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The New Family Podcast

The New Family Podcast is the show that explores what families really look like today and the issues that matter to us most. Twice a week we interview some of the most compelling people whose stories represent the many forms family can take today. And we chat with top parenting experts with great insights on the challenges of raising kids in these interesting times. This podcast comes from the creators of the popular website, thenewfamily.com, which explores and celebrates modern family life. Our series, the 1,000 Families Project, tells the first-person stories of people with families of every shape and size. In this show we interview some of the most interesting people who contribute to the #1000families series, as well as authors, family therapists, parent educators and other experts with practical advice to share that's relevant to families of every kind.
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Now displaying: 2018
Sep 17, 2018

For this very special milestone episode of the podcast, we’re getting a little personal. For the first time, the whole family joins in as we share the first week of school in our house. Join host Brandie, the boys’ dad, Derek, stepmom, Amy, 15-year-old basketball enthusiast Cameron, skateboarding fiend Alister, 11, and some other very important people in our lives as we share the everyday experience of the return to school, the juggle between work and family, the quest to get the right mix of extra-curricular activities and the never-ending mystery of the unmatched sock.

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Sep 10, 2018

As you know, this show and the website are on a mission to explore family in all its many, many shapes and forms, as well as the issues shaping family life and society in 2018 and beyond. So when I heard about the project my guest for this episode has undertaken, I knew she was a kindred spirit in celebrating family diversity. Elisa Binda and her partner Mattia Perrego have created Unconventional Fairytales for Unconventional Families, a book of children’s stories that organically weave diverse characters and family configurations into the adventures depicted on the beautifully illustrated pages.

If a children’s book is going to handle an issue pertaining to family structure, it’s often in a bit of self-help form, geared at explaining to kids why they have two homes, or two dads, or something along those lines. Importantly, Unconventional Fairytales take a different approach altogether, simply telling great, imaginative stories that happen to have broader sets of characters, including a trans child — born a warlock but who identifies as a witch, a princess with divorced parents, a pair of pirate moms and more. Join to hear more about this awesome project and the real-life stories that inspired the book.

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Sep 3, 2018

This episode explores an uncomfortable truth, and that’s that alcoholism is on the rise among moms. One study found that problem drinking — the kind that adversely affects other areas of your life — rose a staggering 83.7 per cent among women between 2002 and 2013. My guest for this episode is writer and mom Dana Bowman, who has written frankly — and with humour — about her personal experiences with alcoholism and recovery, first in her acclaimed memoir Bottled, and now with How to Be Perfect Like Me. We talk about the a range of societal factors that are contributing to an increase in drinking among moms, and what will need to change in a world of over-parenting, perfectionism and memes about “Mom’s happy juice” to address and reverse this trend.

Aug 27, 2018

This episode tackles something many of us would like to have in more abundance: sleep. Most of us know we’re likely not getting enough, and we may feel guilty when our kids’ sleep falls short of the recommended amount, too. But it can be challenging to squeeze all of life into more reasonable hours, especially when we’re juggling commutes home from work, pick-ups, extra-curriculars and homework. My guest, Alanna McGinn, is a respected sleep consultant and founder of Good Night Sleep Site. She and her team have helped countless parents overcome the sleep challenges they’re having with their kids. Alanna has also recently launched a great new podcast called This Girl Loves Sleep, where she’s dropping all kinds of sleep-related truth bombs to help kids of all ages and their parents to get better sleep. We talk about the factors in modern family life that encroach on our sleep and how to take concrete steps to bring back bedtime.

Notes

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Aug 20, 2018

If you’re listening to this around the time the episode goes live on August 20th, it won’t have escaped you that it’s back-to-school shopping season. So while the wisdom here applies any time of year, I thought it would be a great time to have Rebecca Saha on the show to talk about how to approach all of this in a more sustainable way. Rebecca is a mom of three, a teacher-librarian, the co-owner of an online kids’ resale shop called iSpy Clothing. She’s passionate about educating other families about the human and environmental costs of fast fashion, and the advantages of living — and shopping — more sustainably. Rebecca shares her tips on how you can more mindfully cloth your family and have fun doing so.

Notes

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Aug 13, 2018

Too often the everyday experience of being a parent feels like a race against a clock you didn’t set. We frantically hurl ourselves through morning routine, drop-off, work, pick-ups, kids’ activities, grocery shopping, dinner, housework and homework duty. My guest on this episode of the podcast asked herself what it would take for this whole thing to suck a little less so we can get more joy out of the life we’ve chosen with the children we love. I’m joined by esteemed parenting writer and editor, KJ Dell’Antonia, whose work you may know from the likes of Slate and the New York Times Motherlode blog. She’s got a great new book out called How to Be a Happier Parent, realistically subtitled Raising a Family, Having a Life and Loving (Almost) Every Minute of It.

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Aug 6, 2018

For this episode we’re joined by Jana Girdauskas. Jana is a mother of two, a special education teacher and the founder of an amazing charity called The Period Purse, which provides menstrual hygiene to people who are experiencing homelessness. Learn about the ah-ha moment in her car that led to Jana learning about the issue of menstrual equity, plus the incredible way her two young sons have become educated about menstruation by helping package supplies for The Period Purse.

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Jul 16, 2018

Surrogacy is a topic we’ve explored in a few ways on The New Family, and it continues to be more and more important as a method for forming families. My guest for this episode, Stephanie Plante, took some of the tough stuff that was going on around her — the breakdown of her marriage, difficult events in the news — and found a way to create something magical by being a surrogate. Hear how helping a couple become parents brought her joy and purpose, and continues to expand her own family through the lasting connection she’s made with the baby’s parents.

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Jul 9, 2018

I’m delighted to welcome my guest for this episode, Olivia Fogel, programs manager and camp director at The Ten Oaks Project. Ten Oaks is a charitable, volunteer-driven organization that engages and connects children and youth from LGBTQ+ families, identities, and communities. Although it has a number of initiatives, Ten Oaks is perhaps best known for the summer camps it offers, which make kids and youth at home, whether they’ve got LGBTQ+ parents at home or identity as part of one of those groups themselves. Olivia explains why she believes the programs not only provide a welcome, inclusive summer camp environment, but in some cases actually save lives.

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Jul 2, 2018

My guests for this episode, Molly Murphy and Clare Kenny, are members of an organization called The Mudgirls Natural Building Collective based in British Columbia on Canada’s west coast. This all-woman group builds eco-friendly housing called Cobb Houses, for customers and for each other. They work in a patriarchy-busting, non-hierarchical manner, and get this — childcare is included in all their projects so that women can find employment opportunities that don’t come with the usual strain of finding good, affordable care for their kids. The Mudgirls have put together a beautiful book about their work and way of life. It’s called The Mudgirls Manifesto: Handbuilt Homes, Handcrafted Lives. Clare and Molly challenge us to think differently about how work — and life — can look.

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Jun 25, 2018

I’m really excited to welcome my guests for this episode, Nikita Stanley and Aleksandra Jassem. Aleks and Nikita are the women behind the popular blog The Rebel Mama, which has been described as “everyone’s favourite anti-mommy blog.” Of course they’re not really anti-moms, but they are pro real talk about the tough stuff that comes with new motherhood. And they’re speaking to a cohort of young urban moms who appreciate their relatable, raw and often funny writing. And Nikita and Aleks have just come out with their book, The Rebel Mama’s Handbook for ‘Cool’ Moms.

Show Notes

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Jun 18, 2018

Given this episode is coming out right around Father’s Day, it’s fitting that I’ve got an awesome dad on the podcast with me today. Frank Lowe is the funny guy behind the wildly popular Twitter feed Gay at Home Dad. He has developed a massive following there speaking candidly and humorously about being a gay stay-at-home father, and now about being a single gay dad, too. Frank’s also got a great YouTube Channel by the same name, as well as a brand new book called Raised by Unicorns, already an Amazon #1 new release. Frank and I talk about his interesting journey to parenthood through adoption with his former husband. And we also unpack some of the complicated feelings that surround separation and divorce among the cohort of same-sex couples who only relatively recently won the right to marry.

Show Notes

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Jun 11, 2018

I’m delighted to introduce my guest for this episode, father of two Matthew Rippeyoung. Matthew wrote a very compelling 1,000 Families post for The New Family recently. In that post, and in this episode, Matthew shares about his transition into single parenthood, and also a little about entering into a same-sex partnership later on. As it happens, Matthew is a therapist, but he’s with us on the podcast to chat mostly about his own lived experience, including those evolutions in his family. Matthew also talks to us about raising boys with the feminist values he’s always shared with his former wife, and about how he got into one of his favourite hobbies — knitting!

Show Notes

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Jun 2, 2018

In this episode we welcome back guests Sadie Epstein-Fine and Makeda Zook. We first heard a little from these two a year ago in a Pride-month episode called Growing Up with Same-Sex Parents, a special collaboration with TVO and the documentary Gayby Baby. But there is so much more I want to share with you from those conversations. And now these two friends have co-edited a book called Spawning Generations: Rants and Reflections on Growing up with LGBTQ+ Parents. We get into the complicated phenomenon of the “Poster Child Syndrome” experienced by some of the kids who grew up with the first generation of out and proud same-sex parents. And we talk about why it’s so important to centre the stories of so-called Queerspawn, the children of LGBTQ+ parents whose perspectives we haven’t heard enough.

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May 28, 2018

I’m joined on this episode by John Allcock. He’s the founder of a prep school called Sea Change Academy and the author of a great little book called Forty Things I Wish I’d Told My Kids. Mindfulness is the underlying theme here, and John’s book presents it in practical, simple principles for living that you can communicate to your kids on the stuff that really matters.

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May 21, 2018

In a world of entrenched positions and prescribed roles, expanding our definitions of gender requires the courage to dive deep into understanding and acceptance. On this episode, we meet the subjects of Christina Willings’ new documentary Beauty, which explores the lives of five gender-creative kids, each uniquely engaged in shaping their ideas of what it means to be fully human. For these kids, claiming their own sense of gender when everything around them insists that they comply and conform can be challenging — even scary. We also hear from Christina about what compelled her to the make the film, and what grown-ups can do to ensure a safer and more accepting world for these young people.

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May 14, 2018

In our culture, we don't like talking about death. Most of us will do almost anything to avoid broaching the subject, and when we do we use a lot of euphemisms to avoid words like dead or dying, preferring terms like “passed away” or “gone” instead. But my guest on today's show really wants to help us get over our qualms about discussing this important aspect of the human experience. Dr. Kathy Kortes Miller has devoted her professional life to death and dying. She's a leading expert on end of life care, a TEDx speaker, a professor, a mom, and now author of a new book called, Talking About Death Won't Kill You, The Essential Guide to End of Life Conversations. Our jobs as parents entail us to prepare our kids to face and understand various aspects of life, and sooner or later, that's gonna include the death of a loved one. Kathy gives us some guidance on how we can explain death to our children in age appropriate ways.

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May 7, 2018

You know my guest, acclaimed comedian and actor Jessica Holmes, from her work on The Royal Canadian Air Farce or CTV’s The Holmes Show. She’s even opened for Jerry Seinfeld and for Ellen DeGeneres. But Jessica is here to day to talk about something that isn’t much fun to go through, but from which she still manages to find some good material. You see, as Jessica’s career was really taking off, she was privately wrestling with depression. She’s now chronicled that experience in a great new book called Depression the Comedy: A Tale of Perseverance. A mom of two, Jessica’s first experience with mental health challenges began with postpartum depression, and she and I talk candidly about how she got through that and her subsequent bout of depression.

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Apr 30, 2018

There’s a reckoning underway that’s calling attention to ages old pattern of systemic sexual abuse and harassment. The #MeToo movement is simply bringing it to light. While a lot of the conversation we’re having about this centres on the organizations — the companies, the industries — that have either turned a blind eye or simply not done enough to address the issue, we haven’t talked a lot about the role of families in all of this. My guest for this episode has some very clear ideas about how we can begin conversations about consent when our kids are very young. Emilia Symington Fredy is the creator of a genre-defying audio book that’s really a radio-play/memoir. It’s called Trying To Be Good, and in it she tackles with radical candour some complex aspects of girlhood and womanhood, including sexual experiences she had as a teen. She and I talk about how she’s raising her boys with feminist values, strong female role models and a clear understanding of consent.

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Apr 23, 2018

Could you go a year buying only consumables? You know, just the food, medicine and toiletries your family needed, replacing items like, say, outgrown snow pants, but otherwise opting out of those routine purchases many of us make without really thinking? Here’s another question: Could you give away 70 per cent of your belongings, and if you could, how would it make you feel? My guest for this episode can answer those questions with a resounding yes. Cait Flanders is a freelance writer and personal finance blogger who has written a really compelling memoir called The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store. This ended up being a profound exercise for Cait that dramatically changed the way she lives. She shares advice on how we can shift our relationship with consuming in this compelling chat.

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Apr 16, 2018

Today’s episode is fun one because I get to speak with a dynamic husband-and-wife team who are not only award-winning journalists but smart and funny people. Sue Allen is a journalist, yoga teacher and hockey mom who now works for a non-profit. Her husband Scott Feschuk is the author of three previous books, including How Not to Completely Suck as a New Parent and has written for publications like Maclean’s, Sportsnet and The Globe and Mail. Scott and Sue have two kids, but they’re latest collaboration is a parody board book called Baby’s First Hashtag, which introduces babies to the hip world of hashtags, memes, manbuns, quinoa and organically sourced plaid into which they have arrived. Scott and Sue join me to have a little fun with the painfully self-conscious world of hipster parenting, as well as to talk about the role that humour can play in how we raise our kids.

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Apr 9, 2018

My guest for this episode shares my mission to promote positive co-parenting. Karen Kristjanson is the author of a new book called Co-Parenting From the Inside Out: Voices of Moms and Dads. In addition to being a writer, Karen is a life coach who has more than 30 years experience supporting adults while they tackle change. She writes candidly about her own co-parenting experience and the personal growth it inspired. She’s here to talk to us about how families can not only survive a separation, but persevere and find new possibilities for themselves and their children.

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Apr 2, 2018

While we know that we are living in a time with more opportunity for women than ever before, we can’t pretend that the playing field has entirely leveled. Women still earn an average of about 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, and are still woefully underrepresented among high-ranking executives. A significant part of that picture, of course, is motherhood. As my guest on this episode points out, about 43 percent of highly qualified mothers off-ramp or leave their careers for a period of time, limiting both the available talent in the workplace and opportunities for themselves. Lisa Durante is a passionate advocate for empowering women to create a life that works — at home and in their careers. Lisa consults both with moms to help them optimize career satisfaction and with companies to help retain female talent. We talk about how the steps companies can take to keep their female talent, and how women can negotiate a more balanced partnership at home.

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Mar 26, 2018

For this episode we welcome child and adolescent psychotherapist, Katie Hurley, back to the show. We first heard from Katie way back on episode 31 when we discussed her insightful book, The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World. Her new book is called No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident and Compassionate Girls. Katie explains that she’s seeing a pattern of Mean-Girl behaviour we typically associate with high school or middle school cropping up more often in the elementary years. We talk about why when girls are flourishing academically are they engaged in toxic competition with one another, and critically, what we can do about it.

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Mar 19, 2018

Today’s episode is a unique one, recorded on site at Lillian H. Smith public library in Toronto where a book club called A Room of Your Own has gathered to talk with bestselling young adult fiction author Jennifer Niven, who is in town from Los Angeles. This book club, founded by Tanya Marie Lee, is just for teen girls from under-privileged communities. At each event members get in a room with the authors of the books they read, which are supplied ahead of the time by the authors and their publishers. Here they’re talking about Niven’s book All the Bright Places, which is being made into a film starring Elle Fanning. The book is the story of two Indiana teenagers who become companions after finding themselves at the same spot contemplating suicide. The book club is also joined by Dr. Karen Wang, a child and youth psychologist, who we talk to for some advice for parents on how to handle the difficult topics of teen suicide and mental illness. We also capture the stories of some of the students who share their own struggles in brave and inspiring ways.

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