Why (& How) You Should Listen To Podcasts As A Mom + My Favorite Shows

As most of you know, back in January my sister-in-law and I launched a podcast, Risen Motherhood. Now while I could talk all day about it, where we've been and what our plans are for it (sometimes dangerously, thrillingly BIG), today I want to talk to you all about podcasts in general - and why you should listen to them.

It's funny, because as soon as we launched, I started hearing from people about how they had never listened to one before, or maybe they didn't know how to access them - and others even told us they didn't have time to listen to podcasts. That last one sorta makes me shake my head every time I hear it - a podcast isn't like reading a book. You don't need your hands for it, you don't have to sit still for it, heck you don't even have to give it your full attention! You have time, everyone has time!

So here's the simple shake down on how and why podcasts are perfect for you as a mom. 

What exactly is a podcast?
A podcast is a catch-all term for downloadable audio content. Basically, it's like a radio program without all the fluff, commercials, etc. You can tune in anytime that works for you. Most podcasters release their episodes on a regular basis, e.g. every Wednesday morning, twice a month on Sunday nights. 

There's a podcast out there for virtually every topic you can think of. I'm sure most of you have heard of, and probably listened to, Serial - which is the show that essentially put podcasts on the map - taking a medium that was fairly niche and turning it into a household term. Cooking, comedy, sports, fashion, parenting, you name it, you can find it. Even church sermons are now typically repackaged from the pulpit each week into a podcast. 

How do I listen to a podcast?
You can listen to a podcast through your computer or phone - basically anything that will play audio. While you can listen to podcasts directly through a show's specific website or searching on iTunes, the best and simplest way to do it is by downloading an app. You can then subscribe to the show and get updates when new episodes are available - and it's a really easy way to find new ones to listen to as well. Some popular apps are Podcasts, Stitcher and PocketCasts. But lately I've been using Overcast and I have to tell you - that is hands-down the best app I've ever used. Its interface is super clean, you can boost the sound, which is awesome for when you're washing dishes or trying to drown out the kid's playing in the next room, and even speed up the voice eliminating any long pauses or slow talkers during the show. I can literally listen to a podcast in half the time by using Overcast - which means I ca consume content twice as fast.
When do I listen to podcasts?
ALL THE TIME. Okay, well not all the time, but you can fit them into your life much easier than you think - especially as a mom. I typically tune into podcasts after dinner, when my husband is playing with the kids and/or putting them to bed. It's great for the kids to have one-on-one time with him and I like getting to decompress by listening to a show while cleaning up the kitchen with no "tiny needs" to meet. I also listen to them in the car when I'm alone, or on a longer trip when the kids are distracted in the backseat. Podcasts also make working out way less painful, I sometimes even like them more than music because my brain has to work more while listening, which means more distraction from the pain in my lungs. I also tune into podcasts in the morning, when just babygirl is up. Often she's up obscenely early, so podcasts are perfect for running in the background while we play with toys.

Why should I listen to a podcast?
What I love about podcasts is how much you can learn from them. Even if you don't give them 100 percent of your attention, it's amazing how many nuggets you'll pick up from a show. Especially as a mom, I find podcasts are a great way to feel less alone in my journey, and gain skills and knowledge on how to "do" motherhood. Everything from practical tips on breastfeeding to deeper topics like casting an eternal vision for your children can be found on podcasts. They're like going to mini-conferences - I often end listening to a show feeling refreshed, inspired and energized in my role as a mother. I've also found it a great way to stay educated on current events, and there are tons of interesting topics covered that just help pass some of those more mundane moments as a mother.

What podcasts should I listen to?
Here's a list of my current favorites:

Make You Think:
  • Serial - A unique style for a podcast, Serial tells one true story over the course of an entire season. It's like tuning into a T.V. show - and it's just as interesting. You'll be dying to hear the next show right after you finish the last.
  • TED Radio Hour - Storytelling based around past TED Talks - tons of fascinating ideas / inventions / connections.
  • This American Life - Themed episodes on every topic you can imagine. It's hard to describe, but just know you'll want to talk about what you heard with everyone you meet.
  • Freakonomics Radio - Everyday things that make you think.
  • A Couple Cooks - Kitchen and healthy eating tips and storytelling from the world's cutest couple.  
  • The Lively Show - Focus on female entrepreneurs and living with intention. (Lots of your favorite big bloggers have probably been on this show!)
  • The Simple Show - Tips and storytelling on living simply and holistically.


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