I rarely listen to the radio anymore. There’s one local station I like, but mostly I listen to 1) my kid’s choice (Disney music) or 2) podcasts and audiobooks. Over the last several years I have become an absolute podcast junkie. You know what I missed most when I was teaching from home during the beginning of the pandemic? My commute. I know, I’m crazy. But what I really missed was uninterrupted time to listen to my podcasts on the way to and from school.
I’m often asked for podcast recommendations so I thought I would share my top ten here with you. You might be familiar with some of these, but some might be new to you. I’ll give you a short run down of what each show is like and share some of my favorite episodes. Maybe you’ll find something to add to your library. So, here we go, my top ten podcasts (in no certain order).
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This was the first podcast I ever listened to. In fact, most of the other podcasts on this list are there because Jen introduced me to them. I love the openness and welcoming space that Jen Hatmaker has created on her show. I’ve considered myself a part of her community for several years and I have to say it’s a wonderful place to be. New episodes drop on Tuesdays. My favorite episodes so far include:
- Episodes with Shauna Neiquist (there are a few)
- The two food series
- Episodes with Jo Saxton (there are two)
- “Me? Love them?” With Bob Goff
- “Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church” with Rachel Held Evans
- “Books as Mirrors and Windows” with Kwame Alexander
- “Live Yourself into a New Way of Thinking” with Richard Rohr
- “Working Moms Stretched Too Thin” with Jessica Turner
2. The Big Boo Cast
I was introduced to Melanie Shankle on Jen’s show and I’m so glad I found the delightful podcast she does with her good friend and fellow author Sophie Hudson. I usually refer to this show as the “Seinfeld” of podcasts. It’s really a show about nothing. Each week you can be sure to hear about sports (both are huge SEC fans), their kids (both almost out of high school), skincare and fashion (ie what they’ve ordered on Amazon lately), and food.
Each new episode is like hopping on a party line (that’s like a zoom call but on the phone for you young-uns) with your best friends. They’ve also interviewed folks like Phil Rosenthal and Mike Leech. New episodes drop each Wednesday, with additional content offered on Patreon.
Sarah Steward Holland and Beth Silvers are both Kentuckians, trained lawyers, and moms of young kids. They started their podcast in 2015 with the goal of promoting grace-filled political conversations. Each Tuesday and Friday the hosts cover current events, and dive deep into a topic their community has shown interest in. Occasionally, they will start the week with a “Five Things you Need to Know About” episode in order to prep their listeners for Friday’s episode.
I’ve been a loyal listener for a couple of years now and I can tell you that I definitely feel like a more informed citizen after listening and learning from this facts-first political podcast. Additional content is offered on Patreon.
Focused on inspiring stories of great leadership, Jo Saxton, Stephanie O’Brien, and Edrin Williams host the Lead Stories Podcast with the hope of encouraging, equipping, and empowering leaders. Saxton is an author and leadership coach. O’Brien and Williams are pastors. Together, they explore leadership through a theological view.
The show has covered topics from decision making to leadership as calling to navigating transitions. You’ll be introduced to other great leaders in episodes with “Lead Voices.” If you hold any leadership role (most of us do, whether we think we do or not ) this podcast is power in your pocket. Episodes drop on Mondays.
5. Unlocking Us/Dare to Lead with Brene Brown
Okay this one’s a twofer. I have to tell you that I felt a little convicted when I was first introduced to Brene Brown’s work on shame and vulnerability. What she talked about touched too close to home, it was too real. But as I became more familiar with her through friends and people I knew in education circles I really fell in love with her work.
These two podcasts highlight everything she’s worked for in the last several years. In “Unlocking Us,” she interviews guests from Dolly Parton to Melinda Gates to Oprah (yes, Oprah) with the goal of unpacking aspects of the human experience that impact us all. Topics include empathy, grief, trauma, hope, and love.
Her “Dare to Lead” podcast highlights her latest work in leadership research. I started listening to this podcast as I began to read her book by the same title. I have just finished the first episode in which she interviews US Olympian Abby Wambach and y’all, it lit a fire in me! Again, if you hold a leadership role in any part of your life (and I bet you do), this one is one you want to make sure you check out! *Podcasts only available on Spotify.*
Latasha Morrison founded Be the Bridge in 2016 with the mission to “encourage racial reconciliation among all ethnicities, to promote racial unity in America, and to equip others to do the same.” The podcast followed a few years later. The foundation’s values of truth telling, humility, respect, confession, grace, justice, and reconciliation are at the core of her work as she interviews guests who personify these values in their lives. Alongside Morrison, you’ll hear the voices of Jo Saxton, Lisa Sharon Harper, Sam Acho, and Jamie Ivey just to name a few.
I love Emily Ley! She is the creator of the Simplified Planner and all things Simplified. Her podcast is relatively new and each week she focuses on how to simplify one area of your life. One of my biggest take aways from a recent episode in which she instructs her listeners about simplifying the kitchen and pantry was that you should use whatever system works best for you. If you use a system just because someone said that’s what you should do, but it’s not one that realistically fits your organizational style and lifestyle, you won’t maintain it!
The episodes are fun, super short, and just…well…simple!
8. Renegade Rules
I was so thrilled to find this podcast! The hosts, Jeff Johnson and author Heather Shumaker discuss early learning and the rules of renegade parenting. Shumaker’s book “It’s Okay Not to Share” changed the way we view parenting our preschooler in particular (read more about it in this post). So, when I discovered that she had a podcast I couldn’t start listening soon enough. It is amazing, y’all. The episodes are short and give such great ideas and real-life examples of the ideas that Shumaker shares in her book.
They often have Lisa Murphy as a guest host on the show. Lisa is known as the “Ooey-Gooey Lady” and is a great early childhood educator and trainer. I was fortunate to have been able to attend one of her trainings several years ago when I taught early childhood and it was such a great training! She is the author of several books about ooey-gooey child-centered playful learning. Along with Heather Shumaker, she is the inspiration for how we set up our children’s play areas in our home. (Read about how we do it here.)
After jumping head-first into her book Untamed, I absolutely fell for Glennon Doyle. Whether we like to admit it (to ourselves or others) or not, we all do hard things. From anxiety to grief to parenting and beyond, Glennon and her sister Amanda address each of these hard things and share how they’ve gotten through the hard experiences in their lives and what they’ve learned now that they’re on the other side. Tuning in to hear Glennon talk about feelings that I’ve felt helps me to feel like I’m not alone.
*Note: Some topics are heavy, and can be triggering. Due to language and some content, this is probably one you want to listen to when the kids aren’t around.
10. The Purpose Show
Allie Casazza is on a mission to help moms conquer the stress and overwhelm of modern motherhood. In her podcast, the offers tips to simplify life and take charge of your motherhood journey. Having young kids herself, Allie understands what it’s like to feel lost in motherhood, and how important it is to be who you are and incorporate your personal purpose into how you parent. Most recently, Allie has authored her first book, Declutter Like a Mother. I’ve just recently started to tune in to this one and I love it already!
I hope you’ll try some of these and find something that inspires, motivates, and uplifts your spirit. Love one I didn’t list, or have a recommendation? Let me know!