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The Enlightened Stepmother
by Perdita Kirkness Norwood with Teri Wingender

Reviewed by Wendy Weeks

This book is for anyone who may be thinking of becoming a stepmother, has found themselves in the role of stepmother, or even those who interact professionally in support of the stepmother (counselors or attorneys).
The book speaks directly to the reader about daily trials that occur in a stepfamily, as well as covering "special occasion rifts". It empathizes with the role of stepmother, and lets the reader know that when problems occur they are most likely inevitable and part of the pattern of life in a stepfamily that is not unique. The authors have based their book on interviews with nearly 200 stepmoms, who appear to be distributed across the entire stepfamily spectrum (with respect to degree of happiness with their role).

As a stepmother myself, it is good for me to have a book to reference when the step relationship paradigm seems like the apex dysfunctional situation! The book reminds me that I am not alone, and that hard situations may not be avoidable, but are not terminal either. Most importantly, the book tells me to care for myself (yes, you CAN treat yourself well even if others are unable) and to be understanding of my partner's role. They may be his kids, but he is likely to be struggling with issues he hasn't been trained to deal with either!

In short, this book is the answer to a prayer for those stepmoms who are finding that the TV sitcom, The Brady Bunch should have perhaps been entitled Fantasy Island!


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