I love podcasts! Mama or not, we ALL have way too much on out plates, too many things to do and not enough hours in the day to get to them. I always want to keep learning, evolving and growing but who has time for a book these days? Enter podcasts… the easiest, most productive way to learn and engage with different points of view while getting stuff done! I usually listen to podcasts on my 45 minute drive to work morning and afternoon. I also listen to them while folding laundry, doing dishes, packing lunches.. basically any activity that requires my hands but not necessarily my brain (or at least not my whole brain 🤗) is RIPE for podcasting. What are podcasts? Which ones do I listen to? How do you find them? This article will answer those questions and more. But first…
What are Podcasts and how do I listen?
A Podcast is an audio file you download onto your phone (or computer) and listen, in the same way as you would a music download. Some podcasts are episodic — meaning each episode stands alone so you can start with episode 15 and then circle back to episode 2 if you’d like and that won’t mess up the “story”– while others are serialized and meant to be listed in order as the story progresses in each episode in the same way most TV shows do. I have included examples of both below. Podcasts are typically anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour long.
You can find podcasts on your iPhone using Apple’s Podcast App. You can also find them on Spotify. Once you find a podcast you like, you can subscribe to it. This makes so that any time a new episode is released, it automatically downloads on to your phone. Super convenient!
There is no one kind of podcast. Some are free flowing conversations on a specific topic (usually with an expert on the topic to inform the discussions). Others are more traditional speech-like pods, what I call the “Ted Talk Format.” There are also interview formats and documentary style, among others. I’ve divided my favorite podcasts by genre below- the “TV Series Like” podcasts, for example, are HIGHLY addictive in the same way a good TV show is; you can’t stop yourself from playing the next episode and the one after that. #sorrynotsorry 🤪 Ok.. Now that we’re all in the same page about what are podcasts and where we can find them, let’s get to my faves! I’m so excited to hear your thoughts on the shows below. I’m also happy to add to the list based on your recommendations– just say the word. Ready to dive in? Let’s get into it..
A sweet podcast focusing on early childhood education, communication, and mindfulness in parenting, how to handle kiddo emotions, etc.. Christina is the host and I absolutely adore her! She has the chillest voice and offers amazing parenting advice, tackling issues we ALL face every day without sounding judg-y or holler than thou in the process. Little Springs is a mix of longer one hour conversations with experts on a particular topic (for example, this one on how to better communicate with our kids) and shorter 15 minute mini talks with only Christina on a specific issue (for example, this one on tantrums). She recently did an episode on preparing your first kiddo for your second’s arrival that I wish excited when I was pregnant with Bear! Other favorites include this one on getting kids to clean up after themselves and this one on building your child’s emotional intelligence.
Logest Shortest Time
This is probably my favorite mommin’ podcast! I was heartbroken when it ended last December. Luckily for all of us, this Pod was around for 9 years before it came to an end so there’s over 200 episodes ready for your ears. Longest Shortest Time (isn’t the name so clever?!) is about all things parenting: the good, the bad, the funny and everything in between. This podcast is a great way to engage with other parenting styles and see how other families handle the issues we all face. It’s original host, Hilary, was WONDERFUL. In 2018 they switched hosts and the quality of the interviews and stories went down a bit so if you can, I’d stick to the 2010-2017 era of LST. They talk about everything from vasectomies to parenting styles, imaginary friends (remember Jacky?), infertility, pregnancy and child-birth woes, potty training, baby shark, questions to ask your partner before kids, co-parenting after an affair, talking to kids about race, the list goes on. LST also does a fantastic job of bringing to the forefront stories from traditionally marginalized groups- gay parents, trans parents, adoptive parents, those who don’t want kids, parents in polygamous relationships… there’s a whole series on sperm donor shopping for G’s sake! I understand the more “woke” episodes won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but I encourage you to listen without judgments– you might learn a thing or two! 🙃
The Unruffled Podcast
This podcast is all about respectful parenting. Janet, the host, is the author of the very famous parenting book No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame. Each episode begins with Janet reading a note from a parent seeking advice on a specific topic– how should I react when my kid has a tantrum? What about when my child gets hurt? How to I teach my kid to control her feelings? that kind of thing. Janet then breaks down her thoughts on that specific “problem” giving great guidance without judgments. Episodes are usually between 15-30 minutes so this is a quick listen that is VERY, VERY helpful. When discussing parenting issues I like the experts I consult to be SPECIFIC. Janet is great at this – she gives specific steps you can take to grow your parenting skills. The episodes can get really specific so if you are dealing with what feels like a strange/niche issue- Your kid is too competitive? Freaked out about bugs? Too anxious? Scared to start school?– chances are, this podcast has covered it and Janet has some advice for you! Bonus: Janet transcribes each podcast episode on her website so if you’re not into audio or can’t listen for any reason, reading the episode is always an option!
Honorable Mention: The Mash-Up Americans
If you are a hyphenated family (Panamanian-Americans is our hyphen of choice 😜) this Podcast is for you! Raising multi-cultural, multi-lingual kiddos can get tricky. This Podcast has been a great resource as I navigate the complexities that come with my kids straddling two cultures in a way I never had to. You definitely don’t have to be a parent to listen to the Mash-Up Americans as it focuses on mash-up stories and families more generally, but their kiddo focused episodes are my faves. They offer far more resources for us multicultural parents than just the Pod though, this list of mash-up parenting guides is a lifesaver!
BONUS pod for my Preggo Ladies: Pregnancy Confidential
Pregnancy Confidential is a week-by-week podcast that walks you through all things pregnancy and childbirth. The vibe is really laid back, girlfriend to girlfriend REAL talk type of convos, no hard to figure out medical jargon allowed. I’ve written about this pod in the past (and other pregnancy essentials) here. If you are pregnant this podcast will be your best friend, taking you through the ins and outs of pregnancy and making you feel less alone in the process. It’s great! The episodes are numbered by pregnancy week so my suggestion is that rather than starting from episode one, you start with the episode that best matches up with how far along you are in your pregnancy.
Podcasts on the Human Experience
Podcasts are not just about mothering– in fact, the vast majority of them are not! Below are my favorite podcasts on the human experience because we’re all just living, trying to become our best selves.
Armchair Expert is hands down the podcast I listen to the most. Dax Sheppard (aka Princess Anna/Kristen Bell‘s husband) hosts this interview style podcast on the messiness of being human. Dax has been sober for over 10 years after struggling with alcohol and drug abuse for decades. He also has a degree in Anthropology– both things come in super handy when discussing REAL LIFE ISSUES with his celebrity friends. Dax and his lovely sidekick Monica do real deep dives into their guests personal lives, their stories, struggles and what happened in their lives to make them THEM. Dax has this beautiful way of meeting people where they are and making them feel comfortable by putting his own personal stories out there (like, REAL personal- Dax was molested as a child and he openly discusses this in several episodes. Dax is also very open about his drug abuse, its very, very brave). He really makes even the most traditionally private celebrities open up about their humanness in the most REAL and HONEST way. The first episode I ever listened to was Dax interviewing his wife Kristen. As soon as they start the interview it becomes very clear the couple is in middle of a fight. 😂 Hearing them work through the fight was so insightful and normalized marriage in a way that I was forever hooked! Some of my favorite episodes include: Dax’s mom incredible life’s story on raising two boys as single mom and surviving domestic abuse at the hand of multiple partners, Gwyneth Paltrow‘s interview on why she is so triggering to some among other things, Ashton Kutcher’s episode (AK gave Dax his first acting break, Dax then distanced himself from AK and this episode is their reunion in a a sense), Mila Kunis on parenting in Hollywood, and a MILLION others… This podcast is episodic so no need to start at the beginning simply pick an episode that interests you from this list and dive in!
Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations
Read the name– need I say anything more? 😂 Oprah is well.. Oprah! Amazingly insightful in all things GROWTH. In her SuperSoul Conversations Podcast Oprah talks to experts, best-selling authors, celebrities and world leaders about all of life’s big questions. This podcast is one I turn to when I feel like I need to re-connect with my best self; it’s conversations on spirituality, self-love, parenting, healing, kindness, spreading light into this world. Give this podcast a listen and you will feel nothing but ZEN VIBES all day.
Kate and Oliver Hudson host this sister/brother podcast. It’s still in it’s beginning stages with only 16 episodes under their belt but I already love Ollie and Kate; they are genuine and so sweet. The idea behind this podcast is to do a deep dive into sibling relationships- how can two people raised by the same parents in the same environment often turn out SO differently?- in an effort to explore (and better) our family relationships as whole. Kate and Ollie (of course we’re on first name basis, this is Penny Lane we’re talking about!) talk to famous siblings about their upbringing, similarities, differences, etc. in a very honest and open way. This young pod is worth a listen!
TV Show-like Podcasts
Season one of Serial is the original hit podcast. When Serial came around in 2014 most of us didn’t even know what podcasts were! That quickly changed after millions and millions of people jumped on the Serial bandwagon and began learning about Adnan Syed’s alleged murder of his high school girlfriend in Baltimore. Did he do it? Some of the most heated debates I’ve had in my life are on this topic… 😆 This Podcast it is seriously addictive and OH SO GOOD! Note: You absolutely have to start with episode 1 and work your way through the 12 roughly hour long episodes. After the popularity of season one, they released two more seasons on different topics. I couldn’t get behind seasons 2 and 3 but maybe you will?
From the same folks that brought us Serial, S-town is a very different but equally addictive tv show-like podcast. S-town is shorter at only 7 episodes, and I can’t say much about the plot without giving it away. Just know that it is GOOD in a very surprising way. You can never judge a book by it’s cover and S-Town‘s John is a really good example of that. According to it’s website (I am copy/pasting because I refuse to unintentionally give away a spoiler! I remember being so blown away by the twists and turns of this story and really want you to experience the same!) S-Town is about John, who “despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks a reporter to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But then someone else ends up dead, sparking a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life.” TRIGGER WARNING: suicide.
Missing Richard Simmons
Do you remember Richard Simmons? He was a fitness guru in the 80s. His high voice, curly hair and ridiculous work out clothes (in the best way!) made him a part of pop culture forever. After having a VERY public life for many, many years in 2014 Richard Simmons stopped appearing in public, stopped teaching daily work out classes and essentially disappeared from the face of the earth. This quirky podcast tries to find out what happened- did he just get tired to the limelight? or is there something more macabre going on? This podcast is highly addictive and unlike anything else I’ve ever listened to. There is some controversy surrounding the intentions of the creator and whether its exploitative. You be the judge. Note: You must start on episode one and work through to episode 6.
Another EXTREMELY binge worthy podcast. The Dropout is the INSANE real life story of Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of tech company Theranos and once the youngest self-made billionaire in the world (yes, before Kylie 😆). You WILL NOT believe this insane story— it’s so ridiculous it seems fake! Elizabeth built a multi-billion dollar company whose Board included some of the most powerful men on planet earth and it was all based on one BIG FAT HOAX! Ok??!?! Insanity. She was once thought to be the next Steve Jobs and is now facing criminal charges… you can’t make this stuff up. This podcast is also one you have to start from episode one. IT IS SERIOUSLY GOOD!
Honorable mention (and next of my list): Dr. Death-– this podcast is supposed to be amazing but doctors freak me out so I haven’t been able to bring myself to listen… yet 😅
Podcasts to Stay Informed
New York Times’ The Daily
I try to always start my day with this podcast. It is a GREAT way to stay informed and go in depth into the biggest news of the day. The Daily is a short 20 minute daily podcast hosted by journalist Michael Barbaro. It has MILLIONS of daily listeners and I truly think it’s the next era of journalism. Michael is funny and very informed, he talks to his colleagues at the NYT responsible for covering a particular story and together they break it down for us piece by piece. They recently did one on the Corona Virus that is phenomenal. Many months ago they did one on the anti-vaccine “movement” that is still one of my faves. This podcast is one I recommend you subscribe to and have it ready to go each morning. You’re welcome! 😜
Pod Save America
In this progressive political podcast four former aids to Present Obama sit down and discuss the day’s most important issues in the world of politics in a very accessible way. The guys are REALLY funny and super knowledgeable– most of them are also from Boston, which you know is the key to my heart. 😂🥰 In the scary, scary political times we are living this show has been a beacon of hope and reliable news for me, two things our country desperately needs at the moment.
Ok loves, that is it for now! I have some funny podcasts and some entrepreneurship podcasts I’d love to share with you but this post is getting REAL long– maybe I’ll do a part II where I also include all your recommendations? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the podcasts above. Happy listening and thanks for stopping by! xoxoxo, SHR