Moms really deserve a standing ovation. They cook, clean, and constantly care for everyone within reach — everyone but themselves. Sometimes, the push for perfection can be hard for new mothers, but a Santa Barbara–based podcast is helping them realize that their own happiness is just as important as that of their immediate family.
Soul Mammas reaches out to mothers who take time out of their busy schedules to pursue their own goals. Each episode, a new mom is interviewed on topics ranging from pregnancy and marriage to career success and self-care. And it’s all orchestrated by a woman who is no stranger to balancing passion and responsibility. Some time ago, Nicole De Leon — yoga instructor, entrepreneur, surfer, and mother of three — began to ask herself if being a mom meant losing her independence. With an infant, could she no longer go surfing or take an impromptu yoga class?
After having her baby last year, De Leon understood how moms can feel alone when they are obligated to others.
“As a new mother, I was feeling pretty isolated and really craved a community of like-minded mamas, so I decided to make one myself,” said De Leon. A big part of Soul Mammas is conveying to mothers that they don’t need to do everything right. To De Leon, “when moms put everyone else first, they end up not knowing who they are anymore.” The idea of a “soul mamma” is not someone who has a perfect life, but someone who does her best without compromising her own happiness in the process.
One episode focused on Jenny Schatzle, a personal trainer who not only takes care of newborn twins but also runs her own fitness studio in Santa Barbara. Throughout the interview, Schatzle talks about the importance of positive body image. “How society views women postpartum and how focusing on our bodies to measure our self-worth is damaging to us as mothers,” Schatzle said.
Another mom, Anastasia Stone, discussed her experience with foster care and adopting three of her five children. Stone praised the podcast for giving moms a community — she doesn’t have to face her struggles alone. “Connecting with others is a grandiose thing,” she said. “Especially in today’s culture, right? We don’t connect that often, and we crave it.”
For De Leon, the podcast has taught her that moms shouldn’t be afraid to share what’s going on in their lives. “We should be transparent about our own stories instead of putting up a facade,” she said. In the future, she added, the podcast may even transform into being an in-person support group. With the positive feedback she’s received from the community, De Leon wants to establish circles where moms can connect and create businesses that may have seemed impossible to them.
Soul Mammas is available on Spotify and iTunes.