We all have days where we feel like we’ve lost a parenting battle, but hopefully we have more days that could be described as parenting wins—the days when we feel like we’ve cracked the code and figured out how to stop a tantrum before it begins, or actually get a picky kid to try a new food.
Hillary Frank knows all about parenting wins and loses. The creator of The Longest Shortest Time podcast, Frank changed the conversation about motherhood in America but she doesn’t call herself a parenting expert. The author and journalist says she’s just a mom working to have some parenting wins, and during the third episode of The Motherly Podcast, Frank tells Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety that over the last eight years she’s learned that the key to parenting wins is creativity, and embracing one’s weird side.
Frank welcomed her daughter in 2010, and if you’re a listener of The Longest Shortest Time, you probably know she had a pretty traumatic birth and fourth-trimester experience.
It wasn’t easy, and when her daughter was 4 months old she moved to a new town. She was trying to connect with fellow mothers and have authentic conversations about the hard and surprising parts of new parenthood, but as many new moms know, making friends in a new place is really hard.
Yearning for these conversations (and thinking it might be a nice addition to her portfolio) Frank put her decade of radio experience to use and started the now famous and award-winning podcast, The Longest Shortest Time. Armed with a microphone she could ask fellow mothers about their journey in a way you can’t when you’re just turning to a fellow mom in line at Starbucks, and she soon found mothers were reaching out to her with stories they wanted to share.
“And this thing that had started like a way to heal myself became this thing that was cathartic for other people too,” she tells Tenety.
That was the better part of a decade ago now, and the podcasting landscape has changed dramatically and The Longest Shortest Time has evolved. Frank is no longer the host (having handed that over to Andrea Silenzi) but she is still the executive producer, and she recently released a book called Weird Parenting Wins: Bathtub Dining, Family Screams, and Other Hacks from the Parenting Trenches.
The book is all about the creative and sometimes genius ways moms and dads have solved parenting problems, but Frank says parenting wins aren’t always amazing moments.
“I think whenever things don’t feel like they’re falling apart I feel like it’s a win. And like you have to actively work to get it to be like that. The idea that. That families could just automatically be like happy without any work I think is a myth,” she explains. “So I think when I feel like I’ve hit upon a thing that makes us all feel kind of calm, at home, that feels like a win.”
To hear more about Hillary Frank and weird parenting wins listen to The Motherly Podcast, sponsored by Prudential, for the full interview.