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What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood

Margaret Ables and Amy Wilson

2 Creators

5.0

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Hosted by funny moms Margaret Ables and Amy Wilson, “What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood” is a comedy podcast about the never-ending "fresh hells" of parenting. Amy and Margaret are each moms of three, dealing with the same hassles as any parent, but with completely different parenting styles. Margaret is laid-back to the max; Amy never met a spreadsheet she didn't like. We offer three episodes each week: "Question of the Week" mini-episodes on Mondays regular weekly episodes on Wednesdays "Fresh Take" interview with experts and authors on Fridays Join us as we laugh in the face of motherhood! What Fresh Hell is a Webby Honoree for Best Podcast: Kids and Family, a finalist for a Signal Award, the winner of Mom 2.0 Iris Awards for "Best Podcast" and "Most Entertaining Content," and a Podcast Awards People’s Choice for "Best Family and Parenting Podcast. whatfreshhellpodcast.com
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#9 in the Top 100 Indie Parenting Monthly chart

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Vaccines. Mandate-liftings. Scaled reopenings. All of these things are great and long wished for.

But we were kind of thinking there'd be a bell, or something. A hard deadline. A day when we'd all dance out into the ticker-taped streets and make out with strangers in Times Square.

Without a "you are now free to move about the cabin" announcement, how will we know when it's okay for grandparents to visit? To fly to that wedding? To toss our masks once and for all?

When is it okay to start saying yes?

Our listener Heather put it this way:

I think seeing a light at the end of the tunnel can be unsettling. We've been living in this weird way for a year now. And as much as it seems crazy, we've gotten used to it.

Psychologists call the stress this is making us feel the “third-quarter phenomenon.” For people forced to endure long stretches of isolation– astronauts, Arctic explorers, submarine sailors– the most difficult part, regardless of the length of the assignment, has been proven to be about 75% of the way through, precisely when the end of the assignment first comes into distant focus.

As things start to open up and some of us don't feel ready, or wonder if the world is ready, it's a new source of stress that we were saved from when we were all apart.

Past scientists and astronauts who suffered from the “third-quarter phenomenon" were advised to refocus on their mission- why they were doing what they were doing, and the great worth of seeing it through. Seems like great advice for the rest of us. Focusing on the mission might be what will get us through this last part of the tunnel.

Here are links to writing on the topic that we discuss in this episode:

Tara Law for Time: We're in the Third Quarter of the Pandemic. Antarctic Researchers, Mars Simulation Scientists and Navy Submarine Officers Have Advice For How to Get Through It

Robert Bechtel and Amy Berning: The Third-Quarter Phenomenon: Do People Experience Discomfort After Stress Has Passed?

Nathan Smith: The third-quarter phenomenon: the psychology of time in space

"Beautiful City" from Godspell (1973)

"Brand New Day" from The Wiz (1978)

@neilochka on Instagram

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/WFHpodcast

questions and feedback: info@whatfreshhellpodcast.com

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Sara Dean is the host of The Shameless Mom Academy podcast, which inspires women and moms to live bigger, bolder, and braver #everydamnday.

In this episode, we discuss

  • how to turn our struggles into strengths
  • why self-care is a basic human need
  • how to "play bigger" and be a leader in your life, even when you are home with kids

Connect with Sara at www.shamelessmom.com

in her Facebook Group: www.shamelessmom.com/facebook

and on Instagram: www.instagram.com/shamelessmomacademy

Special thanks to this month's sponsors:

Betabrand has reinvented comfort and style with their dress yoga pants, and we love ours! Get 30% off your first order when you go to Betabrand.com/LAUGHING.

Daily Harvest delivers delicious harvest bowls, flatbreads, smoothies, and more, all built on organic fruits and vegetables. Go to dailyharvest.com/laughing to get up to $40 off your first box!

Home.Made. Podcast is a terrific new podcast offering stories about the meaning of home in America. Subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts!

flowkey lets you learn piano at your own pace. Go to flowkey.com/whatfreshhell to receive 7 days of flowkey Premium for free and 20% off an annual subscription.

Indeed is the only job site where you're guaranteed to find quality applicants -- or else you don't pay! Upgrade your job post with a $75 sponsored job credit through March 31st at indeed.com/laughing.

KiwiCo projects make science, technology, engineering, art, and math super fun. Get 30% off your first month plus FREE shipping on ANY crate line with code MOTHERHOOD.

Membrasin is the totally natural, estrogen-free, clinically-proven feminine moisture formula. Go to membrasinlife.com and use the code FRESH10 to get 10% off.

Native products keep you feeling and smelling fresh. Get 20% off your first order by going to nativedeo.com/fresh or by using the promo code FRESH.

Parade underwear and loungewear are sustainable, size-inclusive, comfortable and fantastic! Go to Parade.com/Laughing and use the code LAUGHING for 20% off your first order.

Peloton has a workout for every goal, day, and mood: everything from boxing and dance cardio to yoga and meditation. Visit onepeloton.com to learn more.

Prose now makes supplements personally tailored to address your specific cause of hair shedding. Get your free in-depth consultation and 15% off your custom hair supplements at prose.com/laughing.

School Toolbox makes shopping for school supplies for your kids easier– and also creates fundraising opportunities for your school! Find out more at schooltoolbox.com/whatfreshhell.

Thrive Causemetics high-performing beauty and skin-care products are made with clean, skin-loving ingredients. Get 15% off your first order at thrivecausemetics.com/whatfreshhell.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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It often becomes clear to us where our boundaries should have been set only after those lines have been crossed and left far behind. But whether it's with overbearing extended family members or partners who leave socks on the floor, how do we create effective boundaries? Especially after it's been established that we're not very good at it, and especially in a world that doesn't very much like women who aren't afraid to set them?

In this episode we discuss why boundaries should be set early and often– and not just in problematic relationships, either. Healthy boundaries with our spouses, partners, and co-workers are what make long-term relationships possible. And don't forget positive boundaries. Want to start setting aside more money each month? Having one date night a week, or one weekend morning when you get to sleep in? It starts with saying so.

Living in a pandemic has made it unavoidable: we all have to say out loud what feels safe for us and our families. We can seize that opportunity to practice the difficult conversations. Those on the other sides of those conversations are entitled to their reactions and opinions. But that doesn't necessarily mean that setting the boundary was wrong.

Here are links to some writing on the topic that we discuss in this episode:

Fatherly: 16 Tips For Creating Healthy Boundaries With Your Extended Family

Mark Manson: Boundaries

Elizabeth Earnshaw for Mind Body Green: A Therapist Explains 6 Things People Get Wrong About Setting Boundaries

Sarah Saweikis for Medium: Scared to Set Boundaries? How to Set Boundaries to Improve Your Relationships and Increase Peace of Mind

Brianna Wiest: The Honest Truth About Why Some People Can't Set Boundaries

Leave us a rating or review in your favorite podcast app!

Join us on Facebook: https://facebook.com/whatfreshhellcast

Instagram: https://instagram.com/whatfreshhellcast

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/WhatFreshHellPodcast

Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/whatfreshhellcast

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WFHpodcast

questions and feedback: info@whatfreshhellpodcast.com

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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How do we prepare for a future that isn’t clear? How do we prepare our kids for their future when what that might look like is also unclear?

Uncertainty is an unavoidable part of the parenting journey, but in this episode we’re talking about those really uncertain times: the “this might be nothing, but we’d like to run more tests” times. The “we actually aren’t sure what’s happening here” times. The "this could really go either way" moments in our lives.

In this episode we discuss

  • why parenting through uncertainty is so hard
  • how these times have played out in our own lives
  • why “just try not to think about it!” is terrible advice
  • why the things we do to reduce our uncertainty can sometimes backfire

Here are links to some writing on the topic that we discuss in this episode:

Mark Freeston et al: Towards a model of uncertainty distress in the context of Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Nabi Nazari and Mark Griffiths: Using Fear and Anxiety Related to COVID-19 to Predict Cyberchondria: Cross-sectional Survey Study

Victoria Maxwell for Psychology Today: 6 Ways to Increase Uncertainty Tolerance

and this past episode of ours:

https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/the-back-to-school-hell-pandemic-edition/

Special thanks to our sponsors for this month:

Athletic Greens supports your sleep quality, energy, immune system and more with just one scoop per day. Get a free one-year supply of Vitamin D and 5 free travel packs with your first purchase at athleticgreens.com/laughing.

Beam makes products for sleep, calm, focus, and recovery. Get $20 off any purchase over $75 at beamorganics.com/FRESH, or just type in the code "FRESH" at checkout.

Betabrand has reinvented comfort and style with their Dress Yoga Pants, and we love ours! Get 30% off your first order when you go to Betabrand.com/LAUGHING.

Betterhelp Start taking charge of your mental health– no matter where you live! Go to betterhelp.com/fresh to get 10% off your first month of counseling.

Flowkey lets you learn piano at your own pace. Go to flowkey.com/whatfreshhell to receive 7 days of Flowkey Premium for free and 20% off the first year of an annual subscription.

Indeed is the only job site where you're guaranteed to find applicants that meet your requirements-- or you don't pay! Upgrade your job post with a $75 sponsored job credit through 3/31/22 at indeed.com/laughing.

KiwiCo projects make science, technology, engineering, art, and math super fun. Get 50% off your first month at kiwico.com with the code MOTHERHOOD.

Membrasin is the totally natural, estrogen-free, clinically-proven feminine moisture formula. Go to membrasinlife.com to find out more and use the code FRESH10 to get 10% off.

Once Upon a Farm fruit and vegetable blends are made with whole, organic, farm-fresh ingredients . Go to onceuponafarmorganics.com and use the code FRESH25 for 25% off your ...

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Sometimes all the "treasure every moment, Mama" content can make us feel like it's all downhill from here, that each year of parenting becomes a little less special.

This suspicion is confirmed when we're with our little ones at the grocery store and an older woman takes us in, nods knowingly, then says with a raised eyebrow, "Just you wait."

But wait for what? Does only peril and sass-mouth lie ahead?

In this episode we discuss how parenting changes, and why that change is not to be feared or resisted. Some things honestly change for the better. Some things for sure you miss. But all change is absolutely, totally okay.

For more on this topic, and in particular the answers to "yes but when does it change for the EASIER?", check out our episode Your Life Begins Again When... (The Second Half of Parenting)

Special thanks to this month's sponsors:

Athletic Greens supports your sleep quality, energy, immune system, and more with just one scoop per day. Get a 1-year supply of Vitamin D and 5 free travel packs at athleticgreens.com/laughing.

Bedtime Stories with Netflix Jr. is a new podcast that will lull your kids to sleep with 15-minute stories featuring their favorite Netflix Jr. characters! Subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts.

Betabrand has reinvented comfort and style with their Dress Yoga Pants, and we love ours! Get 30% off your first order when you go to Betabrand.com/LAUGHING.

Betterhelp Start taking charge of your mental health– no matter where you live! Go to betterhelp.com/fresh to get 10% off your first month of counseling.

Daily Harvest delivers delicious harvest bowls, flatbreads, smoothies, and more built on organic fruits and vegetables. Go to dailyharvest.com/laughing to get up to $40 off your first box!

flowkey lets you learn piano at your own pace. Go to flowkey.com/whatfreshhell to receive 7 days of Flowkey Premium for free and 20% off the first year of an annual subscription.

Indeed guarantees you'll find quality applicants that meet your must-have requirements-- or else you don't pay! Upgrade your job post with a $75 sponsored job credit through March 31st at indeed.com/laughing.

KiwiCo projects make science, technology, engineering, art, and math super fun. Get 50% off your first month at kiwico.com with the code MOTHERHOOD.

Membrasin is the totally natural, estrogen-free, clinically-proven feminine moisture formula. Go to membrasinlife.com to find out more and use the code FRESH10 to get 10% off.

Parade underwear and loungewear are sustainable, size-inclusive, comfortable and fantastic! Go to Parade.com/laughing and use the code LAUGHING for 20% off your first order.

Peloton has a workout for every goal, day, and mood: everything from boxing and dance cardio to yoga and meditation. Visit onepeloton.com to learn more.

Prose now makes supplements personally tailored to address your specific cause of hair shedding. Get your free in-depth consultation and 15% off your custom hair supplements at prose.com/laughing.

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Does your kids' chatter in the back seat work your last nerve? You may identify with this week's question:

I feel like your wisdom could help me with the dreaded evening commute. I have a job that requires me to be on. And at the end of the day, I really need a moment of silence to re-become normal. Trouble is, the kid pickup and drive home is on me. And at the exact moment I need to hear myself think, my kids have had to shut up all day at school and have not gotten the chance to tell all of the stories. Our needs at that moment are total opposites.

There's a couple things I can't do anything about, like my work schedule. I'm leaving at five when it will truly take us about half an hour to get home. No, my husband can't do the pickup.

I have tried a couple of things. "Today I brought you each a book and you'll just read no talking." That works pretty well. Or "Let's listen to this cool family podcast I found today." But given that my kids also have equally valid needs, I feel like it's not fair to make all five weekday commutes free of the endless kid stories just to accommodate me. Do you have any ideas, suggestions? I'm all ears.

Everyone needs to decompress at the end of a long day– it's just that, as this listener points out, her kids' form of decompression requires more attention than anyone should have to give as to who sat where at circle time.

Amy suggests adding rituals at other times of the day that will both give the kids chances to share and that will give this mom time to center. Making room for both things is worth it.

StrollerCoaster: A Parenting Podcast is a podcast for parents of kids of all ages created by Munchkin, the most loved baby brand in the world. Subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts!

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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Dr. Michele Borba is a renowned educational psychologist and an expert in parenting, bullying, and character development. Her latest book is THRIVERS: The Surprising Reason Why Some Kids Struggle and Others Shine. This book offers practical, actionable ways to help kids develop the traits they need to thrive from preschool through high school, teaching them how to cope today so they can thrive tomorrow.

In this interview, Michele explains the "seven teachable traits" that allow kids to roll with the punches and succeed in life. Michele says the best parenting starts by meeting any kid exactly where they are, then giving them these tools to struggle less and shine more.

Leave us a rating or review in your favorite podcast app!

Join us on Facebook: https://facebook.com/whatfreshhellcast

Instagram: https://instagram.com/whatfreshhellcast

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/WhatFreshHellPodcast

Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/whatfreshhellcast

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WFHpodcast

questions and feedback: info@whatfreshhellpodcast.com

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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We've long been proponents of a "back to one" instead of a goal. On a movie set, the assistant director yells "Back to one!" after a take of a scene, so that everything can be perfectly reset to its starting point for another crack at the same scene. There's no judgment; of course you're going to do more than one take. Of course you're going to try to fix whatever didn't go right, and learn from your previous tries. Going back to one isn't setting a goal or expecting perfection; it's just what happens next.

Our listener Dana recently proposed this in our Facebook group:

"2/1 Back to One! "Help me make it a thing. I'm not ready for resolutions on January 1. The tree is still up, the holiday sweets are still around, and the kids are still off school. I think February 1st is the perfect day to start good habits for the upcoming year.

We heartily approve this notion! No New Year's resolutions this year for us, but in this episode, we discuss the gentle resets that we and our listeners are creating in different areas of our lives this February and beyond.

Special thanks to this month's sponsors:

Athletic Greens supports your sleep quality, energy, immune system, and more with just one scoop per day. Get a 1-year supply of Vitamin D and 5 free travel packs at athleticgreens.com/laughing.

Bedtime Stories with Netflix Jr. is a new podcast that will lull your kids to sleep with 15-minute stories featuring their favorite Netflix Jr. characters! Subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts.

Betabrand has reinvented comfort and style with their Dress Yoga Pants, and we love ours! Get 30% off your first order when you go to Betabrand.com/LAUGHING.

Betterhelp Start taking charge of your mental health– no matter where you live! Go to betterhelp.com/fresh to get 10% off your first month of counseling.

Daily Harvest delivers delicious harvest bowls, flatbreads, smoothies, and more built on organic fruits and vegetables. Go to dailyharvest.com/laughing to get up to $40 off your first box!

flowkey lets you learn piano at your own pace. Go to flowkey.com/whatfreshhell to receive 7 days of Flowkey Premium for free and 20% off the first year of an annual subscription.

Indeed guarantees you'll find quality applicants that meet your must-have requirements-- or else you don't pay! Upgrade your job post with a $75 sponsored job credit through March 31st at indeed.com/laughing.

KiwiCo projects make science, technology, engineering, art, and math super fun. Get 50% off your first month at kiwico.com with the code MOTHERHOOD.

Membrasin is the totally natural, estrogen-free, clinically-proven feminine moisture formula. Go to membrasinlife.com to find out more and use the code FRESH10 to get 10% off.

Parade underwear and loungewear are sustainable, size-inclusive, comfortable and fantastic! Go to Parade.com/laughing and use the code LAUGHING for 20% off your first order.

Peloton has a workout for every goal, day, and mood: everything from boxing and dance cardio to yoga and meditation. Visit onepeloton.com to learn more.

Prose now makes supplements personally tailored to address your specific cause of hair shedding. Get your free in-depth consultation and 15% off your custom hair supplements at

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When school drop-off is tough it can ruin the whole day. The feeling of walking away and leaving a sobbing kiddo at pre-school is just plain awful, but the reality is that most kids are happily playing 15 minutes later.

This week a listener asks:

Any tips for preschool drop off when kiddo gets shy/nervous and then refuses to go in? Our little one occasionally gave us a hard time at preschool drop offs pre-covid and with pre-k starting in a few weeks I want to have a whole tool box ready of things to try help those first few drop offs run smoothly.

There's no go-to solution for making drop-offs tear-free. This situation is more in the "observe and adapt" category because you have to see how it's going, what's wrong and which parts of it can be fixed.

The best thing to do about tough school drop-offs is to keep them in perspective. Remember that these events are not creating permanent emotional scars - rather they are phases where a child is working out their complicated feelings about separating from you.

Still there are some adjustments you can make to help make the morning drop off routine consistent:

  • make sure your child gets a good night sleep
  • get up early enough that the morning isn't chaotic and rushed (I know - it's hard - but it's worth it)
  • feed your child a good breakfast
  • create a consistent drop off routine

If you are doing all of these things and still struggling at drop-off, try working with your number one drop off ally - your child's teacher or daycare provider. Find out how long the tears are lasting after you leave (a teacher may be willing to text you to let you know when your kid is over their tears and enjoying their day) and strategize about how to make things run more smoothly (some kids may do well with a little extra time with mom or dad; some kids may need the "drop and dash" approach).

But most of all keep in mind that this too shall pass - your child is gaining important independence and you'll get through it too - we promise.

Margaret cites this article in this week's episode: Crying at Drop-Off

Special thanks to our "Question of the Week" sponsor:

Jane.com is a boutique marketplace featuring the latest in women’s fashion, accessories, home decor, children’s clothing, and more. By shopping at jane.com, you support small businesses, 1500 of which are women-owned. And you will not believe the prices! Visit jane.com/laughing.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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In this listener-driven episode, we release a collective primal mom scream--from prairie dresses (no one looks good in them!) to thank you cards (I'm going to immediately throw it away) to school theme days (dress like your favorite endangered species???), there are plenty of things moms feel should be done away with for good. This week, you'll find you're not alone in your desire to get rid of the things that just should NOT be things.

In this episode, Amy and Margaret hear from listeners who are fed up with:

  • Crop tops for children
  • Summer camp signups
  • Dinosaurs

...and so many more!

Special thanks to this month’s sponsors:

Beam’s Dream Powder is their sleep-promoting healthy hot cocoa. 99% of people experience better sleep quality when taking Beam Dream! Get $20 off at beamorganics.com/fresh with the code FRESH.

Betterhelp online therapy is affordable, confidential, and effective! Give it a try and see if online therapy can help lower your stress. Get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/fresh

Daily Harvest delivers delicious harvest bowls, flatbreads, smoothies, and more, all built on organic fruits and vegetables. Go to dailyharvest.com/laughing to get up to $40 off your first box!

Firstleaf is a wine club that curates and ships wines that are personalized to your tastes! Get 6 bottles of wine for $29.95, plus free shipping, at tryfirstleaf.com/laughing.

Home.Made.Podcast is a terrific new podcast offering stories about the meaning of home in America. Subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts!

KiwiCo projects make science, technology, engineering, art, and math super fun. Get 30% off your first month plus FREE shipping on ANY crate line at kiwico.com with code MOTHERHOOD.

Ladder helps you find life insurance without the hassle! Answer a few questions online to apply for up to $3 million in term life insurance coverage. Go to ladderlife.com/laughing today to see if you’re instantly approved.

Mathnasium is the place for online and in-person math education– whether your kids are a little behind, or need to be further challenged. Get your free consultation at mathnasium.com.

Native products keep you feeling and smelling fresh. Get 20% off your first order by going to nativedeo.com/fresh or by using the promo code FRESH.

Parade underwear and loungewear are sustainable, size-inclusive, comfortable and fantastic! Go to yourparade.com/laughing and use the code LAUGHING for 20% off your first order.

Peloton has a workout for every goal, day, and mood: everything from boxing and dance cardio to yoga and meditation. Visit onepeloton.com to learn more.

Prose now makes supplements personally tailored to address your specific cause of hair shedding. Get your free in-depth consultation and 15% off your custom hair supplements at prose.com/laughing.

Renzo’s Vitamins “melty vitamins” taste great and give your kids the vitamins they need- without all the sugar of gummies! Go to renzosmagic.com and use the code FRESH to get $5 off.

StoryWorth is an online service that helps you and your loved ones connect through sharing stories and memories and preserves them for years to come. Save $10 off your first purchase at storyworth.com/whatfreshhell.

Thrive Causemetics beauty and skin care products have clean, skin-loving ingredients– and are truly high-performance. Get 15% off your first order at

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