Podcasters and co-authors Jamilah Mapp and Erica Dickerson join Unabridged to talk about their new book A Good Mom’s Guide to Making Bad Choices. We get into their collaborative process, how they’ve embraced changing their minds in public over time and why women sharing their pleasure is triggering. Jamilah and Erica also explain how they navigate privacy with their daughters, and how they carve out space for themselves when their brand is tied to motherhood.
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Traci Thomas 0:11
We’re here with another episode of The Stacks on Unabridged. I’m so excited. I am joined by Jamilah Mapp and Erica Dickerson, the women behind the Good Moms Bad Choices podcast and the brand new book A Good Mom’s Guide to Making Bad Choices. Ladies, welcome to The Stacks. I’m so happy to have some black moms on the show. What a joy.
Erica Dickerson 0:33
Oh my gosh, I’m, we’re happy to be the black moms on the show.
Traci Thomas 0:37
I mean, we’ve had black moms, but we’ve never talked about being black moms, I should say that usually it’s like authors who are also but to get to talk about this with you all is really exciting for me, as a black mom myself. But we’ll start where we always start, which is in about 30 seconds or so will you all just tell us about the book.
Jamilah Mapp 0:54
30 seconds, wow, the book is about womanhood, it’s about motherhood. I think Erica and I wrote this book, because it’s the book that we wish we had. And we were pregnant. And we were considering being moms, we’d like to call it like the honest, the honest preparation for motherhood, a lot of books, you know, a lot of mom books specifically kind of tell you how to care for your children and your child or your baby and how to swaddle them and how to do this. And this is a book that shows you how to care for yourself, and kind of gives you steps and tools of like things that you can do to kind of stay in tune with yourself during that very crazy process of being pregnant and giving birth.
Traci Thomas 1:35
Yeah, I loved one of the things you say very late in the book is that you’re as old as a mother as your kid is a child. And I just love that, because it had never occurred to me that way. And I’d love for you to say a little bit more about this idea of like, your your mother age being the age of your first kid.
Erica Dickerson 2:00
Yeah, you know, that idea dawned on me a few years ago, because, you know, I was in the midst of mom guilt and like feeling like I don’t have some of the tools to have certain conversations with my child even because I wasn’t given those tools a as a child. But also, I’m just I’m an inexperienced mother. Yeah. I’ve never actually done this before. And I think that this title that we’re given, comes with a very heavy responsibility of being all knowing immediately, just knowing how to show up for your child, knowing what’s best immediately, when you’re really being introduced to this new soul. That is not your mini me, yes, there are, there are attributes, there are things that they will inevitably pick up on that that are yours in ways, but they are their own person and you having to kind of like figure that person out, is on top of the responsibilities of being a mom, you know, and it’s, it really was a sobering moment for me and made me feel less ashamed because I was like, Look, I’m at the thing was the time my daughter was five, I was like, I only been doing this for five years, right? Like, she’s five years old. I’m a five year old mother, like we have to stop putting this pressure on ourselves to show up as these experienced leaders in ways and knowing that like kind of the, the joy and the experience of being a mother is through the choices, the good and the bad. And the kind of experimenting, it’s kind of like this. It’s like, it’s like making like a witch’s brew, you’re just like, oh, let me just put a little bit of that in there. Let me sprinkle a taster like oh, no, that’s not it. Let me add a little more salt, you know, and giving ourselves a lot more grace as as women and as mothers that are stepping into this extremely powerful and scary role.
Traci Thomas 3:59
Yeah, well, and it’s like, it’s not like, with parenting, that you’re doing it for five years, and you’re doing the same thing. So just as your child goes from being a baby, and you go from being like a baby mom, then it’s like, they’re a toddler. And then you’re you. You’re now three years in and like, there’s these different things that you’re negotiating, like, my kids are three and a half. And so I’m negotiating a lot of like discipline and boundaries, which just like wasn’t a thing when they were six months, you know, it’s like, they’re six months, like, there’s not a lot of like things they can get into. And I imagine like, as I become an eight year old mom, it’s like, it starts to become about the interpersonal stuff. And like, that’s a new skill set. And so as your kid is going, it’s like, I don’t know, I had never, I’d never thought about it that way. It’s not like cooking, because in cooking, it’s like, you get better and you just get to build on that. But with this, it’s like, oh, actually, it’s a totally different ballgame. Like we’re not doing swaddling glad that you master that but like that is never coming back.
Erica Dickerson 4:57
That’s done now. Yeah, no, no So when you think you’ve mastered something, it’s like a new, a new chapter reveals itself.
Traci Thomas 5:07
Yeah. I want to talk a little bit about audience for this book. I want to know, as you two were sitting down to write, who were you thinking about? As you were writing it? Were you just thinking about previous versions of yourself? Were you thinking about your podcast audience? Were you thinking about like reaching new audiences and how you would introduce yourselves to them?
Jamilah Mapp 5:28
I think that we’re thinking about all of that. I think the the book is very much a personal journal. And I think it was very healing for us to like, release it. I think, because we’ve had the experience with the podcast, we obviously know that our audience, but even when we started the podcast, I think that we weren’t, we didn’t, we weren’t considering who our audience was going to be. We were literally talking out loud about the things that we needed to get off our chest. And inevitably, the people who are related to it came. And so I think this book was, it was just for women like us, women who are open minded enough to, you know, just have a different perspective. I always say that, like, you know, she and I were best friends, but we’re different people. And we have different opinions and different outlooks. And I think the most beautiful thing about our friendship is that, you know, we come from different different places, but we’ve definitely influenced each other through our friendship and motherhood and friendship, and just our perspective in general, but we’ve been open enough to say, Hmm, you know, let me hear your perspective. And, oh, you do this and like, not be judgmental. And I think that we came, you know, we just came to a place where, obviously, we hit it, we, we have a huge community in the podcast, and we really did want to capture new and a new audience. Because I don’t think enough women have the opportunity to safely think outside of the box that we’re given a society, I think, like, we’re rarely given permission to do things differently. And you know, you see it all the time on the internet, we say some wild shit, people come and say what they feel are, were wrong, or this is right. And I think the whole point of the book is, like, I say, this is like, you may be very different from me, and that’s great. But you know, the whole point of the book is to look inside and say, What is my perspective that has it changed? Has it shifted, but doesn’t have to be just like, mine doesn’t have to be just like, Erica’s. So it was more to like, just touch as many women as possible and as many people and kind of encourage them to think for themselves and get in tune with their, with their, with their spirits. And, you know, I think women we so often are told how we’re supposed to be, or how we’re supposed to think or how we’re supposed to show up. And this book was really for everyone to be like, Hey, is that even really you? And if and if it’s not, that’s cool. It doesn’t have to be just like us or this, but like, you know, wherever you’re at, in your journey, I’ve we highly, you know, challenge you and recommend that you kind of think for yourself and for your own feelings and kind of feel like figure out what that looks like. And what that is.
Traci Thomas 7:55
Yeah, one of the things that I really appreciated about the book is how different your voices are. And like, I was really impressed, honestly, I wasn’t sure like, you know, I read a lot of books, and I read a lot of books by like professional writers. And then I read a lot of like, celebrity memoirs, or like people that I mean, and I put your book in that in that category, because you guys are like well known people, obviously, it’s not the same as spare or whatever. But like, and when I step into those situations, it’s like, Oh, I know these people from a different thing. I never know what to expect with the book. But I thought you guys did a really beautiful job of like having your own voices shine through. And also bringing what I know from you from the podcast, and also bringing like new parts of yourself to the book. So I was, you know, I always tell people, I’m like, I’m a very judgmental reader. When I go into a book, I’m always like, I’m gonna hate this. I can’t wait to hate this book. But I was like, Really, I was really excited by hearing your voices. And like, it just felt really intimate in a way, even more so than the podcast. Like I really felt like I was getting to know you all. I don’t know, I really liked it. But one of the things that I know comes up a lot on the podcast, and you referenced it a few times in the book is like how people receive you, and how people respond to the things that you say, and the ways that like, you know, being platonic wives is something that is apparently upsetting to a lot of people that you all say that. Do you feel like you’re still shocking people with the things that you’re saying after like five years of podcasts? Or do you feel like it’s the same, the same shit that people are still mad about the same shit, but it’s not anything like new? Shocking?
Erica Dickerson 9:38
No, I think people are still shocked. We just had a moment on reels a few days ago that people were indifferent about an opinion that we have. So I think that again, because we are eight year old mothers, we’re still we were constantly being asked new questions and we’re sharing our perspective on things that we haven’t maybe considered haven’t experienced yet. And so here we are, you know, and so, you know, as long as people ask, I’m gonna share my opinion. And, you know, I always say to that, like, I’m not an expert. I’m not like, these are just my my, and I also I’m a new bitch every month every year. So I my opinions early on in the podcast have shifted about certain things just based on life experiences, and I’m okay with that. Some people really want to hold on to these these statements, they’ve made these decisions they’ve made. And society wants to do that to us as well. You know, like, we’re not allowed to grow out of anything. Like once we’ve said something, we have to live and die by that statement. And I don’t, and I and I don’t let people do that to me either. But I will say, you know, for some reason, women, talking about their bodies, talking about their sex life talking about their pleasure in particular, is extremely triggering for people, not just men, even women as well. And you know, I even share and I think I shared in the book, talking about Mila and like my perception of her when I first saw her on Instagram, I judged her and a lot of my judgment of her was a suppression was because what she was able to exude, I was suppressing and myself, she was at the party holding her baby on her hip with a glass of champagne in a tiny little bikini looking like she didn’t just pop out a baby. And I was at home, like 200 weeks pregnant. feeling like I had, first of all, just like uncomfortable not recognizing my body. Like couldn’t even fathom having a drink at a hotel with my kid on my hip, judging her. You know, like, Who does she think she is? Like her? She just had her baby? Why is she out? You know? And that’s what we do to moms like, why are they out? Like we’re supposed to, like, hide in our homes. And like become these like, like Martha Stewart or I don’t even know like these, like, perfectly buttoned up versions of ourselves. So you know, I think to answer your question, yes, we do. We do continuously shock people, I think. And that’s really not intentional.
Traci Thomas 12:15
Right? What have you said that some things have changed for you opinions you’ve had at the beginning that have changed for you? What are ones that stick out to you as like particular things you’ve particularly evolved on?
Erica Dickerson 12:26
Two come to mind. One was that I would never introduce my child, or I would never introduce my child to someone unless I was seriously dating them. Which I’ve shifted my perspective on that, do I introduce my child to every person I ever date? No. But am I hiding my child? Or does I want my mom, do I want my child to realize that mom has male friends and people that she’s getting to know like, you know, like, yes, my perspective has changed on that. Also, I would say early on in the podcast, you know, just like I talked about in the book, I had this epic breakup, that really just kind of threw me for a loop. And I had, you know, joined Tinder and was exploring my sexuality with a married couple and all these things. And so within their within their open marriage, I also adopted these ideas that I wanted to be in an open relationship. And that that is the only type of relationship that could possibly really make me happy. That perspective, I’ve also changed I’ve, I don’t really want a non monogamous relationship. I understand them fully. And I’ve never explored them. But my perspective on that has changed as well. So
Traci Thomas 13:38
how about you, Jamila? What are things that you feel like you’ve evolved on? I just the idea of, like, evolving publicly is something that I’m really interested in as a person who also talks into a microphone, you know, like,
Jamilah Mapp 13:50
you don’t want you know, just about like, going back to like, shocking people and saying our opinion. Yeah, I really think that people don’t have the opportunity to evolve. I mean, obviously, a lot of people don’t put all their business on the internet, that’s a very specific thing. But honestly, this, this entire process has really, really forced me to be really comfortable with myself really comfortable with changing really comfortable with evolving and really comfortable with, like, people may not like me, and I’m cool with that. People may not love my opinions. And I’m cool with that, you know, whether you talk into a microphone or not, everyone’s not going to like you. And but you do have to like yourself, at least you should you know, so I think that whether people realize it or not, or whether they’re fans or not fans where they listen, we kind of give people permission to evolve, and to, you know, kind of be confident in whatever, you know, wherever they’re at in that moment. And what you know, people don’t realize that like, I would never do that. I would never say that you have you were on Tinder with a couple like that’s crazy. And maybe it is for some people but I think when you see something and you see someone saying isn’t doing it publicly, it automatically subconsciously kind of gives you permission to fuck up. It gives you permission, it gives you permission to be like, This is my opinion right now. You know, we’ve had some, like, I’m not gonna lie, like, we’ve been doing, like 270 episodes, I’ll be 35 next month, I started the podcast, and I’m 29 I’m completely a new bitch. I’ve been a new bitch, like, every three months since I turned 30. So,
Traci Thomas 15:25
yeah, one of the things that struck me about about the book in your lives, and what you all share, and also the podcasts, and social media, and all of those things, is something that I struggle with as a mom, which is being online and social media and privacy for my kids. Like, obviously, all three of us have chosen a public life in a way. But it’s tricky when you’re responsible for other people’s lives. And as we talked about the world changes so quickly, technology, all of that stuff. And also, there’s the added element in the book where you’re talking about your kids and but more you’re talking about their fathers, their their grandparents on the other side, you’re talking about their grandparents on your side, how was navigating that for specifically for the book, but also how do you navigate privacy and boundaries with your fan base, and the people who are love you or hate you with your daughters?
Jamilah Mapp 16:25
You know, I we had one of the most amazing things about podcasts, the thing is that we have the opportunity to speak to new people every week, you know, and, and get new perspectives and new opinions and like, look, talk to other moms who do it differently and kind of take take a little bit of everybody and everything and kind of it helps us in our motherhood journey. And I think pretty early on we had we had a podcast with marriage and martinis. And they’re married, they have they have three kids, and they’re like, We never we never really talk specifically about our kids and what they’re going through, like Generally, yes, but I’m really clear not to put their business on the internet. And so I kind of adopted that, you know, obviously, our kids know what we do. They’re very young, they don’t have much of business anyway. But but you know, things like very specific things I would never like, breach their trust by telling, like, telling specific stories that they may feel uncomfortable about later, funny shit, things that I’m learning as a mom always, but I think as they grow well, we definitely have boundaries on what we share about our kids. As far as what we wrote about, you know, their dads and like, our, our parents and their parents, it was a struggle, I think we definitely struggled to figure out what the happy medium was, and what wasn’t like, not going to be to this or to that, but I think we’ll be landed on is that it’s our truth. And there’s, you know, a lot of things that affected us deeply that were actions of other people. And I think it would be a big, I went this direction, because I feel like it would be a big disservice to our audience into our reader to kind of skip over this, these some of these things that deeply affected us and how we show up and how and who we are as women and experiences that I know that other women and moms are going through and may feel alone because I felt alone and may reflect that we’re you know, anything less than perfect, or we don’t make the right decisions or, you know, like, it would be such a disservice to remove things from the book because it didn’t make it didn’t reflect perfect perfection from us, or from anyone else in our in our, you know, in our families, or our kids families. And to be honest, my daughter’s dad’s mom has asked me for the book like five times, and I keep avoiding it. I realized that it’s inevitable. And I’ve kind of like went over this last few months about how I’m gonna approach that if I should warn anyone, but I came to the conclusion that no, this is my life. These are experiences that have weighed, you know, heavily on me in ways. And if you don’t, you know, you know, it’s the truth. And so it’s my truth. And just like I’m allowed to change and evolve, so as everyone else, and everyone else is also have just, you know, allowed to have an opinion, but in this in this specific story in this specific memoir, these were things that were very, very important in my journey, and these are the things that needed to be said.
Traci Thomas 19:29
Yeah, how about you, Erica?
Erica Dickerson 19:32
Um, I agree. I mean, I think, you know, I think early on in the podcast, we would share more about our children than we do now. Just based on the fact that you know, they’re, they’re, they’ve evolved their bodies have evolved their emotional intelligence has evolved, you know, and and, and I feel like you know, even when I’m posting even if I do post my daughter, I usually ask for her permission. Um, you know, Hey, can I post this and she said things like, Don’t post that, you know, and I and I honor that. And I respect that. I think even I talked about her in the book, but not really like, this is not like a book about my daughter, you know. And, you know, it is a book about the experiences that ultimately made me a good mom who makes bad choices. And, within those bad choices are people that I chose, and people that nurtured me to be who I am. And those people are spoken about. And you know, I did I have talked to, I talked to my dad before I, you know, the book came out, because I do talk about my relationship with him and how to me he wasn’t a great father to me, and we have a different relationship now, thank God. And I got his blessing. He was, you know, he was very supportive and was like, Erica, that is your truth. And I acknowledge that I wasn’t, and I can’t wait to read your book. And, you know, even my mom, you know, who, ultimately the beginning of our podcast was not thrilled about the contents of our show. And I think also had a lot of anxiety, for lack of a better word around the book. And what I’ve could potentially say about her or even about myself, I think there’s a lot level of protection that she wants over me as well. She doesn’t want people to judge me, she doesn’t want she doesn’t want any of those, any of those things, but ultimately, then I go to her house, and she has 20 books in her living room when I go there, and I’m and I’m also kind of like mortified, like, oh god, did you read about my threesome? Like, did you read the chapter I tell you to look at your pussy like, Oh, God, like, you know, like things that, but then I’m also like, I hope you did. Because I am a woman, I am a human, you know, and this, these are my truths. This is who I am. So I think as far as though boundaries within our community, our community is extremely respectful. We have this like, cosmic understanding of like, respect around our we share so much already that it’s like, I don’t know, there’s this like this understanding of respect. So I’ve never really had to check anyone to be honest. And then well, you know, people that are not part of the community that come in, and just you’re like, keyboard gangsters and things. But, you know, boundaries is something that I, I don’t really struggle with. If anything, I’ve had to lower the boundaries, lower the walls. And that’s why this book was really important for me, because I think even on the show, I do share a lot. But there’s a lot of things that I don’t mele is definitely a lot more candid on the show than I am. And so when I wrote the book, I really felt like I could I think writing, being able to write something out, I felt like I could really express myself in the exact way that I wanted to share something, versus sometimes when you’re talking, you’re like, oh, like getting caught up on words, or like, Oh, God, I should have said this, or I should have said that or like this would have made the story make more sense. So the book has really been, I think, almost like a a lowering of, of boundaries in ways for me.
Traci Thomas 23:09
Interesting. Okay. This is my big question for you, too. And I, I don’t know if I fleshed it out enough to make it a great question. But I think the root of the question is really important. And I think one of the things that came that I really admire about what you all talked about is like, nurturing yourself as a mom, or you know, as the mom in the situation, and not having your whole identity be wrapped up in being a mom. But you can also be a sexual being, you can be a being who has fun, who goes out who has a job, who has friends, relationships, all of these things outside of being a mom. And that’s really helpful to me as a person whose work is outside of being a mom, but for you to your brand is so much tied to being a mom. So how do you guys carve out the space outside of mom, NIS for your individual illness when both you’re professional and part of your personal life? Is being a mom? Does that make sense?
Jamilah Mapp 24:15
I think that our brand is very much rooted in motherhood, but like you said, it’s rooted in embracing, embracing your individuality in addition to motherhood. So it’s actually been I think, for any mom, it’s a constant checks and balances. It’s a constant. You’re constantly you know, in motion, you’re like, Oh, this is too far this way. Let me go here. Oh, I forgot you know, I went away for the weekend. Let me sit my ass down and go to the soccer game. It’s a constant flow and fluctuation of balance, you know, and that’s what work that’s what the play that’s what self care that’s with, you know, just quality time with our kids. So I think I think because we talk about it all the time. It is on the forefront of our mind and we’re constantly Trying to keep it in balance so that our kids feel seen feel, feel our love, feel our time and energy. And they do. And you know, thankfully, the brand highlights how important it is to have balance. But also our kids are very involved in what we do. You know, we have a studio, they come to the studio, like my kids in tutoring all the time at the studio from school to the office, you know, and they see what we do. They’ve seen us come from, like the dining room to the office and like they’ve seen the evolution, they’ve seen the book come to, you know, come to fruition. So I think this entire brand has really given us, you know, the tools to kind to kind of find balance and motherhood and personal things and just individuality. But last night, my daughter was doing something that was getting on my nerves, she put juice in a spray bottle, she kept skirting it in her mouth was like, and I was like, why? Like, why do you have to put the juice in the spray bottle. She’s like, it’s because I’m different. I’m different. And I like to do what I want to do. And I was like, okay, for that. I was like, oh, that’s all me. That’s all me, but she has confidence to be exactly who she is. And even to me, you know, and I don’t know, you know, so I just, there’s constant reminders that caring for myself and showing up as myself in front of my daughter has actually been the best choice I’ve ever the best journey and choice I’ve embarked on thus far. Huh.
Traci Thomas 26:21
I love that. I want to talk a little bit about the writing process of this book. I’m always fascinated when people write a book with another person. So I want to know, as you were writing, how much were you sharing with each other of your drafts? How much were you editing each other or working with each other on stuff? Or was it for people who haven’t read the book yet? It’s basically each chapter is is a topic. And then Erykah writes her kind of take on this section, her it’s sort of memoir, maybe a little bit of like advice at the end of each section. And then Jamila does her own. So it’s sort of we’re getting like two side by side memoirs. But I’m wondering, like, did you all divide it up into like, Okay, I’m going to talk about the throttle. And like, I’m going to talk about, you know, the nice guy that I finally like, entered the world back with or like, I’m going to talk about, or was it both just like, this is the topic, we’re going to do our own thing. How did you come to the topics? Like how much collaboration how much individual, I guess, is the question?
Erica Dickerson 27:29
Well, I feel like it was like, this is the topic go, okay. There wasn’t, I haven’t, I don’t think Mila’s read all of my Romila hasn’t read my version of the book completely. And I have read parts of hers, but not fully, I think because we know each other’s parts already. But there are even when I was reading her parts, there were different things and feelings that I didn’t realize that she hadn’t even though actually certain experiences that she hadn’t told me about. But I, we again, as first time authors, we there was we didn’t have like any sort of like blueprint to go off of it was just like this is it was kind of intuitive, which is kind of exactly what our brand is. Everything that we’ve done is been straight from the heart and intuition. It was it was very much a collaboration of sorts. But I think also our own personal diary in ways that I think at the end, when we were were like turning in the book. We were like, I hope that our stories line up. I hope that the messages make sense. And then our publisher read it and she’s like, it’s great. I was like, okay, thank God. I mean, we did have some structure, I don’t want to act like we just like went into it with blindfolds on. There were definitely, you know, things I would say, Hey, I’m gonna share this. And I’ve said this. So to kind of give each other you know, do is this necessary to share should we pull back on this. But ultimately, I think it really was kind of a personal was like I wrote my own book, honestly. And I think Mila kind of wrote her own book, and then we put them together.
Jamilah Mapp 29:17
It was also interesting. I don’t, I’ve read most of it, we there was a time we read it out loud one time, like five hours straight, just so we could like make sure there wasn’t a bunch of like, repeat. But like this, this makes sense. But it really wasn’t to like just be reading it for leisure. But I think it was interesting to see that in some places. Like we say similar things, but differently. We’re going through similar experiences, but different times in different spaces. But I know like we both talked about our birth and like the birth the business of being born and like how that both showed up while we were pregnant. And you know how neither of us had home births, but how like it resonated with us. So I think it’s kind of cool that way. But yeah, we it was definitely like go and hear Where the chapters
Traci Thomas 30:01
who came up with the chapters? Did you to outline that together? Throughout the whole book? No, I know you wrote it. But I’m just not like you’re saying like, Oh, here are the chapters. But what was that process for the two of you? Like? How did you figure out what chapters you wanted to include? In which one? Like, what things? Maybe you were like, we don’t need to do that?
Erica Dickerson 30:18
Well, I think when we were doing our initial proposal, we had to really kind of, they were asking us, like, what is your, if you have a book, what is each chapter? So we really had to think about it, like, what would each chapter be, and to be honest, some of the chapters switched, switched, some of them were eliminated completely from the proposal. But we knew that there was the we knew that we had to take, we had to take our audience down a journey of you know, who we were before children and like, so they can understand where we come from, what our belief system was before children, and then our journeys into our relationships, why we chose the people that we chose, and how those people shaped us and then how then actually having a baby when, and then giving birth, and obviously everything else that happens after that and so, you know, I think the chapters if you I don’t know if you if you take a look at some of our chapter titles, which I’m very proud of, they’re very good, because you know, just like a podcast episode titles, you know, we take a lot of we take we have some interesting podcast titles, I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to kind of go down the list, but we wanted our, our chapters to also be kind of thought provoking. And also like, What the fuck is not like, Fuck, I’m expecting Fuck, I just had a baby post traumatic baby daddy disorder, like, you know what that is, but you don’t know what that is?
Traci Thomas 31:39
Right? Right. Like you read three gang, you read the invitation, right, and
Erica Dickerson 31:44
so in and then we divided our book into three parts, because that that was important to train people to really be able to kind of follow the flow of the book. And you know, the first part is before children BC, after children ad after Daddy, we kind of wanted to be in the vein of the Bible, because not that this is the Bible. But in some ways, it’s a bible of sorts for women for the free and wild woman that wants to be remember herself and a reawakened. And our last, our last part is a revelation, which is, you know, the, this radical moment of choosing yourself, which ultimately gives you space to show up as a good parent, a good mom, a good human, a good woman, a good wife. So, you know, choosing the chapters, definitely, I think, for sure, helped outline the book and helped us helped guide us. But there was a lot of freedom within those chapters. And a lot of scaling back our publisher was like, Hey, you probably don’t need to say all that. Like, what is the actual point? Because I was writing it like a diary. And points, there was a lot of shit in there that was like, they don’t need to know all this.
Traci Thomas 32:48
Right? Were there any things that came up for you? Or what was the biggest surprise that you uncovered about each other while writing this book?
Jamilah Mapp 33:01
I think I just thought about this today, there’s a part in them. There’s a chapter where we’re basically it’s like a love letter to each other. I think it’s about tribe and about friendships. And I think I wrote you know, I think writing about your friend that you’re writing with, it’s, it’s heartfelt, and there’s things that she wrote to me that I, you know, like, we’re not everyday like professing we could do but like professing your love to each other. Remember that time where you held my hand in the car. Like, there was a time where I was reading it, I got emotional, and I was like, Oh, shit, like, this is, you know, like, it’s just, it was just, you know, it’s beautiful to see your friend. Appreciate you and words, and, and text and just to remember that you have a friend that appreciates you and for the reasons why I think we’re so not used to doing that, you know, we’re just like getting through and we’re like, you know, like, you know, I love you, you know, I love you, you know, that’s how we do it. Especially black, especially black people, you know, it’s like a nonverbal luff. And I think, you know, highlighting our friendship really, you know, just reminded me just how revolutionary female friendships are and just reading this just looking to looking at the book in general come full full circle is just like, I wouldn’t be on this journey had it not been for Erica, you know, and like how much self discovery and self accurate try to say actualize
Traci Thomas 34:26
Jamilah Mapp 34:29
actualization, okay, came from the friendship and, you know, it’s just a beautiful thing. And so that was something that kind of, you know, warmed my heart and was not surprising because I know my friend loves me, but just to hear the details or certain moments that were like, profound or, or real like realizations in our friendship that were like, oh, okay, this is these are my this is my people.
Erica Dickerson 34:53
Um, you know, Mila has always, you know, on the podcast, and she said it a lot like I’ve always been This person I’ve always been this person that’s kind of this is who I am Take it or leave it. And there was a moment in the book where she talks about being kind of shamed when she was breastfeeding at like her boyfriend like our her child’s father like basketball game or sinners. And that was surprising to me because I like I’ve witnessed Jamila, breastfeed, and it was the Teddy was out, there was no like, there was no shame. I’ve never really seen Mila be ashamed. And so reading that I was like, it was I felt, I felt hurt for her because I know how bold my friend is. And I know how powerful she is and how much she does show up as herself. And so for this for for that moment to really make her feel small. I think that, that question herself. I think that was surprising for me, when I read that.
Traci Thomas 35:51
One of the things I asked everybody who comes on the show is about how they right? Where Where were you when you were writing this book? How often did you have music? Did you have snacks or beverages kind of set the scene for us about how you wrote your sections? Oh,
Jamilah Mapp 36:06
God, girl, it was well,
Erica Dickerson 36:09
well, you know. So when we got our book deal, we really tried to write it here. And we were super distracted because of our kids podcast. So you know, we ended up going to Costa Rica, we ended up we got that little bit of money. We’re like, oh my god, this is like the first big check we ever got. Let’s get away, let’s go on a trip, because now we have an excuse to go work. Get away from our kids, because we’re working. You know, we thought we needed this like big excuse to go take care of ourselves. And so we went to Costa Rica to go write the book. And then, you know, long story short, very little of the book got written there. And we ended up starting a whole retreat business while we were there. And when we got back, you know, we were we I think we didn’t realize how difficult writing about our history would be. Because I think a lot I think we thought we were resolved in a lot of these, these situations and things that have taken place in our life. And what we realized was that we weren’t, and that they were triggering. And so we kind of kept avoiding it. And so I would say, you know, there were days where things were flowing, where I could just write sit down in my living room and drink a coffee and write 10 pages. And then there were other days that I could not focus. And our publisher was like, hey, deadline, where’s the chapter? Right? And so me and Mila definitely spent many, many hotels tonight in hotel rooms, you know, writing till, like five in the morning, drinking lots of wine to kind of get through certain things that, you know, giving ourselves liquid courage, I think in ways to share things that we might overthink, and just say the thing. So yeah, there was definitely a different a bunch of different scenarios of just like writing at home writing under pressure writing in hotel rooms, writing on note writing and notes as I’m driving in the car, like Oh, shit, I forgot about this. Let me say this one thing, and I had that later. So, yeah,
Jamilah Mapp 38:10
yeah, it definitely took me back to like a high school term paper. I was like, wow, this is intense. And then I was like, What the fuck? It’s my life. Why am I struggling? I just about me. But I also feel like, like, I think I think we didn’t realize how difficult it was going to be to write the difficult things and be like, damn, like, it’s a reliving of those experiences, you know, and I think it’s one thing to say
Erica Dickerson 38:36
it, it’s another thing to like, write each letter word and then go back and read it to make sure you spelled it right. And like read it over and over and over again. Versus when you’re on the podcast, you’re just like, bla bla
Traci Thomas 38:49
bla bla bla. Yeah.
Jamilah Mapp 38:51
There’s also like a compart compartmentalization that happens I think as women like to get through things, you just get through them you know, you kind of like, I gotta I gotta keep going, like baby needs to go to school things need to happen and so we’re, you know, we’re feeling but we’re sweeping a lot of things under the carpet but then when you have to sit and relive it and then put it in, you know, a beautiful envelope and make it like, digestible or not, whatever, but like, I think I work better I write better written, so it was difficult for me to type so a lot of things I’m like, I have Juergen Eric makes fun of me. I have 50 million unfinished notebooks Don’t fucking ask me why. But I just like writing in notebooks and then transferring them to play it to typing and like, I think I have a picture I was in Mexico like the last the very last like last three chapters. I was in Mexico for a month with my boyfriend because I knew I had to get this shit done. And I’d like has written all these all these note papers and then like, tape them on the wall. Like because I’m a visual I need to see what did I say what are these things that are important is this flow. This is chapter one, like literally I had to look at it to understand what I was saying or I was just getting jumbled up in my mind about what I had already written. I only know if so many vocabulary words that I use that one already like. So it was just like a constant like, Does it sound smart? Am I smart? I am smart. Right? So I was just, yeah, it was it was quite a struggle, but I definitely feel more confidently now that people there was definitely a fear of people reading it. But now that it’s gotten into the world, and I’m getting feedback, and people are relating, I’m like, Oh, okay. You do get it. It is it is something that is, you know, people can understand and relate to so it feels a bit of relief,
Traci Thomas 40:33
though. Speaking of vocabulary words, and spell checking, another favorite question that I ask everyone is, what is a word? You can never spell correctly on the first try? Necessary? Ooh, good one.
Jamilah Mapp 40:45
Oh, yeah, that’s I’ve heard one that is a hard one. I’m not a good speller. It’s always been an insecurity of mine. Same my daddy’s make fun of me a lot. That’s his love language. And so I am really thankful for Grammarly. There’s a lot of words that I spell really fucked up often, like, I always have to do like the I before E except after C. Like the receive. So yeah, thank God for editors.
Traci Thomas 41:14
Yeah. One question is for people who like your book, good moms guide to making bad choices. What are other books that you might recommend to them that are maybe in conversation with what you all have created?
Jamilah Mapp 41:26
I don’t really think there’s a lot of books like ours. I think it’s it’s very specific. But I do. I really gravitate recently to books that kind of liberate women. And so I really like there’s a book called The ethical slut. I really like communion by bell hooks. Books that are like examining the way we think and the way we show up in the world and then challenging them that really, there’s this book I’ve always loved called why men love bitches. I love that book too. But it’s just, I really enjoy the study of like womanhood and just like the dismantling of it and the like the dissection of it so we can kind of better understand ourselves and why we are the way we are.
Erica Dickerson 42:09
Um, books that come to mind. I definitely would say the ethical slut as well. We actually had the author on our podcast, and she really kind of just unpacks just sexualities, sex, owning your pleasure, all those things. I love that book. I started reading women who run with wolves. I think that’s a great one as well. It’s a little bit of a harder read. Yeah. And I’m trying to think what else book I didn’t finish that I really enjoyed that actually, I’m just reminding reminding myself now that I need to finish is Untamed by Glennon Doyle, obviously major author. But yeah, if I can be in the company of those three women, I’m fucking elated.
Traci Thomas 43:01
What do you hope people will keep in mind as they read your book?
Erica Dickerson 43:05
I’m an author and I’m sensitive about my shit. In the words of Erykah Badu.
Jamilah Mapp 43:10
Yeah, I think it’s that I’m sensitive about my shit, but also, I think it’s just having an open mind and open heart. You know, people can be mean, in Eric and I are both fucking water signs sensitive as bitches. So it’s, this has been a scary process, but I think I just that everyone, I hope that everyone just, you know, understands that we’re human, that we’re people that were imperfect. And I’m just like, approach the book, like your approach a book that you’re reading from a friend and just be open to what we’re saying and our experiences and why we show up the way we show up and just really understand that you don’t have to do as we do or say as we say, to be open minded and embrace the message with love.
Erica Dickerson 43:55
I think also just examine your uncomfortability you know, if it makes you uncomfortable, ask yourself why. And then keep reading.
Traci Thomas 44:06
Okay, here’s my last question for you both. If you could have one person dead or alive read this book. Who would you want it to be?
Jamilah Mapp 44:16
Alive Erykah Badu that’s a hard question.
Traci Thomas 44:22
I know every time I asked people there’s always the same face you make which is like, Oh,
Erica Dickerson 44:27
I don’t know why she stole mine. This is so random. Go ahead. We love random and only because I think that she’s a spicy bitch like me. Chrissy Tegan.
She pisses people off. And you know, I don’t agree with everything that she’s ever said either. But I think that she’s, I think that she would I think she’d appreciate it.
Traci Thomas 44:53
I love that. I love that. Well, everyone. The book is called a good mom’s guide to making bad choices. This is Jimmy Line Erica. They’re also the host of the good mom’s bad choices podcast. Thank you both so much for being here. Wait, Tracy,
Jamilah Mapp 45:06
I have a question. Yeah, you said that you but you’re judgy when it comes to books, did you think you were gonna hate this book?
Traci Thomas 45:11
Yeah, for sure. For sure.
Jamilah Mapp 45:16
Did you think this is not what I need right now?
Traci Thomas 45:19
I you know what I have to be honest, I generally go into most books, thinking, I hope that I like this, but I probably won’t. But to be fair, I read 100 to 120 books a year. So like, I would say, 75% of what I read is fine, or worse. Do you know what I mean? Like, it’s just like, it’s the amount that I take in. So I just know myself. So I definitely was like, I don’t I don’t need this. And then I ended up really liking it. I think you guys both have, like, not objectify your lives, but like, have had juicy lives. I think a lot of people write these kind of books, and they don’t have anything to share with the audience. Like it’s like, then I had my baby. And then we broke up because we just agreed we weren’t a good fit. And then like, I started dating someone else. And now I’m happy. And it was like, I sort of thought it was going to be a little bit more like tame. But I was really entertained by your stories. And I thought you both did a really good job of getting vulnerable, which I think a lot of people again, who write these types of books don’t do that. They don’t allow themselves to like, look bad. They do the fake look bad thing where it’s like, I was mean to my daughter, and like I spanked her one time by accident. You’re like, Okay, wait, not that you guys think your kids but you don’t I’m saying it’s like that, like fake vote, like, you’re gonna hate me because I want like, you know, something stupid, or I’m like, Yeah, I do that every fucking day. I hate you. So I really appreciated the vulnerability that you you both brought to it. And I appreciated that there was like some juicy stuff. I don’t I’ve kind of feels like rude to call your lives juicy. But you know what I’m saying? Like, it’s not just
Jamilah Mapp 47:03
oh, no, I agree. I realized that we don’t like we’ve we’ve had a number of experiences that are not necessarily traditional.
Traci Thomas 47:11
Yeah. Well, and that you share them like so openly. Because I think a lot of people would have like taken like, I think the the throttle story. I think a lot of people would have taken that and been like, I was on Tinder and I met this couple and I went over to their house, and it was great. And you were like, no, then this happened.
Erica Dickerson 47:29
I spread my legs. And then yeah. Yeah, you know what I thought about the books that I love that are like really go there. And like, there’s some really bad like, novels, but like, you know, you think of like, 60 Shades of Grey, not like an amazing literary piece. But it caught me in there. Because they, they, they kind of went there, you know, and I was like, if I’m gonna go there, let’s just like, let’s just go there. Let’s paint the picture. Totally. And that’s why I love books, too, because and I was telling my daughter this because she’s so into reading right now like obsessed. And I was telling her isn’t it so crazy? When you read a book, it’s like watching a movie, right? Like, if you’re really into it, it can feel like watching a movie. And I remember reading books as a child and as a teenager. And that’s the reason why I got into the book, like I think of like teenage soup for the chicken soul. And, like not knowing any of these people, but like really being able to visualize what was happening and painting these pictures. And I wanted to paint with my words if I could, in the best way that I could. So I hope that we did I hope that when you read the book, you you can either see us in these in these situations or see yourself, you know, that was kind of the that was the point. So
Traci Thomas 48:35
yeah, I love it. Any more questions for me? Happy to answer. Well, thank you both so much for being here. Folks. You can go get the book wherever you get their books, there’s an audiobook as well that you to read. And thank you.
Jamilah Mapp 48:49
Thank you so much.
Traci Thomas 48:51
And we will see you in the next one.
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