Once a week at a small sushi spot in Lynn Valley, Genevieve Kyle and her husband meet for lunch.
It’s a brief moment amid their hectic days, but a meaningful one, Kyle explains.
The working parents of young children have a tendency to drift apart, working in never-ending, overlapping, pee-stained shifts that don’t quite end. Instead, the shifts pause while the baby sleeps, giving the parents just enough time to check their respective phones, consider cleaning something, and fall asleep.
Instead of romantic partners, parents become shift partners, each secretly suspecting the other one is getting more sleep.
It’s an issue Kyle talked about with Heather Fox on their ParentTalk podcast. Following the podcast, one of several dozen they’ve already recorded, Kyle decided to redouble her efforts.
“Honey, we need to stay connected,” she recalls telling her husband.
The ParentTalk podcast is often about the little things, Kyle explains. Sometimes, Fox offers, it’s just about laying down the feelings of guilt many mothers haul around.
“There is so much judgment,” Fox says.
That judgment can burst in all caps from the comments section of a blog or it can be self-inflicted.
Many mothers question everything when their child won’t sleep through the night, Fox notes.
“It’s not natural, actually, for a newborn to sleep through the night,” she says.
It’s an issue they’ve broached with an expert on the show, Kyle says, noting support for the cry-it-out method seems to be waning.
“Sometimes you know, your children don’t sleep.”
The talkative mothers met at a wedding when they were both quite pregnant. Besides being expectant, they found they had equally outgoing personalities.
A dental hygienist, Kyle has the ability of covering the sound of dental tools at work with pleasant conversation. With her background in early childhood education, Fox was the former owner of a Gymboree Play & Music franchise.
Following the birth of their children, the two moms started lunching together.
“I think we both felt there was a lot of loneliness and a lot of anxiety,” Kyle says, discussing the difficulty of raising a young child. “The podcast idea was borne from that.”
“It’s a nice combination of moms’ true-to-life stories and experts sharing great information,” Fox adds.
In an effort to soothe as many fretting parents as possible, the podcasts have featured doctors, chiropractors, midwives and sleep consultants. The shows also feature parents talking about their experiences in raising children. A lot of those stories have happy endings. Some don’t.
So many parents go through loss, Fox notes.
“It’s definitely something that’s not talked about enough,” she says, discussing a doula that runs a support group for mothers coping with loss.
ParentTalk is meant to create a community that stretches across the Lower Mainland, Kyle explains.
“We’re giving a voice to everybody,” she says.
They record a new podcast every Monday evening, often deciding on the major topic after hearing concerns from their friends or from each other.
For Fox, a particularly meaningful podcast dealt with tantrums – those bouts of red-faced, breath-held fury that become adorable as soon as the screaming stops.
“It is a developmental stage that they go through,” Fox says.
It’s important to remember that those tantrums are usually just part of a phase and, “he’s going to make it through,” she adds.
“Children react from an emotional place, not from logic. As parents, we can’t take it personally,” Fox says.
Seated side by side at Delany’s Coffee House, the duo are a few hours away from repairing to Kyle’s guest room (which has been converted into a recording studio) and discussing essential oils.
They have close to a year’s worth of material in the bank, according to Kyle.
“We’re basically recording 2019 right now,” she says.
In some ways, the show is meant to be an antidote to the idea of the perfect mom.
“What you see on Facebook (is that) all the moms are perfect. This creates a lot of anxiety,” Kyle says.
The podcast is about injecting a sense of normalcy in the lives of parents.
“If you learn one thing, it’s worth listening to any podcast,” Kyle says.