SoGladTheyToldMe social media movement, this book aims to change conversations about motherhood by presenting a broader, more realistic, and more balanced image of motherhood so that women will feel less inadequate, adversarial, and isolated. So Glad They Told Me is filled with compassionate, honest advice, and the poignant, painful, and sometimes hilarious truths you wish your best girlfriends had told you about motherhood.

    And to give you a taste of exactly the type of supportive, honest advice you’ll read in this book, here are some photos of our contributors sharing their messages in their own words.

    This collection will share advice on surviving the early years of parenting:

    14045971_1098388620223828_7054636289806110149_n

    And work-life balance:

    13932684_1098382153557808_86847994578706347_n

    It speaks to the importance of finding a tribe and being there for other moms:

    13924936_1098372256892131_8323372958167355961_n

    And being honest with one another:

    14040108_1098371016892255_335358026752135790_n

    With so many fantastic contributors and a foreword by the incredible Ann Imig, founder of Listen To Your Mother, Jessica and I are bursting with excitement to release this book. We would love your support today! You can order a paperback or e-book here. Here are a few things you can do to help us spread the word and make our release day a success:

    We are having a Twitter party on Thursday evening at 9 pm EST to celebrate the book, interact with the authors, and share our own motherhood stories. We’d LOVE for you to join us. Use the hashtag #SGTTM and join us! Details here:

    14138329_10157279048855648_1370323123_n (1)

    We are so thrilled to finally share this book that has been over a year-and-a-half in the making. You can learn more about the project here. We can’t wait for you to read our contributors’ stories– we are so glad they shared them with us, and we think you will be, too.

    ~Stephanie & Jessica

  • Introducing Our Foreword Author, Ann Imig!

    motherhood-web1

    We are getting SO excited about the upcoming publication of So Glad They Told Me: Women Get Real About Motherhood. Our 60 + contributors are diverse, dynamic, and incredibly talented, and we absolutely can’t wait for you to read their words. So naturally, we had to find a foreword author who fit the mission of this project and further represented the gift of storytelling and honesty our contributors share. And one person instantly sprang to mind: Ann Imig, founder of Listen To Your Mother. I was honored to produce the 2016 Boulder show and previously participated in the casts of LTYM Denver and LTYM Boulder, and I can’t say enough about the gift that Ann and Listen To Your Mother have given women, families, and communities. If you aren’t well-acquainted with Ann and her work yet, let me be the first to introduce you!

    annheadshotAnn Imig is founder Listen To Your Mother, LLC, the storytelling series in 41 cities and video-sharing company. She is also editor of LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER:What She Said Then,What We’re Saying Now (Putnam & Sons, 2015). Ann’s writing appears on CollegeHumor, McSweeney’s, The Huffington Post and The Washington Post. TV appearances include ABCnews.com NBC Nightly News and the webseries Battleground (Hulu.com) and The Louise Log. Ann won the 2016 Iris Awards “Game Changer of the Year,” she’s a former Babble Top 100 Mom Blog/Top 50 Twitter Mom, A BlogHer #VOTY, and SheKnows Top 5 Funniest Mom. 

     

    We are SO honored to have Ann as the foreword writer for this essay collection; she truly is a game changer, and has done so much to give a voice to motherhood, representing all that is beautiful, painful, hilarious, and poignant about having a mother and being a mother. We can’t wait for you to read her words, and the words of our other contributors as they share stories that span pregnancy, infancy, the school-age and teen years, all the way through empty nest parenting. Our book releases next month– August 23rd– so make sure you have subscribed to our email newsletter to stay up to date!

    ~Stephanie & Jessica

    Other HerStories Project News:

    Create, Connect, Reflect (1) **Our newest online writing course, Create, Connect, Reflect: A Summer & Back-to-School Writing Program for Parents and School-Age/Tween Kids, is now open! Join us as we teach our kids a joy of writing and help them polish their craft, connect with them creatively, and give ourselves the space to reflect and express ourselves!

    Sign up today!

     

    **You can still take advantage of our spring/summer bundle and enroll in the self-paced versions of Publish Your Personal Essay and The Balanced Writer. Details here!

    **Our Voices column will be accepting submissions for September starting August 1st! Email our assistant editor Allie with your submission at herstoriesvoices @ gmail.com. Our September theme is friendship, and you can read full guidelines here.

  • Announcing Our Newest Writing Class–Create, Connect, Reflect!

    We are so thrilled to share our brand new online writing course! And we are doing something different this time– for the first time, we are offering a writing course that parents can take WITH their kids!

    Create, Connect, Reflect (1)

    This class is a great opportunity to connect with your school-aged/tween child in a creative way, and it’s just in time to help your child brush up on some crucial writing skills in a FUN way before school starts. So many of us want to keep our kids’ skills fresh during the summer months to prevent that dreaded “summer slide” and be back-t0-school ready, but let’s be honest: the break from homework is the BEST, and we don’t want to waste our summer weeks having power struggles and doing boring busywork with our kids.

    Enter Create, Connect, Reflect. The purpose of this course is to help refine your child’s writing skills while also giving YOU some space as a writer (professional author, published freelancer, blogger, or brand-new writer with a notebook full of poetry or short stories, or the mother with a daily/weekly journaling practice) to reflect on your writing journey as well as your parenting experience.

    This self-paced course is great opportunity to connect with your child through writing, give yourself a create outlet and reflect on your writing, and provide your child with some fun and useful exercises to keep their writing skills sharp and polished as summer wraps up. The course is designed for kids approximately ages 8-13, but you can absolutely adapt the exercises for kids who are younger or older. My almost-ten-year-old will be participating as my “assistant,” and there will be some great opportunities for our young writers to connect and interact with each other as well!

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    The best part? There is NO schedule at all. Sign up today, later this week, next week, or mid-August. The class is completely self-paced, which means you don’t have to “show up” at any specific time. You can write in your pajamas and give your kids their assignments to do while you’re desperately trying to get some work done or just enjoy an uninterrupted dining room coffee date with your best friend. Make the class work for you!

    Here’s what you can expect:

    • Week One: Why Do You Write?
    • Week Two: Getting Ready to Write and Setting Yourself Up For Success
    • Week Three: Getting Writer’s Block, Feeling Discouraged, and Taking Care of Yourself
    • Week Four: Telling Your Story
    • Week Five: Telling Your Family’s Story
    • BONUS CONTENT: Focus On Your Craft and Polish Your Writing

    Each week’s lesson will have exercises for each of the three components of the course: an opportunity for you as a mother/writer to create, an assignment for your child to complete independently, and an exercise to be completed with your child. You can start ANY TIME and take the class at your own pace.

    This class is for you if: 

    • You love to write
    • You want to share your joy of writing with your child *without* power struggles
    • You want your child to keep his/her writing skills sharp before school starts *without* spending a fortune on summer school or writing camps
    • You’re looking for a way to connect with your child creatively
    • You want to make time to reflect on your own writing life
    • You’d like to improve your own writing craft with revision and editing strategies, tips for more dynamic personal essays, writing prompts, readings, reflection, and connection with other writers.

    The tween years can be a tough time for communication and connection, and this class offers some fun, engaging writing prompts for you to do with your child including collaborative storytelling and journaling. Sometimes it’s easier to express ourselves on paper, and you may be surprised at the connection that comes simply through WRITING with your child!

    You can get full details for the course and sign up here. Remember, the course is now open so you can enroll any time and be immediately added to the class! I am so excited to write with you and your child this summer!

  • Exceptions and Sisters-in-Law

    UPDATE (2019): FIND NINA AND HER COLUMN AT HER NEW FRIENDSHIP ADVICE SITE

    In this month’s HerTake question, Nina answers a question from a woman trying to forge a friendship with a sister-in-law who seems to only have an interest in a civil relationship at best. We love that our community helps each other in the comments section. Don’t be afraid to add your two cents.

    Do you have a question for Nina? Use our anonymous form. You can read Nina’s answers to past questions here.

    HerTakenoavatar

    Dear Nina,

    What is the expectation level of friendship within family? And how do we deal with disappointment when it’s clear that no friendship is likely to emerge from a family relationship?

    My brother-in-law got remarried about a year ago, and I was really hoping that I would be friends with his new wife. I made a lot of effort at the outset, calling and texting and giving presents, but my overtures were met with a cold politeness (at best), and, at worst, hostility. If it were just a potential friend or acquaintance, I would move on and stop trying, but since it’s family, and we live in the same town, I don’t feel that I can just brush her off (even though she is brushing me off).

    What’s worse is that I see her being friendly to other people, I hear about how nice she is from others, and it’s really hard for me to not be hurt by the feeling that she is choosing to connect with other people but not me. She never calls, never texts, it’s all very one-sided and very unsatisfying. Also, we seem to look at the world very differently, so even on the rare occasion when we talk, it’s very strained and awkward.

    How do I balance the difficulty of “doing the right thing,” which is to keep being friendly and not burn this bridge, but managing my feelings of aggravation and disappointment.

    Thanks,

    Wanting a Friendly Family

     

    Dear Wanting a Friendly Family,

    Your question will touch on a sore spot for many readers since we can replace sister-in-law with mother-in-law, daughter-in-law, and any other familial relationship. How many of us hold onto expectations for our family members and inevitably feel frustrated and disappointed with the wide disparity between our expectations and reality? Too many of us, I’m sure.

    My gut reaction is that recalibrating your expectations to something more reasonable is the first step here. “Wanting a friendly family” is a workable and commendable goal. Wanting to be friends with your family, even with the new members married into the crew, is probably reaching too high. I wonder if it would help you to expect less from your sister-in-law if friendly rather than “friends” is the goal.

    Your question made me think about my three sisters-in-law. I feel a close and special friendship with all three of them, but those relationships developed over many years and there were some lows for us, too. It took maturity, empathy, and changes in behavior for all parties involved to rise above the fray. And the four of us live in four different cities!

    Back to your sister-in-law. There may be all sorts of reasons she is not responding to your attempts at forging a friendship. She may not like your husband. She may have grown up in a family where one does not have good relationships with in-laws or with siblings. She may not “get” how a close family works. She may feel overwhelmed by the new family or by marriage.

    I admit that it would feel less like rejection if you were hearing bad things about her. It’s human nature to feel better about ourselves if we have confirmation that the lack of chemistry is truly about the other person. But I want you let yourself off the hook even though you’re hearing she’s sweet towards others. You’ve done what you can so there’s no reason to worry if there’s something about you she doesn’t like. You’re not going to change for her so there’s no reason to over-analyze. Remember: your new goal is friendly not friends.

    As a special bonus answer, I reached out to a wise friend of mine who has had a tumultuous relationship with her sister-in-law for many years. She read your question and here’s what she wrote back to me.

    “Oy, Nina, you would think I wrote this myself, right? I believe actions are more important than reactions. So if it’s in the letter writer’s character to always show up pleasant and happy, then that is how she should show up. After many years of trying to create a better relationship with my sister-in-law who clearly had no interest in the same kind of connection, I woke up and said, ‘I have a village. I have people who are my friends. I have people who are my family. Sometimes it’s both. My energy is better spent investing in the relationships where it’s reciprocal and stop forcing it where it’s not.’ I decided that as long as the dynamic with my sister-in-law is polite enough for my husband’s family to eat dinner together, then I’m being a good partner in this. 

     The one holding the cards, in this scenario the sister-in-law, isn’t the only one who dictates the boundaries. When I made the commitment to just show up with a smile on my face but gave up hopes of anything whatsoever from my sister-in-law, that is when my sister-in-law started being nicer to me. She appeared at more family events like my kids’ recitals or birthday parties. She made more conversation with me at family get togethers. The commitment I made to myself was this: I am not going to play the victim. I’m responsible for what I bring and don’t bring to this relationship. My feelings were definitely hurt at times. That’s just life. Ya, know? You get through it. You stop being petty. You move on. It’s literally flipping the switch from reaction to action, which is a good lesson to learn in all relationships.”

    Isn’t my friend smart?

    Bottom line: You don’t have to be friends with your family. It’s noble you tried, but at this point it seems it’s best to be friendly and keep the door open as you never know what the future may bring. I’ve seen family crisis bring family members closer, and while I hope it doesn’t take something like that for you, it’s good to have the idea in mind that relationships can change in time. You keep being YOU, but keep your expectations of others reasonable.

    Good luck and report back if you can.

    Nina (and Nina’s good friend!)

     

     

    FULL RES - Badzin-03 copy-1You can follow Nina on her blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

    We’re always looking for new reader questions for Nina! If you have a difficult friendship situation that you’d like advice on, fill out our anonymous contact form.