Stephanie Zubiri: Soulful Parenting
Lifestyle journalist, author, host, and boy mom Stephanie Zubiri shares her healing journey while putting her sons first.
Stephanie Zubiri lives a multi-hyphenate life. She is a mother, lifestyle journalist, author, and now a content creator with her newest show Soulful Feasts, which can be streamed on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
But more than her podcast, Stephanie is also embarking on a personal journey of healing and newfound purpose with her sons, Seb and Max.
Balancing Time as a Media Personality and Mother
Stephanie lives by a quote from Carl Jung. “There is no greater burden on a child than the unlived life of a parent,” especially when it comes to work that takes her away from Seb and Max.
“I think what I have been working towards in the past few years is less about balance and more about integration,” she said. “I have been doing the hard work of really only selecting things that truly align with my values. This way, when it means time away from my children, not only am I happy about it, but my boys are also proud of me!”
“I want to spend every minute with them! I don’t have many regrets, but I do wish I hadn’t gone back to work so quickly when my sons were babies. So I make a true effort now to slow down,” she added.
The Feast With Me author points out that people tend to limit themselves. “I am currently working on receiving abundance and expanding my energy. Because why not? Why can’t we do it all? The key is not being in a rush. Everything will happen in its own good time. Accepting that it’s not a race has changed my life immensely.”
“I no longer feel out of breath. Whatever goals and ambitions that I might have for myself will happen, eventually, when the time is right. There’s no need to force or struggle. Just flow.”
She is grateful that she is not alone in raising her kids by herself and has people around her.
“I am so fortunate and so grateful to have a true village around me. Loved ones I can rely on to carry the load when I can’t. A family that is truly supportive, and of course, all the ates and kuyas in my home that care for the boys as well. The day I accepted that I can’t do it alone, that it’s okay to accept the help and trust in the love around them, was the day I had the freedom to really do what I needed to be my best self for the boys.”
The Road to Healing
In 2019, Stephanie found herself becoming a single parent to Seb and Max after the breakup of her marriage. This was definitely a turning point for her.
“I decided that I wanted to take charge and that I needed to be the most healed version of myself for my children and loved ones,” she recalled. “I needed to spend time and dig deep into my psyche and tackle all my past trauma so I can move forward in the best way possible.”
She turned to therapy and yoga, which were both a big help. “I just dove deeper and deeper into the different ways for us to reach our full expansive potential!”
Her journey led her to embrace Reiki and since then, she has become a Reiki practitioner. She has also come to realize the importance of the connection of mind, body, and spirit.
“I would say the biggest pillars of my practices today are Reiki, meditation, and yoga. I pray daily with my children and we have a nightly gratitude practice as a family,” Stephanie mused.
Her spiritual journey has also made her a better mom. “It has made me a much more patient and much more self-aware mother. I have also become more intuitive in my parenting and really try to tune into what each boy truly needs at that moment without my ego at play. It’s not what I want for them but what is truly best for them. I also love sharing this side of me with them. We cast protection ‘spells’ together, smudge rooms with bad juju, wear crystals to amplify our positive energy, meditate together, and learn about different beliefs and practices together. They allow me to Reiki them every night before bed after prayers.”
Rediscovering Herself and Raising Kids in the Social Media Era
Without a doubt, Stephanie Zubiri makes sure that she always puts her sons as her priority. One of their most unforgettable trips was in Bhutan, where she shared about rediscovering herself and her boys.
“I was raised a Catholic and my family is still very much so. I believe in God and His incredible universe,” she said. “My children go to an international school where they have friends of all different faiths. I teach them that religion is a language to speak to God. That depending on where you come from, what culture you are, and what heritage you have, you have your own language.”
“What we try to practice at home is truly infusing spirituality in the everyday. Bhutan was this incredible example of living that ethos. Having that kindness and compassion in all aspects of life and not just confined to a place of worship. I try to teach them how everything is connected and how we must continue to put our faith in expansive love.”
Forging Strong Connections
Connection is also something Stephanie is very much aware of when it comes to technology and letting her kids use it, having done a Ted Talk about it. She believes that technology can help her children but would prefer them to explore more than being stuck on laptops and phones.
“I do my best to keep them off it. They thrive without any screen time! We traveled for nine days in Bhutan without one minute of screen time. Not on the TV, iPad, or iPhone — and it was incredible!” she shared. “They journaled, drew, made up games, played with other children, explored — the things that real kids should be doing! It’s been a theme in the home that when we travel, there is no screen time allowed except on the airplane. And so far, it’s really changed them. They are more vibrant and alive! Talkative, curious, and inspired.”
Stephanie admits to being strict about screen time, allowing her boys a maximum of one hour of TV every day and only using their gadgets on specific days. For weekends, they have to ask her permission.
“I’m super strict about this [stuff]. I even deleted YouTube on the TV because it was quite literally turning them into zombies. It was hard in the beginning, but like any drug, once they’re weaned off and ‘clean’ they adjust and thrive!”
The Birth of Stephanie Zubiri’s Soulful Feast
After much planning, Stephanie has launched her own podcast Soulful Feasts. As a journalist, she knows how important it is to improve the art of storytelling. What was only supposed to be research for her book expanded to the podcast.
She had three goals in mind when she decided to do the project. “[I wanted] to be as authentic as possible and to share with others what I’ve learned from my own personal journey as well as the wisdom of experts and other inspiring people.”
“I would like listeners to know that it’s okay to not be okay. But that we have the power to change our lives for the better. And that it’s actually not that difficult! Making just small changes can have a big impact, particularly by focusing on being kinder, gentler, and more compassionate — especially to yourself,” she added.
Although she has dived into the world of podcasting, long format writing will always be her first love.
“I love words! I’m a true storyteller by nature. And I’m beginning to enjoy visual storytelling more through short-format videos, but I’m so old school! I’m so fortunate to have a creative partner that complements my work so wonderfully.”
She is currently working on a new book project with her creative partner Scott Woodward inspired by the podcast.
Food and Travel Will Always Be Her Passion
Having released a cookbook and traveling around the world, Stephanie has not forgotten her passion for discovering the latest both in the local and international scene.
“What I find so fascinating is how food is celebrated and perceived by different cultures. In the past, I used to gravitate towards big, bustling cities — markets and street food and fancy restaurants alike – everything so vibrant and fast-paced,” she recalled. “Today, I particularly love exploring rural areas where people are so close to the earth. Where they have an appreciation for agriculture and the hands that work the soil. Where there is a true symbiosis with nature and respect for Mother Gaia. And where there’s a true love and passion in the produce and food. Those vibrations can really be felt.”
Her trips to Japan and Tuscany made her learn to embrace the stories of the preparations that go with them. She is also currently exploring Ayudervic cuisine and the wisdom behind it.
“I believe in the extraordinary power of food. It can truly nourish and heal, not just our bodies but also our souls. Food can not only have a significant impact on our overall physical health but also on our mental and emotional health through the gut-brain axis,” she explained. “And when you accept and truly believe that everything is energy, then we realize that food can also affect our spiritual well-being. I’m always in constant search for high-vibrational food! The best way to feel better? Fruit! A true gift from God in its purest form.”
Stephanie Zubiri: “I still believe in love.”
Leaving a marriage could make one bitter or angry. But despite the setback, Stephanie has taken things in stride.
“I believe in love, I always will. I also believe that love is infinite. It’s abundant and unending, but it also takes many shapes and forms,” she muses. “My children thrive because they are surrounded by love. I am surrounded by love.”
“What I did learn on my journey, though, is that the most important kind of love is the one you have for yourself. We only attract the kind of relationships and love that we think we deserve. So it is crucial to value yourself. Because it is only when you can truly love yourself, unconditionally, that you will receive the same from others.”
A Journey of the Soul
Growing up in a tight-knit family, it’s important for Stephanie to pass on the values she learned from her parents to her children. For her, the love languages of acts of service, touch, and unconditional love are things she cherishes and wants to impart to her sons.
“We show our love by doing things for each other. By loving without judgment or projection; I really try to allow them to be themselves and not project my own expectations of life on them,” she said. “My parents were a bit more old school and I spent a lot of time trying to ‘please’ them.”
“In the end, I found my true self and they loved me despite the chaos it took to get here. They always supported my decisions and my choices no matter what. That’s true unconditional love. I hope I can truly give that to my children — minus them feeling the need to be something they’re not. And lastly, we live for hugs, cuddles, snuggles, and kisses! We are a super touchy-feely-I-love-you-so-much family!”
They say when one door closes, another one opens. She may have gone through tough times with her relationships but one thing is for sure. Stephanie Zubiri’s soulful journey truly inspires.
Words ALEXA VILLANO
Photography SCOTT A. WOODWARD
Hair and Makeup MARY ANN PARBA
Shoot Coordination ANTHONY MENDOZA
Sittings Editor MARGA MEDRANO-TUPAZ