Podcast: Best of Both Worlds turns 1! Plus back-to-school tips

The Best of Both Worlds podcast officially launched a year ago this week! Today’s episode looks back on Sarah and my favorite moments, our cringe-inducing moments, and what we’ve learned along the way. A few highlights and surprises:

People like hearing us talk. Curiously our Sarah-and-me dialogue episodes are our most downloaded. Although I think this is partly because we haven’t done a good job describing the guest episodes in the headlines people see on iTunes. We are definitely shifting this for year 2, because we have amazing guests.

Our traffic has grown a lot in the last few months. Consequently, almost all of our top-downloaded episodes have been recent ones. If you just joined us since April — welcome! But I hope you’ll go back and check out some older episodes. We covered some foundational issues early on (part-time work, childcare, how many kids we have).

Zencastr only acts up when we have high-profile guests. Murphy’s law, right? We had horrible technical difficulties on our Deena Kastor episode (still sad about that one). We also had technical issues for Gretchen Rubin, Manoush Zomorodi, and Meredith Bodgas, though we managed to solve those without listeners being able to tell (not so much the Deena episode…sigh). Usually our software works great, but it’s like it can sense when we’re really, really hoping everything goes well.

We have gotten better at having a not-in-the-same-place conversation. Practice really does help. Listening to some of the very first episodes, I hear a hesitancy as we’re trying to talk that we no longer have. I hope listeners feel we’ve improved at our podcasting skills (including our interview skills — I’ve interviewed thousands of people in my life, but interviewing people for a podcast is different from print. I’d say trickier – and I have great respect for people who do this for TV now, since they have to worry about visuals too.)

We are really enjoying ourselves! I hope that comes across. We are 55 episodes in, and hope to do hundreds more. We’ve talked about wishing we started this years ago, but oh well.

Now, in the interest of being helpful, and not just self-congratulatory… we also discuss the back-to-school phenomenon. Frankly, I find all the articles on the “craziness” a bit much. It will be fine. Schedules will get ironed out in a few weeks. Probably no one will go to school without shoes, or if they do, it will only happen once.

That said, some of our tips:

Make a spreadsheet with the schedule. If you have a lot of kids, or a lot of activities (or both), seeing them visually can help. You can repurpose one of my 168 Hours spreadsheets for this.

Create a launching pad. Shoes, backpacks, coats, sports gear all go in one place that you pass through on the way to the car (or bus). If things leave this zone (e.g. books for homework) they must come immediately back afterwards. While I doubt we will continue this streak indefinitely (picture me knocking furiously on wood), I am happy to report that our launching pad meant we never missed the bus last year!

Don’t sweat lunch. Personally, I think school lunch, or “hot lunch” as I like to call it, is fine. And easy. And a lot better than it used to be. If you disagree or your kids don’t like it (or it’s not an option), teach them to pack their own lunches pronto. This does not need to be a sport in the parenthood Olympics.

Buy your own school supplies. Ok, that’s just two notebook-and-pen-lovers talking 🙂 Also, schedule your own activities. Parents are allowed to have fun and pursue their own interests too.

Homework is not about you. You already went through fifth grade! I think keeping this in mind helps keep school projects in perspective.

We’d love your feedback on the podcast. We’ll do a formal survey soon, but in the meantime, feel free to comment here, or on Instagram, or on Sarah’s blog.


13 thoughts on “Podcast: Best of Both Worlds turns 1! Plus back-to-school tips

  1. Happy Birthday Best of Both Worlds! I have listened to every episode. You even answered my question about guilt over not spending equal amounts of alone time with each of my children. I liked Sarah’s suggestion that I did not have to spend equal amounts of time with each, just comparable for my two year old. That suggestion really helped me focus on just spending some time playing with her while her older sister was occupied and assuaged my guilt. Thank you!

  2. I love the podcast and listen repeatedly to most episodes. My biggest issue is I try to pair my first listening with my weekday run and when that does fit on release day (like today) i’m always torn. Thank you for making me desperate to run today.

    1. @Bec- wow, thanks for re-listening to episodes! I try to time listens to my favorite podcasts to long car trips. But somedays I’m like, wait, I’m only in the car for 10 minutes!

  3. Happy birthday! I love the podcast and I really appreciate how down to Earth you and Sarah are—today’s back to school tips included!

    1. @Robin – thank you! I’m so glad we seem down-to-earth. We want to come across like two extra friends for our listeners, cheering them through!

  4. Happy Birthday to the podcast! I am one of your listeners who doesn’t have kids yet but hopes to have children within 5 years.
    I very much enjoy listening to you two and I like how you often have different views and attitudes than the majority. (E.g. the myths of “I don’t have time”, “It’s not okay to hire someone to help”, “Two travelling parents won’t work”)
    Two ideas or requests I’d have:
    I noticed Laura’s microphone seems to echo a lot, it’s easier to understand Sarah. Is this something that can be improved?
    Also, I’d love to hear you talk more about money and budgeting!
    Keep up the excellent work, I look forward to Tuesdays every week!

    1. @Maggie – interesting on the microphone, as we have the exact same one. I suspect it’s that the room where I record may have worse acoustics. I could try closing the curtains and blinds I suppose to make more of an enclosed space…

  5. I really enjoy your podcast! I’d like to hear more from people who have unflexible schedules or work odd hours (I think you did have a doctor on once). It seems like a lot of your time management type advice centers around the assumptions that you have control of your time. My job has very rigid hours. If I have to work 2pm -10pm I have to be in at 2pm, or 1:55pm. 2:05pm is acceptable only occasionally with a call to indicate you’re late. I have no ability to work from home. One good thing is that I know I will work exactly 40 hours a week (Very occasionally more to cover for someone sick) and I do not bring work home outside of work hours. I’d like to hear more strategies for moving the rest of your life around fixed and non-standard work hours.

    1. @Margaret C – thanks for listening! And thanks for your suggestion. There are upsides and downsides to fixed hours work. The lack of flexibility can be tough, but if you know you start at 2 p.m. you also know you won’t be working that morning for sure. So there’s that. I think moving the rest of life around depends on how much advance notice you have of your schedule. It might help to get in the habit of plotting out the week on one of the 168 hours spreadsheets as soon as you get your hours for that week. Then make a short list of whatever else is a priority and map it onto the other hours – so, for instance, going to the gym the 2 mornings you aren’t working (but the kids are in school) and making a point of doing special family activities on the evenings when you don’t work.

  6. Can’t believe it’s been a year since the podcast started! I just wanted to add that I listen to the podcast on 1.5 speed and Sarah, I can understand you just fine (although once in a while I have to skip back for something I missed). Talk the way you talk naturally and don’t worry about us.

  7. Happy Birthday! I love the podcast and feel like my friends who I’ve not yet converted to listeners are getting tired of me referencing it so frequently. Their loss.

    My oldest started Kindergarten this week and I accept that some of these initial wrinkles will get ironed out; I’d love a suggestion on how to handle/store/keep up with all of the papers and information that comes home. Between the elementary school, the before/after-care program, and my youngest’s daycare, I have 3 calendars of activities, 3 meal calendars, FAQs, contact lists, etc (all paper-based). I imagine more is to come throughout the year (reminders for events, volunteer schedules, calendars for outside-of-school activities). I really don’t want to hang and clutter a bulletin board with all of these papers, but I feel like taking the time to copy all of the information into my personal calendars might be a waste of time. How do you and Sarah manage all of the information coming in so that you’re only dropping the balls you mean to be dropping? Thanks!

    1. @Ashley – great question! The kids are supposed to give me all forms immediately when they come in, but I’ve been home every day this week when the bus gets here, so that’s not required the same systems as when I’m traveling.
      We get a weekly electronic list of flyers for the elementary school, fortunately, so I just look at that on Thursdays and note anything that needs noting on my calendar. No paper.
      I don’t deal with meal calendars. They buy lunch every day – they can always find something (there are bagels and cereal available if they don’t like the main, and there’s always at least one kid-friendly main).
      The only papers I keep referring to – the swim team schedule (3 kids in 3 different groups!), the karate schedule (the classes are every day but at different times) and…the recycling schedule. It’s every other week and I can never remember if it’s this week or not.

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