Self Care: My Favourite Podcasts During Early Motherhood

New moms often find themselves as captive audiences.  From the beginning you find yourself spending hours feeding your baby, comforting your baby, and getting your baby to sleep.  Even into toddlerhood there are many times when I find myself sitting in the rocker in my little guy’s room after he’s demanded that I “sit down!” While he falls asleep.  And there are times when he falls asleep during a car ride and we arrive home and I’m sitting in the car while he finishes his nap.

My lifesaver in all of these situations has been podcasts.  Sure, in the beginning I could watch Netflix to keep me awake and attentive, but once my little guy became more sensitive to the light from my iPad or phone, I had to find an alternative distraction!  Don’t get me wrong, there are some days I just sit and stare at my beautiful little boy, but not for hours on end!

I’d basically never listened to podcasts before I had my baby.  I’d given them a try, and inevitably I’d fall asleep right away.  But my mommy friends were singing their praises so I took their suggestions and tried a few different podcasts.  After two plus years of being a podcast devotee, I thought I’d share my favourites with you guys in case you’re looking for something quiet to do while baby feeds/sleeps/has you trapped!  

How I Built This– I love this NPR podcast hosted by Guy Raz that walks listeners through how different famous brands and businesses were built.  Guy sits down with the founder of various companies like Melissa & Doug, Dyson, Method, Lululemon, and so many more brands that are in our households and communities today.  Not only is it interesting to hear how the founders came up with their ideas, but it’s also really inspiring.  Basically after every episode I think to myself, “yep!  I’m going to start a business!”

Armchair Expert– Dax Shepard hosts this great podcast in which he interviews other celebrities.  I enjoy his sense of humour, the occasional appearances of Kristen Bell (they play off one another so darn well), and the fact that the episodes are up to two hours long— perfect for long car rides.  (Did I tell you about that one time I drove around and around the Hamilton/Burlington loop of 403/Linc/Red Hill/QEW just to keep my toddler asleep because he had been so cranky before his nap??) I think my favourite Armchair Expert episodes so far have been the one with Kristen Bell, and the one with Conan O’Brien.

RISE, and RISE Together– Rachel Hollis (and her husband, on RISE Together) hosts a motivational podcast that makes me want to get off my butt (once I’m done being held captive) and get stuff done!!  I find Rachel’s advice on managing a family, starting a business, fostering relationships, and more to be practical, clear and applicable.  After listening to RISE you have tangible steps to help reach your goals, no matter how big or how small.  Listen to the RISE Together podcast for a super emotional recount of Rachel and Dave’s experience with foster parenting and adoption journey.  

Off the Vine– Ok, this one is my dirty little secret.  Hosted by former Bachelorette, Kaitlyn Bristowe, I find myself snort-laughing as I listen.  I started listening to Off the Vine to get more dish on Bachelor and Bachelorette happenings, but I find even her conversations with friends to be pretty funny.  It’s kind of like hanging out with a friend while your baby sleeps on your lap.  I don’t have a favourite episode, but they stories that come out of the “confession” segment of her podcast are always hilarious.

The Longest Shortest Time– This is my favourite parenting podcast.  It’s been a long-running podcast so there are many, many episodes to choose from on all aspects of parenting.  The hosts talk about controversial topics, heart wrenching topics, baby and toddler milestones and challenges and so much more.  I found this podcast especially comforting in the very early days of motherhood as I wondered how on earth I was left responsible for raising another human and how I would manage not messing it up.

Unruffled– Janet Lansbury hosts this podcast wherein she answers the questions of parents suggesting various gentle parenting techniques.  I love that so many of the questions that she answers could have been questions I asked her myself.  The episodes that I’ve relied on address tantrums, hitting, and aggressive behaviour.  My toddler isn’t overly aggressive but when something happens I hit the ground running to find the answers— and often, Unruffled has them!

Stuff You Should Know— When I was on mat leave, once in a while I felt like I wasn’t getting much mental stimulation.  Away from my job, I was tired, catering to a baby, and in my off time I was watching Netflix and keeping up with the house.  Once in a while I really just felt like I needed to learn or be challenged.  During those times I’d turn on Stuff You Should Know— they basically take some time to explain topics that you might have been wondering about.  The topics are extremely diverse, like “How Central Park Works,” “Bioluminescence, A Bright and Shiny Fish,” or “How the Spanish Flu Worked.”  Really, just pick a topic and you can have an hour of mental exercise!

If you haven’t tried podcasts to get you through the long days and nights of early parenthood, I highly suggest it!  It’s a nice break from zoning out to Netflix, but requires less effort (and light, when you’re with a sleeping baby) than reading.

I’d love to know— what are some of your favourite podcasts?  I’m looking to change up my library a bit!


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