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When I was pregnant with my first child eight years ago, I added every parenting book to my baby registry and plunged deep into reading them. I was always prepared for everything, a true Ravenclaw know-it-all, efficient to a fault. To prepare for a new baby I read The Happiest Baby on the Block, The No Cry Sleep Solution and Twelve Hours Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old (ha!). To prepare myself for the toddler years up ahead I preemptively read Bringing up Bebe, The Whole-Brain Child and No Bad Kids. I was armed with theories and techniques, determined to help my baby sleep with minimal to no crying, certain I would be like the French parents who don’t bring snacks to the park, convinced my child would be so well cared for I would be able to write my own book about it someday.
And then my oldest, Claire, came into the world. I can now tell you how to get 6 hours of sleep by 132 weeks (maybe). Not only am I world’s worst sleep trainer, I am also known as the “snack lady” by other kids and the only parenting book I am qualified to write is “How to Lose your Shit and Cry About it Later.”
Now that I’m a mom to four kids, my approach to parenting has changed. Instead of trying to prepare myself (too late), I try to focus on the current problems I’m having, and turn to the experts for advice on specific topics. I.e. What to do when my kid hits other kids at the park, why won’t my kid eat anything?, and, will I ever sleep again?
While books are still available for tricky topics like this— I find myself drawing from the podcast parenting wells much more often for advice. One reason is that the topics are shorter and to-the-point. Another is that they are free and easier to download bleary-eyed in the middle of the night.
If you, like me, are often in need of advice, STAT— these female voices are here to help. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent with their voices in my ear (at the gym, cleaning the house, driving carpool, etc ), reassuring me that other parents have been through this before, and that I can also do this.
The 6 Best New Parenting Podcasts
1. Best Podcast for Moms Who Want the Truth: The Milk Drunk Podcast, by Bobbie
When you want to hear that breastfeeding is difficult (even from the likes of Ashley Graham) or share the excitement in Tan France’s new baby announcement (eeks!), Milk Drunk is your space. Celebs dish out on parenting in an authentic, real way, that makes you feel like you and your bestie are front row and center to the joy, secrets and poops of parenting.
2. Best Podcast for Parenting 101: The Longest Shortest Time
This podcast has since been discontinued, but the archives are gold. This was the first podcast I started listening to and everything she says is still very relevant. Hillary Frank keeps it real and covers topics most people won’t touch, like episode 176 “Scared Sh!tless” wherein she shares nightmare poop experiences, or episode 153 “Sperm Shopping by Color.” Race, LGBTQ issues, adoption, abortion, special needs, boobs and more are covered – along with traditional topics like sleep, eating, and imaginary friends. If you have a question, The Longest Shortest Time probably has a podcast about it. It’s thorough, funny, and there’s minimal useless chatter.
3. Best Podcast for Long-Term Parenting Goals: Respectful Parenting: Janet Lansbury Unruffled
After my own parents, Janet Lansbury is the best parent in the world. I turned to her when my oldest became a toddler and I worried that her behaviors (i.e. tantrums, hitting, whining) weren’t normal (they were). Still— Lansbury became my life coach, and her RIE approach was actually the only thing that seemed to work for me and my daughter. It sounds pretty obvious on paper— empathy and respect and treating your child like a whole person creates the best outcomes. But it’s easier said than done, and Lansbury breaks it down so beautifully with such obvious passion that it’s hard not to consider her opinion on nearly any parenting topic. She also thinks long-term, since her own children are grown adults now, and talks about the ability to raise humans we want to be around— something I hadn’t considered before. Some favorite episodes include: Parental Burnout and a Reasonable Approach to Screens, Why Toddlers Won’t Share and What We Can Do, and How to Make No Mean No. Thank you, Janet. She is the parenting Buddha.
4. Best podcast for Sharing Mom Moments: The Motherly Podcast
The Motherly Podcast has produced more than 100 episodes with no signs of quitting— covering a huge range of topics with interesting and well-rounded guests. Co-founders Liz Tenety and Jill Koziol sit down with celebrities, experts on childcare or research, and more to discuss all things motherhood. Having all of these mom-voices in my ear actually helps me get through my day. Because there are a lot of episodes, I go through the podcast every couple weeks and download the ones that interest me. Some recent favorites include: Soleil Moon Frye on the joys of big families (as a mom of four I need all the reassurance I can get!), Reshma Saujani on “rejecting the girl boss lie,” and Christina Perri— who talks so beautifully about her grief after the stillbirth of her daughter, Rosie. She tells you the best thing you can do when someone loses a child, tells others how to approach those who have suffered a similar loss, and mostly tells other mothers not to grieve alone. Rich with unique insight, this podcast tells the story of the human experience through the lens of motherhood.
5. Best podcast for Mom Advice: 3 in 30 Podcast for Moms
I’ve been listening to 3 in 30 for years— I even have their Flecks of Gold three-year journal which makes me, I think, a super-fan. It’s basically podcast gear. 3 in 30 is good for new and seasoned mothers because it breaks down each episode at the end into three tangible takeaways, making it feel more productive than your typical podcast. The host, Rachel Nielson is not afraid to be vulnerable and discusses the difficulty— physically and most of all mentally— of parenting young children day after day. The podcasts are relatively short and each guest is an expert in the topic, which range from keeping kids safe around water to organizing family photos. The best part is, she has a search bar so you can quickly look up a topic from her 250+ episodes easily! I tried it with keywords like “confidence”, “potty training” and “fighting” and was quickly able to find what I wanted to glean from these topics. Another great tool on the website is the podcast page breakdown, which lists the three takeaways from the topic as well as some short quotes. That way, if I want to remember one of the takeaways but don’t want to listen to the entire episode again it’s easy to find. One recent favorite was an interview with Ralphie Jacobs, of Simply On Purpose (Episode 4, How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids). She talks about not yelling, and my favorite quote from the podcast was listed on 3 in 30’s page: “The prerequisite to all other parenting principles is to be in control of yourself as the parent . . . We should not feel like victims in our own households. We can find joy and delight in working in our homes.” I’ve vetted this one thoroughly. New or experienced mom— there is something for you here.
6. Best Therapy Podcast for Moms: Good Inside with Dr Becky
I really couldn’t finish a list of parenting podcasts without including the queen— Dr. Becky and her Good Inside podcast. As a clinical psychologist, Dr. Becky brings clinical knowledge, and I actually was drawn to her story which led me to her podcast. During her training, she worked with children and then realized a lot of their issues could be solved by their parents changing certain harmful behaviors. Her whole premise is that every child is “good inside” even if their outward behavior suggests otherwise. Dr. Becky is the proverbial angel on my shoulder— the voice that tells me when my behavior could be somewhat damaging to my child. She’s so good at what she does that my therapist sister-in-law doesn’t miss an episode, applying what she learns to her own clinical work as well as to her own four children. We were recently on a trip to Mexico with our eight combined children when I called my son “shy,” to which she referenced a Dr. Becky episode (Let’s Stop Calling Kids “Shy”) wherein she deep-dives into the inherent confidence often portrayed by “shy kids,” and made me think completely differently about my son. I also loved her Mom Rage episode, her One-Year-Olds have Tantrums episode, and her Raising Kids is Taking a Toll on my Relationship. Dr. Becky is good at her job and she is good at making me feel like my kids are good— even when I sometimes want a refund.
Best Mom Podcasts
The Bobbie team has a long list of favorites, we’re sharing a few stand-outs with you here:
Once Upon a Gene; True Stories of Raising Rare Kiddos
What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood
How to Choose the Best Podcast for Moms
No matter what stage of parenting you’re in— these podcasts make you realize that you are not alone, which is maybe the most important takeaway you can get from strangers on the internet. Parenting is hard, much harder than I anticipated, but knowing other moms are in the trenches with me makes it feel a little less lonely and cold down here.