TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Two Tampa moms have a very unique story about their blended family and healthy co-parenting, and it’s catching a lot of attention online.
Tiffany Paskas married Megan Stortz’s ex-husband. Over the years, they became best friends through co-parenting. They’re now a viral sensation known as “Moms of Tampa” with TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and even their own podcast called “From Blended to Besties.”
Megan is the biological mother of an 11-year-old with her ex-husband Mike and a 5-year-old with her new husband Travis. Tiffany is Mike’s new wife and “bonus mom,” or step-mom, to both children. They all co-parent together as one blended family.
The “Moms of Tampa” didn’t start out as best friends. Megan met Tiffany when she began dating her ex-husband.
“We just didn’t know it was okay to talk. We were under the impression, being children of divorce, that the ex and the new never intermingle, so it was like, best to stay away. So that’s kind of how we dealt with the first four years,” Tiffany explained.
Megan said in those first four years, it was just her and her ex-husband co-parenting. She said their relationship as co-parents got to the point where it wasn’t healthy and they weren’t communicating in a good way.
“I just was at a loss. I didn’t know what to do. So I reached out to her, four or five years ago, somewhere around there. I was just like, ‘hey,’ and I sent her a gift,” said Megan. “I sent her a bottle of champagne and a card. On the inside of the card it said, ‘thank you for being such a positive influence on my son’s life. He loves you,’ you know, just ‘thank you.’”
Megan said they began to send each other gifts back and forth, with Tiffany responding by taking their son to get Megan a gift for her birthday.
“Just testing the waters. Because again, we didn’t have any sort of drama, it was just indifference and we didn’t know. So just testing the water here and there. I would start to text her about things with school, because that’s when COVID happened, too, is when we all had to homeschool a couple years,” Megan explained.
The women said the height of the pandemic is when their friendship really took off because Michael was traveling back and forth between their homes.
“We would do stuff together with Michael because we didn’t have anyone else to hang out with. So that’s when our friendship really just went from cordial and talking to us hanging out, having wine nights,” said Megan.
“Then realizing that we had so much in common. I mean, we started talking about makeup and we were just like, hitting it off and we were like, ‘oh my god, we love the same brands. We love doing the same things,’” Tiffany added. “We were testing out wines together and then testing out new different makeup products and just kind of talking to each other about it.”
Tiffany started a TikTok account during the pandemic. The account was originally intended to be a beauty channel.
“I didn’t want to do it by myself because I saw so many of the other people doing it with their friends. I was like, ‘Megan, you need to do this with me,’” said Tiffany.
“And I was like, ‘I’m too old to be on TikTok!’” said Megan.
It was their followers that changed the course of the channel, asking who the new person in Tiffany’s videos was.
“And I was like, ‘that’s my husband’s ex-wife’ and it just like blew people’s minds and it turned from a beauty channel to people constantly asking [about] our friendship and what’s going on,” Tiffany said. “We were like ‘we could do something with this maybe.’ And we just turned it around and it just blew up out of nowhere.”
Moms of Tampa now has over 75,000 followers on Instagram and over 281,000 followers on TikTok. They’re becoming more involved in the Tampa Bay area community, finding new kid-friendly things to do and becoming friends with other moms in the area.
Megan and Tiffany said their husbands are completely on board with their friendship, though they are a little surprised at how big a sensation Moms of Tampa now is.
“They’re super supportive. They’ve been supportive from the beginning. I think they think it’s crazy how social media blew it up because they think it’s so normal that like we hang out and stuff,” said Tiffany. “They’re super supportive. They became friends as well, so it’s not just Megan and I who are friends. They are friends as well.”
“Well their friendship definitely happened after ours. We were friends for awhile first. They didn’t have any drama or anything, it was just more indifference. There’s was more of like a slow burn, but they’re best friends now too and it’s great,” said Megan.
Most importantly, their sons are happy in their big, blended family.
“So Michael remembers – now Michael’s 11 – so he remembers his dad and I not getting along so he kind of grew up in this transition from our blended family. He’s so much happier now. Bryce, the little one, doesn’t know any different,” Megan said. “We started out friendship when I was pregnant with Bryce. So as soon as he came out, he thinks that Tiffany is his stepmom. He has no idea, you know?”
Their advice for co-parenting is to take things one day at a time.
“Definitely communication is key and just constantly reminding yourself that it’s about the kids, so put the kids’ priorities before your own needs. Co-parenting isn’t easy, especially if you’re recently going through a divorce, it’s going to be difficult. But just remember that you’re doing it for the kids,” said Tiffany.
“One thing that really helped up in our co-parenting is respecting the other family’s time. We have 50-50 custody. So one thing is, when I’m over here at her house right now, it’s technically her week, I respect her time,” said Megan. “If Michael comes at me and he’s like, ‘can I play video games? Can I do this?’ I’m like, ‘ask Tiffany. I’m here, yes, I’m your mother if you need me, but it’s your dad’s time.’”
They said they have big plans coming up, but couldn’t reveal too many details. Megan said you’ll be seeing a lot of them around the Tampa Bay area, as well as with other influencers and “the future is looking good.”