I love listening to podcasts.
They combine companionable conversation with the convenience of on-demand digital programming. I depend on podcasts to get me through any and all housework. Without them, my house would probably collapse under the weight of unwashed dishes, unfolded laundry, and mud-encrusted floors. The success of Serial moved podcasting from the fringes of media to mainstream success, and there is a rich underworld of internet based audio programs available for download or to stream. These shows discuss every topic conceived by humans, including parenting. It only takes a little digging to find a show that speaks to your own style and concerns. Here is a run-down of five podcasts offering audio perspectives on the questions of modern family life.
This parenting discussion show is hosted by Slate.com editors Allison Benedikt and Dan Kois. Like most Slate podcasts, it is smart, a solid blend of opinion and research, and occasionally a little smug. The hosts dive headfirst into controversial, often challenging topics, and invite guests who bring different perspectives to share valuable information. Mom and Dad Are Fighting feels like a clever cocktail party where we all share our best parenting stories and thoughtfully debate the great issues of the day. There is a warning for explicit language.
This is a new show by author and bloggers Meagan Francis and Sarah Power. The show grew out of The Home Hour podcast, and is set up as a space for Meagan and Sarah to have long form chats on topics they find important to mothers. Their conversations flow naturally and are peppered with anecdotes from their own family lives. This show feels like a frank dialogue with a like-minded parent.
This podcast is like sitting down at the kitchen table with hosts Stefanie Wilder-Taylor and Lynette Carolla, cracking open a bottle of chardonnay and gabbing about all the random elements of their lives as moms and their obsessions (like the Real Housewives). This is a light and funny show that freewheels on whatever the hosts feel like discussing. Guests come on the show to join in the party and plug books. This is a gossipy hangout as opposed to a serious discussion, and can be a lighthearted break from your daily mom life. The language is strong and salty.
The Longest Shortest Time is the brainchild of writer and broadcaster Hilary Frank. She created the podcast after the birth of her daughter in 2010, and it has grown to a formidable online presence including a large Facebook group and an app. The show draws its well produced sound and earnest narrative style from public radio, which makes sense since Frank is a contributor to This American Life. Each episode focuses on a specific story of parenting, often in early childhood. It explores the story, and celebrates the universal truths in the details of an individual’s experience.
One Bad Mother makes the distinction that it considers itself a comedy podcast about motherhood rather than a parenting podcast. Hosts Biz Ellis and Theresa Thorn yak it up about all aspects of their mom experience, and the results are usually hilarious. The secret to this podcast’s success is that great comedy demands great vulnerability, so the hosts share their lives in a very open way. They bring on guests from all walks of life to expand the conversation (and the jokes). This show feels like the totally honest mom group where everyone lets down their hair and laughs at the absurdities of parenting in the twenty-first century. The language can get raunchy, as you would expect on a comedy podcast.
Pull out your headphones and plug into some excellent mama talks!