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What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood

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a comedy parenting podcast with Margaret Ables and Amy Wilson

a comedy parenting podcast with Margaret Ables and Amy Wilson
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a comedy parenting podcast with Margaret Ables and Amy Wilson








Making Big Changes as a Family (with guest Jill Krause)

Have you ever considered selling the house, homeschooling the kids, and traveling for a year? Has a job or life change ever thrust a cross-country move, or other radical change, upon your family? Does the very notion strike terror in your heart? In this episode, we discuss how to prepare for— and make— big changes as a family. Change feels huger and scarier when you have kids, in part because routine and structure and familiarity are the things that kids crave, and need in order to...


Do We Really Have To Play With Our Kids? When Parenting Feels Relentless

According to researcher Patrick Ishizuka, "intensive parenting has become the dominant cultural model." Sounds about right. We spend triple the time actively engaging with our kids that our own parents did with us. And even then, we all feel guilty that we're not doing more. (Or that we kind of hate playing with LOL Surprise! Dolls, and we aren't hiding it very well.) But is more always better? Are our modern hyper-organized days creating children who have no idea how to occupy themselves,...


Mom Wins! (and Mother's Day Fails)

Happy Mother’s Day Week! In this episode we salute YOU, Mom. Our listeners told us their biggest mom wins and we are passing out some awards- like to Francesca, who has convinced her rambunctious two-year-old that the signs in most public spaces say that all little boys have to stand right next to their mommies. We also address the various ways that our small children’s Mother’s Day art projects have completely ratted us out. If you’ve ever stood in the hallway outside a kindergarten...



Most of us hear “bullying” and picture a sand-kicking, lunch-money-stealing menace. But today’s bullying can take other forms. Research by Dr. Charisse Nixon shows that about 7% of kids report experiencing physical aggression once a week— but that HALF of kids report experiencing relational aggression at least once a month. On the other hand, as bullying expert Signe Whitson explains, some things can get termed “bullying” that might be more correctly described as mean or rude. Knowing the...


Screen-Free Week: How To Survive and Why It's Worth It

We all know it: our kids are on screens too much. And us parents? Well, if you haven't used Apple's Screen Time function yet, prepare to be horrified. So have you ever considered a cold-turkey no-screens experiment in your home? Screen Free Week is coming up, and it gives us the perfect opportunity to present the idea to our families. But no, you might be saying. We couldn't possibly. My kids would fight! We need that down time! There's all that candy to crush! And to that we say, fear...


Changing How We Talk To Our Kids (with guest Dr. Wendy Mogel)

It’s easy for most parents to explain what’s wrong with how our kids speak to us: the snark, sarcasm, and eye-rolling are all things we could use a lot less of. But could the way we talk to our kids use a little fine-tuning as well? Dr. Wendy Mogel’s latest book, Voice Lessons for Parents: What to Say, How to Say It, and When To Listen, is just out in paperback. In this episode, Dr. Wendy Mogel tells us how to bridge the ever-more-complicated communication gap between parents and children,...


100th Episode! The Best Stories We Haven't Told Yet

100 episodes in, and we still have a few stories left to tell! In this episode we try to stump each other by playing "True or False." True or False: Amy's child once embarrassed her horribly in front of Gwyneth Paltrow. True or False: Margaret *almost* had her first child in a hallway. Listen and learn! Thanks so much to all of our listeners who have helped us grow this show for one hundred episodes. We're honored that you're out there. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...


Youth Sports: If You Must

Is there a middle ground in youth sports? Is there a place to exist between the nine-year-old icing his shoulder after a session with his pitching coach and the kid who bats last and hates every minute and never plays a team sport again? There used to be (back in our day). There can be. But in a world where families spend 10% or more of their yearly household income on travel teams, equipment, coaches, and gear, that friendly, non-intense approach has become a lot harder to find. In this...


What We Thought Being a Mom Would Be Like (with guest Betsy Stover)

Some of the ways we imagined motherhood turned out to be pretty accurate (like how much we’d enjoy Santa Claus back in our lives). But some of it was wayy off base, like how long it takes to lose a muffin top. (It's like the Tootsie Roll Pop question: the world may never know.) In this episode we discuss what lived up to, exceeded, and confounded our mom expectations with special guest Betsy Stover, mom of three boys and co-host of the hilarious podcast Why Mommy Drinks. Learn more about...


When School Projects Become Parents' Projects

Whether it’s the science fair, the pinewood derby, or a pre-K shoebox diorama, sooner or later every kid gets assigned a school project that is, without question, a PARENTS' project. What four-year-old can fashion her own “Dress As Your Patron Saint” costume? What sixth-grader can attempt proper MLA citation format without extreme maternal participation? It’s not so much the projects we mind- it’s the feeling that however we handle it, we’re doing it wrong. If we make the origami cranes for...


When You Feel Like a Failure as a Parent

In this episode we discuss all the reasons we’ve felt like failures as mothers, why we’re never as hard on others as we are on ourselves, and what we have done to mitigate these feelings of failure in our own lives. “I feel like I’m failing at parenting fairly often,” our listener Becky wrote when she suggested this topic. If it makes you feel any better, Becky, you’ve got plenty of company. These self-inflicted guilt trips are nearly universal among mothers. But why? Is it the 24/7 nature...


The Best Relationship Advice Ever

We asked our listeners to tell us the best relationship advice they've ever gotten- for romantic and platonic relationships both. In this episode, we discuss the advice that has worked best for us in the past- and what we're going to try going forward. Stuck on what "prioritizing your spouse" really means? Tired of never going to bed angry? Looking for some time-tested fight-avoiding techniques from our listeners' great-grandmothers? You'll find much to think about in this episode! Learn...


Helping Kids Manage Anxiety

Anxiety is a natural response to stress. Sometimes it’s even useful, like when it alerts us to danger. But when anxiety grips our children, they often don’t (can’t) explain how they’re feeling, and their inner turmoil can take over. As psychotherapist Lynn Lyons explains: Anxiety is a normal part of growing, changing and learning. But worry and anxiety can also become powerful and restrictive, disrupting families in ways that lead to avoidance, missed school, outbursts, conflict, and often...


Middle Kids

Most people believe middle children are prone to feeling insecure and left out because they get less attention. Their primary emotional state? Jealousy of siblings. Studies show that we think these problems are real and inescapable. A City College of New York study found participants were most likely to use words like “overlooked” to describe middle children— while completely unlikely to use the word “spoiled.” Psychologist Dr. Alfred Adler first proposed a “middle child syndrome” in the...


The Best Advice Ever

Sometimes you gotta consult the experts. We asked our listeners to tell us their best life advice, and as usual, you all delivered! This episode is full of great advice on -making choices -doing what matters -ignoring the haters -and liking ourselves a little better. Join the conversation in our new Facebook group! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


Punishing Kids: What Works and What Doesn't

When it comes to disciplining our kids, having "the punishment fit the crime” seems like a reasonable goal. But what if the “crime” in question is hitting a sibling? And what makes a punishment good in the first place? Is our primary goal dissuasion or providing insight? How can our approach to discipline help our children make a better choice next time- even if they’re not worried about being caught? In this episode we talk about what does and doesn’t work for punishing kids of all ages,...


Making It Work When You Go Back To Work

We asked our listeners to tell us their best tips (and hardest struggles) around returning to the workplace— whether it’s been six weeks, six months, or a few years. Our listener Greta suggested this topic. After three-and-a-half years at home with her child, she "moved across the country, started kid in preschool, and started back at work at the same time.” Dr. Lisa D’Amour says that change equals stress, and if that’s the case… that's a whole lot of change. In this episode we discuss: ...


Surviving a Toddler and a Newborn

Parenthood is hard. Different stages have different challenges. But there’s one particular phase that is of legendary, Kilimanjaro-climbing difficulty: surviving the first few months as the parent of two children, a toddler and a newborn. This episode was suggested by Raya, who says: "At one point I had a newborn and newly-turned-two-year-old. With my husband working seven days a week, I found myself alone the majority of the time with both kids. My kids are now one and three and it is...


Having People Over

Entertaining at home is kind of like exercise: you’re so happy that you did it, but that doesn’t stop you from dreading it the next time around. Who should you invite? What should you serve? Will you ever find a playlist that won't unexpectedly veer into gangster rap or Kidzbop? In this episode we discuss ways to take the stress out of having people over: The Simple Dollar: How to Organize a Cost-Effective and Fun Dinner Party Laura Gaskill for Forbes: 8 Stress-Busting Tips For Hosting...


The Birds and The Bees: Having 'The Talk'

Yikes. Do we really have to have “The Talk”? Yes, we do… and sooner than we’d probably like to think. Studies show that giving our kids appropriate information *before* they need it not only makes them more likely to make good decisions once they become sexually active— it also may delay the age at which such activities will begin. In this episode we discuss: John Sharry, Solution Talk: Facts of Life: At What Age Should We Tell Our Children About Sex? Center For Young Women’s Health at...