10 TED Talks From (And For) Exceptional Mothers


No household can run without a savvy business leader, resident nurse, and straight-talking unlicensed therapist, so thank God you married her. And since you know she’s lying when she says she wants to spend the entire day with her family, give her this video playlist so she can hole up on the couch for a little while. Because while flowers, yoga pants, and whatever else you bought your wife for “her” day is great, insights and ideas from other highly-intelligent, highly-motivated women making motherhood gel with the rest of their lives is priceless.

For The Mom Who Has A Glass Of Wine Instead Of Picking Up LEGOs

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Katherine Wintsch: Unmasking Motherhood
Some mothers are still trying to shape their world to reflect their Pinterest board, but Katherine Wintsch, founder of the consultancy the Mom Complex, recognized that a lot of brands like Walmart, Hasbro, and Kraft need cut it out with all the perfect mom-dom crap and start showing what being a modern mother is really like: Constantly covered with fluids.

For The Mom With A 12-Year-Old Daughter

Julia Sweeney: It’s Time For “The Talk”
When you just have to laugh at the comedy of errors that is parenting, there’s comedian Julia Sweeny’s hilarious retelling of how she broke down the birds and the bees to her daughter. If she can describe the female reproductive anatomy as “A little bit like having a waste treatment plant right next to an amusement park … Bad zoning,” then you can go ahead bust out that pizza metaphor.

For The Mom Who’s Getting Breakfast In Bed

Jennifer Senior: For Parents, Happiness is a Very High Bar
Jennifer Senior’s New York Times bestseller, All Joy And No Fun: The Paradox Of Modern Parenting, and her TED talk distill why raising happy kids is such a crisis for modern parents. Hint: It’s not their fault, and happiness is the wrong goal. Also relevant: If jars of pureed macaroni and beef can build a bestselling TED speaker, your kid probably doesn’t need to go gluten-free.

For The Mom Who Makes More Money Than You

Anne-Marie Slaughter: Can We Have It All?
Public policy expert (and friend of Fatherly) Anne-Marie Slaughter was penned that Atlantic article that try to understand “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” In her TED talk, Slaughter discusses that anachronistic chestnut, gender equality, and how not just women, but everyone should adjust their old ways of thinking. Can you still call helicopters autogyros? Sure.

For The Mom Who’s Kind Of Down With The Self Help Thing

Mel Robbins: How To Stop Screwing Yourself Over
If you’re going to go the self help route, you could do worse than listening to an Ivy League-educated criminal lawyer with a bestselling book and a one of the most sought-after corporate coaching programs in the country. Here’s Robbin’s first motivational tip to you: You’re never going to feel like it. (Even the Bowflex in the garage knows that.)

For The Mom Whose Business Ideas Are Better Than Yours

Jill Salzman: Why Moms Make The Best Entrepreneurs
Jill Salzman has worn a bunch of entrepreneurial caps, like starting a music management firm and launching a baby jewelry company. Her latest venture is a monthly meetups for like-minded moms where kids are welcome called The Founding Moms. Want your kid to know what mommy does all day? It’s never too early to learn how to white board.

For The Mom On Maternity Leave

Jessica Shortall: How America Fails New Parents — And Their  Babies
Jessica Shortall is the author of Work. Pump. Repeat. and the former director of giving at TOMS shoes. In her TED talk she takes on paid parental leave and the ugly reality of women who are forced to go back to work just a few weeks after giving birth. You should be in favor of take your kid to work day — but not when they’re infants.

For The Mom Who Can Bring Peace To Her Household

Leymah Gbowee: Unlock the Intelligence, Passion, And Greatness of Girls
Nobel Peace Prize winner and a huge factor in ending the second Liberian civil war, Leymah Gbowee is a mother of 4 who has seen children in the absolute worst of circumstances. In her talk, Gbowee relates how not enough is being done to unlock the potential of girls around the world. If you’re an awesome role model, you’re halfway there.

For The Mom Who Is Handy With A Thermometer

Dr. Hawa Abdi + Dr. Deqo Mohamed: Mother Daughter Doctor Heroes
Sometimes mother/daughter time is going to get matching pedicures. Sometimes it’s helping a war-torn region get access to basic medical care. Doctors Hawa Abdi and Deqo Mohamed are the mother and daughter doctor duo who have been called “the saints of Somalia” after managing to build a medical clinic, hospital, and school in a region known for open hostility to women.

For The Mom Who Turns Crisis Into Opportunity

Nancy Frates: Meet The Mom Who Started The Ice Bucket Challenge
The ice bucket challenge wasn’t just about getting A-list celebrities to pour freezing water on themselves — that was just a nice byproduct. When Nancy Frates son was diagnosed with ALS it was terrifying. But how she turned his disease into a moment of opportunity is a story that will have you crying buckets.

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