I have always been a radio lover so, for me, podcasts are a natural extension of that, but even better because you get to choose your own programme! Podcasts are brilliant for multi-tasking – you can listen while you are cooking dinner, or walking the dog or commuting. Perfect for time-poor parents. But podcasts are also a wonderful way to relax. To just sit and listen and do nothing else. Which is rather handy during the current high-stress low-options coronavirus lockdown…
The best podcasts give you fresh insights each time. They add real value and learning. But there is also the cosy familiarity of a regular host who you get to know (and bizarrely feel friends with) as time goes on.
Given my job and interests, I gravitate towards parenting podcasts. And, believe me, I have sampled a lot of them! So, to help you cut through the chaff and find the real gems, here is my recommended list of great podcasts for parents. Especially for you.
The Career Dad Show by Dan Reed is aimed squarely at dads. There are interviews with experts plus dads telling their own stories, all held together by the wonderfully relatable Dan. This podcast has real breadth, covering everything to do with being a Dad who also works – career changes, working abroad, guilt, anxiety, mental health, building a business, bankruptcy, flexible working and shared parental leave. It’s all in there. I highly recommend you check it out.
Parents of teenagers
Teenage Kicks by Helen Wills. This is a fascinating podcast. Helen doesn’t interview parents of teenagers. Instead, she talks to young people about their teenage years. And the result is truly insightful about what it is like to be a teenager. There are interviews with young people who have been through traumatic experiences, who have overcome adversity, or who have just struggled with the normal stuff that comes along with being a teenager. Unusually, it’s aimed at both parents and teenagers – and it definitely has the potential to be inspirational to both. This podcast won’t tell you how to be a better parent but it will give you a fascinating glimpse into the teenage mind. And I bet you will feel more empathetic with your teens after it.
Parenting as a couple
Confessions of a Modern Parent with husband and wife team Nadia Sawalha and Mark Adderley roams over a lot of ground. A blended family with teenagers and grown up children, they chat about the things that worry and interest them about modern parenting. There is something fascinating about standing in the middle of their relationship and listening to them air their different viewpoints. As non-experts who have nevertheless done a lot of parenting, they meander through issues, exploring different sides (without bigging themselves up at all) and don’t always come to conclusions. It kind of feels like you are sitting a their kitchen table with them.
Mums in midlife
Postcards from Midlife with Trish Halpin and Lorraine Candy. If you are a mum of a certain age, this is my gift to you. This is a scrupulously honest but warm and entertaining look at the vagaries of midlife motherhood, taking in the menopause, midlife fashion, career choices, coping with grumpy teenagers and aging parents and back fat (and if you don’t know what I mean, this might not be the podcast for you). There are useful and interesting guests (some expert, some celebrity) and good conversation. And a sharp-witted refusal to shuffle off and unravel quietly.
Parents in search of happiness
Happy Place with Fearne Cotton isn’t actually a parenting podcast but it often touches on issues around family. It’s full of fascinating people being open and honest about everything to do with happiness and mental health. Public figures drawn from every field (music, arts, politics, sport, business…) talk about the difficulties they have faced and how they have overcome these. The focus is on removing stigma around mental health and discussing the routes some incredible (but real) people have taken in learning to thrive and find joy. Inspirational rather than instructive, it manages to be modern and vibrant rather than hippyish. Definitely worth scrolling through the episodes and picking out guests that appeal to you.
Mums in search of well-being
The Motherkind Podcast with Zoe Blaskey is gentle and wholesome and nurturing. Like a long cuddle with a kind friend. But it is also thought-provoking and sometimes truly elevating. Zoe interviews an eclectic mix of thinkers from the fields of psychology, wellness and holistic approaches. The discussions gravitate around mothering (both as a concept and as a practical task) and on how mothers can look after their own well-being and personal growth.
For breadth and variety
Not Another Mummy Podcast with Alison Perry. The sheer diversity of topics and guests means you might not love every episode of this podcast but it is definitely worth subscribing. Alison interviews a really diverse mix of celebs, public figures, experts and ordinary mums who happen to have had interesting experiences. The topics are truly wide-ranging – pretty much any aspect of life as a modern mum – and the tone is upbeat but down to earth. Definitely one for mums (rather than dads).
Happy Mum Happy Baby with Giovanna Fletcher is a perky listen which specialises in interviews with well-known and celebrity mums. At its best, it feels really grounded and debunks that Insta-ready perfection that famous mums often project. They are just real mums talking about themselves, their lives and their experiences of motherhood – but with the added spice of them being a famous figure. Sometimes these turn out to be very ordinary mums (despite their fame) and sometimes they are extraordinary. Not the place to go if you want proven expert advice, but strangely manages to create a virtual friendship group.
These are my picks. If you know any great parenting podcasts that you’d like to recommend, do pop them in a comment below!
All these podcasts are available on the usual providers (Apple, Spotifiy, Google etc). Or, I’ve provided links to their websites. This is not a sponsored post in any way, I chose these podcasts because I have really enjoyed them and thought you might find this list useful. But, for absolute transparency, I should also mention that I have also been a guest on a couple of them!
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