M. and I have an agreement, proposed and enforced by me, after we spent months with him as a tiny audio tyrant during our commutes. Now, so that I don’t have to listen to Pharrell’s “Happy” on Repeat-1 for 40 minutes a day (or, as it would be now, “Belle” or “For the First Time in Forever” or “My Superhero Movie”), he chooses what we listen to on our morning commute (usually one of those songs above on Repeat-1, and he actually knows to ask for Repeat-1), and I choose what we listen to in the afternoon. He won’t begin a nap anywhere except in a moving car right now - ironic since we never had to do that with him when he was a tiny baby, but I guess it’s because we could always bounce him in the Boba and he’s too big for comfortable front-wearing at 33 months - and podcasts are more likely to lull him to sleep than music, and also I really enjoy podcasts, so most afternoons I put on a podcast.
For a while, we were listening to Fansplaining and The Mermaid Podcast, both of which are super fun, and which I intend to get back to. They’ve got huge backlogs, and also are a little distant from my current experiences in life, so I decided to check out some podcasts that are more relevant to my day-to-day and would be easier to catch up on. It’s made a huge difference in my quality of life. Here they are:
The Double Shift: “a reported, narrative podcast about a new generation of working mothers.” Every mother works, host and journalist Katherine Goldstein points out. This podcast is huge for me because it’s not about parenting as an activity and it’s not about kids. It’s about personal experiences of being a mother and how that impacts your whole life. I loved hearing her talk to a punk rock future rabbi and women who work in Las Vegas brothels. I want more media like this: acknowledging that being a mom impacts everything you do, but doesn’t have to limit you to activities and ideas that center exclusively on motherhood. It’s sort of the impetus behind my (dormant but I’ve got the next issue in draft form) newsletter, Genetrix.
Acadames: “a biweekly podcast that explores whether being a woman in academia is a dream, game, or scam through interviews with a diverse range of women.” This is hosted by two scholars in the health sciences at my university. They address lots of issues that feel deeply relevant for me, though I do sometimes bump up against the differences between health sciences and social sciences, for example when Dr. Whitney Robinson was talking about how she thinks the study of knowledge is called epistemology and I thought, “What a luxury, to be uncertain of the definition of epistemology.” (Her definition is one: epistemology as a branch of philosophy that deals with how we know what we know. In the humanities and social sciences especially, but also I think in the natural sciences, epistemology is also a scholar’s or scholarly community’s set of beliefs about how knowledge is constructed. Your “epistemological stance” is your personal take on this. Mine is that knowledge is constructed, that there are multiple ways of knowing that include but are not limited to both empirical and experiential ways, and that anyone can create knowledge.)
Motherhood Sessions: Dr. Alexandra Sacks is making matrescence, a concept with which I am obsessed, a more widely known idea. In her podcast, she talks to moms about all kinds of things, and basically does recorded therapy sessions. (The guests are people who volunteered to be on the show. She’s not secretly and unethically and maybe illegally? recording patients or anything.) Some of these are closer to my experience than others, but I found it especially valuable to hear from a mom of one who has mixed feelings about the fact that she’s okay with only having one kid, and a PhD student who has had her dissertation on hold for years and needs to talk through whether she wants to bother finishing.