Stepmom Tips to help you through

101 Tips for the Smart Stepmom by Laura Petherbridge
Bethany House
May 20, 2014
Paperback, 160pgs
ISBN 9780764212215
source: egalley from the publisher

About the book:
In this down-to-earth book, Laura Petherbridge offers real answers from someone who's walked in your shoes--and not only survived, but thrived as a stepmom. Here you'll find compact solutions arranged by topic, such as parenting, coping with the children's biological mom, finances, and dealing with the holidays.
You will learn
-how to better understand your blended family
-what to do when you feel like an outsider
-ways to navigate the drama
-keys to gaining the respect of your stepkids
These bite-sized tips are perfect for a busy stepmom, offering at-a-glance advice you can use today--and see change begin.

My thoughts:
At this point, I've read my fair share of stepmom and stepfamily related books. Even though I won't be a stepmom *officially* until June of next year, Barrett and I have been together for quite some time and have  owned our home together now for 2 years. Madeline and I have a fabulous relationship, and have since she was younger and I was first introduced into her life after her father and I were dating a few months. While we've never asked her to call or refer to me as her stepmom, she started introducing me or mentioning that I am her "stepmom" or her "kind of stepmom" during the summer of last year. I think it was partly because she views me in that role and partly because it was easier to say to her friends, rather than "my Dad's girlfriend" which can often bring looks and comments. Since our engagement last February, Madeline is now constantly referring to me as "pretty much my stepmom" or "soon to be stepmom" when talking about me, but that hasn't changed anything- I'm still Jenna and we continue to have a great relationship. She is thrilled and so am I. As thrilling as it is and as wonderful as life is as an "almost stepmom" it isn't one that doesn't come without prejudices and bumps along the way. I get comments, looks, and advice- but most of that advice is ill-informed off-the-cuff comments about stepfamily life from people who have no idea. This is why I turned to reading material on the subject, especially from child psychologists and stepfamily experts. I've also made it a point to use my background (both personal and professional) to fill my brain with stepfamily information. All I can say, is that through this journey I am learning a lot- both through experience and through literature.
Sooo, back to this book.
I must admit that it was a very quick read, but was also very informative. I felt like I got a lot of little tips and reminders while reading it. There is a lot of encouragement sprinkled throughout, which as any parent or stepparent knows, is vital to our sanity. Reading this and being able to say "hmm, I'm not alone in this thought, experience, backlash, comment, advice, etc." is powerful. As every step family is different, I was able to skim some parts that didn't pertain to my situation. There are sections about having your own children or blending more than one family together and some other tidbits that just didn't fit my stepfamily life. However, the book as a whole was still informative and allowed me to remember that I'm not alone in my journey.
I must add that I didn't gather from the description that it would be as heavily religious though. I think readers would appreciate knowing right off the bat that there is a lot of religion woven into the book. However, even with my views on religion, I can appreciate the fact that those parts will be immensely helpful to some. There were areas I grazed over and some that I did read- specially some of the Psalms. They were beautifully written and I can see how they fold right into the life of a stepfamily and would really be beneficial to some readers.
In all, I would recommend this book to those who are looking for guidance- especially those looking for a religious aspect to the guidance they seek. For those of you in the journey that are not religious or practice another religion or form of spirituality, I would say it is up to you on how you feel about reading a title that weaves a lot of Christianity into it. Only you can decide what fist for you as a reader. Like I said, I still found that it is a beneficial read.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

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