Looking for something new in your podcast/laundry-folding rotation? Languish in “Toddler Purgatory,” produced by Sara Levithan and hosted by actors Molly Lloyd and Blaire Brooks. It’s the latest from What Fresh Hell Media, which produces a podcast geared toward older kids, “What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood.” This one is devoted to the toddler-parent set.
“’What fresh hell’ is something that Dorothy Parker used to say. She used to answer her phone or doorbell with a bottle of gin and say, ‘What fresh hell is this?’” explains “What Fresh Hell” host Amy Wilson, who also helped to create the new “Toddler Purgatory” podcast.
As for the name?
“Blaire and I always laugh, because it’s the kind of thing where you get to the end of your day, it’s 8 o’clock or whenever your kid goes to bed, and you’re so relieved that you have some time to relax. So, what do we do? We sit down, and we scroll on our phones and look at pictures of our kids. We can’t wait for them to go to bed, but the minute they go to bed, we miss them desperately,” says Lloyd. “And so that’s what I think toddler purgatory is like: It’s the strongest love you’ll ever feel and the most challenged you will ever feel—it’s not heaven and it’s not hell, but it’s somewhere in between.”
Lloyd hopes the podcast helps parents feel less isolated, especially during the pandemic. New content ideas come from their listeners and from lived experience—a refreshing antidote to the flood of aspirational influencer content out there right now. (“Just remember: It’s their job. Every time you see them hold up a popsicle, they’re getting paid for it. Take it for what it’s worth,” says Lloyd about mom-influencers.)
Topics include risk-taking toddlers, whining, picky eating, travel and more. Here’s a tidbit: Their recent vacation-focused podcast featured Parents editor-in-chief Julia Edelstein, who had a lot to say on the topic of trips. While going on a far-flung vacation might feel way out of reach right now, that’s really OK. Think about what kids usually remember about a hotel. The pool, right? Don’t focus on big experiences; zero in on magical moments.
“Their worlds are expanding more and more every day, but they’re still pretty small. And within that world, there are so many ways to delight them, to bring experiences to them to teach them how to vacation. It doesn’t have to be fancy. And it doesn’t have to be far,” Lloyd says. (That’s a relief, since there’s no way I’m stepping foot in an airport right now.)
As we head into another potentially pandemic-afflicted year, “I personally hope that listeners come away feeling like they’re not alone—that the feelings they’re feeling and the struggles they’re having are in some ways universal, and I hope they laugh. I hope they feel like they’re hanging out with a couple of their goofball friends,” Lloyd says.
Podcasts come out every other Tuesday, but there’s a super-active Facebook group, too, where parents discuss everything from pacifiers to kids getting sick at daycare (inevitable?) to weighty issues like domestic violence. Visit toddlerpurgatory.com for the full lineup and schedule.