What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood podcast

What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood

Margaret Ables and Amy Wilson

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. Amy and Margaret are each moms of three, dealing with the same hassles as any parent– but with completely different parenting styles. Margaret is laid-back to the max; Amy never met a spreadsheet she didn't like. We offer three episodes each week: "Question of the Week" mini-episodes on Mondays regular weekly episodes on Wednesdays "Fresh Take" interview with experts and authors on Fridays Join us as we laugh in the face of motherhood! Winner of Mom 2.0 Iris Awards for "Best Podcast" and "Most Entertaining Content," the Podcast Awards People’s Choice for "Best Family and Parenting Podcast," and finalist for the Romper's Parent's Choice Award. whatfreshhellpodcast.com

416 épisodes

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

    Ask Amy: What's It Like To Have a Kid Away At College?

    6:29

    If you've got a high schooler who's starting the college process– and the part you're most dreading as a parent is drop-off day– you will probably identify with this Question of the Week: Hey ladies! A longtime listener here. How about an episode about Amy’s experience with her oldest off at college? I’m a mom who’s sending her first one away to school next year and my heart is already slowly breaking. Help! Good news: like a milestone birthday, the enormity of a kid leaving for college is way larger on the road ahead of you than it is in your rear-view mirror. It does cause great changes in your relationship with your child when they're not with you at the dinner table every night. The entire system really does transform when one family member is removed. But not all of the changes your family dynamic will undergo are bad. And if your teenager is giving you one-word answers while she's still at home, you may be surprised at how much she has to tell you once she's having these new experiences. In fact, these very show notes were interrupted for a lazy Sunday FaceTime with just such a first-year college student. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  • What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood podcast

    Fresh Take: Meghan Leahy on How To Really Connect With Our Kids

    37:41

    Meghan Leahy is the "On Parenting" columnist for The Washington Post and a certified parenting coach. She's also the author of PARENTING OUTSIDE THE LINES: FORGET THE RULES, TAP INTO YOUR WISDOM, AND CONNECT WITH YOUR CHILD. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, three school-age daughters, and her dog.  In her work as a parenting coach, Meghan finds that we parents are often "unreliable narrators" of our own stories. For example, we might ask for help by saying "The problem is my daughter never listens to me!" when the actual issue we need to face might be more about connection and less about teenage insolence. In this episode, we discuss how to make connection with our kids our foremost goal as parents, and how attachment with our kids might occur in ways far beyond the well-meaning "So how was your day?" As Meghan explains, even boundaries are forms of connection. On the other hand, a few lowered standards right now (like some extra lunch plates in kids' rooms after Zoom school) can really make family life better for all of us, even moms. You can find out more about Meghan Leahy's one-on-one parent coaching, online classes, and writing on her website: mlparentcoach.com. In this episode we discuss the CPS Method for family problem-solving, which we discuss in more detail in this interview with Dr. Stacy Haynes. Special thanks to our sponsors for this month:  Athletic Greens supports your sleep quality, energy, immune system and more with just one scoop per day. Get a free one-year supply of Vitamin D and 5 free travel packs with your first purchase at athleticgreens.com/laughing. Beam makes products for sleep, calm, focus, and recovery. Get $20 off any purchase over $75 at beamorganics.com/FRESH, or just type in the code "FRESH" at checkout. Betabrand has reinvented comfort and style with their Dress Yoga Pants, and we love ours! Get 30% off your first order when you go to Betabrand.com/LAUGHING. Betterhelp Start taking charge of your mental health– no matter where you live! Go to betterhelp.com/fresh to get 10% off your first month of counseling. Flowkey lets you learn piano at your own pace. Go to flowkey.com/whatfreshhell to receive 7 days of Flowkey Premium for free and 20% off the first year of an annual subscription.  Indeed is the only job site where you're guaranteed to find applicants that meet your requirements-- or you don't pay! Upgrade your job post with a $75 sponsored job credit through 3/31/22 at indeed.com/laughing. KiwiCo projects make science, technology, engineering, art, and math super fun. Get 50% off your first month at kiwico.com with the code MOTHERHOOD. Membrasin is the totally natural, estrogen-free, clinically-proven feminine moisture formula. Go to membrasinlife.com to find out more and use the code FRESH10 to get 10% off. Once Upon a Farm fruit and vegetable blends are made with whole, organic, farm-fresh ingredients . Go to onceuponafarmorganics.com and use the code FRESH25 for 25% off your first order. Prose now makes supplements personally tailored to address your specific cause of hair shedding. Get 15% off your custom hair supplements at prose.com/laughing.  School Toolbox makes shopping for school supplies for your kids easier– and also creates fundraising opportunities for your school! Find out more at schooltoolbox.com/whatfreshhell. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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    Pandemic Decision Fatigue

    44:56

    We didn't think we'd get stuck here again, but here we are, in Pandemic: Omicron Edition. We're finding this round particularly exhausting because any semblance of consistency in guidance, advice, or predictions is long gone. And yet we're still the decision makers for our families, the ones everyone looks to for the answers, the plans, the "what's for dinner," the "can Eliza come over?" In other words, we're struggling with pandemic decision fatigue. In a recent study by the American Psychological Association, 47% of parents reported being so stressed about the pandemic that they struggle to make basic decisions like what to wear and what to eat. In this episode, we have an honest discussion of how "analysis paralysis" has been playing out in our lives lately, and why "the decision that makes you feel calmest" might be the best touchstone for these times (hat tip to psychotherapist Josh Jonas). Here are links to some writing on the topic that we discuss in this episode: American Psychological Association: Stress and decision-making during the pandemic Alexandra Frost for Washington Post: Why you just can’t choose: Parenting through pandemic decision fatigue Ronda Kaysen for NYT: Another Covid Winter, but Our Quarantine Comforts No Longer Work Jenny Lemmons Magic on Facebook: "Decision fatigue" will be how I remember this season of my life. and here's the "You're soaking in it!" Palmolive ad- with MADGE! (Amy said it was Marge, whoops) Special thanks to our sponsors for this month:  Athletic Greens supports your sleep quality, energy, immune system and more with just one scoop per day. Get a free one-year supply of Vitamin D and 5 free travel packs with your first purchase at athleticgreens.com/laughing. Beam makes products for sleep, calm, focus, and recovery. Get $20 off any purchase over $75 at beamorganics.com/FRESH, or just type in the code "FRESH" at checkout. Betabrand has reinvented comfort and style with their Dress Yoga Pants, and we love ours! Get 30% off your first order when you go to Betabrand.com/LAUGHING. Betterhelp Start taking charge of your mental health– no matter where you live! Go to betterhelp.com/fresh to get 10% off your first month of counseling. Flowkey lets you learn piano at your own pace. Go to flowkey.com/whatfreshhell to receive 7 days of Flowkey Premium for free and 20% off the first year of an annual subscription.  Indeed is the only job site where you're guaranteed to find applicants that meet your requirements-- or you don't pay! Upgrade your job post with a $75 sponsored job credit through 3/31/22 at indeed.com/laughing. KiwiCo projects make science, technology, engineering, art, and math super fun. Get 50% off your first month at kiwico.com with the code MOTHERHOOD. Membrasin is the totally natural, estrogen-free, clinically-proven feminine moisture formula. Go to membrasinlife.com to find out more and use the code FRESH10 to get 10% off. Once Upon a Farm fruit and vegetable blends are made with whole, organic, farm-fresh ingredients . Go to onceuponafarmorganics.com and use the code FRESH25 for 25% off your first order. Prose now makes supplements personally tailored to address your specific cause of hair shedding. Get 15% off your custom hair supplements at prose.com/laughing.  School Toolbox makes shopping for school supplies for your kids easier– and also creates fundraising opportunities for your school! Find out more at schooltoolbox.com/whatfreshhell. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  • What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood podcast

    Ask Margaret - My Boys are Bathroom Destroyers!

    5:12

    Got young boys? If so you can probably relate to today's question of the week: "So I have 3 boys, an 8-year-old and 6-year-old twins. They seem to destroy bathrooms and I cannot handle! They almost never flush, spray pee on floor and baseboards, squirt toothpaste on the counter, and almost never own up to who did it. I smell urine every time I walk in the upstairs hallway -- it's awful. Any bathroom tips or tips for figuring out what kid did which mess so they can clean it?!! " The first response to this question is - it doesn't matter who made the mess. Shared spaces in the household are the responsibility of the people who share that space. This means that you can stop spending any time wondering about who is responsible for which part of the mess. Set a time when cleaning the bathroom happens and everyone involved in making the mess helps to clean it up. You may be skipping the step of making sure that the kids know how to behave in the bathroom. Lean in on lessons on how to pee correctly, how to squeeze the correct amount on toothpaste, and all the steps of brushing teeth, including rinsing the toothbrush and putting it back in the cup, then wiping down the counter. These lessons should continue until the behavior improves even if you are greeted with a rousing chorus of "WE KNOW!" every time you explain it. Making bathroom cleanup a weekly chore (every Saturday morning, for example) will do two things: it will keep the bathroom mess from getting truly out of control, and it will encourage the kids involved to maintain better bathroom habits so that the mess they have to confront every week is not quite so gross. This is also something that gets better (generally) as kids age. We promise that their aim gets better, their ability to use toothpaste improves, and maybe most importantly, they'll be able to do the clean up with much less supervision. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  • What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood podcast

    Fresh Take: Melinda Wenner Moyer on Raising Kids Who Aren't Jerks

    41:43

    Melinda Wenner Moyer is an award-winning contributing editor at Scientific American, a regular contributor to The New York Times, and a former parenting columnist for Slate.  Melinda is also the mom of two, and the author of How to Raise Kids Who Aren't A**holes: Science-Based Strategies for Better Parenting--From Tots to Teens, This book offers our favorite combination: humor, support, and lots of research! We discuss what the research tells us about how to raise kids who are kind, considerate, and ethical inside and outside the home. Do not miss Melinda's newsletter, Is My Kid The A**hole? , especially this recent post on "The Agony of Being a Parent Right Now": https://melindawmoyer.substack.com/p/the-agony-of-being-a-parent-right Special thanks to our sponsors for this month:  Athletic Greens supports your sleep quality, energy, immune system and more with just one scoop per day. Get a free one-year supply of Vitamin D and 5 free travel packs with your first purchase at athleticgreens.com/laughing. Beam makes products for sleep, calm, focus, and recovery. Get $20 off any purchase over $75 at beamorganics.com/FRESH, or just type in the code "FRESH" at checkout. Betabrand has reinvented comfort and style with their Dress Yoga Pants, and we love ours! Get 30% off your first order when you go to Betabrand.com/LAUGHING. Betterhelp Start taking charge of your mental health– no matter where you live! Go to betterhelp.com/fresh to get 10% off your first month of counseling. Flowkey lets you learn piano at your own pace. Go to flowkey.com/whatfreshhell to receive 7 days of Flowkey Premium for free and 20% off the first year of an annual subscription.  Indeed is the only job site where you're guaranteed to find applicants that meet your requirements-- or you don't pay! Upgrade your job post with a $75 sponsored job credit through 3/31/22 at indeed.com/laughing. KiwiCo projects make science, technology, engineering, art, and math super fun. Get 50% off your first month at kiwico.com with the code MOTHERHOOD. Membrasin is the totally natural, estrogen-free, clinically-proven feminine moisture formula. Go to membrasinlife.com to find out more and use the code FRESH10 to get 10% off. Once Upon a Farm fruit and vegetable blends are made with whole, organic, farm-fresh ingredients . Go to onceuponafarmorganics.com and use the code FRESH25 for 25% off your first order. Prose now makes supplements personally tailored to address your specific cause of hair shedding. Get 15% off your custom hair supplements at prose.com/laughing.  School Toolbox makes shopping for school supplies for your kids easier– and also creates fundraising opportunities for your school! Find out more at schooltoolbox.com/whatfreshhell. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  • What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood podcast

    Well, That Backfired! (Part Two)

    47:59

    Glitter! Slime! Escape rooms! Nutcrackers over Zoom! Here's Part Two of Things That Backfired for us and for our listeners... Special thanks to our sponsors for this month:  Athletic Greens supports your sleep quality, energy, immune system and more with just one scoop per day. Get a free one-year supply of Vitamin D and 5 free travel packs with your first purchase at athleticgreens.com/laughing. Beam makes products for sleep, calm, focus, and recovery. Get $20 off any purchase over $75 at beamorganics.com/FRESH, or just type in the code "FRESH" at checkout. Betabrand has reinvented comfort and style with their Dress Yoga Pants, and we love ours! Get 30% off your first order when you go to Betabrand.com/LAUGHING. Betterhelp Start taking charge of your mental health– no matter where you live! Go to betterhelp.com/fresh to get 10% off your first month of counseling. Flowkey lets you learn piano at your own pace. Go to flowkey.com/whatfreshhell to receive 7 days of Flowkey Premium for free and 20% off the first year of an annual subscription.  KiwiCo projects make science, technology, engineering, art, and math super fun. Get 50% off your first month at kiwico.com with the code MOTHERHOOD. Membrasin is the totally natural, estrogen-free, clinically-proven feminine moisture formula. Go to membrasinlife.com to find out more and use the code FRESH10 to get 10% off. Once Upon a Farm fruit and vegetable blends are made with whole, organic, farm-fresh ingredients . Go to onceuponafarmorganics.com and use the code FRESH25 for 25% off your first order. Prose now makes supplements personally tailored to address your specific cause of hair shedding. Get 15% off your custom hair supplements at prose.com/laughing.  School Toolbox makes shopping for school supplies for your kids easier– and also creates fundraising opportunities for your school! Find out more at schooltoolbox.com/whatfreshhell. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  • What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood podcast

    Ask Amy: My Toddler Thinks It's Funny to Hit Me

    3:42

    Have a toddler who thinks it's funny to hit Mom or Dad? A listener wrote in to ask: Any suggestions for dealing with hitting? My almost two-year-old hits us (mom, dad, older sister) when frustrated. It seems to start out of frustration and then continue out of curiosity. He seems to get that we do not like it when he hits, but he keeps doing it. We say “no” firmly and attempt to remove him from the situation, or remove ourselves. But getting smacked in the face is getting old fast. Children this little have not yet developed "theory of mind"– the capacity to understand other people's mental states, and that those mental states can differ from one's own. Since smacking Mommy's face arouses curiosity in your child, it can be hard for him to grasp, at his developmental level, that you might feel differently. Rather than giving the hitting too much attention– which includes the negative attention of a loud "No!"– Amy suggests Dr. Harvey Karp's "gossiping" technique, which will enable your toddler to learn why hitting is not okay without being distracted by your anger or his shame. It's a stage, but it's an unpleasant one! We hope that "gossiping" will really help. Here's an article to tell you more about the technique: Dr. Harvey Karp: How to Encourage Good Toddler Behavior With “Gossiping” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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    BEST OF: Katherine May on "Wintering"

    49:10

    We're bringing you one of our favorite interviews this week: Katherine May, author of the tremendous book WINTERING: THE POWER OF REST AND RETREAT IN DIFFICULT TIMES. Written before the pandemic but perfectly relevant to these times, WINTERING explores how the natural world prepares for and survives winter– and how we can apply the lessons of actual winters to the metaphorical winters in our lives where, as Katherine puts it, "we feel like the world has pushed us out. We feel isolated, depressed, locked out in the cold, and that the rest of life is drifting away from us." We all go through personal winters. Sometimes they're for terrible reasons (an unexpected death); sometimes they're for happy ones (a newborn who needs to be fed every two hours). Sometimes they're brief and not too unbearable; sometimes no end is in sight. Winter is cyclical, it's part of life, and it can be understood as a time of rest and of waiting, rather than of stillness and death. There is much that winter can teach us, and we loved both this conversation with Katherine and her profound book. You can find WINTERING: THE POWER OF REST AND RETREAT IN DIFFICULT TIMES in our Bookshop store: https://bookshop.org/a/12099/9780593189481 Special thanks to our sponsors for this month: Athletic Greens powder supports your sleep quality, energy, and immune system. Get a free 1-year supply of Vitamin D and 5 free travel packs with your first purchase at athleticgreens.com/laughing. Aura Frames make it easy to share photos with your loved ones from anywhere in the world using the Aura app. Visit auraframes.com and use the code FRESHHELL to get $30 off. Givewell researches and recommends charities that do an incredible amount of good. Get donations up to $250 matched at givewell.org by picking PODCAST, and entering What Fresh Hell at checkout. Helix customized mattresses will give you the best sleep of your life! Get up to $200 off all mattress orders, plus two free pillows, at helixsleep.com/laughing. KiwiCo projects make science, technology, engineering, art, and math super fun. Get 50% off your first month at kiwico.com with the code MOTHERHOOD. Once Upon a Farm fruit and vegetable blends are made with whole, organic, farm-fresh ingredients . Go to onceuponafarmorganics.com and use the code FRESH25 for 25% off your first order. Prose now makes supplements personally tailored to address your specific cause of hair shedding . Get your free in-depth consultation and 15% off your custom hair supplements at prose.com/laughing.  Quip electric toothbrushes have timed sonic vibrations with 30-second pulses to guide a dentist-recommended two-minute clean. Go to getquip.com/LAUGHING to get your first refill FREE.  School Toolbox makes shopping for school supplies for your kids easier– and also creates fundraising opportunities for your school! Find out more at schooltoolbox.com/whatfreshhell. StoryWorth helps your loved ones share stories through thought-provoking questions about their memories and personal thoughts. Get started with $10 off at storyworth.com/whatfreshhell.  WINNØW is the first clean face cream to pair CBD with ingredients like shea butter and hyaluronic and amino acids. Go to www.winnowcbd.com and use the code FRESH15 to save 15% on your first order.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  • What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood podcast

    2021: The Year in Review

    43:52

    2021: the year that was better than 2020, but also not really. More than ever, we are so thankful to all of you who listen to this podcast, laugh along with us, and create the best community on Facebook at facebook.com/groups/whatfreshhellcast. Here's a playlist of all the episodes we mention as among our favorites for 2021. Text it to a friend who would love What Fresh Hell! https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0E04ow5m6T1jBi5cueSrn3?si=4qCtWndFQpKQ4mnIBiSY8w” Thanks for being part of a great 2021 for What Fresh Hell! Special thanks to our sponsors for this month: Athletic Greens powder supports your sleep quality, energy, and immune system. Get a free 1-year supply of Vitamin D and 5 free travel packs with your first purchase at athleticgreens.com/laughing. Givewell researches and recommends charities that do an incredible amount of good. Get donations up to $250 matched at givewell.org by picking PODCAST, and entering What Fresh Hell at checkout. Helix customized mattresses will give you the best sleep of your life! Get up to $200 off all mattress orders, plus two free pillows, at helixsleep.com/laughing. KiwiCo projects make science, technology, engineering, art, and math super fun. Get 50% off your first month at kiwico.com with the code MOTHERHOOD. Once Upon a Farm fruit and vegetable blends are made with whole, organic, farm-fresh ingredients . Go to onceuponafarmorganics.com and use the code FRESH25 for 25% off your first order. Prose now makes supplements personally tailored to address your specific cause of hair shedding . Get your free in-depth consultation and 15% off your custom hair supplements at prose.com/laughing.  Quip electric toothbrushes have timed sonic vibrations with 30-second pulses to guide a dentist-recommended two-minute clean. Go to getquip.com/LAUGHING to get your first refill FREE.  School Toolbox makes shopping for school supplies for your kids easier– and also creates fundraising opportunities for your school! Find out more at schooltoolbox.com/whatfreshhell. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  • What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood podcast

    Ask Margaret - How Do I Handle Kid Crushes?

    5:50

    If you've ever reorganized your kid's backpack and found a note saying "Do you like me? Check YES or NO," then you will probably relate to this week's question: My 3rd grader has a secret crush and wrote about it, which I found in her book bag. I think it’s adorable. I want to embarrass her so badly. Any tips on kinder ways to address or ignore our kids’ cute little crushes? I mean, this milestone in social-emotional development? It can be kind of shocking for parents to discover their kids have crushes, because it is often one of the first times they are having an emotional experience that they are not sharing fully with us. This can lead to a temptation either to tease our kids or to put on our detective hats. But it's better to stay calm and resist the urge to dive in full force. While we may find our kid's crushes adorable and silly, our kids are experiencing them as serious and important. Resist the urge to embarrass kids or tease them about their crushes. It's okay to bring up any information you might have about the crush existing, but from there, let your kids take the lead. Remember that kids have extremely short attention spans. The kid they are having a marriage ceremony with on the playground on Tuesday may be the kid they never want to talk about again by Friday. Conversations about how we treat each other (in romantic relationships and in friendships) should be happening all the time at home. Talking about crushes is a good time to discuss how to maintain our other friendships even if there is one person we are particularly interested in– and how sometimes we like people who don't like us back, and why that's hard. It's a great time to talk about your own experiences in relationships and what has worked for you. Kid crushes come and go, so hold them lightly and remember not to overinvest. Margaret cites this article by Rachel Aydt for Parents on today's episode: https://www.parents.com/kids/development/friends/how-to-handle-your-childs-first-crush/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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