Listen up, moms!
Amy Wilson and Margaret Ables are two super accomplished women and mothers who are challenging their fellow moms to find both joy and humor in parenting, through their witty and insightful podcast What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood. The podcast, which runs every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m., is quickly approaching its 100th episode with almost one million downloads.
Wilson and Ables are no strangers to entertaining. Wilson wrote parenting blog-turned bestselling-book When Did I Get Like This, toured the country with her solo show, Mother Load, and was a series regular on several television sitcoms. Ables began her career in standup comedy, wrote for PBS Kids and MTV, and was a senior writer for Nickelodeon’s Nick Mom. She also wrote the blog, Short, Fat Dictator.
Both moms are married and have three children each that range in age from 7-16. They own very different personalities and parenting styles. Ables is the laid back, “sure it will all work out” mom and Wilson the uber-organized, self-professed “over-thinker.” They share a 20-plus year friendship and enjoy learning and laughing together, just like their listeners, through their podcast.
Podcasts are great for multitasker moms. Fans can listen to them while making dinner or while doing errands and pickups, says Ables.
“It’s a great way to learn stuff and feel connected,” she says. “Our community in particular is really active and fun.”
In each 45-minute episode, Wilson and Ables chat about real-life issues and situations faced by moms. They tackle everything from picky eating to sleep training to how to yell less, reduce screen time or give the dreaded birds and bees talk.
“We always say that our goal is to be funny with a purpose,” says Ables. “You’re going to laugh but you’re going to take away really useful info to help you be a better parent, or maybe more importantly, realize that you’re already doing a really good job.”
Ables and Wilson get podcast topics from their own experiences and from their audience, often relayed through enthusiastic Facebook followers. Wilson takes on initial research and Ables does most of the post-production work. Producing a polished, entertaining yet informative show is priority.
“Moms’ time is valuable,” Wilson says. “We want it to be useful right out of the gate.”
With a comedic flair, the moms discuss their findings and talk about whether they have found their research useful and valid in their own experiences.
“We try to highlight the advice that in the end makes a mother’s life a little easier,” Wilson explains, citing an episode on managing a nursing baby and toddler, which highlighted a previous suggestion made by a listener. “She suggested having a basket of snacks and books when you’re nursing … 15 seconds to save you from a temper tantrum.”
In some cases, guest experts offer life-changing advice.
“We had an expert on our podcast that said when you talk to kids you must always start with empathy…say things like ‘Wow, that must be hard,’” recalls Wilson. With her own children, she says, “I was always jumping right to the problem solving.”
Implementing that expert’s strategies transformed Wilson’s relationship with her kids.
The podcast title channels a famous phrase used by the late American writer Dorothy Parker when she answered the phone; Ables says her own mother was a Parker fan.
“It’s the phrase that best summed up parenting for her,” Ables says. “It captured the horrible, terribleness of daily parenting but it has a really funny sense of humor inherent … and that’s what we are going for. Yes, parenting is challenging and sometimes quite terrible, but ultimately, it’s really kind of funny.”
To learn more, visit Whatfreshhellpodcast.com