What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood

a podcast with Margaret Ables and Amy Wilson

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Episode 14: Summer Plans

  Here’s what all parents can agree upon: Summer need not be another Christmas, one lasting for three full months. It’s okay- actually, it’s imperative– for our kids to be a little bit bored. The trick is to find the right balance between your kids having too much to do and nothing at all to do. Back in…
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Episode 13: Birth Order- Parenting Each Child Best (More or Less)

      The study of birth order— how one’s placement amongst siblings can shape one’s personality— began in 1874, when Charles Darwin’s cousin noticed that eldest sons were overrepresented as members of the Royal Society.  In other words, sibling rivalry is survival of the fittest, playing out in real time right at your dinner…
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Episode 12: Helping Kids Deal with Disappointment

    Not to toot our own horns or anything, but when it comes to disappointment, we’ve got vast experience. Amy claims an acting career is a surefire express route to let-down expertise; Margaret claims a screenwriting career might be even more useful.  And while we’ve still turned out quite nicely, thank you, that doesn’t make…
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Episode 11: Do Manners Still Matter?

Manners have been around since at least 2300 BC, when Ptah-Hotep wrote on papyrus that one should refrain from “speaking evilly” and from staring at people. And as parents, we say manners still matter— to quote Margaret’s mother, no one likes a bratty kid. But which manners still matter? We think author Tamar Adler put it…
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Episode 10: What To Say When You Don’t Have a Clue

  We average about one conversation a week, with one or other of our children, during which we are suddenly at a total loss as to what to say. Perhaps you too have had a few Tough Questions like these: Is Santa real? What is racism? If I go to heaven, will my toys come too?…
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Episode 9: Dividing the Workload

In any home, there’s the workload everyone can see: the dirty dishes, the broken crayons under the dining room table, the laundry to be folded. And in most of our homes, that workload is divided more equitably than it was in the homes where we grew up. But then there’s the workload that lives in…
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Episode 8: Are Our Kids Overscheduled?

Are our kids overscheduled? Compared to our own childhoods, definitely. But is that necessarily a problem? And how are we, as parents, supposed to tell? According to Dr. Michael Thompson, author of The Pressured Child: There is a line between a highly enriched, interesting, growth-promoting childhood and an overscheduled childhood…. and nobody knows where that line is….
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how to review a podcast on iTunes (now Apple Podcasts)

One of the best ways to support our podcast (or any podcast you’re enjoying) is to rate and review it on Apple Podcasts. But it’s not always easy or intuitive to do so. Here’s step-by-step instructions on how to do so, either from your computer or from your phone or tablet: How to leave an Apple…
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Episode 7: Mom Goals

New year, new leaf! In this episode we’re talking “mom goals” for the coming year. Productivity guru (and mom of four) Laura Vanderkam says that “goals should be our tools, not our masters.” But since we need to set goals in the first place in order to make them achievable, we’ll take her advice, skip…
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Episode 6: Chores

This week we’re talking about chores: do you make your kids do them? If so– how much, how frequently, and do they get paid for their troubles? Experts say that kids’ chores are worthy in and of themselves, teaching kids things like teamwork and self-esteem. In other words, it may be worth the extra effort…
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Episode 5: Handling the Holiday Craziness

Each December 25th, most moms look at a living room full of scattered wrapping paper and vow to do less next year. Then Black Friday rolls around. But can you really downshift on how much Santa brings once a baseline has been established? This week Amy and Margaret talk about managing the holiday craziness. (Disclaimer: for both of us, that…
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