Jun 18 2012
Since March, I’ve been working on Rebel Mama, my latest book. I started it when I went on maternity leave because I knew I’d need a project. (Hey, gimme a break. Wearing a baby and writing like a fiend two weeks post-baby is just how I roll.)
What started as a way to entertain myself before I went back to work has transformed into something so much bigger than I could have anticipated.
I’m 15 interviews in, my outline is rock solid, and the ideas and content keep a-coming. It’s been an incredible experience in connecting with other women and rebelling against expectations. So much has been poured into this book already – and I’m just getting started.
This book has generated so much interest, I wanted to pursue it and most importantly, I wanted to do it right. As someone who has previously self-published, I’m a fan of holding that little red publish button, but I did want to work with an editor, make print copies of the book available, and maybe – dare I say it – fund my own book tour.
It was a dream I knew could be reality. So I turned to Kickstarter to help fund the project so I could complete the book on a shorter timeframe and get it out into the world.
After line-by-lining their guidelines before I decided to use them to fund the project, I knew Rebel Mama was a good fit for a Kickstarter. I put everything I had into making this a killer project – complete with amazing prizes. Seriously. I spent weeks developing the copy and pulled an all-nighter to get that damn video finished. (What can I say? Tech is not my specialty.) Emails were ready to go out to everyone being interviewed to help promote it, guest posts were booked, and everything was a very excited, gun-cocked go.
And right as I’m ready to pull the trigger to start picking up on all of this momentum…
Kickstarter denies my project
Not gonna lie, I was livid. My body quivered in anger as I stared at the generic, canned email that had arrived my inbox. Frustration, quickly followed by tears. I threw something at the wall (which made my daughter laugh hysterically because she’d never seen me act so ridiculous).
Then I put on my big girl panties and started figuring out how the hell I was going to make this thing happen. This book is my baby. I’m not about to let it go for anything.
So. I thought I’d share the project with you and ask your thoughts on this creative cock-block. (Hehe.)
Here’s the video and copy for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy.
Rebel Mama: How to Raise Your Kids Without Losing Yourself
What is Rebel Mama?
Rebel Mama: How to Raise Your Kids Without Losing Yourself is a book about what you didn’t expect when you were expecting. Featuring interviews, stories, and trends in modern motherhood, the book illuminates an alternative to prescriptive parenting advice and opens up the discussion of the identity crisis and isolation that often occur upon entering motherhood.
Here’s the gist.
Why is motherhood so damn hard?
You’d think after thousands of years of reproducing, we’d have learned something about tried and true parenting methods. However, thanks to rapid changes in technology and societal standards, motherhood is not the same as it was 50, 25, or even 10 years ago.
I’ll be exploring the outrageous and contradictory views the status quo holds for mothers – and how each of us can rebel and rise above them. By confronting the myth of Supermom, and distilling several other core fables of the 21st century rooted in outdated cultural stories and Hollywood dramatizations, we’ll toss out the notion of prescriptive parenting and talk about a parenting style that works for you.
Through a series of interviews with women choosing to rebel against society’s expectations for moms, Rebel Mama investigates the key problems women face upon entering motherhood in America. As Gen Yers and Millenials enter the realm of motherhood, a new story needs told. Rebel Mama offers a surprising solution to the identity crisis of entering motherhood today.
So that’s the hook. Here’s the thesis.
Today, the most rebellious thing you can do as a mother is maintain your individual identity.
Why? Because if you can’t stay rooted in your own identity, how can you help someone else discover and cultivate their identity?
There’s a new story being told – a new way to parent – rooted in your unique identity as a woman and your ability to self-actualize. There are three core underlying trends in this new wave of parenting:
- Even while technology is making us more connected than ever, we’ve never felt more isolated as mothers.
- Supermom and the status-quo endorsed method of parenting is being rejected as Gen Y moves into the next phase of their lives.
- With Gen Y moving into parenting, feminism has reached a point of critical mass where it is about to evolve in a major way.
Why am I the right person to write this book?
No one is discussing what entering motherhood is actually like. I’ve identified the triple threat – insecurity, isolation, identity - that comes up for almost every mother.
From all of the fears of being like/unlike our mothers, not being as good as the mom next door who seems to have it altogether, and doing everything “right,” it’s no wonder we’re insecure about entering motherhood.
And even though we’re more connected than ever, we’ve never been so isolated. With the rise of social networks, we can finally reach out to other. But usually we don’t. Instead, we keep up the illusion of Supermom. We propagate the cultural myths we’ve been raised on, like the Myth of Obligation where we can’t do X because we’re Y – i.e. I’d love to pursue my dream of becoming a writer, but I’m a mom. Or the Myth of the Milestone. if I can just get X, I’ll be happy. These myths are exactly that – myths. And I’m out to expose them.
Rebel Mama has been incubating since I wrote my second book, The Minimalist Mom. I realized the topic I really wanted to write about was bigger than that. It wasn’t about minimalism and motherhood; it was about the assumptions and labels people place on us.
The more I wrote, the more I connected the dots between the stories we tell ourselves, the ones society tells us, and the heroes’ stories we aspire to and often should be telling. Especially the story of motherhood.
I knew there was something more to this line of thought. As humans, stories are how we connect with the world around us – in a physical and emotional context. If a story resonates with us in a powerful enough way, we’ll sense the greater truth that exists within it. Before now, the old story and expectation was for moms to sacrifice their dreams and identities because motherhood = martyrdom. But no more.
As Gen Yers and Millenials enter the realm of motherhood, a new story is undeniably ready to emerge. Now, I’m gathering a tribe around the idea that there is an alternative to status-quo endorsed motherhood. We are more. We deserve more.
Who is being interviewed?
Many, many women are being interviewed for this project (and a few men, too) but a few you might recognize include:
- Justine Musk
- Eden Riley
- Molly Mahar
- Emma Alvarez Gibson
- Liz Strauss
- Gemma Stone
- Randi Buckley
- Tara Gentile
- Rachel Rodgers
- Heather Allard
- Corinne Bowen
And many more!
My Goal With Rebel Mama
My goal is to show mothers and would-be mothers everywhere they are not alone, and they don’t have to settle for the status quo.
I want to bring moms together so they can find the support and community they need to be successful, happy, and healthy. By coming together in the strength of our individual truths, we can truly lift each other up and be better parents and better people.
Where’s the money going?
The money from this campaign will go help with the expenses of working with an editor to make the book the best it can be, getting the book and cover designed, a publicist to help garner more support around the book and the topic, and printing the book.
Everything over the goal amount will allow me to take the time off from work to focus on Rebel Mama, so I can get the book in your hands even faster.
Although prizes are mentioned to the right, I want to highlight a few things.
- Everyone who donates $5 or more gets their name printed in the “credits section” at the end of the book. We’re in this together!
- Everyone who donates $10 or more gets a ticket to the prerelease party! AND you get to vote for which city you’d like me to visit.
- I am matching books for every 5+ copies and donating them to non-profits and libraries. Let’s get the word out!
For every additional $2000 the project makes over the target amount, I’ll add a city to my book tour! (Every additional city will be added based on the highest number of votes.)
If we reach $10,000, I’ll create a Rebel Mama workbook that will help you personally explore the concepts discussed in the book. Totally free, sent to everyone who pledges.
If we reach $15,000, I’ll record Rebel Mama as an audio book. Totally free, sent to everyone who pledges.
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It’s a doozy, right?
It’s a creative endeavor – it takes motherhood and spins it on its head. Much more than a how-to or a some standard self-help parenting guide, it’s a compilation of stories and shared experiences. Taking the stories of these women and reflecting it back on one another, this book is a creative and unconventional approach on how we learn how to mother and what makes a mother.
So what was the issue with the project?
Well, since the generic email they send you the first time doesn’t tell you what, if any, guidelines aren’t being met, you’re on your own. I checked again to appeal the project, ready to address the individual guidelines as they pertained to the book and how/why it met them.
When I went to appeal the initial decision, I was given a little white box with a capacity of 500 words and a one sentence prompt that did little more than tell me to, “Prove it.” Without any idea of why a project is declined, there isn’t much you can do. The second canned email they send you doesn’t tell you anything either, except that their decision is final – and not to reply to this email because no one will answer it.
I understand Kickstarter receives a large number of projects daily. My expectation wasn’t for a personalized note detailing my errors, but even a separate email that identified which guideline wasn’t being met would have been helpful and appreciated.
…But they have also given the go-ahead to some really shitty ones, like this one, while denying the highly influential and political Margaret Atwood‘s project. (You can contribute to her project on IndieGoGo here.)
This leaves me with a disturbing conclusion.
Someone had a personal issue with the project.
I am fully aware of how politically charged my subject matter is. After explaining what happened on Kickstarter to a group of my professional peers, someone I respect asked if the project was really so very controversial.
My answer? I desperately wish it wasn’t.
But the fact is women’s reproductive rights are a hot topic. You can’t say vagina - but you can apparently legislate it. Call it a war on women. Call me a slut for advocating healthcare that covers contraception. No matter how you feel about the word “feminism,” you can’t ignore the fact that men and women are clearly unequal.
Feminism is evolving in a big way and right-wing whack jobs are advocating for the 1950′s view of women to make a comeback. This is not about burning bras and getting back at men for keeping us down.
Feminism is about girls getting to grow up and actually be whatever they want – instead of thinking they’re destined to go through the motions of college, career, white dress, get rescued by a prince, and spend their life making and raising babies. It’s about stepping fully into our unique version of power and ambition. It’s about equal pay. It’s about mutual support and parenting in a way that empowers both parents to the best of their ability – without the double standard over who’s cleaning, who’s staying home, and who’s the breadwinner.
It’s about women finally having equal rights.
And I dare you to tell me what’s so radical about that.
What’s next for Rebel Mama?
After considering my options, I thought about running an independent fundraising campaign to make the book happen. You’ve seen the Kickstarter – I’ve made a compelling argument at the least.
But this message needs to be heard far and wide. On my own, I only have so much reach, and I’m a go-getter. Ambition emanating down to my toes. That’s not considered a feminine trait – which makes my next move fitting, I think.
If I’m going to jump for a gatekeeper, it’ll be a gatekeeper who can help me propel me to the NYT bestseller list.
In other words…
Dear Fabulous Agent,
What you can do
Share this article.
Help me send a message to the world that this issue won’t be silenced by Kickstarter or any other gatekeeper. Together, we can stop the discrimination against females and moms. But we have to start somewhere.
Whether you like it on Facebook, Tweet it, or write a post talking about what it’s like to be a Rebel Mama, you can make a difference. I also made you a few pretty graphics you can put on your website. Steal these badges and wear ‘em proud.
If you want to hear more about the Rebel Mama project as it develops, you can join my email list here.