Hosted by Fatherly Editor-at-Large Joshua David Stein, The Fatherly Podcast features open, wide-ranging conversations with famous and notable men about how they take care of themselves, their families, and their children (not necessarily in that order). In addition to featuring a familiar father figure, each episode goes deep on a specific parenting issue, explaining the state of scientific research on topics as diverse as what kids see in mirrors, what happens when parents yell, and how to do hugs right. At the end of each episode, Joshua recommends a way to make your life as a parent just 3 percent more fun. After all, everyone wants to do just a little bit better.
Parenting changes people. That’s a good thing so long as they can be honest about that unpredictable transformation. The Fatherly Podcast is honest about it. Also, The Fatherly Podcast is kinda funny. It’s not always haha funny because raising kids isn’t like that. It sneaks up on you a bit. Like life.
EPISODE 1: Somewhere Between Raffi and a Viking: Who Knew Being a Dad Was So Hard?
Joshua David Stein is joined by Viceland reporter Krishna Andavolu to talk about managing exhaustion, going home to see a legendary kid-rock icon in concert, and following the migrant caravan through Mexico. Then Joshua talks to fellow father Björn Ahlander, captain of the world’s largest operational Viking ship, about how to be a little bit tougher and a lot bit more Swedish.
EPISODE 2: An Overflowing Gravy Boat of Lies: How Am I Supposed to Thanksgiving Now?
Joshua David Stein chats with Tracy Wilson, host of the podcast Stuff You Missed in History Class, about what actually went down in 1621, and David Weeden, tribal historian of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, about how his family celebrates Thanksgiving (spoiler: cautiously).
EPISODE 3: No One Has Ever Had It All: Why Does the Patriarchy Suck for Patriarchs?
Joshua David Stein and co-host Krishna Andavolu chat about the difficulties of establishing a healthy life-work balance with author and commentator Amy Westervelt, who drops some truth bombs about what it means to do unpaid labor and the barriers to happiness in corporatized America.
Joshua David Stein speaks to USC comedy professor, film director, and master of funny Barnet Kellman about what makes kids laugh and how to get those giggles without undermining paternal authority or scaring anyone. Looking for other means of entertaining his kids, Joshua then calls Allan Kronzek author of Grandpa Magic and almost destroys his septum trying to make a straw disappear into his nose.
EPISODE 5: The Playground of the Future Is a Factory: Since When Was Fun Practical?
Joshua David Stein and co-host Krishna Andavolu chat with designer Mark Reigelman II, the man behind the instantly iconic Sweetwater Playground, about why most jungle gyms suck and German parents don’t worry about broken bones. The future of play, it turns out, is kinda scary. Then everyone plays with the best toys of the year as selected by Fatherly’s editors, and things take a turn for the violent.
EPISODE 6: Weed Is the New Mom Wine: Is It OK If Daddy Gets High?
Joshua David Stein and Krishna Andavolu, the former host of Weediquette on Viceland, talk about smoking marijuana and the strains that today’s kids will be smoking when they’ve grown into belligerent teenagers. The two dads, vape pens in hand, look to Leafly’s David Downs about the bright future of getting high and the dark future of worrying about your kids getting high.
EPISODE 7: Luke Cage Is Bulletproof and Weepy: Can We Be Superheroes to Our Kids?
Joshua David Stein and new co-host (and Wall Street Journal columnist) Jason Gay speak to Mike Colter, the actor America knows as Luke Cage, about showing kids weakness and what it’s like to parent when you’re ripped out of your mind and have a really deep and intimidating voice. Colter offers some hot takes on children’s literature and parenting classes. Sweet Christmas!
EPISODE 8: Parenting Is the Art of Poorly Calculating Risk: Can We Keep Kids Safe and Should We Try?
Joshua David Stein and Jason Gay discuss their different approaches to managing risks and danger. Eager to hear from an extreme risk-taker, they call up legendary base jumper and skier Matthias “Super Frenchie” Giraud, who is raising a 5-year-old competitive vert skater. Then, looking for a counter-example, the co-hosts speak to David Sheff, author of Beautiful Boy, about what types of risks really need mitigation.
EPISODE 9: Don’t Trust the Sports Industrial Complex: Can Kids Live Fulfilling Lives Without Soccer?
Joshua David Stein, a physical education philistine, gets schooled on the social, emotional, and educational benefits of team athletics by co-host and Wall Street Journal sports columnist Jason Gay. Making the case for sports as a cultural foundation, Gay enlists the help of famed NBA writer and not-so-famed youth soccer coach Sam Anderson to convince Joshua that competition can help kids find joy and friends — if their dads can manage not to be total pricks about it.
EPISODE 10: Singing the Screen Time Blues: Is the Internet Doing a Good Job Raising Our Kids?
All modern parents worry about screen time and internet exposure. Should they? On a search for answers, Joshua David Stein and Jason Gay turn to Alex Goldman, the wifi-enabled demigod behind the hit podcast Reply All and perhaps the only empathetic user of the internet left alive on Earth. Goldman offers some reassurance, but not much. Why not? Because the long-term effects of all these glowing lines are a known unknown — even if it’s hard to make peace with that.
EPISODE 11: The Planet Is a Hot Mess: How Bad Is It, and How Do We Help Our Kids Deal?
Joshua David Stein and Jason Gay try to wrap their heads around the horror movie that is climate change with help from Dr. Camilo Mora, professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and author of a new, mind-blowingly depressing paper that shows a little too clearly what’s coming our way, disaster-wise. Mora is also a dad, and he, along with Fatherly’s parenting expert, Patrick Coleman, talk to Joshua and Jason about how to help their kids navigate this new reality — and be authentic dads in its midst.
EPISODE 12: Children Have Horrible Taste in Music: Can They Rise Above Baby Shark?
There is a world of incredible music out there, most of which we can access through our phones, and yet our kids are obsessed with jingles about shark families and cats flushing toilets. Joshua David Stein and Jason Gay lament this sad state of affairs while seeking advice from WNYC radio host, author, and dad, John Schaefer. It turns out, you can’t make your kids like anything, but there are ways to introduce them to new sounds (without them realizing you’re doing it).
EPISODE 13: Chefs: Talking to Two Cooks About the Kitchen
Josh and Jason talk to two of the most famous chefs of today, Daniel Boulud and the international superstar Jamie Oliver. Boulud discusses his second round of parenthood and what he learned along the way, while Oliver lets us know that it’s okay to fail. In between, our hosts talk about their own fatherly practices in the kitchen, and we find out that imaginary restaurants are far more common than one would think.
EPISODE 14: Choosing Your Battles: Do Parents Need to Fight for the World, Their Families, or Both?
A peaceful gardener from the Lower East Side determined to make the world a better place left his newborn child to go fight Isis in Syria. He saw action and trauma. He wrapped wounds. He came home to his family and to discuss the experience with Fatherly Podcast hosts Joshua David Stein and Jason Gay. The big question: How can parents know when it’s better to focus on changing the world or to focus on their families? The answer: Complicated.
EPISODE 15: You Still Gotta Live With You: How Can Fathers Living With Mental Illness Prioritize Their Kids?
In an intensely personal episode, Fatherly Podcast host Joshua David Stein speaks with his co-host, Jason Gay, and Valerie Porr, founder and president of Treatment and Research Advancements for Borderline Personality Disorder (TARA4BPD), about his struggles with Borderline Personality Disorder and his attempts to get help while trying to insulate his children from some of his worst behaviors. A remarkably honest look at what it takes to be a good dad while struggling with mental health issues, this episode speaks to the importance of looking for help and taking it.
EPISODE 16: Searching for Peace and Quiet: Can We Support Our Kids If We’re Stuck in Our Monkey Minds?
It’s hard enough to feel centered in the dumpster fire that is modern life, but being a parent can make it even harder. How do we empathize with our kids without feeling all their pain? Can we help others without presuming weakness? How can we live by our values, or at least just be a little fucking nicer? It’s both harder and easier than we think, as Joshua David Stein and co-host Postell Pringle learn from Zen Buddhist priest, author, activist, and pioneer in end-of-life care Roshi Joan Halifax. In this inspiring episode, she shares tips for how to find compassion through healthy boundaries, how to serve instead of fix others, and how to use meditation to be happier, prioritize what’s important, and become better parents.
EPISODE 17: Kid Stuff Doesn’t Have to Be Ugly: What’s With All the Plastic Crap?
New babies don’t come with tons of injection-modeled nonsense, but it tends to wash up in their wake. But why is the infant paraphernalia and playtime juvenilia so poorly designed? Fatherly Podcast host Joshua David Stein put the question to architecture critic Alexandra Lange, author of The Design of Childhood, Mark Riegelman, the world’s most badass playground designer, and Ben Kaufman, CEO and founder of CAMP, the experiential toy store. The first Fatherly Podcast live show takes off from there!
EPISODE 18: Parenting Costs Too Much: Why Are Family Finances So Hard to Manage?
Being a parent is costly. And that’s just the money.… This week, Fatherly Podcast host Joshua David Stein and co-host Postell Pringle go looking for peace of mind on all things money. Spoiler alert: They don’t get it. Instead, they get schooled by Brookings Institute economist Richard Reeves, author of Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, and financial coach Jacquette Timmons, author of Financial Intimacy: How to Create a Healthy Relationship With Your Money and Your Mate, on how families make money and keep it. Long book subtitles are also discussed.
EPISODE 19: The Best Children’s Book Ever Hasn’t Been Written: What Makes Great Literature for Kids?
Children’s books are part of the fabric of parenthood. We read them. Then we read them again. We come to know them as well as our kids’ stuffed animals (and better than their friends). But what makes one of these deceptively simple tomes tick? Fatherly Podcast host Joshua David Stein, a children’s book author himself, and co-host Postell Pringle speak to editor Kate Harrison of Dial Books for Young Readers about what makes a good idea great and how a great idea can evolve into a class. Also, Joshua sings.
EPISODE 20: A Muffled Cry for Professional Help: Can Therapy Help Parents Not Pass on Their Bullshit?
Therapy can be massively helpful, but it can also feel ridiculous and obligatory. Eager to get a sense of how to make better use of expensive sessions, Fatherly Podcast host Joshua David Stein and co-host Jason Gay reach out to Lori Gottlieb, the noted therapist and author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. The ensuing session covers how to solicit help, what to do with it, and how not to feel ridiculous on that couch. Also, it was free for Joshua and Jason. So that’s something.
EPISODE 21: The Second Go-Around: What Does It Mean to Start a Second Family?
The American nuclear family exploded decades ago. The trend has been steadily toward more divorce and more complication — half siblings and awkward introductions (“This is my ex-wife’s husband”). There’s nothing wrong with that, but it has forever changed what it means to be a family man. Interested in discussing this, Fatherly Podcast host Joshua David Stein and co-host Postell Pringle reached out to Jeff Gordinier, globe-trotting food editor of Esquire and author of Hungry: Eating, Road-Tripping, and Risking It All With the Greatest Chef in the World. Gordinier is on his second go-around and generous in his willingness to discuss what it means to get a second chance in a country with no second acts.
EPISODE 22: A Crowded Field: Will the 2020 Elections Do Anything for American Families?
This week on the podcast, Joshua speaks with NPR’s political editor Domenico Montanaro, father of two, on how the 2020 field looks for America’s struggling middle-class families. Also, Fatherly’s own Patrick Coleman swings by to explain how American families got into this mess in the first place. (Hint: neoliberalism, motherfuckers!)
EPISODE 23: Shooting Blanks: Are We Becoming a Nation of Vasectomized Men?
More than 500,000 men get vasectomies every year in the United States. On this very fertile episode of the podcast, Joshua David Stein and co-host Postell Pringle, both vasectomized men, talk to Dr. Joseph Alukal, professor of urology at the Columbia University Medical Center about why and how. He’ll also explain what’s up with the tufts of smoke commonly seen during the procedure.
EPISODE 24: All the Feels: What Should Dads Do With All Their Guilt, Shame, and Pride?
In the final episode of the season, Joshua David Stein and Jason Gay talk guilt — what it is, where it comes from, and how to get rid of it — and its pleasant counterpart, pride, with Dr. Jessica Tracy, author of Pride: The Secret to Success and the director of the Emotion & Self Lab at the University of British Columbia. Plus, they look back fondly on their time together and say sweet things.
EPISODE 1: Catching Up With Antonio Cromartie, Father of Fourteen
Antonio Cromartie, the NFL great and father of 14 – yes, 14 – on going from cornerback to stay-at-home dad and becoming a reality television star. Plus, Fatherly science editor Josh Krisch on when and why vasectomies fail.
EPISODE 2: Legendary Surfer Laird Hamilton on Riding Giants and Raising Daughters
Laird Hamilton has pushed the boundaries of what the human body can do. Here, the controversial inventor of big wave surfing and father of three daughters opens up on how being a dad has — or hasn’t — affected his appetite for risk and why, sometimes, courting disaster is the best choice a dad can make.
As the leader of the Shambhala Buddhist lineage, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche travels the world, both teaching seminars and in retreat. He discusses finding the balance between being a spiritual leader to hundreds of thousands of people and being the father of three young daughters.
Glenn Beck, conservative host of the Glenn Beck Program and longtime provocateur, has made a career of lighting fires. Now, he’s on a mission to extinguish a few. Beck talks about his newfound moderation, wrestling with his family history, and raising four kids of his own.
EPISODE 5: Beyond Whitelash: Van Jones on Being the Stern Father of America’s Left
Author and host of CNN’s The Van Jones Show, Van Jones swings by to discuss how to fight with your friends (nicely), how to fight with your enemies (even more nicely), and whether white kids should dress up as Black Panther hero T’Challa. Later, Fatherly’s science editor discusses how to teach trauma to a kid without traumatizing them.
EPISODE 6: Robert Patrick Isn’t a Bad Guy, He Just Played One in ‘Terminator 2’
The legendary heavy Robert Patrick rose to fame as the T-1000 in Terminator 2. But the Georgia-raised son of an engineer has had a long and colorful knockabout life. He also has a son and daughter and many, many thoughts on raising children.
EPISODE 7: Junot Diaz on His First Children’s Book and Why He’ll Never Have Kids
Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Junot Diaz stops by to discuss the recent release of his first children’s book, Islandborn, but ends up opening up about why he’ll never be a father himself. Later, Fatherly’s science editor stops by to discuss at what age children develop thoughts on race.
EPISODE 8: Maz Jobrani Won’t Wear a Turban … Even for Chuck Norris
As the father of two young children and one of the few Iranian-Americans on TV, Jobrani consciously turns down terrorist roles … much to the dismay of Chuck Norris. Join us as Maz discusses bringing up his kids, his own father (“He reminded me of Vito Corleone”), and the right way to do ethnic humor.
EPISODE 1: Ken Burns on War and Sons, Plus Jokes From a 6-Year-Old
The documentarian behind (but not responsible for) The Vietnam War and a significant portion of the PBS greatest-hits album stopped by to talk about why kids should love and fear their country, how to make really good chicken, and what it means to be super intense even at home.
The actor best known for surviving The Purge and beating up the good guys in The Avengers, talks about his new Netflix movie Wheelman, which is kind of about time management, and about how being a fighter made him a stronger, more compassionate guy.
EPISODE 3: Tom Colicchio on Wrestling With the Past, Plus a 7-year-old Bowhunting Beauty Queen
The head judge from Top Chef talks about juggling his activism, his restaurants, and his three kids with The Fatherly Podcast. It gets super intense as Colicchio digs deep on his ambition to transform toxic restaurant culture, how hunger damages families, and how to raise kids kinda-sorta Jewish.
EPISODE 4: Nik Wallenda on Living Life on the Wire, Plus a Jazzy Children’s Book Reading
The seventh-generation tightrope walker opens up about self-doubt, family tragedy, and why he encouraged his son to join the Marines. Later, an experiment reveals the surprising connection between marshmallows and SAT scores, and a live musical performance reveals what’s cooking.
EPISODE 5: Talking Dad-Hood With Michael Strahan, Sterling K. Brown, and Stephen Chbosky
Hall-of-Famer Michael Strahan, This Is Us-star Sterling K. Brown, and author Stephen Chbosky all sit down for the Fatherly Questionnaire. All three guests talk honestly and deeply about their roles as fathers; answers offer revealing moments that catch both the guests and our host off-guard.
EPISODE 6: At Home With Writer Gay Talese, Plus a NSFW Card Game for Parents
Our host visits the legendary writer Gay Talese in his home to discuss famous fathers, famous sons, and the pain of becoming an ex-father-in-law. Plus, Josh Krisch finally answers whether it’s quality time or quantity of time that really matters for a child’s development.
EPISODE 7: Mark Barden, founder of Sandy Hook Promise, on His Son, Daniel Barden
We mark the fifth anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School by listening to one father, Mark Barden, remember his son, Daniel Barden, one of the 20 children killed that day. In this episode, we remember a lost child through the words of his father.
EPISODE 8: John Legend on Giving Children a Better Future, Plus the Truth About Daddy Issues
This episode we visit John Legend, producer, musician, activist, father of Luna, and husband of Chrissy. Legend opens up about his own childhood, the dangers of misunderstanding history, and making his daughter giggle. Also Fatherly’s science editor on the longtail effect of crappy parenting.
In the final episode of the first season, our host sits down with Massimo Bottura, who runs one of the best restaurants in the world. The chef opens up about raising his son Charlie, who is developmentally disabled, and how creativity takes all forms. Also, Fatherly’s science editor explains why all tantrums are basically the same.