Who are you and what do you want?


Took a bit of a break here to let the well replenish itself, let the fields lie fallow, let the sediment settle– and any other nature metaphors that might fit. I’m back now and ready to crank up the rusty writing machine and noodle brain…. In the interest of starting a conversation back up with […]

Which boat are you in?


Many of you come to this site because you’re looking for information that might give you an advantage with your difficult mom/stepmom relationship. You want something extra to help you create a shift. Movement in the right direction. A breakthrough out of nowhere. You’re the only one who knows what it’s like in your particular […]

Could you SPEAK to the ex-wives of America?!


Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith were on Oprah today with their children—ALONG WITH HIS EX-WIFE. Fascinating stuff. Will was married to Sheree Zampino for four years (1992-95) and they have a 17 year-old son named Trey. She is now married to former San Diego Chargers player, Pastor Terrell Fletcher. Will and Jada also have […]

Happy Mother’s Day!


To ANYONE who takes care of our children, whether you made them or not, I salute you! Thank for all you do for these little beings (and sometimes medium and big ones) who can be moody, uncooperative, whiny, over-sensitive and angry–but also wonderfully innocent, vulnerable, warm, playful, all-accepting, and sweetly kind. Our children need ALL […]

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 […]

Need an hour of brainstorming and support?

Like our book? Has it given you some new weapons tools for your blended-family arsenal? Made you think? Prompted you to action? Created an actual change in your life for the better? Leave a comment on Amazon saying so and win an hour-long phone consultation with Jennifer Newcomb Marine (that would be… me) to troubleshoot […]

The power of being naked


Imagine a medieval battlefield (perhaps you’ve seen Braveheart) where two lone warriors are fighting, wounded and bloody. At some point, they realize the futility of their struggle and know if they don’t stop, one — or more likely, both of them are going to end up dead. Who puts down their weapon first? And THEN […]

Latest press and new projects

Check out our latest coverage from The Huffington Post in an article called "Stepmothers, Mothers, and the 'B' Word" and the longest interview we've done yet — in Austin's own LiveMom, a great resource for local stepmoms and moms! We'll be taping an extended interview about ex-wife/stepmother issues with Communication 360 early tomorrow morning, so […]

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 […]

Tuesday's meeting: Central Market, NOT BookPeople!

If you're planning on attending our free support group to create stepmom/mom partnership Tuesday at 7:30, please note, the location is incorrectly listed in the Austin Chronicle. It's at Central Market Cafe (north location, off 38th St.) and not at BookPeople, like our previous meetings. There was something about having to slip behind an author […]

Mom/stepmom this and that

Yes, you too could be a winnah!You've still got time to sign up for our mailing list and be entered into today's raffle. We'll also do one last drawing on Monday (everyone needs a little extra happiness on Mondays, right?). The mailing list may be used for announcements and new content that's not on the […]

Erasing the enemy – Part Two


(If you missed Part One, it’s here.) The stepmother clicked the button to end the call before it started ringing. Then she took a deep breath and began to dial again. She stopped halfway, remembering some of the worst verbal insults that had made their way back to her, some of the angry and hateful […]

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 […]

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 […]


Digging up the dirt to plant flowers


One of the weirdest things I’ve ever had to do was something I did while I was writing this book on creating mother/stepmother harmony last year. As some of you may or may not know, Carol’s an artist (a very busy, successful one). We collaborated on the outline and topics for the book. And I […]

Monday Maybe: The Mother's Day Card Dare

Here's a really cool idea, courtesy The Step Mom's Toolbox: on Mother's Day (Sunday, May 10th), send a card to the "other woman." Meaning, if you're the mom—send a card to the stepmom. And if you're the stepmom—send one to the mom. Madness, isn't it? Peg Nolan of The Stepmom's Toolbox is challenging 5,000 women […]

Calling all DC-area moms and stepmoms that get along!

Woohoo! The illustrious Washington Post is interested in covering our upcoming book, "No One's the Bitch: A Ten-Step Plan for Mothers and Stepmothers" (Globe Pequot, 2009), due out May 5th. They're looking to interview a mom and stepmom that actually have a fairly cooperative relationship (not perfect, just… workable!). Do you know of anyone who […]

Whew, worth the defacement risk!

We just got our first national review, and while it's a short one, and mixed in with a huge round-up of other books on step-parenting, it's a good one! None other than the esteemed Library Journal said, “Bitch is a worthy, energetic workbook…Chatty and funny, it provides useful ideas (e.g., make small offerings) and sound […]

On not even peeking behind the curtains, because there are no curtains…


Sometimes I struggle with tone on this blog. I want so much to inspire people – to show them a different vision of what’s possible between families (originally I typed “bision” instead of “vision” which reminded me of “bison,” but I’m not up much on buffalo, so clearly, that wouldn’t have worked) after a divorce. […]

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 […]

Good, bad, it's always changing…

Gratitude has been on my mind a lot lately this past week. Two Sundays ago, there was a large fire (1200 acres) out in the nearby town where David and Carol (my ex and the girls' stepmom) recently moved. It was only a few miles from their new house and we spent some harrowing moments […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Book review tomorrow: Keeping Kids Out of the Middle, by Benjamin Garber, PhD

Come back tomorrow, when we'll be reviewing "Keeping Kids Out of the Middle: Child-Centered Parenting in the Midst of Conflict, Separation and Divorce" by Benjamin Garber, PhD, sponsored by TLC Book Tours. Garber's got some great ideas for how parents can work together, during times when they'd be normally be pulling apart (and making the […]

The No-Dollar Christmas

We’re doing something different this Christmas, inspired in part by a tight budget, but also but a desire to take our experience of Christmas into our own hands and out of the whole go-to-store/buy-gift/give-gift and get-gift formula. It’s an antidote to the state of the economy, but more than that, it’s a productive way to […]

Happy Holidays!

Some early Thanksgiving quotes for you, courtesy of Interlude Retreat's Thought of the Day archive, since we'll be out of town. May you feel blessed by abundance and realize all the many, many ways in which you are truly lucky! To have courage for whatever comes in life – everything lies in that. -Saint Teresa […]

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 […]

Has our blog helped you?

We get the periodical request for private help by email, and upon rare occasions, a lively rant. But what we really love are comments! When a post generates lots of activity, it's great to see what everyone's thinking, what their own personal take is on an issue, even if folks disagree. Sometimes, especially when folks […]

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 […]

Some favorite quotes

New, long post coming tomorrow. For now, here are a few quotes I like: What is important is not what hurts and pleases, but to see what is true. And then that truth will operate, not you.-Krishnamurti He who fears he shall sufferalready suffers what he fears.-Montaigne It is not the perfect, but the imperfect […]

Who gets to be your mama?

There's a fascinating discussion taking place over on the Doughtie Houses Exchange (DHX) site about the weird feelings both mother and stepmothers struggle with when the children bond with the stepmother (up to 65 comments so far!). In "Other Women's Children," mom Kathy Shirek Doughtie talks about bonding with her new step-son and whether it's […]


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, […]

How do you regroup?

Man…. Have you ever just gotten to a point with the mom or stepmom where you're about to tear your hair out? Or you feel like you're melting into a tiny, hopeless, muddy puddle? Or like you're going to catch the curtains on fire through the sheer power of your anger alone? The chapter we're […]

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 […]