Nikita Stanley and Aleks Jassem, collectively known as The Rebel Mama, are revamping the notion of modern-day motherhood. They have been on a mission to dismantle traditional stereotypes and reveal that childbearing is not a kiss of death to a woman’s social life. Similarly, they also advocate for a conversation about pre and postnatal experiences that is often raw, yet uncompromisingly authentic. Nikita and Aleks have parlayed their particular worldview into various highly-respected ventures, including a successful blog and bestselling book The Rebel Mama’s Handbook for (Cool) Mom’s. Alongside their legions of admirers, these two women have proven that becoming a parent is never cookie-cutter and finite—instead, it is constantly evolving and indisputably unique. In honour of Mother’s Day, S/ spoke with the inspiring duo about how they have come to view motherhood, revealing their delightfully honest perspectives about disrupting formalities and creating a community of likeminded renegades.
How would you define motherhood?
“We’d define it as the ultimate perspective shifter.”
What does Mother’s Day mean to you?
“To be honest, not much. We kind of wish celebrating mothers and valuing caregiving was just a normal, everyday activity. We do enjoy the fresh flowers, though (haha) and if we were a new mom (hint) and it was our first Mother’s Day (hint hint) we would be very excited about receiving flowers and a copy of The Rebel Mama’s Handbook for (Cool) Moms (hint hint new dad’s).”
Any tips on how the modern mother can navigate the world today?
“There’s a lot of bullshit to seed through these days with endless parenting content and more mommy ‘experts’ than ever before (guilty!). Seek out like-minded people to build your community with, don’t drive yourself crazy trying to be perfect—there’s no such thing. And remember to quiet all the noise and look within for answers. The mother of your dreams is already there.”
How did the Handbook For (Cool) Moms come about?
“We both adore books and have homes lined with them. There’s just something about collecting literature, lending books out to friends, and eventually passing them down to our kids that we love. That’s a big part of why we wanted to put this Handbook out there—something for moms to have, make notes in, share with friends, and pass down. Sometimes it’s just nice to not read off a screen, you know?”
What stigmas about motherhood do you want to break?
“All of them! The ones surrounding moms and money, moms and sex, moms and fertility, moms and weed, and moms and work. Stigmas breed dishonesty, fear, judgement, and shame—they are disastrous for moms.”
How has becoming a mother changed or nuanced your outlook on the world?
“It’s made us think about the future and what kind of world we want to leave for kids. It’s made us care more about the environment, about politics and who we choose to lead. It’s made us think about our own mortality, how short life is, and how important it is to appreciate the moment you’re in. It’s made us think about the kind of example we want to set. Our kids changed the lens completely.”
Are there any portrayals of motherhood in the media that you find more honest to your own experience?
“Canadian moms seem to do ‘real’ the best: Toronto’s own Workin’ Moms is great. The Baroness von Sketch Show has done some amazing sketches about motherhood. Jessi Cruikshank is on the mark with New Mom, Who Dis?. Oh, and Ali Wong too. Can we make her an honourary Canadian?”
How can a bustling social life work in tandem with parental duties?
“Chill partners who don’t mind a night in (while mama goes out) are clutch. Grandparents who enjoy hosting sleepovers on the weekends are also clutch. We’re lucky to have been blessed with both!”