This weekend is always hard for us step parents so I wanna talk to you for a moment.
“But doesn’t it bother you? Not having kids of your own. Not being married?”
She asked me this after I’d explained that with my medical issues, no I would not be having kids of my own. She was the kind of person who just blurted questions and instead of being offended it was actually refreshing. As far as Lyft rides this one was a weird one but because she was so chatty and warm I found myself responding instead of pretending to receive a phone call.
Well yeah...YES. It bothers me not having had a baby. It hurts. It’s a hurt only some know but it’s there and every now and then it’s there to ruin my day. But I do have 2 kids in my life I love more than anything. I really do.
I’m a parent through circumstance and luck. Being a step mom or bonus mom is the single most treasured title I own. But Mother’s Day is rough on us Step Mom’s generally. We aren’t always counted in this holiday.
This is for all of you step mamas:
You are loved and so important in the lives of the kids who came into your life. You have gone through school projects, and holidays, and picking out dresses or special occasion clothes with these kids. You’ve hugged them when they’re hurting and played with them when you were exhausted because you love them. You worked hard to make dinners special, to plan surprises and even to make sure they got gifts or made cards for their Mom on every single holiday and birthday. You’ve also lost your shit a time or two because WHY ARE THEY YELLING AT EACH OTHER JUST GET ALONG DAMNIT. Just me?
As they got older you started giving advice and guidance and adolescence happened out of nowhere. The relationship is one that is stronger than this holiday. You have their trust and they have yours. Some of your happiest moments have been with these kids and their Dad. You love them like all of their parents love them.
From me to you this weekend Happy Mother’s Day step mama’s. You are incredible and have a truly giving heart. ❤️❤️❤️
If you are a coach/ influencer/ business owner and do not already have a podcast NOW is the time. Podcasts have exploded in popularity with more and more listeners every year. For you this means an even bigger audience and reach.
I started my first podcast over 10 years ago with nothing but a little dictation recorder and an idea. Now it’s even easier.
The first thing you need is a name and your theme. What will your show be about? Will you be the only host? How long would you like each episode to be? Once you have a good grasp of those things you’re ready.
You will need the following things:
Equipment you will be recording with
A hosting site for your show
Sounds really easy right? It is. Do not get intimidated by all the extras. They will come in time.
Time to record! You can do this really simply with a laptop with a built in mic. On the go I have used my macbook air to record quick episodes. If you are going to invest in one thing I do recommend getting a better microphone. The Blue Yeti is an excellent one to start with, plugs straight into your computer and will give you a much cleaner and richer sound. If you are unfamiliar with recording programs I am going to send you to the expert Pat Flynn - go here and watch this: Recording Your Show. Thank you me later.
Record your first episode. Don’t worry about awkward pauses, ums, or mess-ups. The beauty of the podcast is you can edit those out later. I recommend recording an intro you can use for every episode first. This will get you used to talking to your audience about who you are and what your show is. You don’t need any fancy theme music but you can certainly grab some royalty free from places like: Audio Jungle
For recording and editing I use Garageband and Audacity. Both are easy to set up and get going.
If you are a coach you probably have used ZOOM. Did you know that you can export the audio files from ZOOM? YES! You could record your entire show using ZOOM if you wanted to.
I use ZOOM and SKYPE when I am conducting interviews.
OK you have recorded your first episode and you’ve edited it - YAY. Now you need to save that audio file as an MP3 and upload it to your host.
Your host is next. Even if you have a website you need a podcast host to house your audio files and distribute your feed. There are several hosts but the two I recommend are:
Both offer very inexpensive packages. Depending on how many episodes you do each month will dictate what will be a better choice for you. I personally use Podbean for The Spark Effect.
Both hosts will walk you through setting up and even how to apply for the iTunes directory. iTunes is your most important directory but you can also get listed in Stitcher, Google Play, and Spotify
Once you have connected them they will automatically get each new episode. Hurray!
Upload your very first episode. Give it some cover art - Canva is the perfect place to create this - and launch it into the world.
Congrats! You are now a podcaster.
Many of you are REALLY busy. I highly recommend outsourcing things like editing if you are not super technical, when you can. I offer services in podcast editing. For all of you coaches who have gone live on FB and have lots of content already recorded - I can take your livestreams and convert them into podcast episodes for your show. SO GOOD right!? Get in touch with me and we can discuss what you need. email@example.com
A few final tips:
• Promote your show in IG and FB stories
•Ask your listeners to rate and review your show in iTunes
•Be consistent. Set up a schedule and stick to it
•Be decisive. This YOUR podcast. You make the rules.
The Sunday before Christmas and I am sitting here looking at all the cards that have been steadily coming in. I was a bad card sender this year but it has prompted me to sit here and write this holiday blog/letter to you all.
I am so thankful to all of you my friends and family and for all the new people in my community for being here and sharing your day to day with me.
This Christmas and holiday season has given me a lot to be thankful for and 2018 has been a shift from chugging along and coasting to going pedal to the metal full throttle professionally. I am just getting started all. The Spark Effect was launched this year, a new Mindset Course around emotional eating, and I started writing a book. I lost many pounds and for the first time in 39 years have kept it off without any big yo-yoing going on.
2018 was the year I outgrew an MLM and fully launched my own brand. I will say this about being a part of one - it taught me SO MUCH about what I really want to do with my life and what I really don’t. I am not and will never be a “recruiter” and dislike the culture around “building a business” that largely relies on getting others to do what I do, about (personally)not having any upline support, and about watching a rose tinted view. I am not in the business of convincing or bragging about salary. I’m in the business of changing the world and helping others. It put me on a path to moving on and opening up a real business of my own.
My stepson Dan is in his sophomore year of college in Miami and still one of the best human beings I know. He is a good man and a patient teacher when walking his stepmom through guitar chords that come easily to him. This is an exciting time of his life and I want him to enjoy every second of it. My step-daughter…Sophie is 14 and a freshmen in high school. Somehow that tiny little girl is now a young gorgeous woman who shares her father’s dark humor and has a fire in her I can’t see anyone dimming.
Lou continues to make me laugh daily and remains the person I can’t wait to share my stories and life with. He is also extremely stubborn and can be a total grump that I love very much. He is also a good Lou, don’t tell him I told you. He has encouraged me from day one to do my own thing and continues to believe in me. He sees the vision I have and is my best editor, idea bouncer, and also knows how to pull me out of work mode.
Dad has had a particularly rough year and landed in the hospital with a very bad knee infection. After a successful operation he is now on a long, rough road to recovery in an aftercare facility. He is strong and still so full of the warmth and delight in his family and life. My Mom is the strongest person I know. She is holding down the fort in California and being a total rockstar juggling all the things with Dad. Joe, my brother, totally stepped up and has been such a good support and strength to my family. My grandma is still my grandma, tiny, opinionated and someone I love very much.
I have watched my BFF Becca blossom this year into a happier, more confident, badass that she has always been. I miss you.
I have made it a practice this year to write out my big goals every day and actively work on them. If I can leave you with anything let it be this - fuck resolutions. stop waiting. If it is worth wanting, it’s worth going after and doing NOW.
Love you all and thank you for hanging out online with me. Merry Christmas.
It was said by an exhausted mom and it wasn’t meant to hurt me but hurt it did.
I do know how very important and special it is that I get to be step mom to Danny and Sophie. I do. They are…they are pure joy and life and I can’t express how much I love them. They are my world and my family.
There is that very open wound from not having children. I didn’t get to have that experience with my body. I do not know what it feels like to have a baby laying against me skin to skin. To watch all the marvels as they grow awareness and knowledge. To hold chubby limbs and see them take their first steps. To see what in their little face looks like you.
And you know… it hurts damnit. I know I am not alone in this feeling and I wanted to say to every single woman out there who has wanted to have children but has been unable to for whatever reason - I know. I know and I feel that pain.
I know the side comments not meant to hurt that do hurt.
I know playing the “what if” game when you lie awake at night.
I know watching other mamas and wondering what certain things are like.
Not all of us are meant to have babies. It’s bullshit but whether it’s medical or another reason some of us do not get that experience even if we have wanted it our entire lives.
But I have learned some stuff. We are miraculous, amazing women nonetheless. We can nurture and parent in other ways. We can inspire. We can teach. Some of us get to be Bonus mamas and some of us become CEOs.
Some of us do both.
But I feel you. And I know.
I suck. I had that thought all day yesterday.
I get down on myself for not being a huge success yet. I am closing in on 40 (171 days, but who’s counting) and am no where near where I truly thought I would be as far as career and success. One of my greatest fears in life is that I will be more of a dreamer than a doer and wake up one day too old to live out my dreams but still talking about them.
I had this total stop-in-my-tracks and reevaluate my thinking moment this weekend as I read one of the dozens of business/entrepreneur/development books I pour over. The task was - write down all the things you have accomplished that have brought you happiness.
Instead of looking at what hasn’t happened maybe, oh just maybe my pocket friends I should look at what I have in my life and what I have done already.
Maybe what I was supposed to accomplish by now was in fact:
Being a parent/stepmom - this was no easy journey or a short one. I am certain I made mistakes navigating my role as step mom but it’s truly my most cherished one. I love the kids and feel blessed to have them in my life.
Raising the best corgi in the world (I feel I should mention that spell check changed that to tasing the best corgi in the world, and oh how I laughed) But really, when we decided to finally get a puppy I spent months researching and studying and preparing for this little life and to set him up to be the best doggo. He is in fact the best dog I have ever known and loves all people, pets…he loves everyone and everything.
Adopting a hurricane rescue pup - more on this in coming weeks. But fostering a dog became one of the best parts of my life. Kashmir is a sweet soul who brings me so much happiness.
And now some business accomplishments:
creating an online course - I literally leapt without a safety net on this one and learned as I went. I learned a fuck ton doing this.
Being licensed/certified to teach yoga, zumba, piyo
Enrolling in a nutrition cert course this fall
Starting a business from scratch that has now enrolled and helped hundreds of women and men.
There’s more but hopefully your eyes have not glazed over by now. The point is this - If you are like me and getting a little down on where you are, that you are not further along - make that list. Making that list showed me how much time things do take and that I’ve already done awesome shit. It made me refocus on what my current goals are and break them down into steps.
I will get there and it will take as long as it takes.
In all the years I have been lucky enough to be on this planet the thing I absolutely fucking know is this - you can be broken, sick, broke, and just in a total garbage shit show situation and you can decide to do something about YOU. That decision changes EVERYTHING. You can change everything.
I was 30 years old when I got my first taste of utter failure as an adult woman. I had moved across country with a boyfriend who I had decided was the “one”. I didn’t listen to when he would say he never wanted kids. I didn’t listen when he would say he wasn’t sure he would ever want to be married, but “maybe babydoll” Ugh. I was sure that because he said he loved me that I would be the one for him too. I would be the one who he WOULD want those things with. I spent over 5 years hearing the things I wanted to hear. We got the shiny condo on the Upper East Side and I thought life was just going to be perfect. We would have the perfect babies. Perfect little NYC family.
I sure as shit didn’t listen to that voice inside me that was SCREAMING, “WENDY! He is not the one. He is never going to change and he is going to cheat on you.”
I didn’t listen.
I didn’t listen until it wasn’t an internal voice and all of that fear had become technicolor reality. My ultimate nightmare. Oh. I should mention I was also over 300 pounds and had just found out I have a tumor in my head. This is where I have to think, if there is a God and I find myself leaning more towards yes nowadays - he had to be preparing me for doing some epic level shit now with what was being thrown at me then. Finding out about the cheating was almost minor in comparison to Yosemite Sam (what I named my tumor) . I say almost because the devastation I felt was actually worse. The tumor I decided I could handle. Being betrayed...not so much.
I hate when people say things like, “I wouldn’t change anything because it brought me to where I am now.” Like...I would def change some things and I am confident I would still end up just as awesome and loving my life just as much. But I admit that it was going through this time where I learned something that does feel magical once you start believing it - You can accomplish anything and have anything you want if you go after it.
I rose from those ashes a totally different woman and decided right then and there I was going to live an amazing life and I was going to create it on my own. I talk to so many people and it hurts me to hear their pain. I know where they are. I know those feelings and I would totally wave a magic wand if I could.
You have to own your part in your story. I had to look in the mirror and realize I was an active participant in digging the ditch I found myself in. You have to DECIDE to make yourself happy. You have to decide to make the time for all those things you say you just don’t have time for. You and I both know that they are just excuses. You have to realize your worth and that you are an amazing, unique, incredible badass who deserves a life of love and happiness.
I believe in you.
You have to start listening. You have to take action. And find those people who cheer you on. They are out there.
Listen. Decide. THEN MOVE.
Of the many things my mother in law said to me, one of them was “write it down.” She’s not my mother in law by the strictest definition. I am not married but her son is my boyfriend and I was as close to her as one that was would be. She referred to me as her daughter or daughter in law and I called her my mother in law for so long it became reality. I spent a lot of time with her when she was in the hospital. It was bleak and the days were long but I wouldn’t change the time I had. It was there that we got to know each other even better. I miss her very much.
She and I shared an aversion to being forgotten. The general idea of it is frustrating and upsetting. She left so much of herself behind that she won’t be. My boyfriend and I were given her laptop when she passed away. I used it to track down her contacts but found so much more. She wrote. A lot. It’s inspiring to read and is absolutely that raw, off the cuff way I used to write myself. It shouldn’t be lost on a hard drive. It is helping me get back into a groove and I love her for it.
So in Kelly’s words:
“There is a good reason 80% of great stories never get published-It’s because they never get written. Write about what you know. Turn the font way up and never mind if it’s not making sense in the beginning-just write it down. We don’t put pen to paper anymore-because we have computers (which helps people like me who are confused by snarky cats, the bunny, traffic going by, birds tweeting, and life in general.) because the computer remembers. Don’t fix the spelling mistakes, the grammar errors, and don’t let ANYONE edit you. JUST WRITE. You got double vision? Make the font bigger. You can’t remember what the hell you were writing about? Look at your notes, make notes. You don’t feel like it one day, or one week> Fine, don’t do it that day-but promise yourself you will go back. You have nothing to lose but ennui and an anxious feeling that life may indeed be passing you by. I refuse to let a disease, or circumstances or anything else define me. I will define me. I will not be sad and I will not be a drag around other people. If I cry when I am alone, that’s my privilege. If the people who know me best are pretty sure that’s what is going on, then for my sake they will pretend I am made of steel and let on to no one else what they suspect. In order to do that, I have to be busy and as productive as I can be. The rest is all conjecture.”
It’s a topic I feel is super important to address as a stepmom/parent. I want the kids to understand this is not about quick fixes or trying to be skinny. I want everyone to understand that actually.
I began my journey to making lifestyle changes about 9 years ago. Before that I struggled with weight since I was a child. I continue to struggle with food. In the past I have tried every diet pill created, every fad diet, every cleanse. I was obsessed with the number on the scale, I pinched the fat on my body in disgust, and I told myself daily that I was fat - and that fat meant I was BAD/UGLY.
This was my life for many years. Through all of that I had no concept of nutrition or what kinds of foods I should really be eating. I thought if it said fat free, low fat, or diet I was good. I thought not eating was how you had to lose weight, would starve myself, which in return would become a binge session and I was back to the starting point.
I am so happy when I see people making changes, but I'm not happy when I see them restricting themselves of the calories they need or telling people exercise is not needed. I’m not happy when I see people equating their weight with being a bad person.
We need food and the right kinds to fuel our bodies. We need to get up and move! We cannot depend on pills, wraps, patches, magic potions, or calorie restricting craziness to give us long lasting results.
You have to find balance. Teach your kids! Yes you can still have pizza, enjoy sweets from time to time, and still enjoy life. I want the kiddos and my friends to see that we can enjoy life and be healthy too. They know exercise is important because they see it daily in our home or on my instagram/FB.
I don't want them to see me obsessing about food, or hating the body I have even with the cellulite, stretch marks, and all! I do want them to see me working hard, fueling my body, and loving the skin I'm in. It has to start with us. With parents and adults. Educate yourself on nutrition, get up and start moving, involve your family, and find accountability!! Stop looking for easy or magic! It's not easy, but doing it the right way is healthy and your body will thank you for it.
Fad diets can change your weight, but exercise and lifestyle changes can change your life!