Not A 'Granny Panties' Kinda Gal!
In my opinion, life is an ever-changing dramedy, with each of us being given the choice as to how we want to play our part. My choice has always been to “go positive or go home.” I am unable to see any benefit at all in living life any other way -- the attitude of a staunch survivor, I’ve been told. Who knows? Frankly, my plan has never been to merely “survive” my days but to “relish and ravage” them.
No doubt, my five children have helped me accomplish this in a myriad of ways and will continue to do so in years to come. Some of what we are facing as a family in the near future include: a wedding, another child attending medical school, a college semester abroad, the first year of college (across the country, no less), a depleted bank account accompanied by an alcoholic mom (just kidding!!!!), and the launch of a very exciting project in February 2018.
And I’m only 51 years-young!
No, I’m not quite ready for my very own pair of granny panties even though I’m sure I will own the name “grandma” soon enough. But like author, speaker and blogger Mary Fran Bontempo, women today wear that title differently than they use to. The changes that come with this reality...well, that is what Mary Fran is doing with her time, these days. Through her work she is helping and supporting women in overcoming the many obstacles that arise when transitioning to the second half of a woman’s life, including the fear that accompanies these changes. Frankly, I love where I am at today and love Mary Fran for her stellar smarts in helping other women be able to say the same. It is the reason I have chosen to interview her and share her with you below.
What is your full name?
Mary Fran Bontempo
What is your personal mantra?
Lord, let me be a blessing to someone today.
Tell us about your life, including where you live, number of children and anything else you would like to share.
I live just outside of Philadelphia, in Bucks County with my husband of 36 years, Dave. We have 3 grown children (a son and two daughters) and two grandchildren (the lights of my life!) and one more on the way. As with everyone married for a long time, we’ve had our share of challenges, including having dealt with our son’s heroin addiction, health issues with parents, business and financial challenges—but I, and we, together, are still standing. A win!
Do you believe you have a “life’s purpose?” If so, share it.
I believe my life purpose is to live with compassion and serve the greater good, while helping women to find relevance and joy in their lives. More specifically, I feel drawn to working with women to teach them how to redefine their self-talk so they can transition through life and move from who they were towards who they want to be. In so doing, I’ve been able to connect with women on a personal level and help them to find their joy while they redefine the way they live.
Finish this sentence, “The best part of being a mom is _____________________.”
“The best part about being a mom is watching my children become kind, hard-working, thoughtful adults who value family and contribute to the world being a better place. My son works helping people overcome addiction, my older daughter teaches children with multiple disabilities and my youngest daughter is a nurse. I’m so proud of them!”
What is the name of your blog? When was it launched?
Not Ready for Granny Panties, launched in 2007. Several years ago, I found myself in the middle of a very dark time in my life. The perfect storm of yuck included a tanking economy which threatened our family business, the loss of my newspaper jobs as the internet gained traction in publishing, my 50th birthday (boy, I wish I could get that back again!) and worst of all, my son’s heroin addiction. During that time, my husband and I were down to managing not one day at a time, not one hour at a time, but fifteen minutes at a time. It was all we could handle.
One day, while lamenting all of my messes with a girlfriend, I came out with, “Oh, I’m so not ready for granny panties!” As a writer, I immediately thought—wow, there’s something there! It also reminded me that humor was a light for me. I needed that and needed to actively pursue it in my life. So, I created the blog as an outlet for my work and to intentionally seek the light in my life. It helped keep me sane!
What is the primary focus of your blog and what do you hope to accomplish through it?
Through the blog, my books, and my speaking to women, I hope to remind all women of our connection. I believe we all share the same story—only the details are different.
I want women to know that they can live with intention, and by examining and tweaking their self-talk (a.k.a. the voices in their heads!), they can redefine their lives and become who they want to be, with a healthy dose of wit and wisdom by their sides! Oh, all of the above and that it’s never, EVER, too late to try something new. I’m 58—living proof of that!
List any awards you have won.
Honored by the YWCA as one of the 2017 “Women Who Make a Difference”
Chosen Best Author of 2017 by Bucks Happening
Honored by Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop
Honored by Humor Press.
Are you a Brand Ambassador and if so, for which companies?
Not presently, although I imagine it’s only a matter of time before Depends comes calling!
Do you blog for other blogs or sites?
Huffington Post, Women’s Voices Magazine, Best Kept Self, BIZCATALYS360
Which social media outlet (such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc) do you find most useful?
Hmmm…that’s tough, as they all have their place. Facebook offers a nice combination of the personal and professional. You can allow people to see into your world in a controlled way while also presenting yourself professionally.
I’m getting better with Twitter, although I really have to watch myself on it. There are so any people tweeting idiotic and hateful things, and I really need to police myself and not respond. It’s hard!
I also like the long posts now on LinkedIn; they allow your contacts to see what you’re about, and for me as a writer, see that I can actually write!
What is the one piece of advice you would give to those who may be interested in beginning a blog?
Do it because you love it and have a passion to share something. DO NOT expect to make money from your blog!
Share the 2-3 blogs that you follow.
Well, obviously, Not Ready for Granny Panties! It’s wonderful! (It’s also mine.) Also, entrepreneur and business coach,
Marie Forleo does a great job of being engaging and showing how to mindfully create a successful business while taking care of yourself, on her site. I’m a big fan. I also absolutely love The Bloggess! She’s hilarious, irreverent and says most of the things I wish I had the nerve to say!
Are you an entrepreneur or professional beyond your blog (and outside of being a mom)? Please share.
For 35 years, my husband and I have had a professional executive search firm, The Bontempo Group. It is not, and never has been, my first love, although my husband is wonderful at it. That said, the up-close-and-personal insight into how people present themselves has been wonderful for me as a writer to observe. It’s been an education for sure!
I’ve also been a church singer, elementary school teacher, newspaper columnist, parish youth minister, office manager, butcher, baker and candlestick maker. (Okay, I made up those last three, but you get the idea.)
Do you support – either formally or informally – a particular social cause?
As a half-Italian woman, food is incredibly important to me. My husband can always tell when I’m on the phone with my mother as we’re usually talking about food! Given that, I cannot bear the idea of people going hungry, so I always support
Feed the Children and Food for the Poor, along with Children International.
When all is said and done, how do you want to be remembered?
As someone who was loving, compassionate, kind, loyal, and made women laugh, while realizing their self-worth. Laughter is so important. It joins us together and gives us hope. When I can be the source of that laughter—either intentionally or just because I’m a goofball—I’m delighted. It is one of the best gifts I can offer the world.
She knows of whence she speaks, folks. The value tied up in Mary Fran’s words is enormous. Heed them by grabbing your cheaters (if you must) and regularly reading Not Ready For Granny Panties as you toss your own granny panties to the curb. It will be a freeing experience, I assure you!