Had Enough of the Mom or Stepmom? It’s Time to Move On


Have you had enough? What if she never changes? What if she doesn’t stop trying to turn your stepchildren against you and accusing you of things you didn’t do? What if she doesn’t stop overstepping boundaries and trying to make you look like a bad mom? What if this is just how she is? I […]

And The Name of Our New Book Is…


  “Skirts At War: Creating Peace Amidst Divorce Mom and Stepmom Conflict.” This book is all about YOU. It’s about finding YOUR peace and thriving regardless of what the other woman in your situation is doing. That’s what’s so great, you don’t need her to do anything differently in order for YOU to be happy. More to […]

Never-before-seen Carol and Jen videos!

ex-wife and stepmom video

I’ve had these three videos of Carol (my kids’ stepmom and co-author of No One’s the Bitch) and I hanging around in a tech vault somewhere and completely forgot about them!They’re Part 2 of the following topics: The most common problems between divorced moms and stepmoms What to do if “the other woman” doesn’t want […]

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, […]

Stepmoms: You Are Not Alone (Part Two)


(These are excerpts from an article that was originally published in the July 2011 issue of Stepmom Magazine) Stepmoms often feel very alone in their journey, but they’re not. Here are some common thoughts and emotions that stepmoms experience. 4. “I’m a great stepmom. I can take care of everyone and everything. I’ll show everyone that […]

Stepmoms: You Are Not Alone (Part one)


(These are excerpts from an article that was originally published in the July 2011 issue of Stepmom Magazine) Stepmoms often feel very alone in their journey, but they’re not. Here are some common thoughts and emotions that stepmoms experience. 1. I FEEL LIKE AN OUTSIDER IN MY OWN HOME:  This is one of the worst […]

Are You Placing Too Much Value On the Divorced Mom Or Stepmom In Your Life?


For those of you who are having trouble letting go of the stepmom or divorced mom in your life, this is for you. Do you find yourself obsessing about her? Stepmoms, are you feeling the need to show up at every event she’s going to be at so you can “monitor” her behavior? Afraid she’ll […]

This old suitcase? Why your old baggage matters more than you realize…

Woman's Foot in High Heels on Suitcase

As I begin decluttering my house in preparation for selling it and moving to Oregon, I’m struck by how many things I’ve hung onto over the years for reasons I can’t even remember. The things themselves are tied to memories, dreams, and old priorities. They’re also tied to “issues” I used to have and some […]

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 […]

What We Can and Can’t Change


Do you think you’re able to change someone? I’m guessing intellectually you know you can’t. After all, how many times have you heard “The only person you can control is yourself”? Yet you continue to think: “Maybe if I’m nicer to her…” “Maybe if I appease her…” “Maybe if I ignore her…” “Maybe if I […]

Inspirational Quotes To Motivate and Comfort You


  “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” – Maria Robinson “We judge others by their behavior. We judge ourselves by our intentions.” – Ian Percy “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at […]

Intentionally Bring Peace to Your Life


“Our thoughts create our reality — where we put our focus is the direction we tend to go.” – Peter McWilliams – A  colorful sunrise. – Contentment. – Growth. – Family to laugh with. – Inner wholeness. – Peace. – Crisp morning air. – Nature’s beauty. – Health. – Opportunity to help others heal. – […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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…. […]

How I survived this stepfamily “stuff” – Part 1


The discord in our families is reflective of the discord in ourselves. So when we heal ourselves, we will heal our families. That’s what Jen and I came up with while we were discussing why we’re compelled to do this work. Why we spend hours a week interacting with you on Facebook and in the […]

Why Owning Your Own Crap Empowers You, Instead of Takes You Down


Most of us are reluctant to turn the flashlight back on ourselves and look at the ways we might have screwed up. After all, who likes feeling like they’ve messed up? Like the balance of power has shifted in the story and all of a sudden, instead of the other person being so predictably wrong […]

How expectations affect us


Unmet expectations can be our greatest source of disappointment. Moms, did you expect your ex-husband’s new wife to take a back seat in the co-parenting car? Did you expect your kids to miss and need you when they went to your ex’s house, only to find out they had a great time and even…gulp…liked the […]

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. […]

Do our thoughts cause us pain and suffering?


What thoughts keep you company at night? Thoughts about how wonderful, beautiful and bright you are? Or thoughts about how you’re not skinny enough, smart enough or good enough? Thoughts about what an awful person the stepmom or ex-wife is? Or thoughts geared toward understanding, curiosity or acceptance? Our thoughts are so powerful, that they […]

Top Ten Reasons to Forgive the Stepmom, the Ex-Wife, or Your Ex


1. Your grievances live inside you long after the event has passed, which feels terrible. 2. Your grudges don’t actually improve the outcome of future problems. 3. You’re inadvertently “leaking” your resentment onto innocent bystanders. 4. It’s possible to forgive… and still create healthy boundaries that protect you from future pain and unhappiness. 5. When […]

The missing link (a new direction)

thriving despite some challenges

Ever just get tired of talking about all the problems and conflict and drama between ex-wives and stepmoms? Between the two households? So do we. Although we’re strongly committed to helping women “deal” with the conflict between divorced moms and stepmoms, we realized something big this past weekend when we met up. There’s something hugely […]

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 […]

Beyond counting your blessings


Let’s say some prayers for our friends and neighbors in Japan. The earthquake and tsunami have once again reminded us just how easily everything can be taken away from any of us in an instant, and now, a terrifying nuclear crisis is unfolding before our very eyes. May they find a way to cool the […]

What to expect when you weren’t expecting… a stepmom


Maybe you experienced a long, slow slide towards divorce. The communication dwindled. The awesome sex became lost in the tidal wave of daily life demands. It was always one thing after another with the kids. Or perhaps you were unlucky enough to be blind-sided by the sting of infidelity. However you found yourself in the […]

Why we created our new Member’s Community


We are standing at the edge of an unexplored frontier in family relationships… and we have an unprecedented opportunity to create a new paradigm for our children that heals the damage of divorce. And did you know that, according to the census, only a child’s primary residence counts as a stepfamily, even if they live […]

The dangers of certainty


(Burnt Forest photo credit: Ramsey Kunkel) We have an interesting opportunity to learn something, after what happened in Arizona on Saturday. As many of you know by now, 6 people were tragically killed (including a nine-year old girl born on 9/11) and 13 were critically injured when a 22 year-old man opened fire at Democratic […]

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 […]

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's your word for 2010?


Every year, I choose a single word for the upcoming year for my resolution, instead of a list of to-do items. This seems to work a lot better than a bunch of “demands,” because that’s what most New Year’s resolutions eventually feel like! You can read more about previous words here…. My word for 2009 […]

A new direction (or, sometimes it's good to be lost every once and a while)

It's been too long!As a writer friend of mine sometimes says, sometimes the fields need to lie fallow before they're ready to be planted again…. I needed to take some time to rethink some things about what I talk about on this here blog and now I'm eager to jump back in. I'd like to […]

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 […]

The Unit: A book review

I was recently asked to review a fascinating novel that got me to thinking about some of the powerful, unspoken issues that create tension and conflict between moms and stepmoms. It's called “The Unit” and was written by Swedish writer Ninni Holmqvist. The set-up: when men and women reach a certain age (60 and 50) […]

Top 10 Reasons for a Mother/Stepmother Relationship Revolution


(Angelina Eberly* / photo by Alan P. Van Dyke) 1. While our overall divorce rate has dropped down to 49%, a staggering 75% of remarriages involving children end in divorce. 2. Moms and stepmoms are desperate to escape the feeling that a perfect stranger is constantly trying to undermine them. Who IS this person, really? […]

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 […]

Dudes and daddying

Our meeting for moms and stepmoms at BookPeople was small, but impassioned, and one of the things we kept circling back to in conversation was… the dads in the picture. We talk a lot about the friction between the moms and stepmoms on this site, and sometimes allude to conflict with the kids… but what […]

Deciphering self care: an interview with Peggy Nolan

You know those people you talk to on the phone that you've never met before—and in the very first few seconds, you hit it off? Peggy Nolan is one of those people. I've been intrigued by a wonderfully stubborn optimism evident in her writing on The Step Moms Toolbox and decided to dig a little […]

One big, weird, happy family…

What are some examples of celebrities that have gotten divorced, remarried, and then created a brand new extended family that works? Here's what Rumer Willis, daughter of actors Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, said about her father and step-father Ashton Kutcher in Us Magazine… "We all have so much fun together. I’m so lucky," she […]

The Power of Simple

Yesterday, I had lunch with my oldest daughter, who recently moved out of the house. I really miss her. It's hard not knowing what she's up to on a daily basis: what kind of mood she's in, hearing her sing around the house, seeing the books she's into scattered all over the table. It was […]

What's your one word for the new year?

For the past two years, instead of making a bunch of New Year's resolutions that stress me out and make me feel guilty, I've simply picked one, single word as my focus for the new year. Previously, I've used "support" and this past year, it was "ease." I can happily say I found surprising sources […]

Are you feeling unsupported?

The ironic thing about working on your relationship with the mom or stepmom in your life is that the harder you're working at improving things between you, the less outside support you have. Just when you need it most, the cheerleaders have vacated the sidelines and are already waiting in their cars to exit the […]

QUIZ: Whose World Is This?

Sure, many mothers and stepmothers may not get along well, but they've got one very important thing in common. Neither one of them is ever going to be the "nuclear wife” in a family made up of Mom, Dad and the little ones. Perhaps an acknowledgment of the challenges and heartache associated with this fact […]

The new contract is here! The new contract is here!

(with apologies to Steve Martin) It was so cool to get our new book contract by FedEx yesterday as my daughter Maddie (13) and I were heading to the library. She opened the box from the back seat and I smiled as she read the cover letter from the editor out loud. Then, she perused […]

How to turn critical blog comments into corresponding clarity

Have you ever been sent spinning by negative feedback on your work? I have! Blogging can be exhilarating at times, can't it? There's the thrill of instant connection and rising page hits… the wonderful sense of being of service… and then, the sting of a verbal slap in the face. Recently, we received the following […]

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 […]

Calling all ex-wives and bio-moms

I don’t get it. Where are all the ex-wives? I took a look around the ethers for other websites having to do with what I call blended families, or e-x-t-e-n-d-e-d families — and all I could come up with were sites for stepfamilies, or anthropological sites analyzing multi-generational families in other countries. I did get […]

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 […]

Do you make these mistakes with your ex-husband?


Relationships between ex-husbands and ex-wives are minefields fraught with potential explosions. Toss a few kids, a stepmother or second husband, and plenty of strong opinions about the way “things should be” into the mix, and it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll be doing lots of tiptoeing through the tulips. Or cowpies…. Even in the most amicable […]

Balls in the Air – Dating as a Single Mother

divorced moms and dating

Dating while you’re a single mother can be quite the balancing act. If you’ve never done it before and find yourself dipping toes into dating waters for the first time, you may wonder how anyone manages to juggle it.  If dating is old hat, you know of which I speak.  You may find yourself looking […]

Focusing on What Works or On Perpetual Problems

stepmoms and divorced moms thriving

It’s so easy to focus on what’s wrong in our lives. My ex-husband David told me about an interesting theory a few days ago: our cave-man brains are so used to honing in on what’s incomplete, what needs to be done, that vague sense of “not enough, not enough” as an once-useful, but now outdated […]

How an Ex-wife and Stepmom Stopped Hating Each Other – Our Story


It’s all well and good to read here about our wonderful, happy blended family, or about other harmonious ex-wife/stepmother teams at equally brilliant, literate, incisive sites. But what if you really are struggling mightily with the stepmother or ex-wife in your life? What if you honestly, truly just CAN’T STAND the woman! Is “hate” too […]

Ten Seconds to Peace Between Divorced Moms and Stepmoms with Eric Maisel – Part 2

conflict resolution for divorced moms and stepmoms

(This is part two of our conversation with therapist and writer Eric Maisel PhD, author of the book “Ten Zen Seconds: Twelve Incantations for Purpose, Power and Calm.” Part one is here.)   The relationship between mothers and stepmothers is traditionally considered to be helplessly antagonistic, but it doesn’t have to be. How can the Ten […]

Ten Seconds to Peace Between Divorced Moms and Stepmoms with Eric Maisel – Part 1

conflict resolution for ex-wives and stepmoms

Eric Maisel, one of my favorite authors on creativity, just came out with a little gem of a book on centering techniques that only take a few seconds to implement called “Ten Zen Seconds”. Since stepmother/mother relationships often involve lots of potentially tense moments where you’re flying by the seat of your pants, I thought […]