Journalist Katherine Goldstein’s migration from New York’s media mothership inspired her to launch an unconventional podcast about working moms from her basement in North Carolina.
A punk rocker aspiring to be a Rabbi, a thirty-something mother of three on the campaign trail, and Nevada brothel workers parlaying earnings into nursing school are among the first episodes of “The Double Shift.”
“I think one of the problems with journalism and resources is if you only talk to the people you know, you’re going to have a pretty limited conversation,” she says. “This show is breaking out of that.”
In fact, Katherine and her bi-coastal team intentionally seek out women outside of big cities who don’t have PR people.
“Nydia Sanchez, who runs a 24-hour daycare, she’s committing her whole life to serving mostly single mothers who need childcare and don’t have a ton of money to pay for it,” says Katherine.
“She’s not trying to get a bunch of attention and credit for all the great work she’s doing–she’s trying to run a business–but she does it with a kind of compassion that you don’t see enough for a group that doesn’t get talked about a lot.”
Listening to these intimate, previously untold stories of working motherhood summons feelings similar to watching “60 Minutes” or listening to NPR.
“The reason I decided I wanted to do it as a podcast is that I really want to create community and movement around changing the way people think about things, and bringing new perspectives in a more in-depth way,” says Katherine.
“I think there’s only so far you can go with someone who just reads an article and likes it on Facebook and moves on.”
We also talked about how podcasts are more amenable to multi-tasking moms who can tune in while commuting or taking care of kids, and discover a connection to women in other walks of life.
“I feel like I want to create a much longer and larger and more substantial conversation about changing how society sees working mothers and how we see ourselves,” she says.
How this Mama Made it Work
Moving from New York to North Carolina provided Katherine with the financial means, family support and mental energy to build a podcast from scratch.
“I joke that since I no longer have to fight the transit authority in New York, I can spend all my energy fighting the patriarchy,” she says.
“I have so many more resources because everyday life is not stressful,” she says, noting the benefit of having grandparents nearby so she can go on date nights and connect with her partner — with whom she credits for helping make “The Double Shift” possible.
“I’ve always known that I’ve had an amazingly supportive partner; but, when you’re taking a big swing in your life, it’s not just having someone in your life that says ‘yeah, good job,’ but who’s like willing to readjust their life too.”
In addition to changing location and lifestyles, the two swapped parenting shifts, trading morning and evenings with their 3.5 year old, so Katherine can take advantage of productive hours in her homegrown studio.
She goes full steam on the podcast until 5 p.m. when she goes to pick up her son at school and uses the drive there and back, and dinner as a family, to unwind.
Women Helping Women Succeed
Katherine originally started exploring working motherhood as a journalist after struggling through health complications during her son’s first year.
“It was a very stressful time and I lost my job when he was 6 months old,” she says. “I had been a very hard-charging, high-achieving professional, and it led me to really feel like a failure.”
“I was very convinced that everyone had this working mom thing figured out, except for me and I was just personally defective.”
Once she discovered that no one had it figured out, and that many mothers internalized personal blame like she had, Katherine became emboldened to investigate family dynamics, the workplace and public policy.
“As I started to look at it through a journalistic lens, I really felt like there’s a lot of content about parenting but there’s not much about our independent identities as working mothers,” says Katherine.
“We are our own people with our own needs and ambitions and abilities to do amazing things in the world, and that’s just not being addressed in a lot of conversations.”
“There are so many ways that working mothers are revolutionary in their own lives and that’s one of the big things I’ve taken away from this show,” says Katherine.
“Probably none of the women I interviewed would ever claim the label ‘revolutionary,’ but what I think is so inspiring about them is the way they’re addressing their own challenges and the challenges of the things they see around them in new ways.”
“I just love getting those new ideas out there.”