Podcasts are a wonderful resource for mamas lacking the time to sit and read. Here are some of our favourite ones
Words Morag Turner
Feature Illustration Phil Couzens
It can be all too easy to lose touch with the world when you are raising little people. It’s hard to find the time to pick up a newspaper when your toddler needs constant supervision or stay up to watch Newsnight if you’re functioning on five hours’ sleep.
One great way to get your current affairs fix is with a podcast. Even if you can’t manage a slot in your day to sit down and focus on a screen or a book, audio is perfect for mums who need to keep their hands free and their eyes on other tiny humans.
Apple recently announced that podcast subscriptions on iTunes had hit the one billion mark for the first time. It might be that you want to listen to the latest news, laugh along with other mums regaling their parenting adventures or broaden your horizons with something totally different – there is a podcast out there to suit everyone’s taste. So whether you have five minutes to put your feet up or want to tune in while multitasking in the kitchen, here’s our pick of some of the best podcasts that we think mums will enjoy listening to.
The High Low
Because it’s totally acceptable to care about International Woman’s Day and what Kim Kardashian is up to. Journalists Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton discuss a range of topics from the serious to the silly.
Inspired by Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown, who coined the term ‘high low journalism’ in the 80s to denote an amalgamation of water-cooler gossip and hard-hitting cultural happenings, their podcast is based on ‘the belief that a life well-lived is one that enjoys both the trivial and the political, from errant chin hair to Trumpian politics’. As Dolly, author of Everything I Know About Love, says, “we will be covering stories far and wide, from brows high and low. There shouldn’t be any shame in enjoying all that life has to offer – even if for one minute, of one day, that might include studying what socks Kylie Jenner is wearing because you think your pal has the same pair.” We couldn’t agree more.
A searingly honest and often politically incorrect look a raising small children, this hilarious twice weekly chat show from two London mums, Ellen Gibson and Helen Thorn, has been a huge hit. Following on from the success of their stand up comedy show, this podcast will have you laughing along as they share the ups and downs of life with kids that all parents can relate to. Guests on the show have included Thomasina Myers and comedian Dara O’Brian.
Since 1973 this cult radio show has looked at every imaginable topic from a female perspective and has been listened to by millions daily. Now their podcasts, presented by the likes of Jenny Murray and Lauren Lavern, can be downloaded to listen in whenever suits you. Always topical and thought provoking, their discussions include the safest place to raise children (town vs country), menopause and aging and the work life balance. Tune in and you’ll never be stuck for dinner party conversation again.
The Lifestyle Newshound
The brainchild of TV presenter Emma Forbes and her fashion stylist friend Gemma Shepherd, the Lifestyle Newshound is a mix of celebrity interviews – Jamie Oliver was a recent guest – and conversations about all things lifestyle, from travel to fashion, that are relevant to women over 40 (or heading in that direction). It’s also available on all British Airways planes as part of their inflight entertainment. So if you do find yourself with some quite time on a plane (we know the chances are slim but it might just happen) then you know what to listen to.
The Guilty Feminist
It’s not hard to see why this podcast has had over 8 million downloads in the past 18 months. Hosted by Deborah Frances-White, it is a comedy hour with a political twist. Episodes are recorded live to audiences that sell out months in advance. They are all structured around issues faced by women, with past episodes covering topics from anger to independence, crying and “being bossy”. Presenters and guests set themselves challenges where they confront these issues head on, with invariably hilarious outcomes. Great for an informed giggle.
The Longest Shortest Time
This American podcast has been a global hit. Hillary Frank hosts the intellectual yet accessible sessions in which no subject is off-limits. It began as a podcast aimed at new parents to let them know that they are not alone, but has grown and evolved and now covers teens, grown children and adults questioning whether they should have children at all. Big-name guests like Katie Couric are invited to contribute on a regular basis. It really is worth tuning in to.
No Such Thing as a Fish
For something totally off the wall try this. If you love the TV show QI then this podcast will be a dream come true. Here the team behind the programme share the most interesting things they have unearthed that week. Expect to enhance your general knowledge and always have a fun conversational gambit to conjure up.
The Common Sense Pregnancy
One for all expectant mums our there. This podcast is packed with useful, practical advice. Women’s health expert, midwife and mother of four Jeanne Faulkner has been at the bedside for thousands of deliveries. She provides the honest insider advice you need during pregnancy.