Like a Mother








September 2016
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I interviewed Marlena Stell for Forbes last year, and we've stayed friends since. This 36-year-old entrepreneur built MakeUp Geek, the once cosmetics blog, now-makeup brand on track for $20 million in sales. Whew!

In this episode, Makeup Geek's Marlena Stell and I discuss:

  • How she went from high school music teacher, to cosmetics mogul (named to Inc.'s 'Fastest Growing Women-Led Companies'), thanks to the then-new YouTube, brutal honesty and being herself in a world of gloss and perfection. 

  • Whaaatt?! Her ex-husband is her COO? She explains how that works. 

  • Why she DOESN'T have a mentor or professional idol.

  • What she does with all her money.

  • How she found her new husband, and balances her role as the breadwinner with her relationship.

  • Biggest mistakes she's made in building Makeup Geek

  • Her advice to aspiring cosmetics entrepreneuers 

  • Whats' next for this woman
  • Why she is always unabashedly honest about the products she reviews (and drugstore brands often beat spendy Sephora labels)

Have a listen ... and check out Makeup Geek's latest products. 

Direct download: LikeaMother_29_Marlena_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:20am EDT

I love me some Lauren Greutman! This Rochester, New York mom of four was living the American dream ... 3,500 square-foot custom house, two luxury cars parked in the drive way, new furniture, dinners out ... and $40,000 in credit card debt.

Fast forward through slinging steaks at a local restaurant, selling off everything she and her husband owned, clipping coupons and budgeting like a mo-fo and relocating to a tiny condo in a community, and being shunned by neighborhood moms who lived in big, newly furnished custom homes, this family has chronicled their journey out of debt, thanks to her platform for helping families live a fantastic life within their means — most famously for her slow-cooker Aldi meal plans (20 meals for $150 = mind blown). 

What I love so much about Lauren, is that she is so freaking honest and real. Also, that she has parlayed her passion and authenticity into an incredible, profitable online business, and media appearances on TODAY, Fox & Friends, Rachel Ray Show, Steve Harvey ... you name it. 

In this episode, the hilariously delightful Lauren and I discuss:

  • Her new book, The Recovering Spender: How To Live a Happy, Fulfilled, Debt-Free Life, is really a 12-step program for shopping addicts, like Lauren.
  • How she pulls on her experience as a former drug counselor, as well as grieving the death of her brother to heroin overdose, to help herself and countless others address the very real issue of spending addiction.
  • Those snotty, rich moms in her neighborhood? Turns out they were underwater on their homes and living in the hole — and judging Lauren and her family as they lived within their means (huge life lesson there!).
  • The sad, sad day when her pink Cadillac was repo'd from her driveway ... as a gaggle of teenage boys trailed the tow truck riding their skateboards. 
  • Why she still is wracked with anxiety at the thought of stepping into a Target.
  • What it feels like to live each day knowing there is enough money to cover your basic needs, and reaching your goals.
Direct download: LikeaMother_28_LaurenGreutman2_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:41am EDT

Weird, sad and true: One of the most popular WealthySingleMommy posts of all time is this one: You are stupid if you do your own laundry. 

I summary, the post says:

  • Outsource. You can't build financial wealth, control of your time, or a full, joyful life if you are at the mercy of tedious household chores you are overqualified for, and resent.
  • For a tiny monetary premium, you can save yourself  hours and hours of laundry.
  • It's not just the time and money: It is the headspace and energy it takes to think about and manage laundry (and other housework).
  • Why the hell do we have feminism if we're all doing so much freaking laundry?!
  • Outsource that crap, and don't look back. 

But read the comments on You are stupid if you do your own laundry. 

People are SO OFFENDED by this notion! Some gems:

It’s just laziness and stupidity. She just have to put clothes in the machine once in two weeks. It’s not like she needs do wash it by hand. And she is stupid to wash clothes after one wear if they are still clean and smells OK.

I just still don’t see it. It really doesn’t take that long at all. I do it in my FREE TIME and it only takes a minute to throw it in and I talk to my daughter or watch tv for the ten minutes it takes to fold. I don’t have to leave work early to do laundry or anything, so I don’t see how paying someone to do your laundry makes you money.

You’re just a rich stupid [bleep!]!

Okie dokie! Have a listen to this episode of Like a Mother for more on this (surprisingly) contemptuous topic! Dirty socks and tank tops! 

Direct download: LikeaMother_Article19_NoLaundry.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:41am EDT

I'm very proud to partner with LegalZoom to create this episode of Like a Mother. So many followers have asked me about wills and trusts, which are such an important part of finances and life. Astonishingly, 55 percent of Americans don't have a will. LegalZoom is offering Like a Mother listeners $10 off their already discounted prices for estate planning products. Just head to this link for wills, trusts, and other estate planning products, and enter Emma10 promo code. 

In this episode, LegalZoom's Laura Goldberg joins me to answer listeners' questions about:

  • Why a will is so, so important.
  • The expensive, heart-wrenching process that your loved ones face if you don't have a will.
  • How to have those difficult conversations, like guardianship of your kids in the event of your death, with loved ones.
  • The difference between a will and trust.
  • Why even very poor people need a will.
  • The cheapest, easiest, and most personal way to get a will today.
  • What you can learn from Price about the importance of legally securing your legacy.
  • What single parents need to know about estate planning. 
  • Why a living will is one of the most loving gifts you can give people you care about most.


Have a listen, and head to LegalZoom's estate planning tools to take advantage of this limited-time $10 discount for Like a Mother listeners. Remember to enter promo code Emma10.

Then, share your experience: Did someone in your life pass away without a will? How did that affect their loved ones? Or, did a properly-executed will save a family heartache, expense, and time? Share in the comments below! 


Direct download: LikeaMother_LegalZoom_Edits.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:05am EDT

Cindy Gallup wants you to be a great lover. 

The former longtime Bartle Bogle Hegarty ad exec, advocate for women in business, and now sex education entrepreneur, took the world by storm in 2009 with her TED talk, in which she launched her digital sex education site, In that talk, Gallup explained that she realized through sleeping with many younger men, the power that porn has on sex education, and how this education sorely misses in the realities and beauty of human sexuality.

MLNP is not a porn site, Gallup will have you know. While porn — created by and for an almost exclusively male audience — is the fantasy about what sex is, MLNP is in fact real people having real sex, she explains. Each MLNP video has context, just like in real life. Examples are the pregnant woman telling the audience she created a sexy video for her husband, the young travelers who met in South Africa and enjoy each other in their wobbly caravan, or the female friends who, they admit to the camera, sometimes hook up. 

In this episode of Like A Mother, Cindy Gallup and I discuss:

  • The difference between porn and 
  • Why her pro-sex business is facing serious funding issues — despite an 500,000 global audience 
  • What makes you good in bed (and why parents should teach their children these lessons early and often) 
  • Why every mother needs at least one vibrator, and should masturbate every single day.
  • How to talk to your kids about porn — because they will see it, probably much sooner than you want or expect 
  • Why Gallup, age 56, exclusively dates much younger men, how to find these men, and what to do with them once you do find them 
Direct download: LikeaMother_27_CindyGallop_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:01am EDT


A few years ago I wrote this post: Why single parents should put kids second when dating. It is by far one of the most trafficked posts on WealthySingleMommy, and one of the most polarizing. And the more I read and write on the topic of single moms and dating, the stronger my stance: In a serious relationship, your romantic partner comes first. 

I meet most men that I date online. It's very common for guys with kids to write in their OKCupid profiles: "My kids come first," or "My daughter is the center of my world!"

I get where you're coming from. You want a potential mate to know that your life includes the giant presence of a kid or four. You also want women to know you're a devoted dad (it's no secret chicks get hot for guys who are great with kids!). Got it. Roger!

But I bristle at those lines. When it comes to relationships, I'm fond of saying, You never really knows what goes on between people. But there are a few couples in my life who I look to as models of the kind of marriage I'd like one day. People who really enjoy each other. Respect and support one another. And in these families, the parents put their relationship before the kids. They are the dynamic centriforce around which the family's life orbits. And everyone thrives as a result.

Direct download: LikeaMother_Article18_BoyfriendFirst_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:29am EDT

Loving this podcast? Follow on RSS, Stitcher, TuneIn, SoundCloud or  iTunes. Leave a review, me love you long time. Muah! 



Are you part of my Facebook group, Millionaire Single Moms? No income requirement, though BIG GOALS and a POSITIVE MINDSET required! Join now! 

Direct download: LikeaMother_25_SarahMeganThomas_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:23am EDT


In this episode, I examine — and CRITICIZE — the oft-delivered, always patronizing insistence from sanctimonious married people to single moms: "Don't worry honey/sweetie/whore/doll. You'll find someone." [cue frown emoticon]

Say what?! Sure, lots of single moms really want to get married (for the first time, or again), and that is great. But the notion that anyone would presume that their romantic status is the end-goal for everyone is not only arrogant and rude, it is preposterous. Especially considering the sorry, outdated state of matrimony today. 

In this episode I share some handy facts for supporting any notion you may have that you never, ever, EVER in a zillion years want to get married again (mainly, marriage is increasingly unpopular, divorce as popular as ever. You do the math). I also share dozens of my followers' own awesome, hilarious and erudite responses THEY use when handed the supercilious insistence that their own perfect, ever-after mate is right around the corner. 

Have a listen. You know this ticked you off. Also, maybe you indadvertedly ticked off all kinds of single people with your on patronizing. We forgive you. Listen anyway! 

Fun facts:

One-in-five adults ages 25 and older have never married, up from 9 percent in 1960, while just 51 percent of adults ages 18 and older are married — marking record lows

  • A Pew / Time magazine survey of 2,691 Americans in association found that nearly four in 10 Americans think marriage is becoming obsolete.
  • That’s an 11 percent spike since 1978
  • Forty-four percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 saw marriage as obsolete, compared to 32 percent of those 65 and older
  • 57 percent of Millennial moms are unmarried
  • Divorce rates have hovered around the 50 percent mark for four decades



Direct download: LikeaMother_Article17_YoullFindSomeone_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:59pm EDT

Since her first appearance was such a wild success, my lovely, irreverent daughter Helena is back! In this episode we discuss:

  • How we can better navigate the stressful morning routine
  • Helena's big reveal about her secret scat strategy for finding quiet reading time 
  • The fine art of children navigating adults' conversation 
  • Roundup of our recent vacation 
  • Whether Helena's life is boring or fabulous (you decide) 

Please listen. Don't you think this kid needs her own show??  Until we sort that out, expert her back soon.





Are you part of the new Facebook group, Millionaire Single Moms? No income requirement, though BIG GOALS and a POSITIVE MINDSET required! Join now! 

Direct download: Helena20July2011202016.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 11:02am EDT

I keep hearing the same story again and again from professionally successful women. Variations on:

"My grandma told me: 'Always have your own money.'"

It could be a mother, aunt, neighbor, Girl Scout leader, teacher, cousin, mentor or favorite coach.

The bottom line: An older, respected woman looked her straight in the eye, and in her own but direct way said:

Do not ever depend on a man financially.

Money is power, and never, ever give up that power. 

You are powerful. Never chose to give up that power. 

You are responsible for your own life. 

You are not a victim.

I believe in you. 

Many of the women who tell me these stories are in their 40s, 50s and older, and their champions were women of a generation or two more senior than that. This is important because it is clear that women found ways to be financially independent — whether through work, or even squirreling away cash in their own name or shoebox in the back of a closet — even if they had but a fraction of the economic and career opportunity you and I enjoy.

They got it. And they made sure that the women who came after them got it, too.

Somehow, we have not collectively gotten it. By 'it,' I mean the giant, enormous pressure for women to be stay-at-home moms and abandon their financial power, and therefor, their autonomy as adults.

There is a lot of pressure on women to forsake their economic power en lieu of family. Pew found that an astonishing 40 percent of Americans believe that children suffer when their mother works outside of the home. And study after study finds that the 21% gender paygap is a result not of rich white men in C-suits keeping competent women down, but rather women choosing to compromise their careers to care for loved ones. This pressure is so great that women who actually earn a living, falsely label themselves "stay-at-home moms." A recent project between my friend time management expert Laura Vanderkam and Redbook magazine found that 62% of described stay-at-home moms contributed to their household income, including 25% who run businesses. I know a blogger who earns $80,000 per year and calls herself a stay-at-home mom — a disconnect that is both common destructive, since it perpetuates the economically oppressive pressure to abandon our livelihoods and lives for our children and husbands.

Meanwhile, all research confirms: It makes zero difference how much time a parent spends with a kid after age 2, and the greatest indicators of a child's future wellbeing is her mother's education and income level. Let us not forget: Working mothers are far less prone to depression and anxiety, and divorce rates are 50% higher for families in which one spouse does not work.

In other words: We glamorize stay-at-home moms, when science proves again and again that everyone is happier, healthier and more financially secure when both parents work.

After all: Divorce rates have been more or less steady at 50% for 40 years. The other 50% of couples? Unemployment, disability, death and other catastrophes mean a one-career family is a precarious financially agreement indeed.

So this is what you will do to make sure we break this cycle of women sabotaging their own wellbeing, and that of their children, marriage and for women and society overall:

You will identify a girl. Maybe it is your daughter, or granddaughter. Niece, student, mentee or neighbor. She might be 6 or 16 or a young woman of 26. You will tell her with zero nuance or caveat:

Always have your own money. 

Never give up your ability to earn.

You are not an adult if you chose to be financailly dependent on another person. 

In my research, I have found it only takes telling a young person this critical message one time. The message taps into such a primal, visceral need for freedom, power and independence, even very young girls understand it intuitively.

But do not tell her just one time. Tell her again and again. Like you make sure your child knows to be kind, and say thank you and not to chew with her mouth open. Just as you make sure that young people know how to swim and must eat vegetables, this is a non-negotiable.

Because when a child is raised to reap the magnificent bounty that is the education, professional, political and financial equality that women in this country in 2016 enjoy, and understand that she will never, ever chart her own course in this world until she embraces it as her duty to exercise it in its fullest, you set her on a certain course. On the right course. It is a course that affects every single vertical of her life:

The choices she makes in where she attends college, and how she will pay for it (because when you are wise about your education and related finances, and do not assume that a man will take care of you and your debt eventually, you make better choices).

The career path she pursues.

The relationships she forges with friends and colleagues (because these are the spine of her entire life).

The money she does and does not spend on fun.

The money she does and does not invest.

The partner she selects (or rejects).

The children she choses to have (or not).

The way she sees herself in the world, the value she brings to her partner, her children, friends, and the world around her. 

By saying: "Always have your own money," to a girl you are saying:

"You are powerful. And I believe that you will never, ever give up that power."

She gets it. She will thank you. And women everywhere, forever, will thank you.


Did an older woman inspire you to always have your own money? Share your important story in the comments.



Direct download: LikeaMother_Article15_HaveYourOwnMoney_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:25am EDT