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Publisher Description

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 those who are struggling with it—Wednesday Martin draws upon her own experience as a stepmother. She's frank about the harrowing process of becoming a stepmother, she considers the myths and realities of being married to a man with children, and she counteracts the cultural notion that stepmothers are solely responsible for the problems that often develop. Along the way, she interviews other stepmothers and stepchildren and offers up fascinating insights from literature, anthropology, psychology, and evolutionary biology that explain the little-understood realities of this unique parent-child relationship and—in an unexpected twist—shows why the myth of the Wicked Stepmother is the single best tool for understanding who real stepmothers are and how they feel.

May 4
HMH Books
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company

Customer Reviews

Iowastepmom ,


She wrote exactly how I felt. Someone finally understood me. Thank you! Thank you!

Katterli ,

Oh cry me a river.

You know what’s worse than being a stepmother? Being an ACTUAL mother and watching some other person overstep every appropriate boundary to try to mother your child. I’m very fortunate that my child is intelligent enough to see past her stepmother’s manipulation and passive-aggressive behaviors. If a book like this gives you “validation”, clearly there was something wrong with your own behavior to begin with.

Battlebornsurvivor ,

Now I don’t feel alone

I have tried for 14 years to be the good step mother to an adult stepdaughter and the doting grandma to her now 10 year old daughter. I encouraged her father always to call her, yet I was never included in the acknowledgement of gifts, If they were mentioned at all. Dad did not plan, buy and send gifts, it was all my doing. I was ignored and sometimes treated rudely when there were visits, everything mentioned in this book came about during this time. I was not even in the picture when her dad and mom split, I showed up after he had two other relationships. The final straw was when the step daughter stood up at one of my favorite fine dining establishments and shouted at me because she thought I had told her daughter that vaping was not good. ( step daughter was a smoker for years and had switched over.) I said no such thing and was dumbfounded. This was the first time my husband actually told his daughter she was wrong. Unfortunately, I shut down emotionally toward his daughter and her daughter. I was so happy to read this book to help me understand how my shutting down really is an appropriate coping mechanism to deal with something out of my control. Thank you

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