I’m a runner. I used to proudly spend my miles headphones-free, thoroughly enjoying the sound of my feet hitting the pavement and the feeling of my brain emptying with each tap.
Then I had a baby. Who turned into a two-year old. And now literally the second I get my running shoes tied, a gazillion little nagging, logistical thoughts flood my working-mom brain.
Music couldn’t stop them, so I started listening to podcasts. Oh, magical podcasts. They suck me in enough that I don’t find myself making a panicked mental grocery list, but not so much that I forget to enjoy what I’m doing. (But if you want to forget what you’re doing – cough, cough, cleaning, lawn mowing, laundry folding, commuting – they’re excellent for that, too.)
If you’re overwhelmed, aimlessly scrolling your podcast app, here are a few favorites from my world:
If you like a good mystery:
Serial: The gateway drug to all other podcasts, Serial looks at a true story in-depth – like, really in-depth, stuff you’d never hear in a regular media story – across a season’s worth of episodes. I basically finished every episode irrationally emotionally invested in the lives of complete strangers. In a good way.
S-Town: Serial-esque (it’s created by the same staff), S-Town is a crazy-engaging true story with so many twists and turns I’ve been known to tack an extra mile onto the end of my run just to finish an episode. It starts out about an alleged murder in Alabama, but the reporter quickly discovers it’s about a lot more than that. #nospoilers
If you’re a sucker for a story:
Terrible, Thanks for Asking: From local celeb and everyone’s favorite mom-crush Nora McInerny, this podcast is about being a human in a world where crappy stuff happens. It’s not really about happily ever after; it’s about acknowledging the sub-par parts of life for what they are: parts of life. And that there are good ones, too. [Kleenex alert.]
Death, Sex & Money: A podcast about the stuff people don’t really talk about – obviously it’s going to be good.
This American Life: Real people tell real stories, from the everyday to the way out there. If you want a riveting tale of two babies switched at birth in the 1950s or a tell-all from babysitters about what happens when mom and dad pull out of the driveway or anything and everything in between, this one’s for you.
If you want to feel smart:
How Stuff Works/Stuff You Should Know: I recently learned how champagne works, so I’m basically sold. Each episode answers those weird questions you were too embarrassed to ask (or didn’t even realize you should). You’ll be set for life on small talk.
TED Radio Hour: Based on TED Talks, these will make your brain explode. Sometimes they’re so inspiring they make me run faster. Or at least feel like I should.
If you can’t escape that mom thang:
The Longest Shortest Time: The quintessential mom-cast, so good we’ve mentioned it before. It’s not a parenting-advice show – it’s a show about the shared and not-so-shared experiences of raising humans in this strange and beautiful world. (They also drop new episodes at 3 a.m., so they get it.)
Pregtastic: If you’ve got a babe on board, download this. This podcast isn’t on the air any more, but there’s such good stuff in the archives about growing a kid – from birth stories to decorating a nursery to postpartum pelvic floor damage — from diverse voices.
Happy listening! What are you favorite podcasts?