Rebel Mama: How to Raise Your Kids Without Losing Yourself (or why dropping out and having kids was the best decision I ever made) is part-memoir, part-parenting guide for unconventional moms.
When I became a mother at 20, the odds were stacked against me. I'd gotten married a month out of high school - I didn't even graduate - worked two jobs my entire pregnancy, and started college in my third trimester. I finished finals on my due date, and my daughter arrived four days later.
As you can imagine, I wasn't your average mom.
I suffered debilitating postpartum depression that went undiagnosed for over a year and got divorced. Entering motherhood was a massive struggle for me. I never planned on being a mom. I was never one of those people who had always known they were going to have kids, I had no support, and I had zero female role models in my life to turn to for advice.
So I began my quest to find parenting wisdom in ALL THE BOOKS.
As a somewhat unconventional mom, there was nothing that met my needs. Everything I read just made things worse as it further reinforced that since I wasn’t a traditional mom, I obviously wasn’t cut out to be a good one.
I didn't like the sound of that, so I set out on a new quest to find out what it actually takes to be a great mom. I started researching and interviewing the most amazing women I could get to sit down with me, around 50 at this point.
Through my story of parenting as a young, poor dropout and a series of interviews with unconventional women who've chosen to rebel against society’s expectations for moms, Rebel Mama blows the top off outdated parenting advice and opens up a provocative discussion of the identity crisis and isolation that occur upon entering motherhood.
That was when I set out to figure out parenting on my terms.
What's in the book?
I'm going to cheat and give you the big takeaway of the book now -
The most rebellious choice you can make as a mom is to 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 theirs? How can you take care of others without taking care of yourself first?
When I was interviewing a friend and asked how she juggled her self-care needs with her responsibilities as a mom of 4 kids, she told me, "My kids are watching. I’m not going to model mediocrity. I take time when I need it to reenergize.”
The book is primarily a memoir of my years as a mother, supplemented by interviews with other unusual parents, but every story included promotes the core belief that we are better parents when we are better versions of ourselves.
The quick shtick
Or in words...
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.
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 should be telling - especially the story of motherhood. Before now, the old story and expectation was for moms to sacrifice their dreams and identities because motherhood = martyrdom.
And that's just not going to fly anymore.
Who is being interviewed?
Many women are being interviewed for this project (and a few men, too) but a few you might recognize include:
- Justine Musk
- Penelope Trunk
- Eden Riley
- Molly Mahar
- Emma Alvarez Gibson
- Liz Strauss
- Gemma Stone
- Randi Buckley
- Tara Gentile
- Heather Allard
- Corinne Bowen
- Nina Nelson
- Julie Daley
- Jenny Blake
And many more!
My Goal With Rebel Mama
My goal is to show mothers and would-be mothers everywhere they are not alone, they don't have to settle for the status quo, and if anything, being a young mom gives you a ridiculous advantage in life.
Motherhood is not martyrdom.
Where's the money going?
The money from this campaign will go help with the expenses of working with an editor, getting the book and cover designed, and printing the book.
Everything over the goal amount will allow me to focus on Rebel Mama, so I can get the book in your hands sooner.
Although prizes are mentioned to the left, 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 the 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.
How many cities are you touring through?
At least 2 + Portland. More will be added based on the total funds raised.
What cities can I vote for?
Ones with major airports. ;) Portland, OR is a given since it's my hometown.
- Chicago, IL
- New York, NY
- Los Angeles, CA
- Philadelphia, PA
- Miami, FL
- Dallas, TX
- Boston, MA
- Washington, DC
- New Orleans, LA
- Cleveland, OH
- Atlanta, GA
- San Francisco, CA
- Phoenix, AZ
- Seattle, WA
- San Diego, CA
- Minneapolis, MN
- St. Louis, MO
- Honolulu, HI
- Austin, TX
- Denver, CO
How can I spread the word?
Social media, blogging, talking to friends, singing a jingle you invent, emailing your buddies, telling your sister. The list is endless!
Feel free to contact me for interviews, media opportunities, or just to say hi. :)
I’m not a rebel because I want to be. I’m a rebel because I can’t keep my mouth shut when I see something wrong in the world. Rebel Mama was born because Gen Y and Gen Z mothers deserve to know what parenting actually looks like beyond supermom and the myths of the status quo from women who've been and are there.
There are thousands of books out there on motherhood, but you're not going to find anything out there like this one.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge to completing this project is completing the memoir pieces. This is the first book I've written with significant memoir in it, and that is a challenge I look forward to taking on. The editor I've chosen to work with has worked with memoirs before, and I have no doubt she'll whip me into shape here.
Most of the research and significant portions of the interviewing are already completed - but you can help me put a ring on it!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)