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What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood
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What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood

Author: Margaret Ables and Amy Wilson

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Hosted by funny moms Margaret Ables and Amy Wilson, “What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood” is a comedy podcast about the never-ending "fresh hells" of parenting.

We’re both moms of three, dealing with the same hassles as any parent, but with slightly differing styles. Margaret is laid-back to the max; Amy never met an expert or a list she didn't like.

In each episode, we discuss a parenting issue from multiple perspectives and the accompanying expert advice that may or may not back us up. We talk about it, laugh about it, call out each other’s nonsense, and then we come up with concrete solutions. Join us as we laugh in the face of motherhood!

Winner of the 2018 Mom 2.0 Iris Award for Best Podcast and the 2017 Podcast Awards People’s Choice for Best Family and Parenting Podcast, and finalist for the 2019 Romper's Parent's Choice Award.

268 Episodes
This week our listener Raya asks, "How do I deal with a 4-year-old who is afraid to go to any doctor's office?" Doctors' offices are scary! There are shots, there's vulnerability, and there's an adult in charge who might be really intimidating to a little one. No kid is ever going to dance off to the pediatrician. The goal is to make your child's experience as manageable as possible– by communicating openly about why the visit is necessary, discussing what is going to happen during the visit, and placing a little emphasis on the reward (okay, you might call it a bribe) that your little one can look forward to for good behavior. Margaret quotes this article in this episode :"Fear of Doctors" ( Send us your parenting questions- we might answer yours next! Email us: * Leave us a rating or review in your favorite podcast app! * Join us on Facebook: * Instagram: * YouTube: * Pinterest: * Twitter: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In our latest “Fresh Take” episode we’re talking to Ali Wentworth, host of the "Go Ask Ali" podcast. If you're raising teens during this pandemic, you definitely want Ali's funny, wise, and useful interviews with experts on your podcast playlist! Ali Wentworth is perhaps best known from her iconic roles in Jerry Maguire, Office Space, and Seinfeld. She’s the host of the Daily Shot on Yahoo!, has also written several books filled with wry self-help observations and tips, and regularly stops by Good Morning America to chat with hubby George Stephanopoulos. Ali and George have two teenage daughters. In this episode we discuss Ali's family's experience with Covid how to parent teenagers during a pandemic how to create "space" in your relationship when you're stuck together 24/7 just how much ice cream is allowed during lockdown Follow Ali on Instagram @therealaliwentworth and find the "Go Ask Ali" podcast here: * Leave us a rating or review in your favorite podcast app! * Join us on Facebook: * Instagram: * YouTube: * Pinterest: * Twitter: * questions and feedback: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Parenting as a Team

Parenting as a Team


Parenting as a team is an ongoing challenge– even when your relationship with your co-parent is usually harmonious. But matching headspaces with your co-parent about a problem your family, or one of your children, is dealing with doesn't have to be the goal.  Parenting as a team can often mean taking turns, whether it's with the pancake-flipping, the hard talks with teenagers, or the 3 am worried Googling of ICD-10 diagnoses. In this episode we talk about what’s worked for us in moments of disagreement or struggle with our spouses, and how we found common ground. If getting through the pandemic means zooming in, just getting to the next lamppost, parenting as a team means zooming way out. If you know you're on the same page about the adults you want your children to become, it's a little easier to chill out about how they’ll get there.  In this episode, Amy and Margaret discuss their "Pre-Cana" experiences in the Catholic Church, and the usefulness of the Engaged Encounter program in particular. To find out more: Margaret also mentions the book WHAT CHILDREN LEARN FROM THEIR PARENTS' MARRIAGES, which you can find in our Bookshop store: * Leave us a rating or review in your favorite podcast app! * Join us on Facebook: * Instagram: * YouTube: * Pinterest: * Twitter: * questions and feedback: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
This week's question is from Rachel in our Facebook group: Help! My 2-year-old used to sleep from 7 pm – 7 am. It was glorious. We recently had to start quarantining again due to exposure at my job. Since then, she has started waking up earlier and earlier. We pushed her bedtime back to 7:30 but it hasn't made a difference. This morning she was up at 5:30! I was thinking about one of the clocks with the light in her room but would she understand that yet? Kids' sleep patterns can change for a number of reasons. Rachel's probably on to something with the quarantine being a factor– that might have led to less sunshine, or exercise, or a loss of other guideposts in the day that made sense to her little one. But Rachel's goal isn't really to get her daughter to sleep later; it's to get her to roll over and close her eyes after that first early-morning stirring. Amy suggests several techniques to make that option more inviting, including these paper blackout shades that are super-easy to install and make bedrooms nice and dark. Send us your parenting questions- we might answer yours next! Email us: * Leave us a rating or review in your favorite podcast app! * Join us on Facebook: * Instagram: * YouTube: * Pinterest: * Twitter: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In our latest “Fresh Take" episode we’re talking to Calysta Watson, creator of Epicurean Therapy. Calysta combines her love of cooking and her training as a LCSW and psychotherapist to create awareness of the connection between food and our mental and emotional health. As a mom raising a child with multiple anaphylactic food allergies, Calysta also talks about the challenge of enjoying creating meals and making great food memories with our kids, no matter the obstacles. In this episode we discuss what the obstacles are to us enjoying creating meals for our families how to avoid using food as a punishment or a reward how to create "food memories" our children will carry with them how to make food work for kids with specific food challenges (from rigid preferences to serious food allergies) Follow Calysta's Instagram at: on * Leave us a rating or review in your favorite podcast app! * Join us on Facebook: * Instagram: * YouTube: * Pinterest: * Twitter: * questions and feedback: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
There are quite a few things we’ve changed our minds about over our years as parents. From minivans to Minecraft, moms on phones to kindergarten dress codes, focus meds to front-yard holiday inflatables, in this episode we discuss them all.  As always, here's our main takeaway: it's worth it to step away from the rushing stream of Other People's Opinions in order to do what's right for your family. Special thanks to our listener Jana for suggesting this episode. Join the conversation in our Facebook group about this topic, or whatever you'd like to talk about– 3500 no-judgment parents are waiting for you! * Leave us a rating or review in your favorite podcast app! * Join us on Facebook: * Instagram: * YouTube: * Pinterest: * Twitter: * questions and feedback: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
This week Margaret answers this listener question: "All I hear is "me first!" I have two boys, 4 1/2 and 2 years old, both constantly insisting on being first and having meltdowns when they aren't. Doesn’t matter what it is–first to be handed their applesauce pouch, first to be unbuckled from the car seats, first to get out the door, down the stairs... help!" Competitiveness is developmentally appropriate behavior for these kids' ages– it's reasonable behavior to expect at this age. Even so, there are ways to work against it. It's a good idea not to respond to demands to "be first," to talk with your kids about why this behavior is frustrating (when it's not happening), and to keep working on the concept of taking turns. In this episode, Margaret cites Karen Levine's article "Why Kids Are Competitive" for Read it here: Send us your parenting questions– we might answer yours next! * Leave us a rating or review in your favorite podcast app! * Join us on Facebook: * Instagram: * YouTube: * Pinterest: * Twitter: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In our latest “Fresh Take" episode we’re talking to Dr. Sarah Davis, co-author of the new book Modern Manners for Moms and Dads: Practical Parenting Solutions for Sticky Social Situations and co-host of the podcast “Modern Manners for Moms and Dads with Evie and Sarah.”  Evie and Sarah’s book sounds like a treatise on teaching little ones to fold their napkins, but it’s much more than a list of dos and don’ts. This book is for anyone who’s a parent to a little one in the world outside their private home. In this episode we discuss why we’re sometimes different parents in public than we are in private why good parenting can sometimes look like bad manners the most common parenting faux-pas Evie and Sarah have seen how to balance our own needs, our child’s, and everyone else’s in social situations Manners matter! You can grab Evie and Sarah’s book here: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
When To Be 'That Mom'

When To Be 'That Mom'


We asked all of you to tell us about the times you had to be "that mom." You responded with tales of IEP meetings, and airplanes full of tiny sacks of peanuts, and kindergarten bullies– all the times you went full mama-bear because advocating for your kid (or someone else's kid) was more important, in the moment, than being liked. In this episode we discuss: whether there's such a thing as "that dad" (what do YOU think?) how to pick your battles how to come prepared for combat but ready to listen how to bring solutions, and not just problems An unexpectedly touching side topic: many of you wrote in with memories of your own mom standing up for you. That's important to remember when you're being "that mom" and the biggest eye-rolls are coming from your own kid. They'll look back on that moment a lot differently. This was such a terrific discussion on our Facebook group- join us and check out the full thread: Here are links to two of our other episodes that we mention in this one, and where being "that mom" is definitely part of the picture: Bullies (Episode 103): How Do We Handle This When Everyone Is Doing It Differently? (Episode 160): Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
This week's question is from Britnee: How long should we wait to get our kids a cellphone? I have a 13 year old boy who begs for a cellphone because ALL kids have one. He has a tablet and a computer so it's not like he can't contact his friends or me if need be. But I'm just not comfortable with him having access to the world– or the world having access to him–24/7. Phones are lifelines to peers for adolescents– and more than ever during this pandemic. Kids usually get phones when their increasing independence means they need a way to contact you while they're apart from you. But even if you're spending every moment together these days, if your child is remote-schooling, social media is an important means of connection. Britnee also mentions that her son has access to a tablet and computer, so his access to the internet (and all its wondrous horrors) already exists. The phone adds a constant-access factor, to be sure, but there are ways to put controls around that, and Amy discusses a few in this episode. One of our favorite tools is Bark, which proactively monitors text messages, YouTube, emails, and 30+ different social networks for potential safety concerns, Use our referral code to try Bark for a week for free: Still, getting your child a smartphone is an intensely personal family decision, and you have to take into consideration your own child's maturity level, mental health, peers, executive function and resilience. Send us your parenting questions- we might answer yours next: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Do you love crunchy leaves and chunky sweaters? Or do the shortening, darkening days fill you with nothing but pumpkin-spiced dread? Amy's hiding under her weighted blanket with her pandemic gloom. Margaret's doubling down on the backyard firepit and everything that's spooky. And our guest, Biz Ellis of One Bad Mother, is turning the entire outside of her home into a candy-covered Halloween wonderland. We talk about our various approaches to this year's Halloween and Thanksgiving plans- and how involving our kids in thinking creatively might just be what gets us through this very unusual fall. Get One Bad Mother's book- and all the books you hear about on our show- in our Bookshop store: Here are links to some of the things we discuss in this episode:  CDC's Halloween guidelines for 2020: "If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised." Amy's Instagram Live conversation with Sarah Powers of The Mom Hour Sears Wish Book  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
This week Margaret answers the question: I know Margaret has talked about giving in to Fortnite at her house. Well I have too. My question is how do I discuss internet safety with my son (7) who wants to play online with his friends when I have no clue what playing online entails. I have never been a gamer and neither has my husband and I feel like we are flying blind. I don’t want to hold him back from socializing with friends, especially now, but I don’t want him to get into a bad situation either. Thank you guys! In this situation (especially at 7 years old) it's important to dial in and be involved in how your kid is playing. Make sure the gaming setup is in an area you (the parents) frequent. You don't need to know how to game to overhear inappropriate comments and keep an overall eye on how your gamer is behaving. Set strict expectations around your rules for gaming and outline the consequences if they are not followed, and have conversations around violence and language that your gamer may encounter. If you have questions for Margaret or Amy send them to: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
We told you to ask us anything.  You kept it PG (thank you) and we’re giving you the answers: What shows are we binging?  What gets us dancing in our kitchens?  What do our kids think of this show?  Listen and find out... ver3d5zqf4UsaO0gU0rz Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
“Don’t you dare hug Grandma.” “Stop playing on the floor and get on screen.” “Yes, we can go to the playground, but you may not play with the other children.” We asked our listeners in our Facebook group to tell us all the things never thought we’d say– and now are. Not all of these things are bad. Amy has become a fan of dog walking, now that it's a guaranteed 15-minute respite from Zoom. Others, of course, are not so great. Life on the coronacoaster can be pretty surprising sometimes. (One correction: Amy makes a half-remembered Biblical reference to sparrows who neither toil nor spin. It's actually the lilies of the field.) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
This week's question is from Melissa, who says: Sweet mother of pearl, my five-year-old is in grade 1 and I’m already getting a LOAD of sass at homework time. Things I have tried and said to make it go more smoothly: 1. Telling him: “Everyone in your class is doing their homework right now too" 2. Sending him straight to bed after supper for yelling at me during homework... twice 3. Positivity and encouragement 4. Reasoning with him: “homework will be done as soon as you write out your words twice” 5. “Would you act like this with your teacher?” 6. Pure bribery- candy and/or tablet time. Help- I need some new ideas! Melissa doesn't say whether her son is attending school in person or remotely. Either way, the pandemic offers unique challenges that make the school day even more exhausting than usual, particularly for a first-grader who is only five. Amy offers some tips on making homework time less of a burden for kids and parents, including some great ideas offered by our listeners. There's also room for a whole lot of compassion here, especially right now. A five-year-old might just be too exhausted or overwhelmed to meet these expectations. Especially right now, our children's emotional health is more important than one more math worksheet. Amy also references our episode on homework, which you can find here: Send us your parenting questions- we might answer yours next! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In our latest “Fresh Take” episode, we're talking to Dr. Jill Stoddard, author of BE MIGHTY: A Woman's Guide to Liberation from Anxiety, Worry & Stress Using Mindfulness and Acceptance. Jill's mission is to share cutting edge, evidence-based tools based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to help people find meaning and vitality in their lives even as they struggle with anxiety. We talk about why anxiety is a particular concern for women, especially right now– and how we an change our relationship to our anxiety and stress by becoming more flexible around it, rather than trying to shut it down. If you'd like to find out more about Jill's book and the tools of ACT, you can sign up for a 4-week Virtual Book Club about Be Mighty, including Live Q&A sessions with Jill, here: Jill Stoddard is a clinical psychologist and director of The Center for Stress and Anxiety Management. She is the author of two books: Be Mighty: A Woman’s Guide to Liberation from Anxiety, Worry, and Stress Using Mindfulness and Acceptance and The Big Book of ACT Metaphors: A Practitioner’s Guide to Experiential Exercises and Metaphors in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Dr. Stoddard is an award-winning teacher, peer-reviewed ACT trainer, and co-host of the Psychologists Off the Clock podcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Saying no is a lot harder for women. We’re conditioned to be compliant; studies show that by middle school, girls shy away from expressing authentic preferences in order to fit in. And when we do say no, the world holds that against us more than it would a man. Perhaps that explains how we might find ourselves running the grade school bake sale *again,* and being resentful, when we could just have said no in the first place. In this episode we discuss the difference between a hard no and a soft no where to practice your no how to decide once what's a no why you should say you “don’t” want to do something, instead of that you “can’t” In order to let go of our people-pleasing tendencies, the best place to start might be by looking within. Are we really the only one who can keep her finger in the dam in this particular situation? If not, saying 'no' might be worth the discomfort; it makes more room in our lives for the things we want to be there. Here are links to the studies and other writing on this topic that we discuss in this episode: Jackie Ashton for Washington Post On Parenting: The art of saying no: How to raise kids to be polite, not pushovers Jessica Bennett for NYT: Welcome to the 'No' Club Brené Brown for 3 Ways To Set Boundaries Meghan Keane for NPR's Life Kit: How To Say No, For The People Pleaser Who Always Says Yes Sarah Mendekick for LA Times Op-Ed: Men can’t hear it, women don’t say it — the everyday importance of ‘no’ Katharine Ridgway O'Brien: "Just Saying "No": An Examination of Gender Differences in the Ability to Decline Requests in the Workplace." Samantha Radocchia for LEARNING THE ART OF SAYING ‘NO’ Kristin Wong for NYT: Why You Should Learn to Say ‘No’ More Often ...and finally, the legendary E.B. White, who never had any problem saying no, reading Charlotte's Web Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
This week Margaret tackles the question: "I’ve been really wanting my own space lately. I have two preschoolers and I’m nursing a baby. Basically, I’m touched out. I feel terribly bad because yesterday when I got everyone down for a nap, my husband (who is working from home) asked if he could snuggle with me. I said sure, but then asked him to leave so that I could rest. He caught me red-handed scrolling on my phone a couple of minutes later, and I had to admit I just didn’t want to snuggle. I really hurt his feelings. What can I say? Feeling really guilty… but I just want my own space! Is there a nice way to handle it when you don’t want to be touched?" The problem here isn't the snuggles - it's the communication! It's 100% reasonable to feel all touched out but also understandable for your spouse to feel hurt when he is cuddle-rejected. Having a conversation around both of your expectations while working from your maximum point of generosity will solve this problem in no time. The article Margaret references in this article can be found HERE. Send us your questions- we might answer yours next! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In our latest “Fresh Take” episode, we've got an interview with Jessica Lahey, author of the bestseller THE GIFT OF FAILURE: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed. The Gift of Failure came out in 2016, when giving our kids healthy doses of autonomy and outdoor exploration felt a little more possible. But even during pandemic life, there are opportunities for us to be less protective as parents and to let our kids learn by failing. Jess tells us how to apply the book’s ideas to pandemic life, at-home learning, and living together 24/7. Jess also tells us a little about her next book, The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence, coming in April 2021. We can't wait! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
After a listener on our Facebook page declared “This is a sexist pandemic!” we got to thinking: what are the quantifiable ways in which life has gotten even harder for moms in 2020 than it has for our spouses? We all know it HAS, but why? And how? A study from Syracuse University found that four out of five adults who have stopped their usual work schedule due to the pandemic are women.  Another study followed the possibility that, as the "invisible workload" became more visible to male spouses and children, it would spur more equal participation in household duties. That study's answer? No. They see it, they just don't care. The increased demands of this time have indeed fallen on women more. If it's taken a million small interactions to get to the place where everybody just assumes that if there's 40% more work to do, Mom is going to do it all, it's going to take small interactions to reset that expectation as well. In this episode, we talk about how to get started. Here are links to the research and other writing on the topic discussed in this episode: Elamin Abdelmahmoud for Buzzfeed: How The Pandemic Has Exacerbated The Gender Divide In Household Labor Claire Cain Miller for NYT: Nearly Half of Men Say They Do Most of the Home Schooling. 3 Percent of Women Agree. Jessica Grose for NYT: They Go To Mommy First Danielle Rhubart for Syracuse University: Gender Disparities in Caretaking during the COVID-19 Pandemic Thébaud, S., Kornrich, S., & Ruppanner, L. (2019). Great housekeeping, great expectations: Gender and housework norms Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Comments (6)

Jordyn Thayer

My absolute favorite podcast! love you guys ✌

Aug 19th

Bella Ring


Jan 21st

Caitlin Brown

You guys are an ear treat as I clean my house. Keep them coming. 😊

Dec 19th

Bree Baledge

You totally did trigger my Google lol. I am a young mom of two boys and I have to tell you both that you guys are a God send. Your advice has helped so much!

Oct 17th

Bree Baledge

Idaho is my home and yes please keep the secret!

Sep 13th

Jessica Miller

I love using ziploc bags for packing. such as separating my sons socks and underwear from my daughter's.

Jun 20th
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