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Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and ACT the Way We Do
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Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and ACT the Way We Do

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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  414 ratings  ·  91 reviews
An honest and groundbreaking guide to understanding the complicated emotions that develop between stepmothers and children.

When faced with often overwhelming challenges, what woman with stepchildren is unfamiliar with that "stepmonster" feeling? Half of all women in the United States will live with or marry a man with children. To guide women new to this role--and empower
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ebook, 336 pages
Published May 4th 2009 by Houghton Mifflin (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 782)
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Sonia
Let me start off by saying that nothing has liberated me from my internal struggles with step-motherhood like this book has. It has allowed me to feel okay about how I feel. Before my marriage I knew I was going to need some good advice on step-mothering so I bought a book on it. (And many others since) Regrettably, it was not this book as it was not yet published. THIS is the book you need. This book was written by a stepmother, for stepmothers. A negative review of this book could only come fr ...more
Christopher Payne
"Stepmonster" is a book from the perspective of and about stepmothers. I should add in my disclaimer here. I was eleven when my father married my current stepmother, I am a divorced father of three girls, sixteen, thirteen and eight, I am currently living with my fiancé (who has no children prior to our partnering), and she asked me to read this. I agreed to do so, since we attempt to do everything in our collective powers to make a happy home for all parties involved. My thirteen and eight year ...more
Alene
So so so so so glad I read this book! As a stepmother I've never felt more validated in my life for every feeling I've ever had of being misunderstood, misjudged, and a complete outsider in my own home. The answer to all of those painful tensions, spoken or not, and painful feelings just isn't to just "be nicer" as if we haven't all bent over backwards already.

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that there is an answer, though this book does seem to push the stance of being a more distant and detach
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Empress5150
Jan 14, 2010 Empress5150 rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Stepmothers
Recommended to Empress5150 by: An article my friend sent me
I initially found this very interesting, informative and helpful. Until I got to the chapters where the author starts delving into bee eating birds and Mormons in some attempt to explain why women who are not mothers don't have the same feelings for a child as their mother does. Which, I think, most of us have already figured out!
I ended up skipping two chapters (as I don't really care about birds or Mormons or how stepmothers in Burma cope; not relevant). The last two chapters were pretty good;
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Michael
I'm in the middle of reading this book. As a father of a teen who lives with my wife (the stepmother) and me, I'm finding this book enlightening. It's really helping me to understand the dynamics of our home through my wife's eyes. The role of stepmother is so challenging and often so thankless. Reading this book is helping me to clearly see where my response and reactions (or lack of) can really contribute to the unique issues stepmothers face. We checked this book out from the library but are ...more
Michele Hush
If you're a stepmother or if you're thinking of becoming one, read this book. It will free you from unrealistic expectations and help you when you're ready to lose your mind.
Nicolle
As a SM, this book hit right on the mark. There are so many different waves of emotions to untangle and understand and after reading this book it made me feel human and not alone.

I would recommend this book to any man/woman who have decided to enter the not-so-popular world of step-parenting.
Elizabeth Raabe
"Nobody wants a stepmother....Stepmothering is born of grief. It is, at its heart, an unhappy business."

This book has been an absolute godsend for me; if you're considering marrying someone with children, it's worth reading. I (single and with no children of my own) got married in 2007 to a widower with two boys and was completely blindsided by how difficult life as a stepmother and life in a stepfamily turned out to be. I wasn't naive--I knew it would be challenging and had done research on th
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Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Nov 24, 2009 Shellie (Layers of Thought) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: step mothers, step parents, women who are interested in men with children, step children
Recommended to Shellie (Layers of Thought) by: FSB Associates

This is not a self help book. That Wednesday Martin has a Ph.D in comparative literature helps the reader understand the methodology used within the writing of Stepmonster. Where she does just that – compares literature from various sources. This provides the reader with a virtually seamless and multidisciplinary book about step mothering. It is a myth busting mélange of information to help the reader understand this complex and misunderstood relationship.

Examining fairy tales from all over the
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Lisa Leigh
I thought this book describes the experience of being a step-mom PERFECTLY and describes how some step-dads feel very accurately as well (since my kids have my current husband as a step-dad and I had a step-dad growing up). Although it didn't offer a ton of practical advice, just knowing that we (step-familes) are not alone in what we are going through is amazing & very helpful. I recommend this book wholeheartedly if you know anyone in a step-family situation. And the book title is not refl ...more
Elisabeth Watson
If you're married to a man who has children, this could be a godsend. In particular, Martin addresses the issues around adult stepchildren, which is unusual.
Michelle
There are three things that I've done in my life that I'm happy about/proud of but will never, ever, ever recommend that other people do: Get Lasik eye surgery (scariest thing I've ever done); go through natural childbirth (most painful thing I've ever done); become a stepmother (most difficult experience ever and I'm in it for life). Isn't it weird? That I'm so, so incredibly happy to have all of those experiences, but honey, no, I will at best remain neutral if you asked me if you should do th ...more
Lietta
She herself is a stepmother, writing in a kind of raw honesty of the numerous potholes along the way for a new wife who simultaneously becomes a stepmother. Historically much is alluded as to the wicked or evil stepmother and that mantra somehow has gained traction over the ages. I like her approach to the subject in not trying to sugar coat what are some very real, very confusing emotional travails. While she contends - and I agree - that the stepmother will find herself in a one down position ...more
Becca
Everyone knows the story of the Evil Stepmother. She only has her own interests at heart. She treats the stepchild like a slave. She yells, berates, demeans, and discourages. She may even be trying to kill you.

Now, anyone who has dated and/or married someone with a child/children knows all too well that the stereotypical stepmother is one that not only the children latch onto, but too often the stepmother as well. With half of the women in the United States living with, married to, or going to b
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Kater Cheek
I chose this book because of my policy of reading self help books for problems I don't have. I am neither a stepchild nor a step-parent, so most of the conflicts in this were foreign to me. That was good, in that I learned about other people's relationships, but bad in that it didn't really hit me at a personal level.
Although a chapter in this book explores parenting relationships among human cultures other than ours, and another one discusses parenting among non-human (bird and primate) culture
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Jen
been reading up on the subject to see if im crazy -or not. have yet to roll my eyes while reading this (common during others)....
okay, didnt read all the chapters in this book - skipped the anthropological and biological science ones (where she looks at stepmothering in the animal kingdom and non-western/tribal situations to show that it is not a unqiue or modern phenomena, but quite natural). this book was okay, nothing that i havent already read in a few other books (which i havent listed)...i
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Indy
I enjoyed this book mainly because I was looking for some validation in feeling the way I do about being a stepmother. The book delivered.

I could've done without the chapter on the bees, the gorillas, etc. I just skipped through it since I was not interested in the science behind these studies.

Overall, I found the book to be somewhat pessimistic in outlook.
As if it was saying, "here's your life, your circumstances, yes you feel like this and its ok but now deal with it." I was looking for more t
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Diane Drennan Pavia
Required reading for any stepmother, or anyone who wants to try to understand a stepmother's situation. Very honest, almost painfully so sometimes, but that's what's needed to get past the judgments and expectations of ourselves and others and start dealing with reality. It was a relief to know I'm not alone in some of my thoughts and feelings, that I'm not crazy, and that the "problem" is not always mine. The research section was very interesting but started to get drawn out and repetitive, IMH ...more
Amy
Interesting read for since I'm a stepmother but didn't find it related to my situation at all. She portrayed all the husbands as unsupportive of their wives and oblivious to their children's behaviors. I don't know maybe I'm lucky and found the only man in America that believes a marriage is a partnership, whether it's his first or second marriage. I've never felt like my husband puts me second when it comes to his son and he always backs me up if his son is misbehaving at home or school.
Jessica Richards
This book is the best book I have read on stepfamilies. I have struggled with my role for 11 months now and have finally seen the light. This book provides an accurate description of the less than glamorous life of being married to a man with children. After reading this book, I feel set free from many of my internal struggles that have sucked the life out of me in this past year. Dr. Wednesday Martin's research was well displayed in this book - a must read for any stepmom.
Sarenna
Four years ago, I had this insane idea that I'd combine two families and we'd seamlessly blend and live happily ever after. Four years later, I felt like a complete failure. If I got one thing from this book, it's that my step family isn't necessarily a failure, but normal.

I was under the impression that I would need to come into this new household and become the mother. My step daughter and I would bond and I'd have this relationship with her like the one I have with my two boys. Things wouldn'
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Caytlin
Being a stepmom can be lonely, isolating and down right frustrating, even in the best of circumstances. Every step situation is different, which means there is no one else on this earth that understands what I am going through. Not my husband, not other stepmoms, and not my non-stepmom friends. The emotions and struggles I face are unique to my situation, which means it's hard to find a listening ear that can truly empathize or offer sound advice. Reading this book validated so many of the feeli ...more
Bahar Anooshahr
I loved this book. If you are a stepmother, part time or full time, old or new, with little or big kids, READ THIS BOOK. It will take a load off your shoulder. You learn that the unusual feelings you are experiencing are not wrong, but part and parcel of the role. You learn much more about your role, its myths, and its realities. Cheers stepmoms for all your hard work and cheers to Dr. Wednesday Martin for shedding light on the woman in the stepfamily, the person who deals with the negative atte ...more
Tracy
If this is the best advice I'm going to find on being a stepmother, I'm in trouble. It's a lot of stating the obvious, common sense, and step-parenting-lite if you ask me. Disappointed.
Sallie Des Biens
For every woman who is a stepmother, and people who assume to know what it's like to be a stepmother. Brutally frank, insightful, real. Thank you, Wednesday!
Marcy
Really good book; probably good reading for anyone who is a stepmom or knows a stepmom. Considers not just the issues that arise from being a part of a stepfamily, but specifically the issues that arise with stepmothers, which I hadn't realized were so drastically different in some cases until reading this book.

My only frustration is that, as I read it, very few of the real-life situations she covered from women she interviewed felt directly applicable to me -- pretty much everyone interviewed
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Jill Hinton
should be required reading for all women who marry men with children

I loved this book, & will return to it again and again. I highlighted so many passages I was afraid the highlights would lose their meaning. I also read quite a bit of it to my husband, and we had some really great conversations as a result. But be careful: Reading it will help you regain your self-esteem, but it will also make you angry at the way society & your family can sometimes treat you. My heart goes out to all s
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Lori
I loved this book! Great reading even for non-step moms.
Tricia-Lynn Harter-Carter
Awesome read...............BEFORE you have steps.
Celestalis
I think if I had read this book earlier in my relationship with my "blended family," it would have given me a lot more insight and peace with these classic stepfamily issues. I am in a unique position because I have been on both ends of the stepfamily situation, and because of this I was committed to not continuing the "less than ideal" situation I experienced as an adolescent and young adult. For this reason, when i got involved with a man who was divorced ad had a child, I made it very clear t ...more
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Wednesday Martin, Ph.D., is a social researcher and the author of Stepmonster: a New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do (2009). She is a regular contributor to Psychology Today (www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stepmonster) and blogs for the Huffington Post and on her own web site (www.wednesdaymartin.com). She has appeared as a stepparenting expert on NPR, the BBC Newshou ...more
More about Wednesday Martin...
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“Stepmothering arises from, and cannot be disentangled from, loss. In all senses—etymological, historical, and social—the stepfamily experience is sutured to, inextricable from, the experience of mourning.” 0 likes
“The National Stepfamily Resource Center, or NSRC (formerly the Stepfamily Association of America), a consortium of stepfamily experts and a clearinghouse of helpful information for stepfamilies, actually urges therapists and other professionals in the field to avoid the term “blended family” precisely because it engineers such unrealistic expectations and elicits feelings of failure and guilt.” 0 likes
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