How To Center Yourself When Things Get Ugly


It’s hard to remain calm when you’re faced with threats of court, false accusations, bogus restraining orders and the defended ego of others. When you find yourself in the alternative universe of someone else’s truth , take a moment and remind yourself of who you are. The you beneath the constant state of defense, stress, […]

Can You Stop Making Demands?


I’m sure divorced moms experience this as well, but this complaint seems to be more prevalent among stepmoms, probably because moms hold more power when it comes to their children. Pick a situation, it could be anything: you think things are going well and then you get a nasty email or text telling you how it’s going […]

Repost: No One’s the Bitch – A Primer

Lone surfer at Morro Rock - Big wave day in Morro Bay, CA, 08 No

What are we shooting for here? How can we help you? Our best-selling book – and this site – focuses on how to create a better relationship between ex-wives and stepmoms, or, in other words, traditional enemies. We’re unique in that our perspective is informed by BOTH sides – a divorced mom and a stepmom. The […]

Why Silence is Sometimes Golden


(Stepmoms! Tired of struggling? Register now for Jenna’s Stepmom Bootcamp!) I know many of you have been falsely accused of a variety of offenses by the other woman. Some of them completely ridiculous that left you thinking, Where the hell did that come from?? She couldn’t be more wrong! Its like she concocted some strange story […]

What’s under the surface?


I caught the tail end of the Little League World Series (Japan vs. the U.S.) today…. I stopped mid-channel-surfing because I thought–wait–what are these little kids doing playing such an intense game of baseball? And why is it on TV? I was reminded of, many years ago, living in Spain as a child and my […]

Can You Be Generous Instead of Right?


Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about generosity.  And wishing we could be more generous to each other. Websters defines “generous” as : –adjective 1. liberal in giving or sharing; unselfish: a generous patron of the arts; a generous gift. 2. free from meanness or smallness of mind or character; magnanimous. In the context of these relationships, […]

Impossibly High Standards

balanced rocks

When it comes to how you expect the other woman to behave, could you meet those same standards? Never say a single bad word against you. Always do what’s best for the children (according to your private interpretation). Never be late (come hell, high water or bad traffic). Never get angry, be snippy, play the […]

To Divorced Moms and Stepmoms Trying to Make Peace


There are plenty of divorced mom and stepmom “couples,” trying to make it. Hoping to find a way, at the very least, to be cordial to each other. Maybe even friendly. Peaceful. But this relationship is tricky at best. Just when you think you’ve made some progress, a rude comment or accusation comes out of […]

Top 10 Best Things About Being a Stepmom


There are probably 100 reasons why the most common words out of a stepmom’s mouth are “this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” But why focus on the negative? Here’s a countdown of the top 10 BEST things about being a stepmom! 10. You get to have kids AND keep your kickin’ body. No […]

Meet August’s peace pioneer: Renee Stone


(Register now for Jenna’s August Stepmom Bootcamp!) Welcome to our monthly feature, where one of  YOU shares your story with fellow moms and stepmoms. Let’s welcome a popular voice on our Facebook page and in our Member’s Community private forum, stepmom and mom, Renee Stone. (You might know her as “Lucky.”) NOTB: Welcome Renee! When […]

Are you ready to release her? When to say “when!”


(Register now for Jenna’s August Stepmom Bootcamp!) How much energy are you spending on the other woman? How often during the day do you think about her? Have you googled her lately? Complained about her latest antics to your friends? Your husband? Anyone who will listen? And  how does it feel to be consumed with trying […]

What are you resisting?

Lone surfer at Morro Rock - Big wave day in Morro Bay, CA, 08 No

(Register now for Jenna’s Stepmom Bootcamp!) “What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already IS?” – Eckhart Tolle Have you ever noticed how much you’re resisting your current situation? Start paying attention to your thoughts. How often do you catch yourself complaining about the way things are? How […]

NOTB Book #2 – Here We Come!


(Join Jenna for Stepmom Bootcamp!) I just got the go-ahead from my agent this weekend for an NOTB follow-up! The book is tentatively titled, “No One’s the Bitch SUCCESS: What Worked and How to Do More of It – Even If She Doesn’t Change.” I’ve learned a lot over the years since writing the first […]

What’s your foundation?


(Register for Jenna’s Stepmom Bootcamp!) I took my two big dogs for a walk down at the greenbelt for the first time the other morning. I had to admit, I was nervous. New retractable leash. A German Shepherd (Lucy, almost 12, still going strong) who’s rarely, but nevertheless potentially fearful and aggressive. A Siberian Husky […]

Apologizing 101


“I’m sorry…” Two very powerful words, when spoken from the heart. Why? Because you’re acknowledging that you’ve caused another pain, whether it was intentional or not. It’s an opportunity to express your regret about the way you behaved, the words you spoke, or the intentions you held. Without an acknowledgement of wrongdoing, how can the […]

Meet July’s peace pioneer: Katie Potter


Welcome to our monthly feature, where one of  YOU shares your story with fellow moms and stepmoms. Let’s welcome, stepmom and soon-to-be-mom, Katie Potter! NOTB: When your situation was at its worst, what was that like for you? Katie: It was so horribly stressful. (I just didn’t realize how much at the time!) It felt […]

The Power of a Name: Just-A-Stepmoms and Bio-Moms


I sometimes like to think of weird things that might have extremely large numbers assigned to them. …How many breaths each and every creature that’s ever lived has taken, all together. …How many times the clouds have passed over the sun as someone looked skyward. …How many times you’ve eaten lunch. …How many times your […]

How I survived this stepfamily “stuff” – Part 2


Last week, I described how my strong sense of self is partly responsible for me surviving my stepfamily journey, sanity intact. The other crucial part of this is my husband’s support. I don’t think men know just how much influence and power they hold. After all, they’re the whole reason we’re here, right? We fell in […]

The Invisible Drivers in Your Life


The other woman is out to get you. Everything she does is motivated by an intense, burning desire to see you fail, to make you suffer. Her life revolves around making you miserable — and miserable you are, despite yourself. Although… something about this feeling seems familiar. You can’t quite put your finger on it…. […]

No One’s the Bitch: A Primer


We’ve gotten lots of new readers lately, so I thought it might be a good time to take a step back and summarize who we are and what we’re shooting for here… Our best-selling book – and this site – focuses on how to create a harmonious relationship between ex-wives and stepmoms, or, in other […]

Jenna takes the “Just meet her!” challenge


As some of you may already know, Jenna has had a less than ideal relationship with the mother of her stepchildren. These relationships are contentious! But in the spirit of  showing women what’s possible with our Just Meet Her! Challenge this month, she agreed to serve as a guinea pig and issue an invitation. Lo […]

Painful stereotype, meet reality!


Over the weekend, we learned a valuable lesson. Jenna shared a link to an article on our Facebook page that she thought might be potentially inflammatory, but also stimulate an interesting discussion — given the fact that some stepmoms do indeed wrestle with this kind of behavior with the mom in their lives. All hell […]

Jen in NYC and Jenna in Outer Space!


(Jen is seeking 15 collaborators for her next book! More information here. Please help spread the word!) If you live close to the Big Apple, please consider joining Jen and good friends Brenda Ockun from StepMom Magazine, Paula Bisacre of ReMarriage Works and writer Joel Schwartzberg (a remarried father of 3) at the Peace Summit, […]

Stepmoms, 5 ways to avoid the Mother’s Day blues

sad woman

Mother’s Day has come and gone, but there are some stepmothers who are still recovering from the aftermath. What were your expectations for Mother’s Day? Did you expect your stepkids to make you breakfast in bed? Give you a card? Call and tell you how much they appreciate everything you do for them? If you didn’t […]

A challenge: Can you respond instead of react?


On Tuesday, I posted a challenge on Facebook for all of you peace pioneers, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how many of you were ready to take it on. For those of you who missed it, here’s the challenge: For one week, when faced with an emotional trigger, wait 5 minutes before responding. […]

Repost: First, do no harm…


Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. -Philo Here’s a little experiment to try this week…. If you’re wanting to create a friendlier relationship with the mom or stepmom and aren’t sure where to start, first, consider doing something simple and stopping any subtly combative behavior. Is your voice tight when […]

Co-parents: Are you keeping the kids out of the middle?


Since none of us would be here if it weren’t for the kids, I started thinking about how some parents can’t help but put their children in the middle of their mess with their ex. And every time I think of it, I’m reminded of an extraordinary book my husband and I read, called “Keeping […]

I’m done trying to make peace with the other woman. Now what?

Photo credit: nuttakit

  Some of you have already done this, and some of you are considering it. You’ve reached a point in your life where, for whatever reason, you’ve decided to take a break from trying to make it work with the stepmom or ex-wife. You’ve taken back your olive branch and tucked it away for safe […]

Stepmoms, is it time for you step back?

Photo credit: Idea go

Many stepmoms enter into their new family, and before they know it — without warning — find themselves providing transportation for the kiddies, cooking for the family after a long day of work, making sure homework gets done, dealing with their husband’s ex, and doing many other energy-draining tasks. Unfortunately, when they come up for […]

Your new FREE Member’s Community


With all the extra activity from our readers on the blog and Facebook, it’s clear to Jenna and I that you want to interact and support each other. However, we know there are probably a lot of folks who want to participate, but aren’t comfortable sharing such private details on Facebook or in the public […]

How to deal with a defensive person

Photo credit: graur razvan ionut

A common theme in my stepmom support group is how defensive some husbands get when their wives attempt to address an issue regarding the kids. Most of time, the issue never gets addressed, because defensiveness usually leads to one, or both, parties shutting down. If someone gets defensive when confronted, it’s usually because they’re taking your issue as a […]

Are we sabotaging ourselves?


Credit: anankkml The other day, during our webinar with the super insightful publisher of Stepmom Magazine, Brenda Ockun, she said something that struck me. Something that I would like to shout from the mountain tops and that I wish someone had told me 3 years ago: If you and the other woman can’t have a […]

Happy Valentines: six secrets to communicating with men!


The relationship between mom and stepmom is a tense one.  Add a dad into the mix, and all effective communication can get thrown right out the window. Not because he’s not good at it, but because men are wired differently than women. Ever notice when you’re talking to your husband or ex-husband that a few […]

Confessions of a(n enlightened) stepmom


I consider myself pretty successful in my transition from single girl to stepmom and I’ve always had the best of intentions when it came to my husband’s ex-wife. And yet, I’ve made some moves that seemed right at the time, but weren’t. Here’s one of them: I won’t get into the details for privacy’s sake, […]

An exercise in compassion


Who wants a break from all the ugliness you feel when you think about “the other woman”? OK, put your hands down. Since we all know we can only change ourselves and not others, the key is to find a way to calm ourselves regardless of what the other woman is doing. And one of […]

A new voice on the blog!


Happy New Year and farewell to 2010! I am thrilled to introduce a new direction for the new year – a new blogging and workshop partner! Jenna Korf and I have corresponded over the last several years and have finally found a way to work together. She’ll be doing some guest posts here, we’ll try […]

The Family-Family Meeting Blow-up


For a while there, whenever our dual-family family was ironing out some major issues—like which kid was living where, and for how long—we’d have these really intense family meetings. We’d all sit around the kitchen table after dinner, or in the living room, half of us sprawled on the floor… and we’d talk. One of […]

Two very different kinds of momentum


If you’re a mom and you’re going through a divorce — or you’ve already been through one, where you are couldn’t be more different than where a stepmom is. Divorce makes you feel like a tornado just tore through your life. It ripped up all your dreams for your family, for your children, for your […]

New videos are out!


But first, Happy National Stepfamily Day to all the stepmoms and their families! Thank you for all you do to love and care for our children. We’re all brave pioneers in this day and age, navigating a very different world when it comes to parenting and marriage. Did you know that 1,300 stepfamilies form every […]

Free group call with Becky Lippett on how she created her breakthrough with the ex-wife


(If you’re in the U.S., our show with Dr. Phil will be on as a rerun tomorrow. Tune in if you missed it before!) We’re going to have so much fun, talking to stepmom Becky Lippett from La Belle Mere about how she recently transformed her formerly nerve-wracking relationship with the ex-wife in her life. […]

Success Story: Jesica and Mayra


What does it look like when the “bio-mom” and stepmom transform the ex-wife/stepmom relationship from hell? Here, we talk to two women who were formerly at war for years, but have suddenly made a breakthrough into a whole, new world of cooperation and promise. Mayra (the mom) and Jesica (the stepmom) from the D.C. area […]

Taming the cobra – Part 3


(New here? Subscribe to our RSS Feed or via email. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter. Check out excerpts from our book or audio book, and join us on the forum.) Feeling like there’s an enemy in your midst can be really stressful. This is what a lot of stepmoms and ex-wives that are stuck […]

Taming the cobra – Part 2


(New here? Subscribe to our RSS Feed or via email. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter. Check out excerpts from our book or audio book, and join us on the forum. “Since emotional processes can work faster than the mind, it takes a power stronger than the mind to bend perception, override emotional circuitry, and […]

Taming the Cobra – Part 1


(New here? Subscribe to our RSS Feed or via email. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter. Check out excerpts from our book or audio book, and join us on the forum. One essential element that needs to be in place when you’re dealing with a high-conflict situation—or trying to change it—is self-love. Okay, so the […]

What you and I have in common – Part 1


I’d painted myself into a corner with my writing here recently and felt less and less able to really be myself. What popped me into clarity was reading about how stepmom Becky Lippett of La Belle Mere transformed her previously wretched relationship with the ex-wife, while on the cusp of divorce. Look at what she’s […]

The moms that take care of the babies


Last night, stepmom Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for Best Actress. I was thrilled, not only because she’s just so damned likable and has lived here in Austin, but also because of what she said about the message behind her movie AND the important job that stepmoms around the world do every day–many times without […]

What your stepchild’s mom wants you to know about her life


Mutual understanding is one of the most important ingredients in the ex-wife/wife coalition mix. This post is in response to a guest post from the stepmom’s perspective by author Wednesday Martin. Let the dialogue begin! It’s not easy to feel judged and misunderstood It’s not easy for me to be constantly seen at “the enemy” […]

Guest Post by Wednesday Martin: What your child's stepmother wants you to know about her life…


Please note: If you tried to leave a comment earlier and couldn’t, please try again, as comments should be working now. Host issues – we’re working on it…. Thanks! (Like it or not, the two women in your child’s or stepchild’s life are typically the hands-on parents. Gender roles die hard! With both sides vying […]

The shifting sands of connections

There's a funny little thing that can happen with people you love that drags the relationship down without you even noticing it – until after the fact. I just came back from visiting my daughter Sophie, who moved out a short time ago into her own cool, little abode with roommates just north of the […]


For the second week in a row, I've fallen off the posting wagon, so just wanted to apologize for not adhering to what I'd said I'd write earlier. Chalk it up to an extra migraine-y couple of weeks, which culminated in a two-day, back-to-back marathon spent in bed with ice packs on the noggin, that […]

Who's minding your mind?

(Sorry for the lack of new content lately – busy trying to get some new projects off the ground. Why do things always take twice as long as we think they're going to?!) Peggy Nolan wrote a great post over at The Step Mom's Toolbox that I'd like to point you to, called "Changing the […]

Raw stepmom/mom honesty and how we got over the hate-hump

I just listened to a really in-depth interview Carol and I did with husband/wife team Phillip and Lisa Mulford over on Communication 360 and I hope you'll give it a listen too. It's raw and emotional and extremely honest. However cringe-y it is to hear your own recorded voice (I always think I sound like […]

Weighing the benefits and costs of getting along with the ex-wife or stepmom

However new or weird the idea of getting along with the stepmother or bio-mom might seem to you, the benefits of doing so are probably annoyingly obvious. Yeah, you've probably heard this all before (do I hear yawning?): less stress better communication smoother flow to life in general brainstorming help with the kids = better […]

A Rant: Painting the New American Family Landscape


Here’s a crazy image for you: picture a hay wagon, careening along a bumpy road, strewing bits and pieces of straw in its wake. On one side of the truck, you have a stepfamily — the father and stepmother tersely yelling at each other to hang on tight and make sure Little Timmy doesn’t go […]

Lazy Friday

Anyone else suffering from end of the week fatigue after the holiday last weekend (here in the U.S.)? Today was a packed day, so I didn't finish my review of The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist, but it's coming first thing on Monday. A big shout out to all the new visitors we've had lately from […]

Bad math and art

  (Art by Carol Marine) Erin over at the Erin Experiment has a great post up called I know why the stepkid screams. It's about the mind-boggling familial combinations after a divorce, asking you to consider what it's all like from the child's perspective. Here's an excerpt: Life is tough enough when you've got a […]


There’s a wonderful interview out in the Courier-Post (south Jersey area) by Kim Mulford, if you’d like to take a gander. It’s called “Wicked? No Way?” and she was genuinely wonderful to talk to. She really “got” it! And there was a lively conversation about stepmom/mom relationships over at Jacque Fletcher’s blog, Becoming a Stepmom, […]

My fault? Your fault? It’s GOT to be someone’s!


Check out a lively conversation taking place over on The Step Mom’s Toolbox at the moment. Peggy Nolan wrote three posts (One, Two and Three) about the element of self-deception and how it plays itself out as a stepmom, and just extended family relationships in general. A funny conundrum: if you’re unwilling to consider that […]

Like sands through the hourglass…

There's a short, but powerful post up at Becoming a Stepmom, by Jacquelyn Fletcher. She talks about the loss of control after a divorce and remarriage that everyone feels, no exceptions. And it's that loss of control that leads to fear, which can then lead to anger, which spills over into bad behavior and a […]

With eyes wide open – a new blog

Don't you love it when you stumble upon something new online that sucks you in right away? Hop on over to With Eyes Wide Open, a new blog started by a stepmom who's trying to get her bearings after marrying only last month (though they've been together for five years). You'll see her wondering what […]

Erasing the Enemy – Part One


Once upon a time, there was a mom and stepmom, stuck with each other in their lives, like a splinter in their thumb that couldn’t be removed. Thumbs get used a lot, so this was a bad thing, this constant, wincing reminder of the splinter as they went about their days. It was a pretty […]

Shoring up against potential (family) erosion…

I was talking to my friend Bernadette yesterday from Slow Family Living about putting together a panel for next year's SXSW — and was surprised at her surprise by a part of our conversation. Context: she has four kids under the age of 11. My two girls are 14 and 18, with one already out […]

Cold Hard Facts

Welcome to our first guest post! It's by Katherine Shirek Doughtie, one of the co-authors of a "sister" site, the fabulous, but sadly currently dormant The DHX: The Doughtie Houses Exchange — which is also about creating cooperative mom/stepmom relationships. (Katherine is the mom and Jill Doughtie is the stepmom.) The post is actually a […]

Always a choice….


I’m reading a fascinating book that I wish EVERYONE could read about the nature of conflict between people called, “The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart with Conflict” by The Arbinger Institute. I was prompted to seek out an in-depth analysis of the nature of tough problems between stepmoms and moms because, I must admit, […]

"No One's the Bitch" book official launch day!

Like a little gremlin that escaped from the attic, our book is officially out there in the world! If you'd like to help us obsess over our Amazon status on this holiest of launch days and reach Bestseller status (however briefly!), you can buy the book at Amazon. Just some of what you’ll find inside […]

No One’s the Bitch: A Ten-Step Plan for Mothers and Stepmothers is a revolutionary, new approach to diffusing the traditional animosity between moms and stepmoms — and creating a brand, new version of an extended family that’s healthier and happier. If you’re ready to move forward and are curious about how to start resolving some […]

Top 5 War Zones between Stepmoms and Moms, Starring Gisele Bundchen and Bridget Moynahan

  By now, you’ve probably heard all about the public catfight going on between supermodel stepmom Gisele Bundchen (left) and actress mom Bridget Moynahan (right). Moynahan dated New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for three years and discovered she was pregnant soon after they broke up, at which point Brady and Bundchen were already dating. […]

Monday Maybe: Be stubborn about the truth!

(How did it go last week? Did you refrain from any unhelpful behavior, even once? Did you stop some of your negative thoughts mid-train? What did you discover?) Question for you, moving forward…. First, let's assume that you do indeed have some changes to make when it comes to creating a better relationship with the […]

Monday Maybe: First, do no harm…

(Here’s a little experiment to try this week….) Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. -Philo If you’re wanting to create a friendlier relationship with the mom or stepmom and aren’t sure where to start, first, consider doing something simple and stopping any subtly combative behavior. Is your voice tight when […]

"Inhale, then–yup, yup– HOLD it!"

When you're in a situation with a fair amount of intractable conflict, it can be helpful to step back and see what you're contributing to it. 'Course, we always like to think there's nothing WE'RE possibly doing wrong. After all, we live each day believing we're doing our utmost, acting from of place of earnest […]

Book summary

No One’s the Bitch: A Ten-Step Plan for Mothers and Stepmothers (Globe Pequot, 2009) will be out in stores in May. What it is: A humorous, yet helpful take on navigating the minefield that typically exists between moms and stepmoms. Why it’s relevant: Over a thousand new stepfamilies form every day! Imagine all those women […]

Introduction from our book

Download No One’s the Bitch_Introduction To read more about the book, click here!

Slow family living — pressing the reset button

It's all too easy to focus on the problems in your family, whether you're a stepmom unhappy with the bio-mom, a single mom who wishes the stepmom wasn't in the picture, or an ex-wife who's remarried and still struggling with the reality of "two" families. But it's all still a matter of focus… Where are […]

Watch the characterization

Here's a thought-provoking idea from a blog (and newsletter) I really like called The Happiness Project. Are you jumping the gun and consistently characterizing the actions of the mom or stepmom in a negative light, before you really know her true intentions? Worth a thought!

The Stepfamily Letter Project

Wow, I have a great new site to recommend and it makes me wonder why no one thought of this sooner! Please stop by The Stepfamily Letter Project and read a few anonymous letters — kinda like a longer version of Found, or Postsecret. They're written by stepkids, moms, husbands, and of course, stepmoms, and […]

What if you've been betrayed?


So what if you extended yourself with the mom or stepmom and it went poorly? What if you reached out to her and she screwed you? Or you were just going about your business when you suddenly realized, Whoa! That is totally unfair? Happens to all of us. Stepmom/mom scenarios are rife with little exploded […]

Book Review: Keeping Kids Out of the Middle

Imagine if children young and old could speak in keen, poignant words about how parental conflict affects them – in terms that adults would not only understand, but get their attention as well. Then imagine that those words have been channeled into a book by a child psychologist who’s surely put in his years consoling […]

Blog round-up/shutdown

A weird thing happened on my way to a new post…. I thought I'd peruse a few blogs on our link list and see what folks have been up to so I could point readers in an interesting direction (kind of the lazy way to generate content, but sometimes, that's all you got). My first […]


Hi all! You'll be seeing and hearing a lot more from me, now that the first draft of the book is done! I inished Saturday, and am taking a few days off to get some distance before I jump back in for revisions. We had an amazing team of twenty-three reviewers helping us (friends, family, […]

Painting in Germany

I know it's been incredibly quiet here. I've been working on the book and Carol (and the rest of the family too) just returned from Germany. Here's one of her daily paintings from her stay in Schluchsee, a picturesque little town in the Southwestern part of the country. You can read more about the creation […]

Dealing with social awkwardness

Jill at the Doughtie Houses Exchange (or DHX, for short) has two great posts on dealing with socially awkward situations that actually apply to both stepmoms AND moms. In the first post, “How to make small talk with stepmoms“, she gives some great suggestions for moving ahead in a conversation without stepping on any toes, […]

When the mom puts up a wall: an interview with Morocco

A few weeks ago, we talked about how sometimes you have to make some big psychological adjustments when you just can’t get anywhere with the other woman, whether mother or stepmom.  Here, we talk to Morocco of The Ommy Diaries about how she’s coped with both progress… and roadblocks.  See if you can relate to […]

Looking back at the ugly times between us…


I am working like a fiend on this book and feel like an athlete that’s training, or actually, make that running a marathon. I’ve never written at this pace in my life! Last week, the focus was on a chapter called Own Your Own Crap. (Tt was “Shit”, but we changed it to “Crap” for […]

Stumped, but still serene? How 'bout an interview?

Here’s a recent comment from The Smirking Cat (a stepmom) on an older post Power: Struggle or Sharing between Moms and Stepmoms?.  You can see the post and comments here in its entirety, but for now, I thought I’d just address this one aspect. I find the intense negativity very sad, though, between stepmoms and […]

…you once liked him/her enough to have sex…

I enjoyed this short, but punchy post from The Smirking Cat on "Healing Families of Divorce." Here's an excerpt: Treat your ex at least as well as you would a business partner. Hello, you liked him/her enough at one time to have sex and have kids, so grow the hell up. The kids deserve parents […]

Start with hello…

I was talking to a friend on the phone the other day and we were discussing the horrible state of affairs between her house and the other house… the one with her ex-husband and his wife. I thought back to the early days between Carol and I, and could easily remember those stomach-churning moments when […]

How to greet the stepmom or ex-wife at the door when the kids swap houses

So the mom or stepmom is here to pick up the kids and it’s usually… awkward. Whether you like this person or not, it’s in the best interests of the children and your stress levels and sanity to make this as positive an experience as possible. With the right perspective and some basic manners, it’s […]

When one door closes…

We're leaving in a few minutes to my oldest daughter's school.  Yesterday was Sophie's ABSOLUTE last day of high school and she was euphoric.  She worked her little butt off and finished a year early and we're all so proud of her.  This morning, we're all meeting (both families) for a big celebratory breakfast and […]

Supporting our kids through daily actions

Blue Bamboo, a devoted stepmom to her husband’s two young daughters (seven and nine), could use everyone’s prayers at the moment. Last Thursday, the mother of the two daughters apparently accidentally smothered her seven-month old infant to death in bed while drunk.  The daughters are in the custody of Blue and her husband, the girls’ […]

The Fragile Bridge of Trust


When Indiana Jones threw sand out into the precipice, suddenly revealing an invisible bridge, he found the magical solution to quickly getting across, away from his enemies. But… he still had to actually cross the narrow bridge without falling off. Trust between you and the stepmom or mom is like that same skinny bridge made real […]

What impact do stepmoms have upon us? An interview with Kelly Gray

We’ve heard from teens about life with a stepmother. We’ve heard stepmoms themselves discussing what it’s like for them, trying to manage an instant family and competing loyalties, all while adjusting to a new marriage. I thought it’d be interesting to hear from someone who has the luxury of hindsight in this situation.  I met […]

A Tiny Bridgemaker – Part One


“All I know is, when we have a baby, I don’t want her to see it, hold it, or have anything to do with it. She just needs to stay away!” Those were the sentiments of Carol, my children’s stepmother. Luckily, I wasn’t around to hear this. Because “she” meant… “me.” But now, here I […]

Extended Families through a Teen's Eyes

Well, I thought I’d do a Vulcan mind-meld with my eldest daughter, S. to see if she had any staggering insights into life in an "extended family" and she basically looked at me as if I were wearing pants that reached all the way up to my tattered pocket protector.  (What’s wrong with pocket protectors?  […]

Stepmoms and Teens

Feel like you could sometimes throttle your teen stepchild(ren)?  How about your own child?!  Stepmother’s Milk features a not-to-be-missed interview with Emily Bouchard (Ms. April, but not to worry, she’s clothed), detailing her life as a stepmom with two teenage daughters. She does a great job of being honest about not only the nitty-gritty details […]

Top Ten Reasons to Not Even Bother Trying to Get Along with the Stepmom or Ex-wife

Too often our coping strategy for the stresses of dealing with an ex-wife or stepmom revolves around… waiting it out. Somewhere in the back of your mind, you’re hoping to eventually gain the upper hand and then — once you do — well, it’ll be a cold day in hell before anyone will ever wrench […]

Give me a parenting manual, and I'll throw it away

My daughter turned 17 this morning. Seems as good a time as any to reflect back on all these years, especially as the bittersweet waves ebb and flow through me: she’ll be gone in two months. This is it, I find myself thinking. I’m almost done…. How could it have only been five years ago […]

The Awesome Power of Thank You and Hello

good manners between stepmoms and divorced moms

They’re a social lubricant, a path through the thorny woods, an accepted mechanism for interaction in the world of people, sometimes very obnoxious people. Manners…. Remember those? No matter where you are on the spectrum of ex-wife/stepmother relations, you can’t go wrong if you use the basics. Let’s say you’re stuck with Annoying Aunt Edna […]

How to Stop Hating the Ex-wife or Stepmom in 7 Simple Steps

ex-wife stepmom harmony

You may have read in Friday’s post about how Carol (the stepmom) and I (the ex-wife) went from cringing in each other’s company to cackling happily over coffee. As promised, here are some (long-ass!) tips for creating such a bridge yourself — and reducing some of the angst and anger in your own ex-wife/stepmom relationship […]

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conflict or harmony for divorced moms and stepmoms

Why does it even matter if you get along with the stepmom or ex-wife in your life? Can’t you just go through the rest of the days, weeks, and years (that you’ve got the kids), leaving things as they are? Your motivation to improve your relationship is even lower if things are bad between you.  Like […]