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.
Katz’s follow up book, The Happy Stepcouple: How Couples with Stepchildren Can Strengthen Their Relationships (Rowman, February 2020) guides stepparents through the challenges they face as a couple as they navigate blending families with children from preceding marriages or partnerships.
Rachelle Katz, Ed.D., LMFT, has worked with individuals, couples and families for more than 30 years. She lives in New York City.
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