She’s real, she’s relatable and she keeps getting better with age
By Jennifer Florendo
Say the name “Mercedes” in Las Vegas and Mercedes of “Mark and Mercedes” from Mix 94.1 FM will come to mind.
In March, Mercedes and her on-air partner, Mark, celebrated 15 years of waking Las Vegas up and keeping them entertained on their weekday commutes. March also meant another milestone for Mercedes. She celebrated her 12th wedding anniversary with husband, Matt, an occasional guest on her radio show, usually to defend his point of view on a topic of discussion from the night before or to share his views on the latest gadgets or gizmos.
Whether on air or in person, there is something obvious and admirable about the love between Mercedes and her husband, and also with two daughters, Sophie and Brooklyn, who are clearly the lights of their lives. Nothing comes before family time.
A wife, a mother, a successful career woman, Mercedes serves as an inspiration for many women across the valley. From her happy, but not perfect, marriage, to her trials of potty training a toddler to her eldest child who is wise beyond her years to fulfilling a lifelong dream of her father’s, to graduate from college, Mercedes shares something we can all relate to on a daily basis.
Always open about her life, Mercedes has been honest about the self-esteem issues she experienced while growing up. She wasn’t the pretty one, the skinny one or the popular one, but to know her now tells you that it doesn’t matter who you were, all that matters is who you are today.
As our summer 2012 cover model, Mercedes shares her not-so-secret secrets to finding balance, keeping the spark, raising two young daughters in today’s society and how she finally learned what she truly wants in a friend.
Las Vegas Woman: About five or six years ago, you had started working out and changing up your diet to a more healthier lifestyle, what was the catalyst for that and since then, you’ve stuck with your routine (more or less, right?), what keeps you motivated?
Mercedes: I think the catalyst for me was just not feeling great. I felt ok, but not great. What really pushed me was when I couldn’t fit into my “fat” jeans anymore. I was horrified because they were always my safety net. That was an eye-opener to me. Since then, I fluctuate five pounds up and down, but I can honestly say I feel great now. In fact, and I know this is cliché, I feel depressed and tired when I don’t get some sort of exercise and eat well.
LVW: You’ve been public with your self-esteem challenges growing up, now that you are raising two daughters, how are you helping and encouraging them to have a positive self-esteem and shaping them to be smart, strong women?
M: I really want them to find that something that they are passionate about. I truly believe that when you become involved with something that you are passionate about, your confidence develops. For my oldest, Sophie, it took awhile to find it. We tried soccer, ballet, gymnastics, tap and when she found softball, she turned into the most confident and excited child!
The key is to let them find it on their own. We never forced it on her … we just told her to let us know when she’s not having fun with something anymore and that maybe we should reevaluate and move on to something else.
LVW: You are also public about your marriage, the good, the bad and the ugly. But overall, I think your relationship is awesome. What are your tips, secrets, and advice for other women in marriages just to keep the balance, the peace and the spark?
M: Thanks for saying that. I can honestly say that it is awesome. I don’t know that I have any secrets but my tip is not to worry about what everyone else thinks of your relationship. I see so many people worried about what others think and I can’t understand why. Matt and I have made a commitment to focus on each other and our family. Some people may look at us and say “Oh, well, they’re not this…” or “They’re so that…” and that’s fine. People will always judge and he is my priority, not anyone else.
Also, it’s important to maintain that spark. We’ve been married 12 years and I still get butterflies in my stomach from him. Without being too forthcoming, we have a three-a-week rule. We have to show affection to each other at least three times a week. It doesn’t matter if we’re tired or busy. We make the time and that has really kept us close.
LVW: What do you do for you to keep your sanity in the busy world of being a wife, a mother, a working woman and a student?
M: I love to workout when I have extra time; yoga and spin really help me blow off steam. Also, I’ve also mastered the art of saying no. I’ve finally accepted that I can’t be everything to everyone and if I’m not happy, I’ll never be able to make anyone else happy. Now, I try not to bite off more than I can chew and I make time for myself, even if that means I have to say no to people.
LVW: You’ve also been public about your girlfriend relationship challenges, do you feel that girlfriends are important to sanity or your overall wellness … I don’t mean that in a how-do-they-help-your-health way, but in a keep-you-sane, give-you-an-outlet kind of way.
M: I think girlfriends are extremely important. Yes, I’ve had challenges but I also own up to the fact that I may not have been the best friend that I could have been in certain relationships. The one thing I look for in a friend now is one that can be genuinely happy for your successes and will be there for you when you fail. I want to be that for my friends, too. Too many great friendships are torn apart by jealousy and competition and I just don’t have time for that anymore.
LWV: What is the one (or two) thing you want to instill in your daughters as they grow up?
M: Pride and compassion.
I want them to be proud of who they are and to never depend on others to build their self-esteem. I also want them to treat others lovingly. I truly believe that the happiest people in this world are the people that know how to treat others right.
M: It is so easy to be negative and that is why so many people are that way. It takes effort to be positive, but it’s always worth it.
LVW: To most, you seem to have it all, although that takes lots of balance and skill … what is your secret to finding that balance and what is the one thing you have yet to do that you want to do?
M: I couldn’t do it without my support system. I have a husband who puts his wife and children before himself and helps me to accomplish all that I want to. I try to do the same in return. The one thing that I have yet to do that I really want to do is graduate from UNLV, hopefully next spring. When I do, I will probably be crying like a baby because not only will my parents finally see me do it, but also I will show my two daughters that it is never to late to finish what you started.
She may not have it all (yet) but she certainly has what she needs: her family, her career, her friends and love. “She’s a BEAUTIFUL woman. An AMAZING wife. A FANTASTIC mother, but most importantly my BEST friend,” says her husband.