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Chelsea McCrae

Australian podcaster


Article #

11 August 2023

Hello! I'm Chelsea McCrae (she/her), a mother, teacher, and, more recently, the founder, producer, and host of my podcast, Definitely Baby. Over the past 4 years, I have developed a deep love for podcasts. However, it was only after becoming a mother that I felt compelled to start my own. During my pregnancy, I found solace in listening to birth stories, and after giving birth, I longed to hear from other parents about their postpartum experiences. As the first among my friends to have a baby, I often felt isolated in those early days of parenthood. 

Around 3-4 months after giving birth, I experienced a surge of creative energy, leading to the idea of writing a children's book with my best friend and creating this podcast.

However, I soon found myself grappling with my anxiety, and parenting became all-consuming for a while. Balancing this with running our own English tuition business, my partner and I resumed classes when our daughter turned 4 months old. Creating the book never took off, but the idea for the podcast stuck. 

But it took until her first birthday for me to fully dive into recording episodes, and it was another 3-4 months before the pod was launched. Despite having a minor in journalism from my undergraduate studies at Monash University, I quickly realised that I was ill-prepared to produce a podcast as a one-woman show. It has been a tremendous learning experience, but I am grateful for the supportive community it has created and the connections I have made with fellow parents. I finally feel like I'm finding my rhythm with it now.

My family consists of myself, my partner Hagan (he/him), and our daughter, Hazel, who is currently 20 months old. Additionally, I am currently 14 weeks pregnant with our second baby, who is expected to join us in late December or early January.

Starting a podcast has been an incredible journey, albeit one that has made my weeks incredibly busy. As fellow podcasters can attest, podcasting is a labour of love that offers minimal financial incentives. It often takes years, especially for those without a preexisting social media following, to monetize their podcasts. When I first embarked on this venture, I naively believed that growing a listenership organically would be easier and that my podcast would gain traction more rapidly.

Currently, I follow a scheduling pattern where I book 2-3 interviews for a few weeks, followed by a few weeks without interviews. This approach allows me to dedicate my podcasting time to editing the recorded episodes. With about 3-4 days already occupied by work for our tuition business, my weeks are already quite busy, and I have to find a way to fit podcasting into my schedule.

Hazel starting daycare recently has provided me with some much-needed ease and flexibility, and I'm thrilled to see how much she enjoys it now. However, there are moments when I worry that the additional workload brought on by podcasting may take away time with Hazel. I question whether it's truly worth it. But then, a heartwarming message from a listener or a guest expressing their gratitude for their experience after recording an episode reminds me of the power of sharing our stories and reinforces the purpose behind creating this podcast.

Looking back, I wish I had known the true extent of the challenges and time commitment involved, sometimes with minimal perceived gains. Also, I realise now that I should have conducted more thorough research to understand the vast number of parenting podcasts already in existence. Although I initially thought I was filling a unique niche, I have since discovered numerous podcasts with a similar format to mine. However, this realisation is not necessarily negative, as sharing our stories and shedding light on these topics is an invaluable endeavour. For anyone considering starting a podcast, I highly recommend conducting extensive research, connecting with individuals in the field (fellow podcasters are often willing to share their experiences and answer questions), and identifying a niche that aligns with your values.

To be honest, I often find myself editing portions of episodes or working on social media tasks after Hazel has gone to sleep. While I'm becoming more efficient in the podcasting process over time, I recognise the need to establish new methods and dedicated time for this work. It's crucial to avoid encroaching on my already limited "me" time to ensure long-term sustainability. Also, being pregnant again requires me to be kinder to myself and seek ways to lighten my workload, particularly in the coming months as I near my due date.

I've considered the possibility of hiring someone to assist me with editing, mastering episodes, or creating social media content. However, given the current circumstances, it's not feasible at the moment. Perhaps in the future, this could be a step I take to continue producing this beautiful content.

I have had the opportunity to connect with numerous amazing individuals who also host podcasts. The podcasting community has been incredibly welcoming and generous in sharing advice and their personal experiences. From what I have observed, balancing parenting, work, and podcasting is a significant challenge, and it seems that everyone else faces similar struggles as well.

I have drawn significant inspiration from the experiences and advice shared by fellow podcasters in my niche. Their valuable tips have guided me in implementing time-saving strategies for my podcast and have made it easier to integrate into my weekly routine.

"I do recognize the importance of maintaining my individuality. It's crucial for me to engage in activities that nurture my well-being, such as staying active, spending time with friends, and pursuing personal interests. These aspects contribute to my sense of fulfilment and enable me to be the best version of myself as a mother to Hazel."

As mentioned earlier, the podcast community has been incredibly encouraging and supportive. Even though most of my friends do not have children themselves, they have been wonderfully supportive throughout this journey. A friend who has their own podcast generously taught me everything about setting up an RSS feed, scheduling episodes, and the process of recording. My partner contributed by composing the intro tune and recording it with a producer friend. That same friend also mastered the initial 4 or 5 episodes of the podcast and provided valuable tips on sound quality. Additionally, another wonderful friend designed the original logo, and a talented photographer friend captured beautiful photos of Hazel and me, one of which I have used for the new logo. Lastly, I am grateful for all my amazing friends with kids who agreed to be part of the first 6 episodes that I recorded prior to the release, as well as all the wonderful people who continue to share their stories on the podcast.

I couldn't have started the podcast or continued with it without the support network I have. It has played a crucial role in motivating me to persist and has alleviated a significant amount of pressure in the initial stages. Their encouragement and assistance have had a positive impact on my work, art, and overall creativity.

Absolutely. I personally experienced the concept of "mum guilt" during my early parenting journey, especially when I didn't have close friends who were going through the same challenges. Connecting with my local New Parent's Group and spending time with other mums helped me realise that comparison, shame, and guilt were common emotions in parenting. Initially, I felt inadequate compared to others who seemed to have everything figured out regarding sleep, feeding, and routines. However, as we got to know each other on a more personal level, I discovered that we were all struggling and none of us had it all together.

One triggering factor for my "mum guilt" was questions about Hazel's sleep habits, as it was a particularly challenging topic for me in the first year. Additionally, when I started working again for our own business when Hazel was four months old, I felt guilty for not being with her enough, especially during evening classes when she would cry for me as I left for work.

In the early months of Hazel's life, leaving her would often trigger intense "mum guilt" for me. It was challenging for me to enjoy myself or have "me time" because I constantly worried about her crying, being hungry, or needing comfort. However, as she grew more independent after her first birthday, I started to find it easier to enjoy time away from her, making parenthood feel less overwhelming and more manageable.

Regarding my creativity and starting the podcast, the transition felt relatively smooth. While it can be overwhelming at times and requires a significant amount of work, the fact that the podcast's topic is deeply rooted in parenting helps alleviate some of my "mum guilt" when I invest time into it. The only concern I have is occasionally worrying that it may take away more time from Hazel.

In summary, "mum guilt" has influenced my early parenting journey, particularly when comparing myself to others. However, as I formed connections with fellow parents and gained more confidence in my abilities, the intensity of "mum guilt" diminished. Starting the podcast has provided a creative outlet that aligns with parenting, and although it can be demanding, it doesn't trigger the same level of guilt as other aspects of life.

Becoming a mother brought about a significant transformation in my sense of identity. This change was amplified by the circumstances surrounding my pregnancy, as it came at a time when I was completing my Masters degree and navigating a new relationship. Motherhood has unexpectedly provided me with a sense of purpose that I didn't realise I was missing. It has anchored me and instilled a newfound confidence within me. I now embrace the role of "mother" wholeheartedly and it has become a central aspect of my identity.

While I don't specifically resonate with the idea of needing to be "more than a mother," I do recognize the importance of maintaining my individuality. It's crucial for me to engage in activities that nurture my well-being, such as staying active, spending time with friends, and pursuing personal interests. These aspects contribute to my sense of fulfilment and enable me to be the best version of myself as a mother to Hazel. As she grows older, I want to demonstrate the value of self-care and pursuing passions, and I hope to inspire her through my actions and the values I hold.

Starting this podcast has become a significant passion of mine. I firmly believe in the power of sharing stories and creating a supportive and inspiring resource for other parents and individuals alike. I take immense pride in the effort and time I invest in building this podcast and fostering a supportive community. It's something I hope my children can someday admire in me, as it aligns with the values I strive to instil in them.

The work of a mother, in general, is ridiculously underrated. The paid maternity leave we are given is so minimal, and women often take off more time than their work allows due to personal preferences. Consequently, there is a significant period without contributing to superannuation. Motherhood is, by far, the hardest, most time-consuming, and relentless job I have ever experienced.

As for my podcast, it does not generate any income; in fact, I spend close to $100 per month on recording and editing platforms. The prospect of monetizing it seems distant, and this long-term impact affects how I perceive its value. While it remains my passion project, it demands a substantial portion of my time, leaving me uncertain about its sustainability going forward. Nevertheless, I must continue to nurture my love for it. I firmly believe that the work of artists, especially mothers who are also artists, is highly undervalued by society.

"I aspire to model a range of values and qualities to my daughters, including financial and cultural independence, as well as the importance of self-discovery, empathy, and embracing their unique interests and aspirations."

I was raised by a single mother, and due to her status as a single parent, she had no choice but to continue working from when I was a young age. She worked as an independent midwife, which meant that there were times when I stayed with family members or friends while she attended births. As I grew older, I even had the opportunity to accompany her to some of these births. Since she was self-employed and had a flexible schedule, she was able to spend a significant amount of time with me. Additionally, we had the chance to travel and also moved towns and states a lot.

These experiences of being raised by a working single mother instilled in me a strong sense of independence. I have always rejected the notion of the heteronormative, patriarchal perspective that perpetuates traditional societal norms and expectations, assuming rigid gender roles where mothers are primarily responsible for parenting, cooking, and cleaning. As a result, it is extremely important to me that my children see both Hagan and me as equals in terms of our careers and the shared responsibilities of parenting. This value holds particular significance in raising my daughters. I aspire to model a range of values and qualities to my daughters, including financial and cultural independence, as well as the importance of self-discovery, empathy, and embracing their unique interests and aspirations.

My podcast, Definitely Baby, is available on most major platforms. Simply search 'Definitely Baby' and it should come up. You can also find me on Instagram @definitelybabypodcast, where I share beautiful photos of our weekly guests, segments from episodes, and updates about my life and the podcast.

Each week, I release a main episode featuring interviews with different parents, exploring their beautiful and unique parenting journeys. I ask each guest a similar set of questions to capture a diverse range of stories on the same topics. Additionally, I occasionally release bonus episodes where I delve into interesting topics with experts.

I'm also excited to introduce two new upcoming segments.The first segment features casual chats with mums and parents discussing various topics related to parenthood. Think of it as eavesdropping on a parent's group catch-up and gossip. The second segment, which I'm incredibly thrilled about, focuses on VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean). As I'm personally planning for a VBAC later this year, I'm deeply passionate about providing a resource to empower others to make informed choices. I already have lined up a few exciting experts as guests, and I believe it will be an incredibly special series. So, for anyone out there who is considering whether VBAC is the right option for them, planning for one, or knows someone who is, keep your eyes peeled for this upcoming series! It's going to be a valuable resource.




Spotify   /    Apple Podcasts    /   Instagram

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