As someone with no children, the most I’ve learned about parenting has come from the people in my own life and from podcasts made by and for parents. Even without children, hearing stories from parents about the struggles, joys, and everything in between has given me a new perspective on what it’s like to be a parent. Here are some great shows and episodes on parenthood:
Hillary Frank hosts this award-winning show about what life is like for parents with so many backgrounds. There’s an episode on the political power of black motherhood, adoption, polyamorous parents, being a single trans dad, C-Sections, and so much more. The Longest Shortest Time may seem niche but it’s a show full of rich, complicated, and wonderful stories about being a parent and what family means.
- The Special Misogyny Reserved for Mothers by Hillary Frank, New York Times Opinion
This is a show you can listen to almost any episode at any point in time. There are a few episodes that are a continuation of previous ones, which would require listening to the ones before. But for the most part, you can dive right in! I recommend listening to the episodes with Biff and Trystan, a gay couple from California who became accidental gay parents in 2011. Both Biff and Trystan spoke with Frank for the show on multiple occasions and their episodes include:
- #60 The Accidental Gay Parents (see below)
- #62 The Accidental Gay Parents Part 2
- #80 The Accidental Gay Parents Part 3
- #81 The Accidental Gay Parents Part 4
- #125 The Accidental Gay Parents Part 5
This show is a bi-monthly podcast about black womanhood and black motherhood. Hosted by ‘Mama Bre’, Mama Meets World covers all sorts of topics and real conversations, including race, love, divorce, marriage, dating, co-parenting, and so much more.
Marlo Mack (a pseudonym) is a single mom raising a young trans daughter and ‘How To Be A Girl’ is a podcast all about their life together and trying to navigate gender and life. Each episode is different but the point of the project seems to be to help each other through the journey of being and raising a young trans person. Plus, the show is a great resource for parents who are also trying to figure out how to raise a happy trans child.
There are countless other parenting podcasts to listen to on the Internet. Plus, there are many other shows that may not focus completely on parenting but do have a few episodes on the topic! Here are some episodes from other shows:
From WNYC, Nancy is all about the queer experience today. Tobin and Kathy have conversations with each other and many others around so many topics, including parenthood. In March of 2019, the Nancy team produced a series called ‘Queer Money Matters’ and looked at many different things, including the cost and complications of being a queer couple and trying to have kids.
This show is hosted by Nora McInerny and each episode shares a deeply personal story about traumatic, terrible, or otherwise awful situations that people have gone through. A few episodes share the stories that parents have gone through and are a reminder that you are not alone if you’ve also gone through something awful.
- Episode #4 Me, Too – Danni Starr is a radio host and wanted to be a mother for the longest time. But after giving birth, she struggled with postpartum depression in such a deep and scary way.
- Episode #24 Incompatible With Life – Cat and Jim try to deal with the fact that their son might not make it through Cat’s pregnancy.
- Episode #32 Bryson’s Purpose – Chelsey and Kevin unexpectedly and suddenly lost their son Bryson and try to make sense of the tragedy.
- Episode #37 Fairy Dust – Lesly has three children and has had cancer three times.
- Episode #63 The Intended Outcome – Deya and Sandra are a couple who want to become moms and decide to become foster parents.
With over 650 episodes spanning 20+ years, This American Life has covered a plethora of experiences and stories. That said, there are more than a few episodes about parenting and family!
- Episode 317 Unconditional Love – this episode shares the stories of two parents and their journey through difficult situations with being parents. The first act is about Heidi and Rick, a married couple who adopt a son from a Romanian orphanage. But after seven years in the orphanage with little physical or emotional contact, their adopted son had trouble developing attachments to other people and both Heidi and Rick went through so much to help him. The second act is about Dave and his wife and their decisions around how to best care for their autistic son.
- Episode 183 The Missing Parents Bureau – this episode is about parents who are absent from their children’s lives. There’s a story about what people want to know about their sperm donor, another story about a mother who writes letters to her kid’s absent father, and Dan Savage’s experience with an open adoption.
All of these podcasts and episodes share the many different experiences that people have had with parenting. There are, of course, many other shows, episodes, and experiences on the topic but these shows and episodes are a reminder that parenthood can be complicated, hard, wonderful, and full of love all at the same time.
Are there other shows about parenting that you love? Let me know!