You’re back at work. You’re pumping three times a day (or your goal is four, but you fit in three). You’re dozing off in meetings about campaigns that launched while you were out. All you can think about is how many ounces your little one took today and if she finally made the poop that was coming to her.
When you have some (well deserved) downtime during your workday or on your commute—I highly recommend the following podcasts to bring you the inspiration and energy you thought would come from that fourth cup of coffee (but no such luck).
1. Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert
ALERT – Stop what you’re doing right now (even if it’s due by COB) and download the first three episodes of Magic Lessons. Liz Gilbert’s mellow and thoughtful tone—even her opening music—had me hooked within minutes. She selects a willing participant each episode and coaches her to tap into her creativity and her lifelong passions; to find ways to release guilt, ignore what others think—and begin. I want to wallpaper my home office with the brilliantly relevant and poignant quotes she selects for each caller. The message that Gilbert is bringing to the surface truly speaks to me as a woman and mother. We spend our days taking care of others and putting our creative energy as one of our lowest priorities. And by doing so, we are missing out on the precious fuel that allows us to come to our caregiving and the rest of our lives as happy, whole selves.
2. The Longest Shortest Time
The Longest Shortest Time is a podcast and blog, hosted by author and This American Life contributor Hillary Frank. Averaging around 25 minutes an episode, it’s the perfect length to listen to during a pumping session. Covering unconventional stories of parenthood and the messy moments some people don’t like to talk about—the podcast will help you stay connected to your role as mom when it seems like your baby is a world away. LST reminds you that you’re not the first and only one to pull off this crazy experiment. And really, laughing at ourselves is the best way to enjoy it. Beyond the podcast, there is an uber active and supportive Facebook group that is a must-join for anyone seeking validation of just how much you're pulling off right now.
3. First Day Back
If long form content and detailed storytelling is more your thing, jump to the beginning of documentary filmmaker, Tally Abicassis’s story, where she chronicles her return to work after a six year maternity leave. Tally touches on the real fears and mixed emotions of moms who are heading back after a long gap. Interviews with her 3 and 6 year old boys provide fun highlights that take the story in a different direction than you would expect.
4. School of Greatness
Having a baby has shifted your priorities and you may be wondering if the career path you’re on is right for you in the long-term. You may be asking yourself how your job matches up to your values and your unique strengths. Guess what? You’re onto something and the School of Greatness podcast provides an endless connection to accomplished leaders and innovators who can help you take this journey—FOR FREE. Whether you want to hone your leadership skills in your current role, start your own business or simply begin to re-evaluate your life purpose, this podcast will give you the jolt of positive mojo you need to turn off The Real Housewives marathon and get into action.
5. Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin
This one has nothing to do with parenthood and everything to do with re-connecting to the person you were before you had kid/s. If like me, you were obsessed with all things Carrie Bradshaw back in the day, please go straight to the Sarah Jessica Parker episode and drink her in. I may or may not have listened to that one twice. If you’re not back to your pre-baby reading pace, Here’s the Thing will expose you to writers, directors and actors who are inspiring and most of the time—really freaking funny. If you get a chance to get out to that party your friends want to drag you to, Here’s The Thing will give you something interesting to say beyond explaining why there’s still spit-up on your shoulder.