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Publisher's Summary

What makes stepmothering so hard? And why are we, as people and a culture, so hard on stepmothers? How can we make it easier?

Stepmonster is a truly unique and groundbreaking book for women with stepchildren, men with kids who repartner, adult stepchildren, and anyone who cares about them. It is a comprehensive, cross-cultural, research-based reconsideration of stepfamily dynamics - from the perspective of the stepmother. How does she think, act, and feel, and why? Part no-holds-barred memoir of stepmothering in the trenches, part analysis of why stepmothering is tough and steps women with stepkids can take to thrive, Stepmonster has been hailed as "the thinking woman's guide to stepmothering" and "life altering", igniting conversations, controversy, and changes in how we perceive and experience stepmothering.

©2009 Wednesday Martin (P)2015 Tantor

What the critics say

"[Martin's] well-researched work delves into the animal world, fairy tales, psychology, and sociobiology...." ( Library Journal)

What listeners say about Stepmonster

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Wish I had read this 12 years ago

Becoming a stepmother at 20 to a 10 year-old stepdaughter (my partner was 40) was not easy at all. Nobody else was in my situation and my partner took it as a personal rejection that I didn’t love her right off the bat like he did.
I was not prepared for the role of a stepmother and having her only every summer and winter for the first 5 years didn’t really help normalize it for us. Every feeling I’ve felt in my body and every frustration and every issue that’s ever arisen is in this book. I’ve never felt so validated before. Only wish I had read it 12 years ago.

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  • Jeff
  • 2018-08-13

May make you feel less awful

The author spends a lot of time presenting examples in the animal kingdom of step-parenting and situations that illustrate the point that step-parenting isn’t easy and it’s common to run into major issues. This book doesn’t contain strategies or tactics to mitigate issues. The focus appears to be primarily aimed at making you feel less alone and awful about yourself and your situation. The author draws from 12 families that she interviewed that are friends or friends of friends. This really undermines the credibility of her conclusions or generalizations as they are self-selecting. She also pulls from other people’s research but it seems more like she cherry-picked the research that supports her point of view verses broadly distilling the available research findings. The book felt like a complaining session with a friend who is struggling with the same issues where we didn’t really accomplish anything but felt less awful and alone.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Willis Household
  • 2018-11-06

This will help you sleep better at night, promise.

When I first embarked upon my stepmom journey, I was desperately seeking resources to help me navigate this often-fraught role. Stepmonster came up, but the title itself deterred me. I needed a fresh, positive take; and sought to avoid any negative connotations. This decision led me in the direction of general parenting titles, which created a solid, unbiased foundation for me - a first-time parent, full-time stepmom - before revisiting this title, 3 years later. With some practical parenting experience logged, I was more anchored in my parenting self and approach, which made commiserating with Stepmonster's stories and research more enjoyable than dreadful. What I am trying to say is: if you just started your step journey, shelve this book until you have had some time to get into it and make it your own - don't read this first! That being said, the book is a welcome landmark in the sea of step-mothering. I remember listening and feeling so validated by the content, I blissfully fell asleep. It was a soothing testament, hearing a kindred voice, speaking of these challenges unique to step-mothering. Highly recommend!

7 people found this helpful

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  • david bernad
  • 2020-07-23

Want to like this book SO MUCH. I am trying. Not working.

I am trying so hard to like book. I came for solutions but I am reading Chapter 5 and so far, it’s a pity party just making me feel worse about being a stepmother. The stories are horrible! I understand many of us go through so much and it is hard, but until now, all this book is is a compilation of horror stories of victimized stepmothers. No solutions, no techniques. I will give it one more chapter before giving up. I’ll review again if anything changes.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Ashley
  • 2019-11-19

They should give this out at weddings...

If you are looking for a book on tips 1 and 2 to MAKE your stepkids like you and get along, you're in the wrong book. This book, however, is AMAZING for understanding not only your emotions (yes, you're allowed to have them), but also a lot of different circumstances that can be influencing the family dynamic. For me, this book actually made me tear up for finally hearing validation of a lot of what I have been experiencing and feeling! This is a no sugar coated guide to understanding what feelings can be involved, how to cope, and maybe if you're lucky--to understand better.

I loved that this book also included numerous different kinds of scenarios. I am a stepmother of two adults who are not super far in age difference from me. I gained so much from this book. If you have kids of your own and are joining another family, its got you too. If you have no children of your own, its got you. If you see your stepkids part time only, its got you. Whatever scenario, its probably got you too. I highly recommend.

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  • PinkFlamingo
  • 2018-11-07

A lot of truth for those of us who feel alone

I loved that this book exists. It finally opens the eyes of all those who feel stepmothers need to live up to so many unrealistic expectations. I found myself relating to so many parts of this book, wanting to give it to my husband while telling him to “Look, I’m not the only one, READ THIS!” It gives clarification as to why we feel the way we do and so much more. It allowed me to find the courage to express how I felt inside but felt horrible for saying it out loud out of fear of judgement. I loved this book but was sad it ended without any tactics to help make it through a troubled marriage as a stepmom. Granted our feelings as stepmoms will continue to be there but how can we make others see how we feel? Learning to cope with this role would have been a great chapter to include. Or continue this book with a part 2 -How to Deal for Stepmonsters.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Justine McCreary
  • 2019-11-17

Deep, emotional, life changing

I couldn't stop listening to this book. I've had struggles myself as a step-mom, as most do. This book picked apart my soul and gave me insights into my own life that I may have never realized on my own. I plan to listen to this book again and again as well as recommending it for any and all to read! Thank you Wednesday 💜

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  • Sara Jo
  • 2018-12-14

Very interesting!

I read this book for a sociology class I took. I am not a step parent, but I have a step parent. Being able to read this book and see things from a different perspective was incredibly interesting. The book is easy to read and get through, the performance is well-done, and I recommended this book to my biological mother (who is a step mom too,) and she said she loved it!

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  • Lydia Ojuka Riley
  • 2018-08-31

Highly recommended for all stepmothers

I wouldn’t recommend this book to you every single step mother out there, and I would recommend it to their husbands as well. Wednesday Martin does an excellent job of researching and understanding Expectations, social stigma, historical baggage around being a stepmother. I love the solution she presents.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2021-04-16

An absolute must read for stepmothers

I’ve been a stepmother for almost six years, and was still struggling with my feelings. This book validated everything I felt, and helped guide the family to a more healthy life. I highly recommend!

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  • Sloan
  • 2016-04-07

A must for stepmothers or those thinking about it.

A book of validation and understanding for the hard feelings you'll have as a stepmother.

3 people found this helpful