The Wonderful World of Podcasts for the Stay-At-Home Mom (or Anyone!)

In my new life as a stay-at-home mom (at least until my sabbatical year is over and I return to teaching), I’ve found that podcasts have been indispensable.  It’s not that there’s not enough to do–my daughter is walking now (and dancing, quacking and mooing) and as she interacts more and more with me and the world, we’re having a lot of fun together.  But early on, when there was a lot more quiet, still time, and even now, when she’s asleep and I’m catching up on chores, I find that podcasts are a great way to let my mind play while I do something else.

Here are a few that I’ve been enjoying, in no particular order.  All of them are available through iTunes.  I’ve been using the Apple podcast app.

  1.  Selected Shorts – short stories read aloud by celebrities – perfect for the writer on the gowho needs to read!  A lot variety in the stories, but all great!
  2. The New Yorker Fiction Podcast and The Writer’s Voice – The Fiction podcast has a previously featured creative writer choose an archived story, read it aloud, and discuss it with the fiction editor of The New Yorker.  In The Writer’s Voice, the writers of current New Yorker stories read their work aloud.
  3. Dear Sugar – An advice podcast from Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond where they practice “radical empathy.”  Binge-listened to all of these when I found this podcast.
  4. Mental Illness Happy Hour – Comedian Paul Gilmartin interviews people about their mental health struggles and stories with a lot of humor and compassion.
  5. Unexplained and Lore – similar in tone, these two podcasts explore strange, mysterious occurrences in history that often seem like they could be tinged with the paranormal
  6. Real Ghost Stories Online – Just starting to listen to this one, but it’s interesting.  People share their ghost stories with the hosts.
  7. Serial and Undisclosed – The first season of Serial is the story of Adnan Syed, who was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.  Serial seeks to explore whether Adnan could be innocent.  I will confess that I did not listen to the second season.  Undisclosed seeks to show that Adnan is innocent.
  8. Up and Vanished – This podcast is investigating the disappearance of Tara Grinstead
  9. Harry Potter and the Sacred Text – Vanessa and Casper, Harvard Divinity students, explore the series, chapter by chapter, through themed lenses, seeking meaning and connection in the texts.
  10. Imaginary Worlds – Exploration of comics, fantasy, and sci-fi worlds, their elements, and how they are created.  Very interesting, even though I’m not quite the aficionado of Star Wars or Star Trek, I get a lot out of each episode, even those that cover topics I’m less familiar with.  Pat Rothfuss even appeared on this one, and what’s not to like about that?
  11. Hidden Brain and the Ted Radio Hour – Learning new things with NPR
  12. Modern Love – True stories of all types of love (romantic, familial, etc.) originally published in the New York Times “Modern Love” column read aloud by celebrities

Are you listening to podcasts, too?  What are your favorites?  Have you listened to some of these?  I’d be happy to hear your thoughts!  I hope to get back to being more diligent about my blog now that the baby is sleeping through the night again (Hallelujah, and please don’t let me jinx it!) and the holidays are over.  I’ve been tutoring privately during my extended maternity leave, and my tutoring schedule has been really busy too, but that is a good thing!

Poem for Enjoying Raffi Music with My Daughter

So I’ve been too long absent from my blog.  My daughter (almost one year old!) has been teething for about six weeks straight (I think–I am losing track of time–maybe it’s been two months?  Maybe it’s been forever?), and while I am content overall, I have not been getting as much writing done as I’d like.  She’s been up once or twice in the night most nights, and has been racking up the teeth!  At least I hope she can take some solace in her dental progress, though I’m not sure that’s her focus.

Though I still feel passionately about being a teacher, I’ve been settling into being a stay-at-home mom, and feel pretty happy in this role.  I have also been tutoring part-time, mostly when my husband is home in the evenings, but my mom has also helped out.  Life is a lot different for me this year compared to last year and then again the year before…

One of the things I’ve been really loving is singing, dancing, and moving along with Raffi.  Anyone else remember him?  His tender, creative, folk singing was a staple in my childhood, and I’ve learned that he’s still performing, and I now follow him on Twitter.   Here’s a link to one of his songs on YouTube.  We have one of his concerts on DVD and an album to listen to, too.  My daughter LOVES him.  She is entranced by the music and bounces up and down, sitting or standing.  We clap, we stomp–she attempts to snap.  We have maracas–it’s a good time!  So, while I may not be sleeping as much as I’d like, I wanted to rejoin my blog with a little poem celebrating something awesome.


Poem for Enjoying Raffi with My Daughter

Bouncing, face alight,

she shakes her maraca, claps–

checks that I’m dancing, too.


On another note, for those upset about what we’ve been seeing in Syria, one of the ways to help is to donate to the White Helmets.  I did, today–here is the link to their site:  The area for donations is near the bottom when you scroll down.

Short Poems for Halloween


Poem for Little One’s First Halloween

Warm, fleecy unicorn

watches trick-or-treaters

and her silver horn

in the dark window.

Playing with Papa,

admiring Grammy’s light-up earrings,

waiting for her cousins.

Next year, she’ll walk with them,

taller, faster, in a new guise.


Haiku for an Empty Candy Bowl on the Porch upon Returning Home

We were not home, but

left candy out, knowing that

one child might take all.


Haiku from my Dog on Halloween Night

Too loud, too many–woof!

Or let me out to play–woof!

I’ll run wild, like you!

Why Haikus?

Lately, I’ve been writing a lot of haikus.

I’ve always enjoyed them–I like the simplicity of the form, the way you can let this small piece of poetry that packs a punch just digest for a moment.  I love books of haikus and other short poetry, where you get some blank space to frame that little morsel so that your brain can feast without distraction.  A few of my favorite sources for short poetry:

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And then there’s writing them.  I love the puzzle of trying to express something within the haiku’s parameters, deciding on words, line breaks, and images, without stepping outside the bounds of 5-7-5…unless I really decide that I should.

Since my little one came along, I’ve been writing more haikus (or poetry using haiku stanzas) than ever before.  Why?  It’s easier to compose haikus than longer works while the baby sleeps in my arms.  I type with one hand so that I can avoid moving so much that she wakes up and cries.  This is a huge advantage of the haiku.  Expect to see more!

Evening: A Poem

Pot roast cooks while the

TV drones; my jaw clenches.

A fly, somehow, got


in, and it buzzes

and lands on the lamp, walking

its silent feet up


the shade and you have

asked me a question about

visiting down Maine


while our baby sleeps,

but suddenly stirs, her brow

furrowed, voice plaintive


until the nightmare

passes—she clutches my shirt

and releases it.