Synergistic Stepparenting Podcast

Synergistic Stepparenting Podcast

Maria Natapov has been a stepparent for 10+ years. When she and her partner learned of the abuse and neglect inflicted by the biological mother, Maria studied and took the lead to install the right supports and prevent her stepdaughter from further harm. Her passion is helping other stepparents transform their challenging responsibilities into opportunities for the whole family to thrive. In Synergistic Stepparenting podcast, Maria talks frankly about actionable steps to transform family chaos into meaningful and harmonious co-parenting. Reminding stepparents that they are not alone. Learn more about Maria Natapov.


September 21, 2023 5 mins

Welcome, dear listeners, to a truly special episode of Synergistic Stepparenting podcast. I’m your host, Maria Natapov, and today I’m delving into a topic that's as complex as it is crucial: meeting your ex's new partner.

But don’t worry, I’ve got your back! Picture this episode as a finely crafted piece of art, designed to elevate your understanding and approach to this delicate situation. So that you can show up even to ...

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Hey there, all you blended family peeps! Welcome to another epic episode of "Synergistic Stepparenting.” Stepfamily life, it's like a surprise package every day, right? You never quite know what you're gonna get, and that's part of its unique charm! Chaos is our ticket to the rollercoaster, and we're here to ride it in style. I'm your host, Maria Natapov, and today's show is not just good; it&apos...

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Hey fabulous folks on the blended family journey! 

It’s Maria Natapov, your guide through the twists and turns of family dynamics. Today, we're diving headfirst into the mind-blowing world of neuroscience. But don't worry, I promise we'll keep it as engaging as a thrilling rollercoaster ride!

Fin the show notes for this episode at

Episode Covers:
- They Brain’s Secret Code<...

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September 1, 2023 4 mins

Hey there, fabulous stepparents! Welcome back to another exciting episode of the Synergistic Stepparenting: Navigating Family Harmony with Heart and Science. I’m your host, Maria Natapov, and today we’re diving into a topic that’s close to the hearts of every blended family out there. Buckle up, because we’re talking about “Navigating Stepchild Relationships: From Bonding to Building Trust.

Find the show notes for this epi...

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Hey Stepparents,

It’s common knowledge that society creates roles you are expected to play, whether based on your gender, your job, or other stereotypes that put you in a box.  Today we’re speaking with Kristina Mand-Lakhiani about navigating your multi-faceted nature to embrace your whole self.

Kristina will be talking about her new book, expected to drop any minute, called “Becoming Flawesome,” where she shares the journey of her p...

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January 19, 2023 11 mins

Hi Stepparents,

Despite rising tensions around the holidays and the buzz of annual family gatherings straining your already taxed energy, the familiarity and nostalgia of holiday traditions brings a certain warmth. 

However, if you’re estranged from a loved one or from a person who was once close to you, this time of year can amplify that pain. Today we’re discussing estrangement. Find the show notes for this episode at synergisticst...

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January 14, 2023 26 mins

Hey Stepparents,

Happy New Year! 

I’ve been out unexpectedly with a bad cold and some medical issues all of which prevented me from being able to produce the valuable content that I aim to provide you with week to week. 

So, I’ve taken the time to tend to my well-being and have some great episodes lined up for you with special guests sharing their insights and resources and addressing topics that don’t get enough attention. 

Today’s co...

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December 1, 2022 17 mins

Hi Stepparents,

The month of October is the of Domestic Violence Awareness and National Bullying Prevention.  

As you know, recently, I did a few episodes on raising awareness around domestic violence where I and a guest discussed specific examples of what domestic abuse can look like, how it feels and its common patterns. 

But I want to provide you guys with more tips around important considerations to get clear on for your...

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Hi Stepparents,

As the Thanksgiving holiday is sneaking up on us, I like to steel quiet moments of reflection on the year thus far. And I’ve noticed what I am overcome with most in these moments is the feeling of gratitude. 

Find the show notes for this episode at

Topics Covered: 
- Things I'm feeling grateful for this year
- Perspective of Gratitude
- The benefit in taking ...

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Hey Stepparents,

I’m excited to bring to you highlights from my conversation where Allison Dagney interviewed me about the dynamics between a stepparent and a parent and how to navigate these differences to best support the kids. 

Allison is a covert abuse survivor, author of When Tears Leave Scars – her personal memoir – and a rapid reprogramming coach for others who have been through the painful experience of emotional abuse. 

In th...

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Hey Stepparents,

I’m excited to bring to you Part 2 of my conversation with Allison Dagney, who is a covert abuse survivor, author of When Tears Leave Scars – her personal memoir – and a rapid reprogramming coach for others who have been through the painful experience of emotional abuse.  

In this episode Allison shares why she never wanted to have a conversation with her ex, a key tactic to look out for, what happens when you’re in ...

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Hey Stepparents,

I’ve been under the weather and lost my voice and therefore wasn’t able to record portions of my episode which is why I haven’t put out an episode for a couple of weeks. But I’m thrilled to be feeling better and to pick right up where we left off.

In my last episode, I shared my story of covert abuse, discussing what I endured, how I got there, contributing factors, as well as what my realizations, takeaways and outl...

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October 13, 2022 14 mins

Hi Stepparents,

First of all, I want to apologize that I didn’t produce an episode last week. I got sick with a nasty cold, and decided to live what I preach, that self-care needs to be a priority. I often talk about how important it is to meet your own needs first so that you can better support others.

So, I followed my own advice, unplugged from everything, and answered my body’s plea for rest.

Since October is domestic violence awa...

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September 29, 2022 9 mins

Hi Stepparents, 

Have you ever put work into a relationship thinking, “I’m putting in so much, I’ve gotta be racking up some excellent relationship karma points. I’m bound to get some of this coming back around to me!” 

Maybe you’ve gotten upset that you’re not getting the same level of support in return, or you’re not being appreciated, or not even being given credit for all that you do. Does this sound familiar?

And when this happen...

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September 23, 2022 9 mins

Recently, I was reflecting on my early days as a stepparent, remembering many times when I felt uncomfortable in said role. 

Frustrated and consumed with tension, emotions and split decisions, I worried about what each stakeholder in the situation was thinking and wanting from me. So badly wanting to start off all interactions with my “best foot forward.”

This is the cycle we’ll be exploring on the show today. Find the show notes for...

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September 15, 2022 11 mins

Hi Stepparents,

This time of year where work gets busier with year-end initiatives and deliverables and school’s back in session. 

In some climates, like here in New England, the days are quickly getting shorter, and the busy holiday season is just around the corner. So, it’s no surprise that you might find yourself feeling more drained. 

Before you chalk it up to life’s busy day-to-day grind, I invite you to slow down to ponder, is t...

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September 8, 2022 9 mins

Hey stepparents,

I know a lot of you have a school-aged child. This time of year can be chaotic with the start of a new school year, extra-curricular activities, drop-off and pick-up logistics, etc. 

You also might find yourself in a position of co-parenting with your partner and possibly their ex, and maybe even with their ex’s new partner as well. 

These extra cooks in the kitchen can add to the overwhelm and leave you feeling uncer...

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September 1, 2022 8 mins

As the new school year is getting under way and things feel chaotic and busy, you might be feeling overwhelmed and like it’s virtually impossible to keep up. 

When this happens often you might feel like not doing anything because you don’t know where to even start. 

If you can relate, you’re definitely not alone. But stick around, because I have some great step-by-step tips for you to not only stay afloat, but flourish. Find the show...

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August 25, 2022 19 mins

Hey Stepparents, 

With the academic school year already upon us, many stepparents worry about how to set their stepchild up for success.

And to help with that concern by providing actionable tips and strategies, we are thrilled to be joined by Dominique Padurano, M.S., Ed., Ph.D. – aka “Dr. P” of Crimson Coaching to discuss academic success. 

Dr. P has extensive knowledge of and experience in the arena of education. Her love and passi...

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August 18, 2022 25 mins

Hey Stepparents,

Today we’re continuing our exploration of sex and intimacy by delving into polyamory with John Hoelle, a family law attorney and mediator, and co-founder of Conscious Family Law & Mediation. 

We cover what polyamory is, how polyamory can improve an otherwise monogamous relationship, the benefits of utilizing a coach in your relationship, and how to approach and discuss polyamory with kids. 

John has an easy warmth...

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