What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood

By Margaret Ables and Amy Wilson

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a comedy parenting podcast with Margaret Ables and Amy Wilson

Episode Date
Stuff Our Spouses Do Way Better Than We Do: Episode 57
With Father’s Day coming up this weekend, we thought it was high time we saluted our own spouses for all the things they do way better than we do. Whether it’s a broken dishwasher, a broken bone, or repeated viewings of some of the worst movies ever made, our spouses do it all. Below, please...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/06/stuff-our-spouses-do-way-better-than-we-do-episode-57/">Read and listen here >></a>
Jun 13, 2018
Princesses (If You Must): Episode 56
You may think (as both of us once did) that little girls who are all-princess, all the time, are just not that cool. You may have also believed that any daughter of your own would be a far more independent-thinking, overalls-wearing sort of spunkster.  But once that daughter is born, and turns two, and a...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/06/princesses-if-you-must-episode-56/">Read and listen here >></a>
Jun 06, 2018
Kid Friend Breakups: Episode 55
By the time our kids finish middle school, many will have suffered the sting of being left behind by a formerly “best” friend. Many more will have struggled with how to create some space between themselves and the playmates they have simply outgrown. Lots of kids end up on both sides of that equation (or...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/05/kid-friend-breakups-episode-55/">Read and listen here >></a>
May 30, 2018
When Mom Leaves Town: Episode 54
Does it seem like just as much work to leave your kids behind for a couple of days as not to go in the first place? Do your instructions for family operational procedures during your absence run more than five pages? We’re here to tell you that, as Margaret puts it, “the flip side of...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/05/when-mom-leaves-town-episode-54/">Read and listen here >></a>
May 23, 2018
Episode 53: Small Changes, Big Difference- Part Two
So many good ideas, we made a Part Two! Here’s dozens of small changes parents have made that turned out to make a big difference in their lives— thanks to our listeners and our Facebook fans, plus some of the top content creators for parents from the 2018 Mom 2.0 Summit, including:   Amy...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/05/episode-53-small-changes-big-difference-part-two/">Read and listen here >></a>
May 16, 2018
Episode 52- Summer Plans
Anyone else feeling the stress of the summer countdown? It takes a lot of juggling to schedule ten weeks of summer freedom for our kids, and it’s not cheap, either. As a nation we spend about $18 billion on camps and other summer enrichments for our kids every year. That’s nuts. But left to their own...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/05/episode-52-summer-plans/">Read and listen here >></a>
May 08, 2018
Episode 51- Tweens
We always figured “tween” was a catch-all marketing term for stuff with glitter on it. But since today’s kids are going through puberty earlier than ever, the years between 9 and 12 can be plenty rocky. And then sometimes stuffed animals still. It’s a mix. Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair, author of The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/05/episode-51-tweens/">Read and listen here >></a>
May 02, 2018
Episode 50- Small Changes, Big Difference
We asked all of you on the show and on Facebook to tell us the small changes you’ve made in your lives (as parents and as, you know, just actual people) that have turned out to make a big difference. This episode is full of game-changing ideas for your home, your school mornings, and your sanity....<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/04/episode-50-small-changes-big-difference/">Read and listen here >></a>
Apr 25, 2018
Episode 49- Let’s Not Care About What We Weigh
We won’t lie to you- we probably spend more time than we should thinking about what we weigh. Which is, admittedly, variable. But while we think about what we weigh plenty when we’re unhappy with what the scale says, we spend even more of our bandwidth on it in order to get to the number...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/04/episode-49-lets-not-care-about-what-we-weigh/">Read and listen here >></a>
Apr 18, 2018
Episode 48- Bickering
Per the Cambridge Dictionary, to bicker is “to argue about things that are not important.” Bickering is therefore unproductive by design- and as any parent can tell you the more trivial the thing their kids are arguing about, the more frustrating it is for a parent to listen to. So why do our kids bicker...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/04/episode-48-bickering/">Read and listen here >></a>
Apr 11, 2018
Episode 47- Partners as Parents (and Parents as Partners)
How do you maintain the spark in your relationship when you’re both up to your elbows in dirty diapers, dishes, and laundry? Do you ever contradict your spouse about parenting decisions in front of the kids? How important is that whole “unified front” idea?  Even when the kids aren’t around, how do you handle true disagreements...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/04/episode-47-partners-as-parents-and-parents-as-partners/">Read and listen here >></a>
Apr 04, 2018
Episode 46: Did We Really Do That?
We’ve all done things as parents that, looking back, we can’t believe. Sometimes they are supermom-type accomplishments that defy easy explanation: did I really have three kids in diapers at the same time? Did I really get through airport security with those same three children, and unassisted?  Then there are the decisions that in retrospect...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/03/episode-46-did-we-really-do-that/">Read and listen here >></a>
Mar 28, 2018
Episode 45- Managing Our Schedules
It’s the battle of the calendars! Margaret swears by her hardcover Book of Meg, but tends to forget a birthday party once in a while. Amy swears by her online systems,  until her phone takes the initiative of entering an event in Greenwich Mean Time. Neither system is perfect, but which is better? In this...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/03/episode-45-managing-our-schedules/">Read and listen here >></a>
Mar 21, 2018
Episode 44: Getting Your Kids To Talk To You
Getting our kids to talk to us is never easy (unless we’re standing with car keys in hand, front door ajar, 15 minutes late for an appointment). Based upon empirical evidence, “How was school today?” is the most annoying question a mom could ever ask. So why bother trying? Because Jennifer Kolari, author of Connected Parenting:...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/03/episode-44-getting-your-kids-to-talk-to-you/">Read and listen here >></a>
Mar 14, 2018
Episode 43: The Best Mom Advice We Ever Got
What’s the best mom advice you ever received? We asked our listeners and got a wide range of responses. Some aimed for the eternal perspective: The days are long, but the years are short.   Some were more practically applicable: Don’t ever bring a vomiting child into your bed. (Truer words were never spoken, Stacy.)...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/03/episode-43-the-best-mom-advice-we-ever-got/">Read and listen here >></a>
Mar 07, 2018
Episode 42: Musical Instruments- If You Must
Musical instruments: must our children either be tied to a piano bench or forgo their dreams of the Ivy League? Must we battle with our children daily to make them practice, and then have to listen to fifteen minutes of what sounds like a dying moose? Experts say childhood exposure to musical instruments relieves stress...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/02/episode-42-musical-instruments-if-you-must/">Read and listen here >></a>
Feb 28, 2018
Episode 41: Reluctant Readers
Are audio books cheating? Must every book our second-graders read feature Poopy Man and The Toilet King? Are reluctant readers doomed to fall behind their peers? Will Margaret or Amy ever read anything other than their Facebook feeds ever again? This episode is full of ideas to get everyone in your family reading– plus books...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/02/episode-41-reluctant-readers/">Read and listen here >></a>
Feb 21, 2018
Episode 40: Morning Madness
We’d all love a school morning where everyone gets out the door without Mom  yelling or feeling stressed. And by “all” we mean all mothers. Our children seem blithely indifferent to all the hollering and pleading and bargaining we do each morning in order to make the bus– which means each day we have to...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/02/episode-40-morning-madness/">Read and listen here >></a>
Feb 14, 2018
Episode 39: What To Do When They’re Just Like You
Are your child’s most annoying traits disconcertingly familiar, because they are also your own? And are those qualities- anxiety, competitiveness, impatience, even hatred of loud chewing- baked in the cake? Or have our children learned how to be impossible simply by living with us? Ellie Grossman says when our kids are driving us nuts, it’s...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/02/episode-39-what-to-do-when-theyre-just-like-you/">Read and listen here >></a>
Feb 07, 2018
Episode 38: Mean Girls (with guest author Katie Hurley)
Mean girls: they’re a thing, and sometimes it’s *our* girls being the bullies. Experts agree that girls exhibit “relational aggression”  more than boys do, and  girls are also more deeply upset by it. Even more worrisome: mean-girl behavior used to start in junior high; now it starts in pre-K. Fear not: we’ve got tons of...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/01/episode-38-mean-girls-with-guest-author-katie-hurley/">Read and listen here >></a>
Jan 31, 2018
Episode 37: Go-To Dinners
What makes a “go-to dinner”? One pot is good. 30 minutes or less is better. But we’ll use every cookie sheet and pot in the house if it’s 1) not pizza and 2) all of our kids will actually eat it. Here’s links to all of our own go-to recipes that we discuss in this...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/01/episode-37-go-to-dinners/">Read and listen here >></a>
Jan 24, 2018
Episode 36: Sick Day Hacks
One day out of school? Fine, here’s the remote. But by day four of a low-grade temp— just enough to keep the kid home— most parents get rather desperate for ideas. We are both unfortunate experts on the topic of kids’ sick days, and in this episode we discuss what you should already have around...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/01/episode-36-sick-day-hacks/">Read and listen here >></a>
Jan 16, 2018
Episode 35: What is Up With Toddlers?
Have you a short fat dictator in your home? Do you cower before a 24-pound child demanding pizza– no, not THAT kind of pizza! the other kind, the kind she likes NOW, which apparently has neither sauce nor cheese?  What is *UP* with toddlers? In this episode we discuss why toddlers’ tantrums may have, at...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/01/episode-35-what-is-up-with-toddlers/">Read and listen here >></a>
Jan 10, 2018
Episode 34: We’re Feeling Goal-y (Our Resolutions for the New Year)
It’s a new year, and we’ve got goals. Some of them are perhaps the same as last year, but Margaret says that 2018 is all about Widening the Window of Acceptability. Isn’t that a lovely notion? If redefined to include regular ambulatory activity, “get in shape” might indeed be something we accomplish this year. Either way,...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2018/01/episode-34-were-feeling-goal-y-our-resolutions-for-the-new-year/">Read and listen here >></a>
Jan 03, 2018
Episode 33: What is Up With Teenagers?
One day you have a munchkin who yes, gets up at 6 a.m. and survives on only the outside of chicken nuggets, but who also calls you “Mommy” and makes you valentines. The next day you have a grunting giant who sleeps until noon, eats entire loaves of bread at a sitting, and communicates with...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/12/episode-33-what-is-up-with-teenagers/">Read and listen here >></a>
Dec 20, 2017
Episode 32: BONUS! What Fresh Hell Live
This week’s *bonus* episode is a recording of our first live show! On December 1st, more than four hundred of you showed up at the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center for “What Fresh Hell LIVE!” A few brave husbands were also in attendance; they were moved to the safety of the “Men Pen” for their own protection....<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/12/episode-32-bonus-what-fresh-hell-live/">Read and listen here >></a>
Dec 13, 2017
Episode 31: Bedtime Routines
Bedtime routines: whether your kid is six weeks or sixteen, PLEASE tell us they have one.  A 2009 study in Sleep magazine found that bedtime routines- regardless of what they even were- improved not only children’s sleep but “maternal mood” as well. That’s right: do it for you. In this episode, we break down bedtimes...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/12/episode-31-bedtime-routines/">Read and listen here >></a>
Dec 06, 2017
Episode 30: Mom Friends- How to Make Them, How To Keep Them
Do you go on a moms’ night out and talk about … your kids? Does morning dropoff chit-chat feel  like a middle school cafeteria? In this episode we talk about deepening bonds with your mom friends, and keeping those relationships going when your kids graduate from whatever preschool or karate class brought you together in...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/11/episode-30-mom-friends-how-to-make-them-how-to-keep-them/">Read and listen here >></a>
Nov 22, 2017
Episode 29: Small Town vs Big City (with guest host Meagan Francis of The Mom Hour)
City versus country (versus the great strip-mall in-between): where’s the best place to raise your kids? Amy hashes it out with guest host Meagan Francis, founder of the Life Listened podcast network and co-host of The Mom Hour, one of the top parenting podcasts on iTunes!  For the other half of this Host Swap, our very...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/11/episode-29-small-town-vs-big-city-with-guest-host-meagan-francis-of-the-mom-hour/">Read and listen here >></a>
Nov 08, 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...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/10/episode-28-is-this-battle-worth-fighting/">Read and listen here >></a>
Oct 25, 2017
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...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/10/episode-27-the-homework-slog/">Read and listen here >></a>
Oct 11, 2017
Episode 26: Pets- Worst Idea Ever?
Should your family get a pet? Heavens, no. Take it from two extremely reluctant pet owners of the cat, dog, and fish variety. Okay, pets have upsides: their cute little faces. Their tolerating humiliating headdresses. But there are downsides as well, and in this episode we elaborate them for you in enough detail that you...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/09/episode-26-pets-worst-idea-ever/">Read and listen here >></a>
Sep 27, 2017
Episode 25: Conquering Clutter
America has 3% of the world’s kids… and 40% of the world’s toys. We’ve got clutter, right here in River City. In our opinion the best decluttering advice, from Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist, is to “slow the accumulation of new possessions.” In other words, don’t let all that junk in the front door in...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/09/episode-25-conquering-clutter/">Read and listen here >></a>
Sep 13, 2017
Episode 24: Finding Good Babysitters
Babysitters: whether you have a full-time nanny or a college kid two Saturday nights a month, finding and maintaining good childcare is an ongoing process. You find someone your kids adore– but he’s graduating this year and moving to Southeast Asia. You have someone your kids used to adore, but she has no idea how...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/08/episode-24-finding-good-babysitters/">Read and listen here >></a>
Aug 30, 2017
Episode 23: Back to School
Back to school: while some psychologists say we parents must “maintain a positive attitude about summer ending,” we say the end of summer sucks for all concerned and we might as well admit it. Do you try to impose some order on the countdown to school in your house? Or do you just run...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/08/episode-23-back-to-school/">Read and listen here >></a>
Aug 16, 2017
Episode 22 – Birthday Parties – If You Must
Birthday parties: must we really? Every kid, every year? Can we skip the goody bags? Can we ban slumber parties now and forever? Is it possible to spend less than four figures on a fete for a four-year-old? In this episode we discuss ways to make birthday parties easier: stopping “The Great Crap Exchange” (Margaret...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/08/episode-22-birthday-parties-if-you-must/">Read and listen here >></a>
Aug 02, 2017
Episode 21: How Old Is Old Enough?
Every parent has a “how old is old enough to” question about her kids that keeps her biting her fingernails. And as soon as one of those questions is resolved, a new one crops up. This seems to us a parenting challenge that gets harder, not easier, as our kids get older. So we asked our listeners: what’s...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/07/episode-21-how-old-is-old-enough/">Read and listen here >></a>
Jul 19, 2017
Episode 20: Vacationing with Kids- What to Pack?
Rule one of vacationing with kids: don’t vacation with kids. Oh, your tickets are already purchased? Then you’d better stock up on Ziploc bags. (Take it from a mother who’s needed a few.) We asked our listeners on our Facebook page for their packing essentials and got dozens of responses. In this episode we dig...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/07/episode-20-vacationing-with-kids-what-to-pack/">Read and listen here >></a>
Jul 05, 2017
Episode 19: Does Messy Matter?
Does messy matter? In our kids’ rooms, in our front halls, in our kitchens? We’re not talking about hoarder-level mess; we’re talking about the tendency toward entropy and chaos in any house with multiple children who play two travel sports and/or bring home backpacks brimming with loose slips of paper every afternoon. Margaret’s house is pretty...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/06/episode-19-does-messy-matter/">Read and listen here >></a>
Jun 21, 2017
Episode 18: When To Let Kids Quit
Out of all the things we stress about as parents, whether to let our seven-year-olds quit the violin seems like it shouldn’t matter that much. If they wouldn’t have made first chair in the Vienna Symphony anyhow, what difference does it make? But letting our kids quit— or making them tough it out— gets at...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/06/episode-18-when-to-let-kids-quit/">Read and listen here >></a>
Jun 07, 2017
Episode 17: Yelling Less
When it comes to mom-yelling we hold these truths to be self-evident: never yelling is not possible; less yelling is desirable. Let’s be real: there are times when every parent’s got to yell. Here’s how Lisa Belkin put it in The New York Times: When all else fails, a few claps of oral thunder certainly...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/05/episode-17-yelling-less/">Read and listen here >></a>
May 24, 2017
Episode 16: Sibling Rivalry
Sibling rivalry: harmless rite of passage? Or everything that made you the neurotic adult you are today? The inevitable part of it seems clear. Dr. Ron Taffel says siblings are like lion cubs, born with an intense and innate need to tussle. But if that fighting it’s normal, it isn’t always benign. So when...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/05/episode-16-sibling-rivalry/">Read and listen here >></a>
May 10, 2017
Episode 15: Mom Worsts
What’s the WORST part of being a mom? We put out the call on our Facebook page and received an avalanche of responses, each deserving in its own very horrible way. In this episode, Amy and Margaret advocate for their own lists of Mom Worsts, and discuss: —whether that most classic of Mom Worst...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/04/episode-15-mom-worsts/">Read and listen here >></a>
Apr 26, 2017
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...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/04/episode-14-summer-plans-2/">Read and listen here >></a>
Apr 12, 2017
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...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/03/episode-13-birth-order-parenting-each-child-best-more-or-less/">Read and listen here >></a>
Mar 29, 2017
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...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/03/episode-12-disappointment/">Read and listen here >></a>
Mar 15, 2017
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...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/03/episode-11-do-manners-still-matter/">Read and listen here >></a>
Mar 01, 2017
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?...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/02/episode-ten-dont-have-a-clue/">Read and listen here >></a>
Feb 15, 2017
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...<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/02/episode-9-dividing-the-workload/">Read and listen here >></a>
Feb 01, 2017
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....<br /><a class="moretag" href="https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2017/01/episode-eight-are-our-kids-overscheduled/">Read and listen here >></a>
Jan 18, 2017