A few months ago I wrote about my newfound love for audiobooks (aka, a way to actually “read” your own books and not burn out on Eric Carle). But lately, I find myself trading audiobook listening sessions for a new techie-love: podcasts. Let me say that I am SUPER years late to the podcast party, so if you’re an early attendee to the auditory shindig, then send me all your faves. But if you’re like me and just getting started on the listening train, or have aspirations of being a podcast devotee, then keep reading.
As a mom who now listens to an hour, or sometimes even more minutes of podcasts a day— mostly on my drives to and from shuttling my kids to school or camp, or god help me, Target, here are eight shows I find especially entertaining, informative, helpful, or just plain enjoyable:
Ten Percent Happier: After listening to the audiobook with the same title, I would follow Dan Harris’ voice anywhere, but I will admit that right now, some of the episodes are a little whoo-whoo for me. That said, I am very much an aspirational meditator (you with me?), and there’s a lot to be said for tuning into a calming hour each day. If you’re pressed for time (insert: when are you not pressed for time, I know), there are shorter 15 min episodes to sample.
UnF*ck Your Brain: Ahhh I could also listen to Harvard-educated turned master life-coach Kara Lowenthal’s voice and advice allll day too. If you’re in the mood for some self-help re:breaking down and reframing your thoughts, I HIGHLY recommend this podcast. Start anywhere and start benefiting.
The Happiness Lab— Although she’s a Yale professor, Dr. Laurie Santos (of the popular and now free online course, “The Science of Well-Being”), speaks like she’s just a really smart friend, and takes on topics all aimed at helping us lead our happiest, best life. I especially like the mini-series on “Happiness Lessons from the Ancients” (hint: our ancestors got a lot right centuries ago that is still relevant today).
We Can Do Hard Things— if you’re a fan of Glennon Doyle (and if you’re not a fan, oh goodness, why not?!), then you’ll be thrilled like I was to learn that the motivational speaker and author now hosts a podcast with her sister, Amanda, tackling the “hard things” we do in life (read: overcoming addiction or dealing with extreme overwhelm as women/moms). After reading Glennon’s incredible and beautiful book, Untamed, I’ll pretty much follow her anywhere too, but her podcast is already awesome in and of itself.
Under the Influence— if you like hearing from other moms who tell it like it is, and/or reading super interesting and well-researched information about what technology, specifically social media platforms, are doing to our brains and lives, I HIGHLY recommend this podcast. For more on how it impacted me and my personal social media use, click HERE.
Smartless— If you’d prefer not to think quite so hard and need a more mindless escape from your tiny peeing, pooping, and picky-eating terrorists, I loveeee listening to the comedic brilliance of real-life friends, Will Arnett, Sean Hayes, and Jason Bateman. Each week one of the hosts surprises the other two with a guest, the list of which includes other funny geniuses such as Melissa McCarthy, Ricky Gervais, Dax Shepard, and Jennifer Aniston.
Armchair Expert— Speaking of Sheppard, if you have a little more time on your hands, Dax hosts an awesome and well-known podcast himself. He and his pretty funny cohost, Monica, get amazing guests. The episodes are usually long, sometimes serious, but mostly just entertaining and interesting.
20/20 or Dateline— If I could, I would probably binge these two true-crime shows on television first, but alas, my husband isn’t quite so keen on discovering why suburban mom X with a seemingly picture-perfect life suddenly disappears (spoiler: typically we learn the husband had some torrid affair and the new mistress isn’t into sharing said man with X). Anyway, I was thrilled to discover I could tune into these shows via their post- air podcasts. I also like other well-known true crime podcasts, but a lot of them seem to take on one case per season. I like that I can digest 20/20 or Dateline stories in their entirety in less than 60 minutes.
The above is by no means an exhaustive list— as I admitted, I still feel like I’ve barely scratched the podcast surface, but it’s a start! Also, I deliberately left out podcasts you can play for kids because, after a few attempts to get them tuned into Smash Boom Bust or Why in the World or Story Pirates, mine just aren’t into them yet. Again, if you have some recs for me in any of the aforementioned categories or new genres, well… I’m all ears– really, all ears.
If you’re jonesing for parenting podcasts there are a LOT. Here’s what I think is a great list of 35 Parenting Podcasts recommended by the awesome BigLifeJournal, and/or click here for another Phoenix mom’s 20+ of the Very Best Podcasts Every Mom Should Listen To.