Essential Stepmom Podcast

ESP 4: When High-Challenge Is Your Normal: Part 1 Of A conversation with Christina Providence

An episode of Essential Stepmom Podcast

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Your trusted source for unconventional advice and inspiration about the Womanly Art of Raising Someone Else's Kids.
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Your trusted source for unconventional advice and inspiration about the Womanly Art of Raising Someone Else's Kids.

More places to listen

ESP 2.7 Five thousand desperate stepmoms Googled THIS phrase and found ME on YouTube!
I was astonished to learn that one of my stepmom tutorial videos was outperforming the others by 100 to 1. What was so special about my message in that video that had stepmoms flocking in droves to watch it? Spoiler alert - it's about not liking your stepchild.  Grab my free download about dealing with problem kids here: PLAYING HARD TO LIKE: 10 CHALLENGING STEP KID PERSONALITIES AND HOW TO WIN THEM OVER
December 3, 2019
ESP 2.6 Control Junkie No More!
I am a recovering control junkie and not afraid to admit it. I now get my fix minding my own business and controlling the only thing I really can, which is my own actions, and my reactions to things. Anna de Acosta has a similar story although all the parts of our journey are unique to our own experiences and circumstances. I'm excited for you to hear her story, one that led her back from 6 years in Peru to live practically around the corner from me! You can find more Anna at If you're an Ontario stepmom, like Anna and me, drop me a line, I'd especially love to hear from you. I know there are listeners all around my home town of Kitchener in Brantford, Stratford, Guelph, Cambridge, Hamilton, London, Harriston, Woodstock, Georgetown, Newmarket and even Toronto. Hit me up at and let's chat!
November 26, 2019
ESP 2.5 Step-parent Burnout Syndrome
I am acquainted with burnout, like many other high performing women. I've burned out once as a wife and once as a stepmom. Luckily, I've been developing a rich support network around me to help me cope so that I don't get all the way to burn out ever again. One of my most important supporters is Tania Heinemann, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Lactation Consultant - really sorry I didn't have her around when I had my own breastfeeding woes! You can connect with me at I'd especially like to hear from the stepmoms listening in from Kirkcaldy, Scotland, from Sunbury Australia, and Seville, Spain. Drop me a line! Follow Tania on Instagram @yellowoodnutrition and via her website,
November 19, 2019
ESP 2.4 She wants her mom and dad to get back together...
...and other cute things stepkids say. In this episode, I chat with Tania Heinemann who I invited onto the podcast to talk about recovering from burnout and specifically about healing adrenal fatigue. Fortunately, we got carried away with a discussion about her family, how her kids are coping with loss, her co-parenting relationship with her ex, and their parenting dynamic with her new husband, the stepdad. You'll have to wait until next week for the part about adrenal fatigue, so hang on a few more days! I'd love to chat with our listeners in Berlin, Rome, Tijuana and Christchurch. Hit me up at and let's book a virtual coffee date!
November 5, 2019
ESP 2.3: The Amazing Invisible Stepmom
Do you feel invisible sometimes? Like, your stepchild acts as if you don't exist? Or your input is ignored? This episode is for you. Please take a moment to rate or review this podcast on iTunes - that's the best way to help other stepmoms to find this program in a sea of podcast offerings. I'd love to hear from you - if you're listening on, leave me a voice message. You can send me an email to It will go straight to my personal inbox.
October 30, 2019
ESP 2.2 Duda Baldwin - Spiritual Teacher and Stepmom
Duda Baldwin is the creator of the Little School of Buddhism and she's a life coach who brings a spiritual edge to learning to crush your goals while staying true to yourself.  You can learn more about Duda at Tracy's articles have been published in ThriveGlobal, Medium and Elephant Journal. Send your comments or questions to her via If you're not already part of her Facebook community, send a join request to The Spectacular Stepmom. Grab this free resource - Healing Stepmom Burnout: A Quickstart Guide
October 22, 2019
ESP 2.1 Who Gets To Be Part Of Your Tribe?
This is about your stepmom tribe, your dream team, your support network. We're going to design your very own dream team on this episode and by the end you'll know exactly who your team members are, where they're hiding and how to get exactly what you need from them. Here are links for the resources I mentioned in this episode: Nacho Kids Academy Susan Stiffelman Essential Stepmom Session Groups - book a call with me here to find the right group for you.
October 16, 2019
ESP 15: The Disengaging Essay
My guest Maarit Miller created and published a version of the Disengaging Essay that made it famous in the stepmom world. You can read it on Maarit's blog, Blended Family Frappe. I'll be taking a break for the next while as I focus on helping the participants in Stepmom Success Lab. There's still room for you there too - come and join us and be supported with a small community of women who are learning the stepmom ropes right alongside you. Start feeling more relaxed and confident ASAP! Get all the info here: STEPMOM SUCCESS LAB
August 27, 2019
ESP 14: Guest Shannon Bally on being a stepdaughter and a bio mom.
Shannon Bally is the host of a podcast called The Bumpcast. Her life so far includes having 4 children and 3 stepmoms. Her husband is stepdad to her oldest 2 children and she can speak to what it looks like as a bio mom when the kids come back from visiting dad! Here's a link for Shannon's podcast: There's just one more episode this season - don't miss Maarit Miller talking about her part in making the Disengaging Essay available to stepmoms so they can make the changes that really help their whole family relate better to each other. After next week, I'll be on a break until mid-October so I can focus on the women in my Stepmom Success Lab program. You can still be one of them! Check it out at
August 20, 2019
ESP 13: Is it mean not to share your cookies?
This episode is about peer support and peer advice, and how to know when to take advice from a stranger. What does that have to do with sharing cookies? A simple request for advice on social media gave me the inspiration to talk about sharing the parenting of your stepkids, and how much of that you should be doing as a stepmom. Interested in learning more about Stepmom Success Lab? We're starting up on September 1 so check it out here! Stepmom Success Lab You can get loads of first-rate, trustworthy parenting tips from Patty Wipfler and her colleagues at Hand In Hand Parenting Connect with me anytime at
August 13, 2019
ESP 12: Infertility - Support and Transformation with Dr. Stacy Thomas
Dr. Stacy is a Clinical Psychologist in private practise in Toronto, Canada. She specializes in helping women manage the emotional challenges of infertility. Her free guided journal is available at  http://growingforwardjournal Learn more about Stepmom Success Lab, my 6-week turbo-training program for women who want to quickly fill in the important blanks in their own knowledge about parenting, step-parenting and step-family life at Connect with me at
August 6, 2019
ESP 11: Parental Alienation Part 3
This final episode of my 3-part series on Parental Alienation is about how to support yourself and your partner to weather the emotional wear and tear of this kind of situation. Please rate us on iTunes so other stepmoms can find us and listen along with you! EssentialStepmom Podcast on iTunes Here's my free Gratitude Journal template - join my email community and it will be sent right to your inbox! Stepmom Success Lab is my 6-week turbo program to help you quickly and painlessly fill in the gaps in your knowledge about parenting, step-parenting and step-family life. Launching for the fourth time on September 1st - EARLY PRICING AVAILABLE NOW! Take a peek here: Stepmom Success Lab  Connect with me and submit your questions at
July 30, 2019
ESP 10: Parental Alienation Part 2
Kim Wilson describes her experience being completely alienated from her mother from age 1 to age 7, and the effect this had on her future relationships. I find it incredibly helpful to hear from adults who lived through this because they can explain to us what it felt like and how it resolved for them. My research - a survey of over 200 women who reported being alienated as children - confirms that the vast majority of kids eventually seek out the erased parent and enjoy a deeper relationship with that parent than they have with the one who controlled them. If you're not already a member of my closed Facebook group, please come and check us out! My website is, and you'll find my blog there and other stepmom-related resources.
July 23, 2019
ESP 9: Parental Alienation Part 1 - 10 Practical Tips
Parental Alienation might be the most difficult challenge a step-family can face. Here are 10 practical tips for helping things along. In the next episode, we'll talk about what to say to the kids, what not to say, and how to help them express whatever they may be feeling. Stepmom Success Lab is starting again on September 1, 2019! Listen to the course modules at your own pace, use the workbook to solidify your learning, and let me help you adapt the techniques to suit your unique situation in our live video Q&A sessions. Here's the link to learn more:
July 17, 2019
ESP 8. Understanding Loyalty: Loving The Stepchild Who Won't Let You In
The loyalty bind, or loyalty conflict as it's sometimes known, is possibly the most insidious barrier to a healthy relationship between a stepmom and her partner's children. It's not always noticeable at the start of a new family and it can become a problem at any time, even years down the road. Its very hard to help by giving love, when the problem is that the child can't allow him or herself to love you back! 1. It can happen at any time, whether bio mom is very present in their lives or not around at all. 2. It's not about you! A true loyalty bind is about the child not being able to figure out how to reciprocate your love without feeling bad inside. 3. We're not wired to have two moms at the same time (no reference to same-sex parents!). Be aware of overstepping as a "mom". 4. Choose another avatar or persona. You can be loved as an auntie or a friend's mom instead of rejected as a "bonus" mom. 5. Click here for my blog on that topic or visit 6. Give more space to dad to fill their need for connection. 7. Let them choose how to show affection - propose alternate gestures like a special handshake to stand in for hugging. 8. Give it time, expect it to reappear. Recognize this vulnerable place in the child and respect it. Please help other stepmoms to find this show by rating us on iTunes. I welcome questions from listeners and I'll be glad to address them ANONYMOUSLY of course, on a future episode! You can send an email to me at
July 9, 2019
ESP 7: The Spiritual Work of Step-parenting (part 2)
Awareness, Acknowledgement, Acceptance. How do these apply to your step-parenting journey, and why are they important? I think they're all that's between you and the dreaded "70%" - the tragic majority of stepmoms who don't make it, whose families can't withstand the pressures and challenges and whose stepfamilies dissolve.  If you'd like to try out my free Gratitude Journal template, you can get it here: If you're listening on iTunes or Apple podcasts and you enjoyed this, please rate us there and help other stepmoms to find us!
July 4, 2019
ESP. 6 The Spiritual Work of Step-parenting (part 1)
I have a personal story to share about my own journey towards embracing spirituality. It's the story of how I found my husband and became a stepmom! The three important steps on the way to true peace and happiness are Awareness, Acknowledgement and Acceptance. I used to be pretty crappy at two out of three of those and  although it made me easy for other people to be around, it wasn't very good for me. I'll focus on how to increase awareness in this episode, and we'll get to acknowledgement and acceptance on next week's podcast. Here's a link to download my free Gratitude Journal template: Connect with me at Join a lovely Facebook community for stepmoms and get my weekly videos too: The Spectacular Stepmom
June 26, 2019
ESP 5: Drop The Knives! Part two of my conversation with Christina Providence
Dropping the knives is a brilliant metaphor for thinking in a new way about working at the edge of your capacity (or the end of your rope, as a stepmom!) and how to get what you need to stay in "growth mode" instead of falling into "stress mode". I do provide that "outside eye" to help stepmoms creatively source the best quality support. Shoot me a message at, or go ahead and book a free 20-minute strategy and support session by phone or Skype with this direct link:
June 18, 2019
ESP 4: When High-Challenge Is Your Normal: Part 1 Of A conversation with Christina Providence
Christina Providence is an energy coach who helps high performing women recover from burnout and get back their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy so they can feel like themselves again. She shares a great metaphor about working at the limits of your capacity and how to continually stretch your zone of growth by creating and sourcing the support you need to achieve at higher and higher levels. Notes: 2:28  Hold the umbrella, but don't try to stop the rain 3:20  Christina Providence helps high performing women get back on top of their game with her "Cycle of Creating Healing" 4:12 There's nothing wrong with you when you're exhausted, you've just reached the point of diminishing returns 4:40 Hard work produces results, overwork does not! 5:15 Stretch mode is great if you have high positive energy 5:43 High negative energy is survival energy leads to a crash 7:30 Even sleeping requires energy 7:41 What makes you crash 8:05 What's low quality recovery and what would make it better? 9:45 The point of diminishing returns 10:19 Human energy oscillates up and down by its very nature - we move from high performance mode to recovery mode 12:45 Getting that rich support and recovery allows you to keep stretching and growing 14:55 Drop the knives! Tune in next week to hear the rest of my interview with Christina. You can reach Christina at: You can find me at:  Download my free guide, "Easy Ways to LEVEL UP As A Stepmom"
June 11, 2019
ESP. 3: The trouble with chores
Should your step kids be doing chores? If you think so and their dad doesn't, what can you do?  There's a difference between the practical reasons for giving kids chores (like, you need help!) and reasons having to do with parenting and raising responsible adults. Both of these issues can have good solutions that don't involve you being the evil stepmom! Connect with me at Download my free guide "Easy Ways to LEVEL UP As A Stepmom": 32 tips for winning bonus points and saving energy!
June 4, 2019
ESP 2: Red Flags and How To Spot Them with Lori Wilkins Sims
How can you tell the difference between random step family troubles and real "red flags" you should pay attention to? My guest Lori Wilkins Sims is the originator of the Nacho Kids concept and if you don't know her story, you won't want to miss this! Connect with Lori at You can find me at Download my free guide, "Easy Ways to LEVEL UP As A Stepmom": 32 Tips that will earn you bonus points and save your energy!
June 3, 2019
ESP 1: Overstepping
Overstepping boundaries is almost inevitable as a Stepmom. How can we recognize when we've done it, and more importantly, how do we recover from it and make things right? Did you know that my turbo training "Stepmom Success Lab" is launching for the fourth time on September 1/2019? Fill in the gaps in your knowledge of parenting, step-parenting and stepfamily life quickly and start feeling more confident right away! EARLY PRICING AVAILABLE UNTIL AUG 25! Click below for more info: Stepmom Success Lab Download my free guide, Easy Ways to LEVEL UP  As A Stepmom: 32 Simple Tips to help you earn bonus points while saving your energy! Join my Facebook community at The Spectacular Stepmom
June 3, 2019
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