Lori Wilkins Sims is my guest today. She's the originator of the Nacho Kids method. I challenged her to come up with some situations where it's not necessary to disengage from some aspects of raising your stepkids, and we had a lively conversation - some of it serious and some tongue in cheek. I challenged her to talk about the kinds of situations that would make a stepmom not need to follow her "nacho kids" advice!
Learn about the Nacho Kids Academy at bit.ly/essentialnacho . If you register from that link, you'll be supporting this podcast at the same time!
Visit my website at essentialstepmom.com and join my Facebook group at The Spectacular Stepmom.
PLUS: if you're playing the game of "Babysitter-Hero" set to EXPERT level and there's no end in sight, please help yourself to my e-book 50 Great Boredom Busters. It's free during Corona season!
Part 2 of a 3-part series with Tamasin Thomas, therapist and financial expert.
Grab her free e-book, 3 Steps to Resolving Financial Conflict from her website at tamasinthomas.com
My book of Boredom Busters is also available at no cost during this challenging time - find it at essentialstepmom.com
With all the "social distancing", I'm extra glad to hear from you. Reach out for a messenger chat or a free phone call with this link:
CLICK BELOW to join my 4 day livestream video challenge from Monday March 9 to Thursday March 12, 2020. You can watch live, on replay or listen in audio only mode and download the tips and recipes too!
The book I mentioned is The Collapse of Parenting by Leonard Sax.
Please come on over and join us on social media, if that's your jam. We're at The Spectacular Stepmom on Facebook.
Ready for some one on one advice you so you can feel lighter and more optimistic about stepfamily life? Want to learn how to support your husband through the challenge of parental alienation? Set up a free call and we can talk about what this kind of support might look like for you!
BOOK A FREE 20-MINUTE STRATEGY SESSION
What can I say? It's true, I'm a work in progress.
Brene Brown's audio-book The Power of Vulnerability is available from her website, www.brenebrown.com
Visit my website at www.essentialstepmom.com
Join the Facebook group, The Spectacular Stepmom
We have a group for your spouse called One For The Dads too!
Got my free guide yet? Grab it here: Playing Hard To Like: 10 Challenging Stepkid Personalities and How To Win Them Over
Want my free gratitude journal template? Grab it here:
I love to hear from you - really, it just makes my day every time. You can find me at my personal email, email@example.com.
If you'd like to chat, I encourage you to book a free 20-minute strategy session:
BOOK A CALL WITH TRACY
Learn more about me and my work at essentialstepmom.com
Finally, I have a Facebook group for stepmoms and one for their partners. Hope to see you there!
Do you and your spouse ever argue about money? Does it drive you crazy that he spends too much on his kids, or that his ex is making poor choices with the child care payments coming out of your joint bank account?
My guest Tamasin Thomas is a certified financial planner AND a certified therapist. She's also the host of a wonderful podcast called The Psychology of Money that you can find wherever you're listening to this podcast or by clicking the link above.
Her website is tamasinthomas.com and you can grab a free resource there called 3 Steps to Resolving Financial Conflict to help couples get through their tough money conversations.
Connect with me any time - I love to hear from you! Drop me a line at my personal and private email address, firstname.lastname@example.org or book a free 20-minute strategy session with me here:
BOOK A CALL WITH TRACY
Everyone has days like this, I know I have had my share. Days when you think you just suck at being a stepmom and everything that's going wrong is your fault. I made a live video last year for my Facebook group, The Spectacular Stepmom and I decided to share it with you here.
If you'd like to know more about Vipassana meditation, and how you can sign up to do a 10-day course like the one I'm at now, here's the link:
www.dhamma.org Click on wherever you are in the world to go to the website for a centre near you.
Visit me at essentialstepmom.com or book a free 20-minute strategy session with me here:
BOOK A FREE PHONE CALL WITH TRACY
There's a lesson we can all learn from the story of how Roger Bannister became the first human to run a mile in under 4 minutes, and especially from what happened next!
The world is changing, family structures are changing and we need to change in order to keep to keep the orders of relationship inside our families intact. Here's a little piece of unconventional advice on that topic.
Looking for a supportive community of like-minded stepmoms? Check out my Facebook group, The Spectacular Stepmom
Could your spouse use a place online to connect with other dads who get what his life looks like? Send him to One For The Dads
The other websites I mentioned briefly are:
Ross Greene (The Explosive Child) http://livesinthebalance.org
Patty Wipfler, Hand In Hand Parenting http://handinhandparenting.org
This is from a live video I made for my Facebook group called One For The Dads. If you'd like to join (and you're a biological dad) send a join request!
If you're a stepmom and you're looking for a social media community, join us at The Spectacular Stepmom
I'd love to hear from you! Reach out any time to my personal and private email account at email@example.com
Please take a moment to rate or review this podcast on iTunes. You'll be helping another stepmom out there somewhere to find this great resource!
If you don't know Brene Brown, just google her TED talk on vulnerability - it's had over 30 million views. She's the author of a number of fabulous books, but the one I'm working on right now is called Dare to Lead. I dare you to read it and not see every word of it as advice for you as the leader of your family project!
You can listen to this book on Audible, and they'll give you a free month to try it out with no obligation. Audible.com. I encourage you to visit her website, brenebrown.com
My Facebook group is called The Spectacular Stepmom and we'd be glad to see you there. Just send a join request.
Please feel free to reach out anytime - my private and confidential email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also book a 20-minute chat at no cost with this link: tracypoizner.bookafy.com
Happy New Year to you, wherever in the world you're listening from. I am partway through a holiday experience unlike anything I've had in 13 years of blended family life. It took us a long time to get here, but that only makes me appreciate it more! If I can give you one single piece of advice, it would be about overstepping.
In my opinion, that's the number one challenge in stepmom world, so I'm replaying the very first episode of this podcast for those of you who never heard it, and as a reminder for those of you who listened way back in June when it first came out.
I"d love to hear from you! Drop me a line to my personal and private email account, email@example.com and if you're not already a member, send a join request to my closed Facebook group, The Spectacular Stepmom and be part of that support community!
Leave a private voice message for me right here: https://anchor.fm/essentialstepmom/message
What do you know about Disengaging? Here's a "start where you are" guide to finding your way to better stepfamily relationships via a detour from the path you thought you were supposed to take!
Connect with me at essentialstepmom.com. I'd love to hear from you!
In response to a listener request, I interviewed Sonia Richter - artist, stepmom and blogger. Sonia opened her personal struggle with childlessness to the public when she wrote a blog called Raw Brutal Honesty On Being a 44 Year Old Childless Stepmom Artist.
You can read that at soniarichter.com
I want to hear from you, especially if you resonate with this topic. Drop me a line at my personal and private email, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you'd like to get a sense of what it might be like to have my personal support on your stepmom journey, go ahead and book a phone call. There's absolutely no obligation and no charge, just a few minutes of free advice:
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
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 annadeacosta.com
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 email@example.com and let's chat!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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, www.yellowood.ca
...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 email@example.com and let's book a virtual coffee date!
Do you feel invisible sometimes? Like, your stepchild acts as if you don't exist? Or your parenting input to your spouse is ignored? And what about a biomom who doesn't acknowledge all that you do for her child? This episode is for you!
We'll talk about the difference between FEELING invisible and actually BEING invisible - taking charge of your own presence to decide for yourself when you can achieve your belongingness goals by temporarily getting out of the way. I'll give you some precise strategies and some mindset tweaks to help you over this common hump in your stepmom journey.
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 anchor.fm, leave me a voice message. You can send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. It will go straight to my personal inbox.
I offer one on one consulting for stepmoms, alone or with their partners. Book a free 20-minute phone chat by clicking right here:
BOOK A FREE CALL WITH TRACY!
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 kickassmuse.com.
Tracy's articles have been published in ThriveGlobal, Medium and Elephant Journal. Send your comments or questions to her via email@example.com.
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
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
Essential Stepmom Session Groups - book a call with me here to find the right group for you.
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
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: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-bumpcast/id1412697251
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 training.essentialstepmom.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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 training.essentialstepmom.com
Connect with me at email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 http://essentialstepmom.com, and you'll find my blog there and other stepmom-related resources.
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:
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 http://essentialstepmom.com/blog/6-ways-to-be-a-stepmother-who-is-not-a-mom.html
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 email@example.com
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!
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or go ahead and book a free 20-minute strategy and support session by phone or Skype with this direct link:
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.
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"
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!
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!
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