A podcast about surprising struggles in early parenthood, created and hosted by award-winning author and radio producer Hillary Frank.
UPDATE: I am thrilled to say that on Day 18 of this fundraiser, we surpassed our $25K goal. To take advantage of the 12 days left, we have set a couple of stretch goals, to make this project even more awesome:
1) If we get to $35K: Website redesign by Katie Barcelona, formerly of Michael Bierut's team at Pentagram (Two of our rewards recently got a facelift by Katie: the ONESIES and the GREETING CARDS. Check 'em out below!)
2) If we get to $38K: Season 2 *spark*cards, free to all
Learn more about these goals, and how they will help new parents, here.
Also, I have lowered the DESSERT NIGHT reward from $300 to $250! Someone, let me take you out for dessert in NYC!
Praise for The Longest Shortest Time
"I am a listener to this podcast; I would like it to be more regular. As a parent, I know how hard it is to find storytelling about being a parent that doesn’t suck."
—Jad Abumrad, Radiolab
"Hillary Frank is fulfilling a desperate need by telling stories about parenting that matter in a way that I have just never heard before. [...] I hope you’ll join me, kick in a little money, and make The Longest Shortest Time better than ever.”
—Roman Mars, 99% Invisible
Why I Started This Show
I started the Longest Shortest Time podcast nearly three years ago, after a difficult childbirth and its aftermath, as an attempt to feel a little less alone. I've been a radio journalist for about 15 years for shows like This American Life, Studio 360, and Marketplace, so I thought, I'll use my microphone to get people to open up—to tell me the truth about early motherhood. Little did I know, my honest conversations with moms (and dads, too!) would make thousands of listeners also feel more connected—so much so that they began begging me to produce the podcast more often than once every few months. iTunes reviews like this one started cropping up:
Each time I interview someone for The Longest Shortest Time, my approach to parenting deepens—becomes more nuanced, more thoughtful, more satisfying. And enough people have told me that the podcast has done the same for them that I want to do this project full-time. I want to make it my job. You've got your go-to sources for parenting news, for diapers, for equipment reviews. My goal is to make The Longest Shortest Time the go-to place for new parents' emotional needs. My first step: Season 2 of the podcast. Twelve episodes in six months, starting in January 2014.
I talked to so many amazingly brave parents in Season 1. There was Joyce, whose daughter went completely naked for over a month (this episode became a video, thanks to funding from the Knight Foundation):
There was my mom, whose episode was supposed to provide some comic relief, with a description of the prehistoric breast pump she used in the 70s. But then I had to go and make her cry about not being able to breastfeed me (sorry, Mom):
There was Tom, who found out during a call on his first big Navy deployment that (surprise!) his wife was pregnant—and hung up on her:
Then there was Tom's daughter, who, 20 years later, revealed to him that she too had (surprise!) become pregnant. There was Anne, the music teacher whose infant son abhorred lullabies; Kristin, who was convinced that her colicky infant would turn out to be an asshole; Jessica and Matt, who made themselves come to terms with the idea that their baby might not survive after his birth; Kelly, the war correspondent who juggles motherhood with sniper fire. These are stories about family. They are stories about physical health and mental health. About work. Gut-wrenching decisions. Torturous pain and ecstatic highs. Life and death. Universal, emotionally engaging subjects. And that is why I get fan mail from not only new moms and dads, but parents of grown children and childless listeners who say that the podcast helps them to relate better to their friends with kids.
Support a Woman-Hosted Podcast
Contributing to The Longest Shortest Time is a rare opportunity to support a podcast hosted by a woman. Julie Shapiro, longtime artistic director of the Third Coast International Audio Festival, who wrote about the stunning dearth of female podcast hosts for Transom.org, says:
“Hillary's voice, and her ability to understand what makes a story worth your time, are a welcome addition to the male-dominated podcast landscape.”
Let's alter that landscape a bit, shall we?
Why I Need Funding
In Season 1, I made 20 episodes. But I recorded far more than 20 interviews. I have hours and hours of raw tape, just sitting on my computer waiting to be transcribed and cut. I have dozens of emails sitting in my inbox from listeners who want to share their stories on the podcast. I have everything I need to create a fantastic new season. Everything. Except the time to produce it.
For three years, you, the listeners, have contributed your stories to The Longest Shortest Time—on the podcast, on the blog—and I am so grateful for that. Now I am asking you to consider making a financial contribution to help take this project to the next level. Together, we can change the way we think of parenting media. Together we can create a space where parents aren't forced to choose one side or another of the most recent parenting trend, but where we explore early parenthood in all of its complexity. With funding, I will have the time and resources necessary to not only pursue the stories that come to me from listeners and friends but also to use my journalistic skills to research and report stories outside my current demographic. I will have a marketing budget to widen the show's audience even further. And I will be able to purchase equipment that will improve the show's sound quality.
I have big plans for the future of The Longest Shortest Time. Join me for the very beginning: Season 2. Twelve stories guaranteed to shed new light on parenthood, childhood, and family. And maybe, if you're a new parent, ease your stress a bit. Perhaps even when you need it most, at 3 in the morning.
Help Me Spread the Word
Throughout this Kickstarter campaign, I will be sending packs of *spark*cards (generously donated by the fabulous MOO) to breastfeeding support groups, yoga studios, playgroups, mommy & me classes, dads meetups—wherever new parents gather. Packs include 16 cards, each with a different quote from the podcast. Please help me spread the word about The Longest Shortest Time by requesting these *free* conversation starters for your favorite mom or dad group, or to hand out to your friends.
$15 — Mad Libs
Tell your story with Longest Shortest Time Mad Libs! I'll feature these mini longest shortest times on a special blog page. If you don't have a child, use a parent or guardian.
$50 — Onesie (with NEW DESIGN by Katie Barcelona)
$75 — Oliver + S Pattern
$100 — Greeting Cards (with NEW DESIGN by Katie Barcelona)
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
For the last three years, I have been able to manage all aspects of pocast production myself, including sifting through submissions. If response to this campaign is big (and I hope it is!), I imagine my submissions stack will get much taller. That's one of the reasons I made the Have Your Say surveys a reward. I anticipate needing input making decisions about what stories to include in the season, and a lot of that input will come from you. If production responsibilities become more than I can handle on my own, I will consider hiring a production assistant.
Another challenge in the big response department: Because content production will be my top priority, fulfillment time of rewards may take longer than indicated on this page. Should this happen, please know that I am working on getting rewards out as quickly as possible—and that the delay is a good thing because more onesies + cards = more podcast.
If you'd like me to consider your story for Season 2, go to http://longestshortesttime.com/contact.
Yes! One of the big reasons I'm seeking funding is so I can deeply research infant and childhood diseases and disorders of all kinds. I want this project to be a place where you can come with any early parenthood issue you can think of, and find a community and get answers on where to begin seeking help.