You may recognize her as the wife of Miami Heat Head Coach, Erik Spoelstra. But former middle school teacher Nikki Sapp Spoelstra is quickly making a name for herself as a podcaster tackling a variety of topics including sobriety, motherhood, health and entrepreneurship. Her podcast, The Know with Nikki Spo, drops every Tuesday and it’s a deeply personal experience for Nikki and her guests. This local girl (she’s from Kendall!) has had many careers (including as a Miami Heat dancer) before finding her groove as a podcaster and content creator. She’s the mom of two young boys, who she often shops for at State of Kid, and an arts enthusiast. And (shameless plug) she featured our very own Cheryl Gonzalez on her podcast, which you can listen to any time on iTunes.
When did you start your podcast and what was the impetus behind it?
I started my podcast in March 2021. I had wanted to do something like this before, but I didn’t yet have the courage. I began my sobriety journey at the height of the pandemic when everyone was quarantining. I hit my version of rock bottom in April of 2020 and this journey has opened up so many doors I didn’t even know were “locked.” As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and other severe trauma I had struggled with anxiety and depression my entire life. Becoming a mom exacerbated my already heightened anxiety. My husband travels a lot for work, and raising kids alone became very difficult for me. Before I knew it, one glass of wine turned into two, two turned into a bottle, and so on. I constantly felt physically, emotionally and spiritually sick. I had stopped drinking during my pregnancies, but I picked up right where I left off as soon as my sons were born. My second baby was three months old when the world shut down. It was a great time to be introspective, to relearn who I was and to determine what fills me up. I love hearing stories of tenacious women, of perseverance and hope. There is so much power in community. Social media can be so damaging, but it can also build community. Now, I’m speaking my own truth and truly in tune with my inner knowing.
How is the podcast coming along? It seems to be really resonating with women.
I’m getting great feedback that I’m helping people, which fills me up. Knowing I’m helping people directly and indirectly is healing. I’m living a life that is service based. My main priority is ensuring that my content is valuable, meaningful and can help someone. I’m trying to appeal to the mom with 30 minutes in the car. I don’t want to waste her time.
Tell us about your journey as a mom.
I had a rough relationship with my mom, which meant that I had no coping skills or problem-solving strategies in my toolkit. I didn’t know how to cope as a mom. I was easily overwhelmed. I had postpartum anxiety, too. But my mom friends—including State of Kid co-owner Cheryl Gonzalez—were my support group. Having access to a network of women was instrumental. And the more work I did into parenting the more I learned about myself.
As a sober mom, how difficult is mommy wine culture?
Mommy wine culture tells moms that “You deserve this,” or “You’re going to need a glass of wine to get through this.” It gave me a sense of approval and permission. It justified my need to drink because being a mom is so hard. Being a sober parent means I don’t get a glass of wine at end of day, which forces me to be fully present. I never have fuzzy moments and I’m in control of my emotions. I’m building a network of women who are sober moms or those who support me. They are more authentic relationships, which creates more authentic experiences for my kids. I also have great respect for the disease of alcoholism. My sobriety could end at any day. I’m this close to taking a drink if I’m not connected to my higher power. Every day is a renewed commitment to my sobriety, and it’s not easy. If Covid hadn’t happened I don’t know if I would have gotten sober. Being in quarantine made it harder for me to hide my disease of alcoholism. As a child of an alcoholic, I learned from an early age to drink to get hammered, to drink to blackout. That’s how I coped.
We’re sure you get asked this question a lot, but do your boys play basketball?
My kids are so athletic. They love all sports. They take tennis lessons and soccer. I was a professional dancer, and they love dancing. Of course, they love basketball. They also love imaginary play. I’m inspired by the classes that State of Kid offers, and we create these adventures at home. We paint and do sensory play. My husband travels so much, so we treasure family time. He likes to build forts with them. Erik gets them age-appropriate Marvel comics, and we love reading about superheroes. I’ve always been creative with art, music and drama. We even have my piano from when I was five years old.
Listen to Nikki's podcast here.