We recently asked the members of our Out Tech Your Kids Facebook Group to share their choices for best podcasts for parents — that don’t have to be about parenting at all — and wow, we scored big. And well, so did you.
If you’re looking for new podcasts to add to your regular rotation, or if you’re new to podcasts and want some solid recommendations, we’ve got you covered.
If it’s all new to you, don’t be intimidated! It’s just like listening to the radio only better. If you have an iDevice, just open up that iOS Podcasts app that comes automatically and type these names into the search bar. If you’re on Android, download Stitcher or Soundcloud and you’re off and running.
Personally, podcasts have gotten me through some of the most boring parts of early parenthood, like nursing, tidying, and yes (shhhh), playground supervision. So I’m always seeking out the best podcasts to add to my subscribe list.
Please note that while we’ve already shared our own favorite podcasts with you all, like The Mom Hour and Edit Your Life — add them both to your list, stat! — we’re so glad to learn even more options straight from our own readers.
We hope these shows make the piles of laundry or that commute to work a little less daunting.
Top image: Icons8 team via Unsplash
50 of the best podcasts for parents, from parents…that aren’t all about parenting
From our awesome Cool Mom Eats editor Stacie Billis comes this godsend of a podcast about feeding kids — including the picky ones like mine. If you’ve given up and started buying mac and cheese in bulk (yep, been there), give this a listen.
2. The Sporkful
If you loved Anthony Bourdain, you’ll love Sporkful. Host Dan Pashman uses delicious food as a way to explore people and culture, and brands itself as being “for eaters, not foodies.” Sold.
3. By the Book
Do you love self-help books but rarely have time to read them? Then I think you’ll love following hosts Jolenta and Kristen as they live by a new self-help book–some serious, some delightfully silly–every week and then debrief.
If you inhaled Season 1 of Serial but gave up on the much slower second season, there’s hope! Because Season 3 is completely fascinating. Plus, each episode stands alone, so you can avoid the binge-listen if you, you know, have children to take care of.
I love true crime podcasts, but don’t always have the attention span for a 12 episode series. So the freestanding episode format of Criminal is perfect for me. It features a new crime every episode and never a dull moment.
Yes, we’re partial, but if you like reading Cool Mom Picks, we think you’ll love hearing Kristen & Liz’s award-winning podcast in which discuss everything from screen time tips to working mom guilt, with lots of celebrity and expert interviews, and even episodes that have nothing to do with parenting at all. You’ll laugh, we promise!
If you’ve been living under a rock for the past two years, you might have missed this darkly fascinating Southern gothic tale from the producers of This American Life. I recommend you clear your schedule because you won’t be able to stop at just one episode.
Oprah’s new podcast, which includes interviews with thinkers and spiritual leaders she admires, is a worthy replacement if you’ve been missing your afternoons in front of the TV with her.
9. Ear Hustle
This fascinating podcast will expand your awareness about the American prison system. Written and produced by the currently incarcerated, it’s an honest look from the inside.
10. West Wing Weekly
West Wing fans! If you want one of the best podcasts for you, you’ll love this show that dives into a different episode of the drama each week. And no, you don’t necessarily have to be a West Wing fan to enjoy it, but it might make you one if you’re not already.
From the producers of Pod Save America, this podcast features a team of brilliant, diverse female political minds (Alyssa Mastromonaco, Blair Imani, Grace Parra, Kiran Deol, Megan Gailey, and Ziwe Fumudoh!) breaking down recent news and policy changes and how they affect women specifically.
Listen to this podcast if you agree with comedian Phoebe Robinson’s premise that we already hear enough from white men in society — and could use more hilarious interviews with artistws who are…not white men.
For those of you with podcast tastes that tend towards the bizarre and the macabre, you’ll love these strange-but-true medical stories from history, hosted by a real-life doctor and her husband.
14. The Good Place
Are you an NBC’s The Good Place lover? Lots of podcast fans think you’ll love getting behind the scenes with actor interviews and hilarious on-set anecdotes in this how.
15. Still Processing
Have you ever wondered why the 2001 Super Bowl Nipplegate launched Justin Timberlake’s career and ruined Janet Jackson’s? In this thoughtful podcast, New York Times commentators Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham look at this and other pop culture controversies through the lens of Black culture.
Okay so he’s having some…issue thee day. But our editor Liz recommends this show for film nerds who love in-depth interviews from industry insiders. If you want a place to start, her favorite episodes are interviews with Carol Burnett who has a fascinating perspective on women in comedy “back in the day,” and William Friedkin who spills the tea about casting Linda Blair in The Exorcist.
Radiolab was the first podcast I listened to, and it’s still a favorite today which definitely earns it a spot on our best podcast list. Whether you consider yourself “science-y” or not, you’ll be totally drawn into their stories that explore everything from human nature to technology to the animal kingdom.
Every time I hang out with Cool Mom Picks editor Kate Etue, she’s bursting to tell me about a new episode of this show hosted by Malcolm Gladwell, and I’ll admit, she’s converted me. Each week he tackles a topic that’s “overlooked or misunderstood,” but deserves a closer examination.
19. Teacher’s Pet
Just for you true-crime lovers, the Teacher’s Pet podcast features love triangles, betrayal, and murder, i.e. everything you need to stay awake on your next road trip (as long as the kids are asleep!).
20. The Dream
If you’re a parent (or just a human) with friends, you’ve probably been asked to buy something from a multi-level marketing company, like Pampered Chef or BeautyCounter. Some are good…some, not so much. This podcast explores the world of pyramid schemes and too-good-to-be-true pitches from around the country.
21. 99% Invisible
This podcast looks at the things we see every day but don’t think to question — from city street markings to fortune cookies to plaid shirts — and explains their hidden origin stories. Perfect for those of you who are intensely curious, love random trivia, or have that one wonderful kid who never stops asking “why?”
22. Dirty John
For true crime, without the gore, try Dirty John. This podcast is more like a real-life soap opera than a murder mystery, but with all the same intrigue.
23. Snap Judgment
Glynn Washington’s podcast Snap Judgment is probably the best storytelling podcast out there. Organized around a different theme every episode, this show is reminiscent of This American Life, just a little more fun.
Love a juicy secret? In this call-in podcast hosted by comedian Chris Gethard, anonymous listeners share the stories they’re afraid to tell in real life. And the result is hard to stop listening to.
Here, fake judge and real comedian John Hodgman presides over hilarious listener cases then renders a judgment and it’s so addictive! The episode in which a teenage son presented his case for getting a motorcycle — against his mother’s wishes — made me cry laughing.
26. Modern Love
In this popular podcast, actors read the stories from the beloved Modern Love column at the New York Times. Plus, we get updates from the authors of each essay, since some leave us wondering what happened after they wrote the essay.
Ever felt like you’re living in a bubble? This podcast features familiar subjects like “fake news,” dating, and apologies, all from the vantage point of other countries and cultures. Really compelling.
28. Up and Vanished
This podcast delves into a Georgia cold case — the disappearance of teacher Tara Grindstead — and eventually creates new leads and new arrests. Jump in now to hear this still-developing crime story.
This (surprisingly) fun podcast skips the small talk and jumps into issues that are often taboo, but shape our lives in big ways. Think sex education, modern manhood, aging, and more.
If you’re a politics and history buff or just want to better understand how we got to this current political state, check out this cool podcast by the Washington Post. Each episode explores a different president’s background and legacy, and they’re all worth a listen. (Even if some of you will be skipping episode 45.)
For those of you who have struggled with infertility or know someone who has, this podcast is mandatory listening. The first season follows the hosts through their own IVF journey, and season two shares the beautifully diverse stories of people who long for parenthood–and how they work to make it happen.
This must-listen podcast invites us to step outside our news feeds and get to know stories that traditional media outlets miss, like how despite its hipster reputation, the city of Portland has seen a resurgence of hate crimes over the last few years. Do yourself a favor, especially if you’re white, and give this one a listen to open your mind.
Ever been inspired to build a little library or start a community garden? This podcast follows the people who took action to change their communities in the most brilliant ways — and succeeded.
34. How I Built this
If you’re interested in how companies like Stitch Fix, Urban Decay, and WeWork got their start, you’ll love this podcast that explores how the most successful entrepreneurs and innovators brought their visions to life. Great for moms who are reinventing themselves, or anyone who’s ever thought about starting their own company.
35. The Minimalists
This podcast aims to help you live better with less, whether that means less money, space, or (not that parents ever struggle with this) clutter.
Nora McInerny created this podcast after she miscarried and then lost both her husband and father within a few weeks. It’s a show where people can be honest about the hard things in life and where you never have to smile if you don’t feel like it.
Want to listen to a bunch of really smart people deconstructing Harry Potter as if it’s a sacred text? Yeah, me too. Grab a mug of homemade butterbeer and listen to this with your kids.
One of our favorite children’s books comes alive with stories of inspiring women, all read aloud by other inspiring women. It’s pure magic.
39. Code Switch
Lots of people have a tough time talking about race, and this podcast from a team of journalists of color aims to make it easier. Or at least make it more honest, informed, and empathic.
Happier has been a CMP favorite since the day it launched, and it’s one I still love listening to. Author Gretchen Rubin along with her sister Elizabeth, identify habit hacks, or small changes you can make to feel better, be more organized, prioritize your loves, and more. It’s actionable and light
We’ve watched the RBG documentary, envied her dissent collar, and even done her workout (it’s really hard!). Now comes the podcast. For Justice Ginsburg fans who can’t get enough, this show is great news.
I’m of the opinion that you can never have too many great parenting podcasts in your life, and this is one of the tops by so many accounts. From poop to teenagers to single parenting, host Hillary Franks nails all of them with humor, wit, intelligence, and lots of great guests.
Listening to this podcast is like hanging out with your wittiest, most brilliant friends as they critique the latest TV shows, movies, and books. Pop it on when you need a little light distraction — and guidance over whether to see that new Avengers movie.
It turns out our favorite Queer Eye stylist has a range of other interests besides great skin and hair care products, honey! Each episode starts with a good question and follows with interviews with some truly fascinating people. Plus…Jonathan!
If you’re ever ruminated about an event in your past that you wish had gone differently, this podcast might be for you. Host Jonathan Goldstein helps his subjects make sense of — and make peace with — their pasts.
If you’re discouraged about the level of discourse in our country, practice a little passive resistance (heh) by sitting back and listening to this political podcast that values thoughtful debate, respect and nuance between Sarah Stewart Holland on the left, and Beth Silvers on the right.
The longstanding podcast Satellite Sisters podcast features 5 adult sisters who love to stay connected — you may have even listened to their radio show pre-podcasting! They talk about literally everything, as long as they can talk about it with honesty, humor, and empathy.
One of our readers described this show as a “no-holds-barred” parenting podcast, which sounds right up my alley. It deals with everything from the mundane of daycare costs to whether your teen should watch Eighth Grade; plus they take listener questions, so you can add your own query to the mix.
49. Forever 35
If getting older has made you prioritize self-care like me, you’ll love this fun, non-judgmental podcast about women who “just like serums.” You’ll get plenty of great advice for real-world problems.
50. Selected Shorts
Attention all lit majors! If you’re looking to class up your next road trip, scroll through this podcast’s trove of classic short stories read aloud by dramatic actors. They’re all so compelling, and you’ll feel smarter afterward, which is aways a great benefit.