Podcasts, Professionals and Sippy Cup Queens
I have no clue what I would do with a baby. I’m inept at putting on a onesie, I’m not sure how to buckle a child’s car seat, and I would definitely lose all of its tiny little socks. Plus, it would be weird to feed my baby Cheerios. Right? I still eat Cheerios. Maybe Lucky Charms would be better? I should introduce it to its Irish heritage early.
Before I go further, I should clarify: there is no positive pregnancy test. No double pink line announcing my future motherhood, and no impending baby shower. (Your blood pressure can return to normal.) I’ve managed to finish high school without a little bundle of joy.
Gold star for me.
Cue the confetti.
I would like to thank the academy.
Granted, I may be hopeless at preparing infant cuisine or buttoning a Winnie-the-Pooh sleeper, but I do know the scientific strategies for soothing a crying toddler. I can explain the job of a Doula and I’m aware that there’s a such thing as a clogged milk duct. I heard it all on a podcast.
Because of my imagination, I theoretically, kind of—sort of—know how to be a mom. I’m also decently educated in the lifestyle of badass female CEOs, and I’m a regular listener of Oprah’s Super Soul Conservations. I’ve dedicated the past year of my car rides and dog walks to listening to podcasts on how to adult. Adulting, so I’ve heard, doesn’t come with a handy instruction manual, so I figured that podcasts are the next best thing. I like to think I’ll be the most successful and prepared grown-up ever.
I like to think I’ll be the most successful and prepared grown-up ever.
I’ve wondered how I would look in a white dress. Any romantic comedy, especially those featuring Hugh Grant, explain that an ivory gown and a diamond ring is the pinnacle of commitment. Saying “I do” is a cornerstone of womanhood. The feminist in me doesn’t buy it. But a bride-to-be podcast recently taught me how to make the agonizing choice between lace and satin.
The host, a lady with a forgettable name like Betty or Clarabelle, advised trendy bite-sized fruit tarts and custom mojitos at the reception. And a short-order grilled cheese bar is a must. Sure, if I choose to get married, it may be an intimate signing of paperwork at the courthouse. But thanks to twenty-three minutes of Dressed, Styled and Down the Aisle (episode 12: “Styling Secrets”), I’m sure I’ll rival Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle.
Every podcast, I should mention, has its own theme song—a commercial-like jingle that is a portal to the conversation. Before the host begins to interview the guest, the listener is blessed with the chance to judge their taste in music. The parenthood-centered podcasts are kicked off by upbeat 90s pop songs, as if Spice Girls or Backstreet Boys will encourage new parents to make a fancy dinner on a Tuesday night. The bridal renditions tend to open with a cheesy love song in which the singer is most definitely wearing glitter, spandex, or both. TED Radio Hour or NPR, by contrast, offers a tune that is tasteful and unlikely to offend retirement home residents.
My favorite openers, however, come from the career podcasts. These episodes tell me all I need to know about being a professional adult. That jingle, marked by a few seconds of uplifting jazz, screams high heels and a very important job title.
It just so happens that high heels (preferably round-toed and at least three-and-a-quarter inch) and an important job title (I’m gonna go with CEO or Editor-in-Chief) are precisely what I want from my adult life. Yes, I find imagining my future child and fashionable wedding dress romantic. It’s cute. It’s so cliche that it’s comforting. But, really, I want a tailored pantsuit to wear to my exquisitely managed office.
For career advice, I turn to weekly editions of Second Life, a female-centric podcast that promises interviews with Pencil Skirt Powerhouses. In an October episode, the host interviewed a woman who created a multimillion dollar business empire based on gourmet cupcakes. Come November, it featured the Director of Fashion Partnerships at Instagram, the founder of the indie magazine Cherry Bombe and the ever inspiring J-Lo. These women share their insider industry tips, management wisdom and life lessons, their journeys between their college lecture halls and their corner offices.
With a bit of time and a pair of headphones, I’ve learned how to coordinate PR for my hypothetical startup, how to approach an important interview, and how to make an impressive salary as a travel and restaurant blogger. Social media, apparently, is the big thing in advertising, and to succeed in any industry, energy must be dedicated to networking. LinkedIn is basically a yellow brick road to entrepreneurial stardom. And, believe me, your girl looks fine in ruby red slippers—preferably with a matching blazer.
Your girl looks fine in ruby red slippers—preferably with a matching blazer.
Podcasts are enlightening on this whole adulting business. If I felt so inclined, I could spend fifty-six minutes listening to Buying A Home in Texas: Home Buying 101—rated 4.5 stars. I don’t ever plan on living in Texas, but in case I marry a really hot cowboy, I would know how to purchase a whole damn farm on discount.
Grocery Guru and Table Manners offer similar life strategies, including how to buy food and set a proper table. Because I never know when my late great-grandmother might stop over for dinner expecting me to make a roast and eat off the dusty china dishes that my family keeps in the basement storage room, and it would be a shame to make an idiot of myself in the Safeway checkout line. I also hate gardening and can never ever keep any sort of plant alive, but thanks to Living Homegrown, I know how to forage for carrots in an emergency.
Maybe I’m the sort of Type A control freak that would find herself carrot foraging. I’m not going to limit myself. The future is for imagining, being open to possibilities. Reach for the stars, if you will. So sometimes I think about a white dress and the diamond ring. Sometimes I consider parenthood, and what kind of cereal I will feed my inevitably freckled child. Honestly, I always want the pantsuit—the career and the responsibilities.
But I’m not sure what I’m going to be when I grow up. I wish I did. It would make being a teenager so much easier (and I’d probably be thirty-seven percent less likely to get a bad tattoo and a belly-button piercing). All I know is that I have a pair of tangly white headphones and a purple app icon on my phone. My trusty podcasts make sure that I know my choices, that I’m somewhat educated in the art of being an adult.
As a mom, I’m confident that my diaper bag would be stocked. I’d be a sippy cup queen. My baby would wear trendy rompers and have early exposure to the Wizarding World and a galaxy far, far away.
As a bride, I’d be organized but not obsessive. I don’t believe in oversized tiaras or excessive rhinestones, but a short-order grilled cheese bar at the wedding reception sounds delightful.
As a professional, I will first and foremost be stylish. I will be self-assured, creative and an absolute boss—in all senses of the word. Of course, I first have to overcome my Monster’s Inc-induced phobia of sleeping with my closet open. I hope there’s a podcast for that.