What's Her Secret: NickMom's Stefanie Wilder-Taylor
The author, comedian, late-night talk show host and mother of three tells us how she keeps it all together, from exercise and teeth-cleaning to gratitude.
She's an author, comedian, late-night talk show host, and a mom. To say Stefanie Wilder-Taylor has a lot going on—some of which she shares on her NickMom TV series Parental Discretion with Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, and her hilarious weekly podcast called "For Crying Out Loud"—is an understatement. We asked Wilder-Taylor (who has appeared on Today, Oprah, 20/20, Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, Larry King Live, and more) for tips on wellness, from hiking to oral hygiene, date night to gratitude.
So you're an author, comedian, late-night talk show host, and a mom. How do you balance your life? It's challenging. I have three kids, six-year-old twins and a nine year old. As a mom, their health comes first, they always come first. The last person who gets their teeth cleaned is momma! If I'm making doctors appointments for anybody, it's for the kids. It's funny, although I do make sure I get a physical every year because I'm getting older. Sometimes I laugh, because, man, my kids are all up to date on their shots––they sound like puppies––everything gets prioritized for them and the last people are mom and dad. Like, 'Oh, boy, haven't had my teeth cleaned in three years, I'd better get on that!'"
Does exercise help? "Sanity-wise, I have to say that I definitely will go to the gym. I prioritize that and that's what keeps me mentally sane. I have to get my workout. If I haven't had time to go to the gym, I will go do something with the kids––if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! The other day, I hadn't been to the gym and my kids were home so I grabbed my older one and I rollerbladed and she rode her bike, almost five miles. It was really fun! We got to bond and I got some exercise."
Especially in a creative field, when you have to be mentally sharp and "on" to perform, I find if I don't get enough exercise, I just feel cloudy, my brain doesn't work as well. "Absolutely! I know that feeling exactly. I try to go five days a week, but sometimes it ends up being four, once in awhile it ends up being two, or I at least go for a walk, or for a run… I'm lying, I don't go for a run. I'll grab a friend, and go for a hike with another mom while the kids are in school."
Any other tips? "I quit drinking almost five years ago, and that was very good for my health. Especially when you're a new mom and you don't have time to go to the gym and you don't have as much social interaction, I think a lot of moms can get into some unhealthy habits. You're not exercising, you're not taking time yourself, you have a new baby, your baby takes up all of your time, you can't leave him alone for a minute, you can barely get in the shower...you can start to over depend on substances, and that can lead to some depression."
Right. Physical health is an important part of wellness, but so is mental and emotional balance and not feeling overwhelmed by the demands of life. How do you juggle so much and still keep it together? "You know, it's a tough one. Some of it comes from just getting used to your situation. And we all have limits. We have to learn to ask our partners for help. I was trying to do so much myself and I was feeling really resentful of my husband, and we were bickering, and one of my friends was like, 'You need to ask for what you need.' I'm on a book deadline right now, and I was feeling so stressed. Every morning I'd get up, make the kids lunches, and take them to school. My friend was like, 'Why don't you ask your husband to make the lunches and take them to school every day for a couple of weeks.' I honestly thought I couldn't ask him to do that––he's not gonna want to do that. But I asked him, and he said, 'Of course, no problem,' and he did it! Which took a huge load of stress off me, it was magic."
Yeah! I feel even women without kids can relate to being afraid to ask for what we want or burden others, so we tend to take too much on. "Yeah. I also have some mom friends I've come to depend on. It's really nice, in the mom world you have your 'people.' It's not a favor, it's just your people. If I'm going to be late to pick my kids up from school, I call my friend Deirdre, she's my people, and, say, 'Hey, can you watch my kids, I'm running 15 minutes late.' And she can ask me. We don't keep score, it's really important. It really does take a village and we need to realize that and not to try to do everything ourselves."
How do you do fun and alone time? "My husband and I try to have a night out once a week, with a babysitter. There's nothing more relaxing to your brain then someone else putting your children to bed. It's so great, it's like a little spa vacation! Somebody else is fighting with them to brush their teeth. What a great day!"
Do you remember how you felt before becoming a busy mom? "I did not have my first kid until I was 38, so I remember it very well. Yeah, life was great before I had kids, life is great now. I feel like having kids gave my life a whole new dimension, all that corny stuff. It gave my life meaning, I have a reason to wake up every day. I love it. And I loved my life before too; I was writing on bad TV shows and enjoying my days. I think happiness is a choice. I do a podcast, so I get to complain and vent, but at the bottom of that, I'm a natural optimist. I genuinely believe things will work out and I try to choose to be grateful every single day, for everything. For my kids' health, for my life, for my husband—I have a great life. And it's easy to forget that if you don't remind yourself."