Funded! This project was successfully funded on October 16, 2013.

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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!

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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:

What's Next

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.

Past Episodes

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.

Pinks about girls; blues about boys.
Pinks about girls; blues about boys.

Rewards

$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.

Sample Mad Libs.
Sample Mad Libs.

$50 — Onesie (with NEW DESIGN by Katie Barcelona)

One of these images will be on the belly of each onesie. Get one, or collect all three!
One of these images will be on the belly of each onesie. Get one, or collect all three!

$75 — Oliver + S Pattern

Three of the forty amazingly cute digital sewing patterns available from Oliver + S. Click this image to see all forty.
Three of the forty amazingly cute digital sewing patterns available from Oliver + S. Click this image to see all forty.

$100 — Greeting Cards (with NEW DESIGN by Katie Barcelona)

To be printed by the amazing Steracle Press. (She even does baby announcements!)

Mock-up of letterpressed greeting card.
Mock-up of letterpressed greeting card.

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.

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  • Pledge $15 or more
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    51 backers

    Mad Libs, Longest Shortest-style: Fill in the blanks with the things that make your days longest and shortest. We'll feature your tear-jerking and/or hilarious mini-story on a special page of our blog. Scroll down to see sample.

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    Have Your Say: Wish I'd cover adoption? Going back to work? Single motherhood? I get so many great submissions, it will be tough to choose just 12! I'll be calling on you to tell me what matters to you most. Participate in 1-2 content-related surveys during the course of production. Mad Libs also included.

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    The Help-Me-NOW Onesie: Our screaming baby face logo (an illustration I did of my daughter) with the word "feed," swaddle," or "change" underneath. The 3 big reasons why babies cry. Unless, of course, it's for no reason at all. Will look best on an actual screaming baby. Limited edition. Design chosen at random. Sizes NB-24M. Scroll down to see designs. Mad Libs + Have Your Say also included.

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    Oliver + S Pattern: Download ANY digital Oliver + S children's sewing pattern, beautifully and lovingly designed by Liesl Gibson of Episode 3. Liesl's patterns are *the reason* I learned to sew when I was pregnant. She even has cute patterns for boys! Forty styles for you to choose from (scroll down for link in rewards descriptions). Mad Libs + Have Your Say + Onesie also included.

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    Welcome Greeting Cards: A boxed set of 8 beautifully letterpressed greeting cards with envelopes. Our screaming baby face with the word "welcome" underneath. Welcome a new baby to the world or new parents to the club, or both. Printed by the always elegant Steracle Press. Limited edition. Scroll down to see design. Mad Libs + Have Your Say also included.

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    Ad on LST Blog for 1 Month: Want to reach a loyal audience of mostly moms? A link to your business, organization, or project in a randomly rotating ad on LST's sidebar for one month of your choice during Season 2. Ads can be geographically targeted for a local audience if preferred. Email longestshortesttime [at] gmail [dot] com for details.

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    Cry-Your-Heart-Out Combo: A Onesie, the Cards. Plus Mad Libs + Have Your Say.

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    Blowout Special: You know you're gonna need more than one of those onesies, right? For those (ick) multiple costume-change days. Collect all three onesies. Plus the Mad Libs and Surveys.

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    Moms' Dessert Night: Mom's most important meal, my treat! Meet up with me and up to 5 other moms at a cafe in NYC for a night of story-swapping and sweets. Location and date TBD. Moms of all ages welcome! Mad Libs, Have Your Say, 1 Onesie, and Cards also included.

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    Welcome to the Blowout Club: All three onesies, plus the cards. And Mad Libs and Have Your Say.

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    Moms Storytelling Group: I will come to your location and run a support group for moms, based on the inclusive approach and storytelling style of The Longest Shortest Time. Must be within 20 miles of Montclair, NJ. Email longestshortesttime [at] gmail [dot] com.

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    Interview Keepsake: Ever dreamed of being interviewed by a radio host? Now's your chance! I'll interview you on the topic of your choice relating to parenthood or being the child of a parent. You keep the raw tape. Mad Libs, Have Your Say, 1 Onesie, and Cards also included.

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    Ad on LST Blog for Full Season: Want to reach a loyal audience of mostly moms? A link to your business, organization, or project in a randomly rotating ad on LST's sidebar for all 6 months of Season 2. Ads can be geographically targeted for a local audience if preferred. Email longestshortesttime [at] gmail [dot] com for details.

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    Sponsor an Episode: Promote your business, organization, or project in a 15-second spot, read by me, on one episode. Rotating ad on the blog also included. Email longestshortesttime [at] gmail [dot] com for details.

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    Sponsor Our First Live Event: Exclusive sponsorship of The Longest Shortest Time's first ever live online Story Sharing Event. Open to the public. This one will be on the topic of Breastfeeding. Participants will ask questions and share stories of their own surprising solutions to breastfeeding issues. Fixed blog ad for the 6 months of Season 2 also included.

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    Season Sponsorship: Show your support for honest storytelling about early parenthood by promoting your organization in a 15-second spot, read by me, on ALL TWELEVE EPISODES of Season 2. Plus a fixed ad on the blog for the duration of the season. Email longestshortesttime [at] gmail [dot] com for details.

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Funding period

- (30 days)