What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood

a podcast with Margaret Ables and Amy Wilson

Month: October 2017

Episode 28: Is This Battle Worth Fighting?

A couple weeks ago, we asked our friends on our Facebook page to tell us what battles they’re currently fighting in their homes— or choosing not to.

As we all know, there are some parenting buttons our children push that are perhaps best left ignored. Then there are dishes left in the sink instead of the immediately adjacent dishwasher, which we believe we have no choice but to interpret as a spouse’s call to arms.

In this episode we decide once and for forevermore which of the following battles are worth fighting:

  • messy playrooms
  • messy kids’ rooms
  • food outside the kitchen
  • co-sleeping children
  • co-sleeping pets
  • matching outfits (for school, church, family weddings)
  • shorts in the winter
  • picky eating
  • hats at the dinner table
  • saying “like” like, every third word

Even if a battle is worth— let’s say “skirmishing”— there are more and less productive ways of making your point, and in this episode we lay out what does and doesn’t work for us.

We also love Stephanie Dolgoff’s article for ParentingHow To Choose Your Battles.

Stephanie suggests creating a short “family-values list” of non-negotiable points (like no name-calling) in a non-confrontational moment. And when all else fails, don’t be afraid to compromise. As Stephanie writes,

“When [your kids] see you work out what’s really important, they learn how to work out for themselves what’s really important.”

See that? Choose your battles, and you just might win a few.

This episode is brought to you by Pip & Grow, makers of the Smitten Sleep System for babies. Inspired by the Finnish tradition, the durable and lightweight Smitten is ready to go wherever your infant goes. You can assemble the Smitten in five minutes or less— no cursing required!– and the Smitten meets all of the safe sleep recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

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Episode 27: The Homework Slog

Do our kids have too much homework? Yup. Agreed. But since moving to a yurt and living off the grid may not be an option for your family, here’s how to make the homework slog a little quicker and less painful at your house. Perhaps even tear-free. (We can dream.)


In this episode we discuss

  • whether the kitchen table is an acceptable homework location (one of us says yes)
  • whether you– or your kid– should be checking the nifty new school website with every assignment listed  (one of us says no)
  • how to help your older kids ignore the distractions of the internet when most of their homework– and many of their textbooks– are online
  • how to invent a system that supports your kid… and then back away from the oversight

Our favorite advice on this topic (besides our own) is from KJ Dell’Antonia, who provided these “three cardinal rules of homework” in her most recent newsletter:

1. It’s not yours.

2. What kids learn from homework is rarely on the worksheet.

3. You don’t want to make tonight’s homework better. You want to make ALL the homework better.

Here’s links to some other advice and research discussed in this episode:

KJ Dell’Antonia (she’s good at this) for NYT Motherlode: Creating a Homework Habit

Bruce Feiler for the NYT: The Homework Squabbles

The Learning Habit Study (American Journal of Family Therapy)

The Learning Habit: A Groundbreaking Approach to Homework and Parenting by Dr Stephanie Donaldson Pressman 

With this episode we celebrate our podcast’s first birthday!

Thanks to all of you who listen, laugh, and tell your friends. It’s been a wonderful first year for us and we look forward to continuing the conversation! 

This episode is brought to you by SheBee Jewelry. Women who wear SheBee (like us) love to express an individual sense of style. SheBee jewelry adds a touch of chic to elevate the everyday. Get a little something for yourself— or create some hints you can not so subtly drop for your next birthday– at shebee.com and get 15% off with code FRESH.

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