Dr. Karen January Helps Women with Their “Mama Issues”
Dr. Karen January observed something very interesting about the at-risk girls she mentors through her nonprofit Positive Concepts that would inspire both a book and a speaking career. She noted that a young girl’s level of maturity was closely tied to her relationship with her mother or mother figure. If the relationship involved little to no healthy communication or openness, then most likely the girl would have to navigate through life on her own. The resulting revelation led her to write Lessons Mama Never Taught Me: What Every Woman Should Know, an anthology of true stories written by women who learned a few life lessons the hard way—with or without mama’s guidance.
“Many of us enter into adulthood ill-equipped or prepared for some of life’s hardest lessons because of bad advice, no guidance or limited information provided to us by our mothers,” Dr. January said.
In her book, she notes that her own mother didn’t discuss menstruation with her but, rather, handed her a manual.
“Talking to our daughters about sensitive issues can be an ordeal that is dreaded by many moms,” she said.
Dr. January cites some of the following reasons for a mom’s reluctance to talk to her daughter(s):
• Mom could be embarrassed to admit that she doesn’t know something or that she has experienced the very thing her daughter wishes to discuss • Mom is a “do as I say, not as I do” type of mother • Mom comes from a mother who also avoided hard topics • Mom doesn’t have time or the emotional bandwidth • Mom doesn’t care
Lessons Mama Never Taught Me contains stories by women who fall into one or more of the above categories. The common thread of the stories is that each woman found a way to navigate through life ultimately to enjoy some semblance of success.
“This is by no means an indictment against good, committed mothers,” Dr. January said. “If anything, it is a testament to the hard work many have put in and a cautionary tale for those who have not but have to raise young girls.”
Dr. January also believes that Lessons Mama Never Taught Me will spur empathy between women because of the delicate nature of some stories.
“Let’s face it—we all have ‘mama issues,’ whether good or bad, bearable or irreparable,” she said.