Last year I attended the CocoLillyandCo Conference for female entrepreneurs where Angie was Keynote Speaker. As I sat in the front row listening to her speak, I couldn't help be taken back my her positive yet b*llshit free vibe.
As an On Air Lifestyle Expert, TV Producer, Blogger and Huffington Post Canada Contributor, her speech was jam-packed with information that I aggressively jotted down in the notes section of my iPhone. When she wrapped up her speech, I said to myself "this woman has got it figured out"...
About a week later I mustered up the courage to email Angie about my own business ventures. It was at that point she told me that she too is a Stepmom!
Naturally, my respect for her immeditely doubled!
I recently interviewed Angie for my Monthly Stepmom Feature, and again I was inspired by what she had to say. Just like her in Keynote Speech, she was positive yet she didn't sugarcoat anything!
You can check out what Angie had to say below!
Tell me about your family.
I’m mom to three boys total: I’ve got a toddler and an infant and I’m also step-mom to a tween. We’re a bustling, busy brood that’s always on the go. We love to travel, read and explore. When we’re home we’re all about board games, baking and walks around the city.
How long have you been with your husband?
We've been married four years now, but we dated and on-and-off four years before that.
What is your access schedule like?
Up until the school year of 2016 (so Sept 2016) we had 50/50 access. But as my step-son got older his desire to be near his school and friends outweighed the need for equal-share access. So now we have him every other weekend.
What is the most difficult thing about being a Stepmom?
It’s hard to pick one thing to be honest. For me, there’s nothing blatantly “hard” about it. It’s an amazing privilege yet tough role in general.
How should I react to that? What do I say to this? How should I refer to him? Does he hate me? Am I being too loving when he’s not actually my own son? Am I not being affectionate enough? The internal dialogue goes on and on…
What is the most rewarding thing about being a Stepmom?
Being a role model to any child is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in life. With step-parenting, it’s extra special because they don’t HAVE to regard you in any particular way.
I think Noah and I were able to bond early (I met him when he was 3.5 years) and developed some of our own special rituals that are just ours. He doesn’t need to bake with me or help run errands. But, he does and he does it because he wants to. That means more to me than a kid doing something out of obligation.
What’s one of the biggest mistakes you have made as a Stepmom?
Assuming (before I had my own kids) that parenting is the same no matter whose child is in question. It is actually quite different in some regards.
If your best friend told you she was about to start dating a man with kids, what would you tell her?
It would be a very long conversation that’s for sure. Some of my girlfriends had those same conversations with me when I first started dating my now spouse. A few key points: be patient, don’t take things personal, learn and love to share time and moments, parenting can be incredible and brutal in the same day – the same moment, even.
What do you wish you would have known before you became a Stepmom?
I wish I knew that the feelings I experienced were normal. When I first felt things as a step-mom, many of them felt “wrong”. There was no one to turn to because my spouse couldn’t relate and most of my friends weren’t dealing with kids and exes in their relationships. Over time, I’ve met so many other step-parents and I’ve realized my feelings were valid, acceptable, normal and common. I think many people are ashamed about certain thoughts processes, but often times it’s human nature.
It’s actually interesting for me because a lot of people who judged me years back, for the feelings I had, are now experiencing them as they go through divorce/dating/remarriage and only now do they understand where I was coming from.
How do you think Stepmoms are viewed in Society?
We definitely have a negative reputation in general. There has actually been a few instances that I’ve avoided certain shows or movies because I don’t want to influence my step-son’s thoughts of me based on Hollywood depictions. Whether they’re portrayed as seductive mistress types or strict, mean chore-drivers, I’ve yet to see many happy roles. As remarriage and divorce rates rise thought, it will likely change.
What's one think you couldn't survive without?
I couldn’t survive without my kids and Tylenol.
Tell us about your most awkward Stepmom moment.
Breastpumping took a while to get used to. At first I always shut myself in the nursery and did it when my step-son wasn't around. But with my first son, I had to pump seven times per day and I felt like I was always closed off from everyone so eventually I just bit the bullet and sat out in our common area to be with the family. I barricaded myself into a private corner with couch cushions etc. But now, I’m on baby #2 and neither my step-son nor I could care less. It just took a bit to get comfortable.
Tell me about your Blog!
We have a Family Travel Guide blog, which encourages families to take the leap and get mobile. Whether it’s a simple day-trip to somewhere in a city, or a flight with stop-overs, we try to offer tips to help ease fears. We do a ton of travel and wanted to share those positive moments with friends, family and readers.
[You can check out Angie and Rick Campanelli's Family Travel Guide blog by clicking HERE ... and while you're at it don't forget to follow them on Twitter & Instagram! ]
What's your favourite quote?
.... and while you're here, check out my past Stepmom Features below!