A stepmother constantly sees to others' needs - those of her spouse, her kids, his kids, their kids. She also has to work so hard to maintain her marriage or deal with the emotional turmoil that can follow divorce and marrying again, that she may neglect her own needs. It's no wonder, then, that stepmothers often ask: Who's taking care of me?
This is where Sue Patton Thoele steps in, offering practical advice and emotional support in a new edition of her book, The Courage to Be a Stepmom. Much has been written about the nuts and bolts of stepmothering - dealing with a hostile ex-wife, learning to discipline effectively - but this book is the first to focus on the stepmother's characteristic emotional and spiritual needs.
Stepmothers are often expected to care for their stepchildren as a parent would, yet their efforts frequently go unappreciated and are sometimes met with hostility. Also, they are often targets of misplaced anger or are reminded that they are not the "real mother". Amid such stresses, marriages fray and sometimes fall apart. But according to Ms. Thoele, with the proper skills, women can learn to navigate the pitfalls, get the most from relationships, and meet their own needs.
Thoele's book addresses stepmothers' commonly felt emotions - guilt, shame, grief, frustration, and fear - and offers hands-on advice for acknowledging and dealing with them. A practical handbook and comforting friend, this book should be listened to by every woman who finds herself in the stepmother's role.