There's a Podcast for That!
Podcasts may be the single biggest contributor to my sanity as a mother. If I don't listen to a podcast while I do dishes, I flit from one task to another, barely making a dent. But if I'm listening to something interesting, I can focus and plow right through them. And I actually enjoy it.
Since I started this blog, podcasts have been a game changer in another way. Instead of just listening to interesting podcasts for pleasure, I have expanded my repertoire of podcasts to include several great parenting and motherhood podcasts. They make me laugh, shift my paradigms, and give me lots of practical advice to try out on the five unsuspecting guinea pigs who call me mom. The best part: I feel like I have this beautiful community of new friends, even if most of them have no idea who I am.
For the past two months, I have spent a crazy amount of time listening to podcasts for specific episodes that I hope will help you thrive as a mother. I've curated a list of 20 episodes, organized by the motherhood struggles they address. You can listen to them all (that'll take a while), or just click on the particular thing you're struggling with in the list below and jump to the podcast I've chosen.
Here's a link to help you get started if you're new to podcasts: howtogeek.com. To listen to the podcast on the Internet, just click either the podcast photo or title. To listen on the Podcast App on your iPhone, click on the Podcast icon after each podcast recommendation, and it should just open up the app at the right episode:
I don't agree with everything my new podcaster friends have to say, and you won't either. But that's kind of the point. One of the best things about listening to podcasts is the access to fresh information, opinions, and approaches. Happy listening!
If you are tired of being judged for the way you parent:
Who would you rather be, the mom who let your kid suck on a pacifier too long, or the one who tried to stop her kid from sucking her thumb by pinning her sleeve to her bed or using a terrible elbow-straightening device? This episode is a look back at some of the ridiculous things parents used to do and a look forward to the time when we will be the ridiculous ones. It discusses the history of such controversial parenting issues as breastfeeding, thumb sucking, pacifiers, and baby milestones.
If you just need a little sleep:
A discussion of four tools to help your baby sleep—white noise, swaddling, pacifiers, and swings—and how to use them. It's also nice just to hear these moms talk about their own struggles with sleep. They talk about accepting the reality of a baby's sleep schedule and planning accordingly, so you're not annoyed and bitter with your child.
I didn't figure out how baby sleep works until my third baby, and it changed my life! The biggest breakthrough for me was the paradigm shift from focusing on a baby's sleep schedule to focusing on his wake schedule. This podcast discusses this and other biological realities about baby sleep.
If you're curious about why (scientifically) you feel so terrible and desperate when you don't get enough sleep, here's another great podcast episode from one of my favorite non-motherhood podcasts. To get right to the point of what sleep deprivation does to your body, skip to 23:00. If you'd like to also learn about how dolphins sleep half a brain at a time (among other interesting things), start at the beginning. Plus, this quote: "Sleep is the best housemaid you've had in the hotel of you."
If you want to stop comparing yourself to other moms:
3 in 30: How to Be the Mom You Are Instead of the Mom You Think You Should Be
This episode was a game changer for me. Guest Julie Bastedo gives us all permission to stop trying to be those other moms we see and admire (read: envy), and to chart our own course. She makes a list of all the things she does not do as a mom and all the things that she does, and then she owns those lists. Host Rachel Nielson is a great interviewer and an insightful mom.
If you hate Mother's Day:
Mother's Day can be a complicated holiday. For some of us it reminds us of a difficult relationship with our own mothers; for some of us it makes us feel guilty for all the things we need to do better. Jody Moore explains how you can learn to love Mother's Day and actually look forward to it.
If you are done making excuses:
Dana White used to find reasons she couldn't do things (like keep her house clean). Then she realized that if she actually took action and overcame those excuses, they were no longer excuses, but challenges. Dana White is real and funny and has revolutionized the way I think about housekeeping. I also recommend listening to her very first episode to hear about her "personal deslobification process." (Starts at 6:00)
If you want to stop being such a perfectionist:
In this episode, Lisa Woodruff talks about how the quest for perfection skews your priorities and robs efficiency. Two of her mottos are “progress over perfection” and “done is better than perfect.” She makes a great case for identifying one to three big tasks per day, doing a "good enough" job with those things and moving on.
If you are struggling with loss or big challenges:
Natalie has had more than her share of loss—first her brother/best friend died, and then a son. Then, the twins she fostered for their first two years of life had to return to their mother. Although she felt she had met her quota of hardship, her son got hit by a car (don't worry, he recovered). After each tragedy, Natalie emerged from the sorrow stronger and more capable of meeting her next challenge. She says, "At some point, I had to choose, 'This is my story and it's a part of me.' But I'm not going to suffocate down inside of it. I'm going to stand on top of it and move forward." This podcast is full of hope and wisdom about dealing with loss, plus lots of other great advice about raising confident, resilient children.
If you feel like being a mom is keeping you from being a person:
"Mommy is a person." This phrase has been echoing in my head for months, since I first read April Perry's excellent blog post with this title. Sometimes moms really don't act like we are important or worthy of basic courtesies like going to the bathroom alone or eating dinner sitting down. No wonder our kids try to order us around! April has a great perspective on this, and a plan for how to teach ourselves and our kids to treat us like people. She also outlines a practical strategy to create a vision for our lives and then make it happen.
If you need help adjusting to a new normal:
Alison Faulkner Williams is one of the most upbeat, energetic podcasters I've ever listened to, so it's interesting to hear her talk about how she has overcome some of the big and little challenges in her life. She shares five great tips for how she adjusts to the "new normal" that happens after life changes. (The banter is fun at the beginning, but if you want to cut to the chase, start at 5:20.)
If you struggle with postpartum depression:
Sometimes it's just nice to listen to someone who is going through the same thing you are. Paulina talks openly about how she feels while she's going through postpartum depression, and shares some great insights into how to cope with it. I also love just listening to these delightful sisters talk to each other.
If you are about to go back to work after maternity leave:
In this episode, hosts Laura Vanderkam and Sarah Hart-Unger interview author Lauren Smith Brody about her book called "The Fifth Trimester" about going back to work after having a baby. This episode is full of great ideas about this transition, from pumping to using the transition as an opportunity for role changes at work.
If you have mom guilt:
This podcast is worth listening to for the opening anecdote alone: a mom who actually asked the question, "Is mom guilt really a thing?" It goes on to give three great tips for combatting mom guilt: 1) List all of the blessings that your kids have in their lives, from you and others. 2) Reject “filtered-thinking.” Zoom out so you can see the big-picture of yourself and your kids’ lives. 3) Examine whether your guilt is beckoning you higher, or dragging you down lower.
If you find it hard to justify self-care:
Jessica Dahlquist interviews author Dayna Kurtz about her transition to motherhood and the realization that she was "failing to thrive" as a mother. She gives lots of great tips about how to take care of yourself so your whole family can thrive.
Listening to this podcast feels like sitting down for a one-on-one coaching session with host Jody Moore. In this episode, she talks about how it is a mom's responsibility to consistently take care of her mental and emotional health.
If you have an idea for a project or business and need a nudge:
Katie Richardson is a fireball. She had an idea for a better baby bathtub and she turned it into a multi-million dollar company. Getting to that point, however, was full of failures, a shoestring budget, self-doubt, and conflict about balancing her job and family. She shares her inspiring advice and encourages other moms to run with our own ideas and see where they take us. "You have to get comfortable with getting uncomfortable."
If you struggle with your body image:
Guest Amy Reinecke shares her story about overcoming an eating disorder and reframing how she views learning how to to have a healthy body image. One of my favorite quotes: "Find that thing that lights you up inside. That is not the size of your jeans and that is not the number you see on the scale. If that is the driving force for why you want to lose weight, keep digging and find it."
If you feel like you're not good enough:
Better than Happy: Jody Coaches Amanda on Fostering Confidence
I've been wondering what an actual life coaching session sounds like, and now I know. I'm so grateful to Amanda for sharing this vulnerable, very real topic of feeling like she's not good enough. Jody shows such compassion as she talks about ways to gain confidence and self worth. Listening to this is a beautiful experience.
She had me at these magical words: "Having a clean house is not a good gauge of whether you're a good mom." Jody Moore puts motherhood priorities in perspective: your main job is to take care of your kids. She also teaches that sacrificing too much for our kids can be unhealthy for both mothers and children.
If you want to make more friends:
3 in 30: How to Be a Friend Instead of Just Being Friendly
In this episode, Brooke Romney, a mother of four and a professional writer, shares totally doable ways that we can be good friends to other women, even if we are busy, shy, or maxed out on life. She encourages us to look up, wherever we are, and look for opportunities to connect with other moms and become a real friend.