Rachelle Katz, a licensed marriage and family therapist and frustrated stepmother, sought a way to help both herself and other struggling stepmothers in their daily lives. First she founded stepsforstepmothers.com, a social website for stepmothers to exchange stories and share their experiences and advice. The feedback from her website users inspired her to then write The Happy Stepmother, a self-help book that outlines the ten steps to a fulfilling life as a stepmother, as well as ways to demand and earn the recognition every stepmother deserves.
According to Katz, too often the stepmother is relegated to the role of martyr, sacrificing herself and her happiness for that of her spouse, her children, and her stepchildren, but with no real reward or recognition. The stepmother is also stereotypically viewed as an outsider, someone removed from the family. These aspects cause great suffering to the stepmother herself and her relationships with her spouse, her children and her stepchildren. Katz provides three goals for the book: to provide direct help, to educate about the myths and realities associated with stepmothers, and to change cultural perceptions about stepmothers.
The book attempts to discover a set of solutions for the many problems stepmothers face. For example, it provides ways to deal with their husbands’ ex-wives and suggests ways to have fun with your stepchildren. The book is based on the collected wisdom and voices of many real stepmothers, including information obtained through in-depth interviews and based on the latest research in the fields of family studies, communication and personal growth. The Happy Stepmother will give stepmothers the tools they need to alleviate stress, bond with their family, set boundaries, gain respect and strengthen their relationship.
“If ‘Happy Stepmother’ sounds like an oxymoron, you need this book. Rich with insight, encouragement and hope, The Happy Stepmother is an important addition to the self-help and step-parenting literature,” says Wednesday Martin, Ph.D., author of Stepmonster.
A “Steps for Stepmothers” workshop will be held in New York City on September 25, 2010. For more information, visit stepsforstepmothers.com.