Guest Profile

Dr. Amy Tiemann

Amy Tiemann, Ph.D.
Author of the young adult novel High Water and the award-winning book Mojo Mom, Creator of, President of SPARK Seminars

Author Amy Tiemann
I have always created my own path in life. After earning my doctorate in Neurosciences from Stanford University, I left "Big Science" for high school teaching, which was more demanding than I ever could have imagined, but incredibly rewarding. Neither of these jobs prepared me very well for the challenge of becoming the mother of a new baby. I went from teaching five classes and having hundreds of interactions a day to being home alone with my daughter for long stretches. The saying, "the days are long, but the years are short" best describes my entry into motherhood. Now that my daughter has reached school age, it seems like time has flown by, but during the early months and years of motherhood, I faced a major adjustment in my identity, as well as a reshaping of my career path.

After emerging from the cocoon of the early months of motherhood, I began to wonder "Who am I, now that I am a Mom?'' I was no longer an employed scientist or educator. No one called me "Dr. T." anymore. "Mom" describes the most personal relationship, but it can feel like the most anonymous label.

I began the process of getting my Mojo back, though I didn't have a name for it yet. Reviving my creativity and finding causes I believed in were key. I took creative-writing classes, finished a long-dormant children's novel, and even penned a screenplay. Teaching jobs came along, but none felt right. I had the good fortune to be able to choose to stay home if I wanted to, and one gift of motherhood was that I knew better than to commit time away from my family to a position that wasn't a good fit. I decided to combine my personal values and teaching skills to create my own teaching opportunity. In May 2002, I founded SPARK Seminars to educate parents about the core concepts of child safety and self-defense. My seminars have reached hundreds of parents in North Carolina through talks given at schools, churches, mothers' groups, and UNC Family Medicine.

During my daughter's third year, I realized that I had come a long way on the challenging journey from my old concept of my Self, to a nearly-blank slate wiped clean by motherhood, to a life that has been rebuilt to include time and space for both my family and myself as an individual. It has been an amazing process, with challenges and opportunities that take many women by surprise. I came up with the concept of "Mommy Mojo" to describe the intangible feeling of having a component of one's identity that is separate from being a mother, and the process of including the needs for individuality as a legitimate family priority. The collected wisdom I've gathered from interviews, research, and personal insight forms the basis for my book, Mojo Mom: Nurturing Your Self While Raising a Family. I am eager to extend my work into the community and dynamically update it through the resources I am able to offer through