We Need Each Other—Here’s Why!

Randy and Mom

Randy and his mom

A knot formed in my stomach as I watched my husband, Randy, take his suit out of the closet and pack it in the car. “I think you need to take funeral clothes too,” he said. “We don’t know what lies ahead.” I looked away as tears pooled in my eyes.

We had just learned that my mother-in-law was in the hospital. She had come through one surgery already, but the news wasn’t good. The doctors were taking her back for a second surgery to repair a hole in her intestines that was dumping bacteria into her system.

Driving out of state, Randy began talking about his mom’s husband, Tommy. “He’s so dependent on Mom. He has no friends or former work associates who stay in touch. I don’t know how he’ll cope if Mom doesn’t make it.”

“I know,” I said. “It makes me sad to think about.”

Arriving at the hospital the next morning, I braced myself for the worst. I knew my mother-in-law was in ICU, hooked to a ventilator. Her swollen hands and ash-colored skin revealed how sick she was. It became obvious that her time left with us was limited.

“Where’s Tommy?” I asked my sister-in-law, Lisa, as we walked out of the hospital room.

“He’s at home,” Lisa said. “He says he can’t come. It’s too hard on him.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” I said.

Later that afternoon the nurses gathered the family together to give a report. “She’s too frail to fight this,” they told us. “We’ve given her everything we can, and she’s not responding.”

Randy and his sister knew it was time to make a tough decision. Their mom had always said she didn’t want her last days to be strung out in a hospital room, surviving only on machines. They wanted to honor her wishes. But shouldn’t Tommy be there for his wife’s last breath? Read more

Celebrating Mother’s Day as a Stepmom

It’s the hardest holiday of the year for stepmoms – Mother’s Day. Have you made plans for it yet?

I wrote an article last year on how to celebrate as a stepmom. It was recently published again and can be read in Western New York Family Magazine.


What’s a stepmom to do on Mother’s Day? Do we insist that honor be bestowed upon us? Do we create expectations of what our stepchildren should do for us? Do we allow the biological mom to get all the attention for the day?

Mother’s Day can be a hard day for stepmoms because it reminds us of the time and energy we invest in our stepchildren that might include little reward. And if our stepchildren do try to show their appreciation, it can be an awkward and insincere effort, usually prodded by their father.

Read more

Nuggets of Wisdom from the Stepmom Retreat

What an awesome week-end with a bunch of beautiful stepmoms. If you missed our stepmom retreat, you must make plans to attend our next one!

There was a lot of wisdom shared from the stepmom speakers, so I’ve gathered a few nuggets for you to chew on. Enjoy!

“The biggest gift we can give our stepkids is for them to see a healthy marriage.” Laura Petherbridge

“You think about her (the ex-wife) way too much.” StepMom Magazine

“You can’t fix what you didn’t break.” Heather Hetchler

“Do you want to be right or do you want to have peace?” Laura Petherbridge

“When you’re in the middle of the battle is not the time to make the battle plan.” Men’s panel

“You can have an important role by having less of a role. Sometimes we bow out for their (the kids’) benefit.” Stepmom Magazine

“It’s okay to love your biological children differently than your stepchildren.” Amy Urbach

“Be willing to endure disharmony in your home and recognize that it’s normal.” Gayla Grace

“Men are like dial up and women are like broadband, we will both eventually get to the same page, it just takes men longer..” (regarding communication). Men’s panel

“I’m going to be part of the problem or I’m going to be part of the solution.” Laura Petherbridge

Dear stepmom: You’re important! Embrace your role and press on.

We’re making plans for our next retreat. Find details here: http://sisterhoodofstepmoms.com/

Come join us!

What nugget of wisdom did you gain from our retreat? I’d love to hear it!