Stepfamilies? They’re complicated. When it comes to giving or receiving advice, misinformation can do more harm than doing nothing at all. You, your partner and your stepfamily deserve better. At StepMom Magazine, we hand-select our team of experts to ensure that you get the best advice possible. Therapists. Lawyers. Published authors. Certified stepfamily professionals. Our contributors are informed, in the trenches and hip to stepfamily dynamics. Their first-hand experience results in content you can count on to educate, empower and entertain … making your life less complicated!
WEDNESDAY MARTIN, PHD, is an author, social researcher and stepmother. Her book “Stepmonster” is a go-to resource for stepmothers, adult stepchildren, therapists and others who seek a uniquely candid, interdisciplinary and comprehensive look at the topic. Wednesday’s work has appeared in “The New York Times,” “The Atlantic,” and “The Forward,” among others. Her book “Primates of Park Avenue: An Anthropological Memoir of Manhattan Motherhood” was a #1 New York Times bestseller. Her new book, “Untrue” (2018), is an exploration of female infidelity. Wednesday believes stepmothering is a feminist issue.
MARY T. KELLY, MA, is a family therapist of more than 18 years who specializes in working with stepmoms, stepcouples and stepfamilies. From her private practice in Boulder, Colorado, Mary provides coaching by phone or via Skype, Facetime and Veer. She also offers in-person therapy and leads 1- to 2-day intensives both online and face-to-face. Visit RealStepfamilies.com for tips, resources and more info.
CHRISTINA ROACH, LMHC, is founder of Success for Steps® and a fellow stepmom. A certified Stepfamily Foundation Master Counselor and stepfamily professional recognized by the Nat’l. Stepfamily Resource Center, Christina offers phone and web coaching via SuccessforSteps.com. She also sees clients in her Tampa-based private practice, as a licensed psychotherapist, and is a Nat’l. Certified Counselor and Distance Credentialed Counselor. Christina resides in Florida with her husband and their two children.
BRENDA SNYDER, LCSW, a licensed therapist for more than 20 years, offers in-person and web coaching for stepmoms. A residential stepmother herself since 1998, she and husband Steve have led his four children to adulthood and have one daughter, 17. A “Grammy” to four boys, Brenda finally enjoys lovely and uncomplicated relationships with their parents. More information about Brenda and her services is available at stepmothersupport.com.
RACHELLE KATZ, EDD, LMFT, is a stepmother coach and duly trained and licensed marriage and family therapist. In addition to her work as a psychotherapist, she plays an active role in the stepmom community—leading a monthly support group in NYC and running workshops for stepmothers and their partners. Rachelle authored the self-help guide “The Happy Stepmother” and her website, StepsforStepmothers.com, is a place where stepmothers can support, encourage and advise each other. Feel free to email Rachelle.Katz@gmail.com.
HEATHER HETCHLER, MA, has a passion for equipping stepmoms to thrive. She is the founder of CafeSMom.com, which brings positive resources, encouragement and support to stepmothers. She speaks about divorce recovery and stepfamily issues and is the co-author of “Unwrapping the Gift of Stepfamily Peace.” As a stepmom coach, her passion is to help stepmothers define their own positive path to success. As a full-time mom and stepmom, Heather resides in Cleveland with her husband, four children and two stepchildren.
CLAUDETTE CHENEVERT aka The Stepmom Coach, works with women as they struggle to create a cohesive family life. As a speaker, author and stepfamily professional, Claudette mentors and guides stepmoms through the process of establishing a harmonious and thriving home life for their families, many seeing results within two sessions. Learn about her coaching practice and self-study program for stepmoms at StepMomCoach.com.
KRISTEN WILKINSON, PSYD, is a post- doctoral fellow in Clinical Psychology at The Barrington Center in Illinois. A graduate of Midwestern University, she has spent the past several years researching stepfamilies and, more specifically, the stepparent experience. In her clinical work and beyond, Dr. Wilkinson enjoys using her professional and personal experience to assist and advocate for the needs of stepfamilies. Email inquiries to Kristen.Wilkinson09@gmail.com.
STACIE NIELSEN BORTEL, MA, is a stepmom and has more than 10 years of experience as an author, editor, writing teacher and teacher of writing instructors. She is known for her curly hair, her off-key singing while doing the dishes, her obsession with whatever she’s currently writing about and her belief in the power of storytelling. Online at NielsenBortel.com and Multiplicity-Blog.
LAURA PETHERBRIDGE is an international author and speaker who serves couples and single adults with topics on relationships, divorce prevention, divorce recovery and stepfamily life. Laura is a DivorceCare video series featured expert and author of “When ‘I Do’ Becomes ‘I Don’t’” and “The Smart Stepmom.” She co-authored “101 Tips for The Smart Stepmom” (with Ron L. Deal) and “Quiet Moments for the Stepmom Soul.” Visit TheSmartStepmom.com.
ERIN CARELESS, PHD, is director of the education and ambassador program for the online resource Social Stepmom. A certified stepfamily professional, her passion is supporting stepmoms through her work as a stepmom coach, educator and blogger. Erin’s writing has also appeared at Huff Post. Her doctoral research was focused on the stepmom role and identity. A stepmom of two, Oliver and Waverleigh, Erin and husband Matt have one baby girl together, Grace. Learn more or follow her blog at StepLife.ca.
ALI WILKS, MSC, is a mom, stepmom and creator of The Successful Stepcouple Retreat. A certified step- family and couples relationship coach, she has expertise in working closely with stepcouples and stepparents who struggle with the complicated dynamics of stepfamily life. Ali holds degrees in psychology and family studies, which also inform her work with foster and adoptive parents. Online at Stepcoupling.com.
LAURA S. MILAM, MEd is a wife, stepmom, and high school counselor. All three of these roles are a constant source of inspiration. For Laura, writing is equal parts therapy, connection, and comic relief. She believes everyone has a story worth sharing and enjoys using hers to connect with and encourage others.
JAMIE SCRIMGEOUR is a certified life coach who specializes in stepfamily dynamics. She’s also the founder of The Kick-Ass Stepmom Project—an online group-coaching program for stepmoms who want to thrive. She’s a child of divorce and a stepmom with experience in child protection. Through blog posts, videos and her Weekly Facebook LIVE events, Jamie offers a well-rounded perspective on the challenges of stepfamily life. Learn more at JamieScrimgeour.com.
KRISTEN SKILES, MBA, is a graduate of Pepperdine and West Texas A&M universities who runs on coffee, wine and Amazon Prime. She believes stepmomming is what we do; not who we are. Through Stepmomming.com, she offers guidance for overwhelmed stepmoms and encourages them to write their own happily ever afters. An Air Force wife and stepmom, Kristen and her stepdaughter’s mother are, as she describes it, “co-parents, best friends, business partners” and former roommates.
ANNA DE ACOSTA is creator of The Mindful Stepmom series of guided-audio meditations designed to help stepmoms cope with common challenges and feelings faced along their journey. Anna offers online programs, as well as retreats in Peru with a goal of helping stepmoms overcome negative feelings, build resilience and live in peace. Online at AnnaDeAcosta.com.
KATE CHAPMAN is the founder of This Life in Progress, a community for divorced parents and blended families, and the creator of the highly-acclaimed Total Coparenting Transformation course. A coparenting expert, experienced executive coach, and widely published author with a deep background in psychology and sociology, Kate is most proud of her role as mom and stepmom to six children, ages 8-16.
JESSICA LEON, LCSW, PHD, specializes in marriage, family and couples therapy and has more than 15 years of private practice experience. She’s a Life Coach on Lifetime TV’s “Mission Makeover,” a frequent guest on “The Balancing Act” and also serves as a Suicide Prevention Counselor, Behavior Management Specialist, ESE Family Counselor and more. Jessica resides in South Florida with her husband, twin boys, stepson, three cats and dog. Connect with Jessica at: TherapistToGo.net.
CHRISTINE G. ADAMO is a freelancer on a quest to answer the age-old question: Who in their right mind would write, revise, edit or proofread for a living? (Uh, she would!) Standing gigs include that of Managing Editor at StepMom Magazine. She shares a home with her rescue dog Ava. Her boyfriend, Brian, is a divorced dad with one adult daughter. Follow or tweet her @WriteReviseEdit.
JONELLE JONES is a designer, creative strategist and #girlboss based in Kansas City, Missouri. This stepmom of four is working hard to reach veteran stepmom status with help from husband Phillip and their two “ours” dogs. Jonelle says StepMom has been key to helping her family achieve joy and that she’s grateful to be our Publication Designer. Find her on Instagram @TheJonelleJones.
JAYNE NICOLETTI joined StepMom Magazine in 2016, as a video correspondent. On-camera Jayne tackles the highs (and lows) of stepfamily life with humor and compassion. Off-camera this full-time music industry exec is also an actor, a wife, a stepmom to twin girls and an advocate for causes close to her heart like animal welfare. Learn more at JayneNicoletti.com.
JOEL SCHWARTZBERG is a nationally published essayist and the remarried father of a 19-year-old son and twin 16-year-old girls. He’s the author of “The 40-Year-Old Version: Humoirs of a Divorced Dad” and the recently-released “Small Things Considered: Moments from Manliness to Manilow.” Learn more or contact him at JoelSchwartzberg.net.
TRACI MORENO, PSYD, is a licensed psychologist and director of mental health services for a nonprofit community clinic that serves families. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and a Doctorate from Alliant Int’l. University, with a specialization in clinical and forensic psychology. Dr. Moreno’s background includes providing individual and group therapy, administering psychological testing or evaluations, conducting forensic evaluations for courts and testifying as an expert witness.
KELLY PALMQUIST, MSW, is a stepmom and licensed social worker. Her unique perspective on navigating life’s challenges is also informed by Master’s degrees in counseling and social work, plus extensive work in the fields of mental health and long-term care. Her blog encourages “surviving the storm with gratitude, grace and joy” to then thrive. Kelly enjoys empowering women to find their magic in the face of adversity. Online at SunshineInHeavyWeather.com.
LARA R. BADAIN, ESQ, has been practicing family and matrimonial law in New York State for 22 years. She serves on the Attorneys for the Children panel for the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division Fourth Department, representing children in family court. She’s a member of the Family Law Section of the Monroe County Bar Association and was a former Board Member for the Monroe County Legal Assistance Corporation. Lara resides with her partner, who has three adult children – so she is uniquely positioned to provide both a personal and professional perspective on stepfamily legal issues. Email: email@example.com
IISHANA ARTRA, PHD, CNLP, CPC, guides struggling stepmoms and their partners to enhanced safety and well-being in the home. As a Certified Stepfamily Foundation Coach and founding director of StepfamilyServices.org, she offers coaching services by phone, Skype and in-person. Iishana uses lessons hard-won as a half-sibling and two-time stepmom to successfully lead support groups and intensive workshops and is a happy stepmother of three—ages 11, 14 and 22.
AUDREY K. CADE, MS, is the author of “Divorce Matters: Help for Hurting Hearts and Why Divorce Is Sometimes the Best Decision” and the matriarch of a blended family of eight. This self-described “divorce warrior” has experience in the areas of co-parenting, stepparenting, parental alienation and remarriage. She is a professional case manager social worker with a Master’s degree in psychology and related degrees in early childhood education, human service and management.
SUSAN SCHILD is an author whose books feature the challenges of stepparenting, finding love after loss, adventuresome women, life with dogs and happily-ever-afters at any age. This wife and stepmother has a professional back- ground in Psychotherapy and Management Consulting and lives with her family in North Carolina. Her latest novel is the 2017 release, “Sweet Southern Hearts.” Sign up for her quarterly newsletter at SusanSchild.com.
TREVOR MULLINEAUX, LMFT, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT) Therapist and Supervisor who serves clients in Southport and Stamford, Connecticut, via private practice. Personal and occasionally painful experience blending two families has made her passionate and knowledgeable about the topic. Trevor helps others create healthy and emotionally-safe connections through her book, “Blending Families: Merging Households with Kids 8-18,” and has appeared on NBC-CT, “The Anderson Cooper Show” and “The Bill Cunningham Show.” Connect at TrevorMullineaux.com.
MELISSA D. DAY, MS, is both a mom and a stepmom who’s working on her PhD in sociology at the University of New Hampshire. Through her studies, she actively conducts research on the stepmother experience in families.
LISA DOODSON, PHD, is a psychologist and an associate dean of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences at Regents University London. A keen interest in family dynamics led her to conduct the UK’s largest study on stepfamily wellbeing, published as “How to Be a Happy Stepmum.” Her 2016 release, “Understanding Stepfamilies,” was published by McGraw Hill. Lisa offers research-based support and training for stepfamilies and professionals at HappySteps.co.uk.
BLYTHE WARD, MEd, is a mother, a stepmother, a therapist and a researcher with a profound understanding of the challenges stepfamilies face. She shares her knowledge with others in the book, “Stepping Up to a Happy Stepfamily.” Her message is filled with hope and encouragement for making the stepfamily experience a positive one. Learn more at BlytheWard.com.
NAJA HALL is the founder of Blended & Black—an inclusive, solution-oriented platform for promoting harmony and balance among fractured millennial families. Her goal is to normalize stepfamily life, by combating stigma and helping individuals adjust to a new normal. Naja hosts a weekly podcast, creating and sharing content of interest to stepfamilies. Learn more at BlendedandBlack.com.
GAYLA GRACE, MA, writes, speaks and coaches on stepfamily issues. She holds a master’s degree in psychology and counseling and has worked with stepfamilies for more than a decade. She serves on the speaking team with Sisterhood of Stepmoms and is the co-author of “Quiet Moments for the Stepmom Soul” and “Unwrapping the Gift of Stepfamily Peace.” She is a mom and stepmom to five children (ages 14 to 30) and resides in Shreveport, Louisiana, with her husband of 20-plus years, Randy. She is the founder of StepparentingWithGrace.com, which offers support, encouragement and resources.
TAMMY DAUGHTRY, MMFT, Founder and CEO of Co-Parenting Int’l., is a marriage and family therapist. As the author of “Co-Parenting Works! Helping Your Children Thrive After Divorce,” Tammy has made 50-plus media appearances in the U.S. and Canada. She is a national advocate and seminar presenter with extensive co-parenting experience and the creator of the “One Heart, Two Homes: Co-Parent Support for Single and Remarried Parents,” DVD series. Tammy lives with her husband, Jay, in Nashville, Tennessee and is available for consultation via phone, Skype and FaceTime. Online at CoparentingInternational.com.
LIANA PALMERIO-McIVOR, RP, is a psychotherapist, a marriage and sex therapist and director of The Wellness Counselling Group in Ontario, Canada. She’s been in practice for more than 20 years and her passion is helping people fully connect with their partners and lead fulfilling lives. Liana is a mother to two daughters, a stepmom to one boy, a widow and a wife. You’re invited to tweet her @lianapalmerio. Connect with Liana at WellnessCounselling.com.
DEESHA PHILYAW hit the mom trifecta: She is a biological and adoptive mom and stepmom to four girls ages 10, 15, 15 and 17. Based in Pittsburgh, Deesha is the co-author of “Co-Parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Two Households After Divorce,” both in collaboration with her ex-husband. She is also the co-facilitator of Writing Through Your Divorce, an online workshop for women.
PEGGY NOLAN, MA, RYT, is a contributing writer to The Huffington Post and The Women’s Toolbox. She is the mother of two adult children, a stepmom of four adult children and the grandmother of two. She is a 2nd degree black belt in Muay Thai Kickboxing and a certified yoga teacher. Peggy and her husband, Richard, live in Derry, New Hampshire.
EMILY BOUCHARD, MSSW, is a family, wealth and money coach and founder of Blended-Families.com. As a managing partner at WealthLegacyGroup.net, she helps couples and stepfamilies leverage their wealth to positively impact the world around them. Emily co-authored “Estate Planning for the Blended Family,” understands the complex needs of stepfamilies and has been featured in “Wall Street Journal” and “Forbes.
LISA BAGSHAW is a newly separated, child-less stepmom. She lives in Vancouver BC, works in media, and hopes her years of being a stepmom to her 14-year-old stepsons is enough to keep their relationships going. Lisa is currently writing a book, “A Survival Guide for the Urban Stepmom,” and is open to any and all tips. Catch her on Twitter: @urbanstepmom
TRISHA LADOGNA holds a graduate diploma in psychology, is a stepmother and is a co-author of the “Build a Better Relationship” ebook series. She has spent more than 20 years working with children and families of all shapes, sizes and structures. Through her work, she helps stepparents build more positive relationships with their stepchildren. Learn more or connect with Trisha at SteppingThrough.com.au.
STACY SPENCER THOMPSON recently completed her Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. She is currently working to complete her memoir, “The Blue Behind Us,” which chronicles her experience of becoming a stepmother. During the day, Stacy works in content marketing and, on the weekends, she enjoys time with her family.
SUSAN DAVIS SWANSON, PHD, LCSW, is executive director and founder of The StepFamily Center in Beverly Hills, Calif. She is a noted authority on issues ranging from divorce to remarriage with children. Susan is a licensed therapist and has attained Board Certified Diplomate status, awarded by the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work. She received her Ph.D. in spiritual counseling. In addition to her work with stepfamilies, Susan is a trauma therapist and experienced in the use of EMDR and Somatics.
SUSAN WISDOM, MA is the author of Stepcoupling: Creating and Sustaining a Strong Marriage in Today’s Blended Family. Susan and her husband have raised 5 children in their successful stepfamily since 1976. She has a counseling practice helping stepcouples understand and deal with the issues common in stepfamilies. She believes that the stepcouple is the foundation and glue in the stepfamily.
ERIC URBACH is an attorney in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who practices primarily in the areas of personal injury and family law. Eric is married to his wife, Amy, and is a father of three and stepfather of two.
RON L. DEAL, MMFT, is founder and president of Smart Stepfamilies™ and the director of FamilyLife Blended™, which is a division of FamilyLife®—a biblical marriage movement that seeks to help people strengthen their marriages and family relationships. An accomplished therapist and speaker who specializes in marriage enrichment and stepfamily education, Deal also hosts the radio feature “FamilyLife Blended.”
DIANE GREENE is a Certified Stepfamily Coach who was personally trained by Jeannette Lofas. She is the mother of three, stepmom to one, and wife. Diane teaches stepparents to discover new purposes for their stepfamilies, eliminate drama and stereotypes while at the same time transforming their co-parenting relationships.
PAM HOWARD, LCSW, is the creator of Less Drama More Mama and a Certified ScreamFree Parenting and Marriage Leader. She teaches practical skills to help parents experience increased self-confidence, better self-care, and a deeper connection with their kids—without a lot of drama. She’s also a mommy to two daughters, ages 9 and 5. Grab your FREE copy of “5 Ways to Prevent Mama Meltdown” at LessDramaMoreMama.com/Prevent.
DIANNE MARTIN, BSW, RSW, is a Canadian mom, stepmom and Certified Stepfamily Counselor. Combining her intimate knowledge of stepfamily dynamics with her professional training, Dianne developed a dynamic array of specialized counseling and educational programs. She empowers stepmoms to build, strengthen and nurture healthy stepfamily relationships. In addition to traditional counseling, Dianne offers cyber counseling to Canadian stepfamilies. Visit her at DianneMartinAndAssociates.com.
LISA BRADSHAW is the author of Big Shoes: A Young Widowed Mother’s Memoir, founder of The DON’T WAIT Project® and producer of the How to UnMake A Bully video series from Better Actions Now. She is home each day by 3 p.m. to greet her kids when they get home from school.
JAMIE (SIMKINS) ROGERS, LPC, EMDR, is a stepmom to three great kids and passionate about helping oth¬ers experience all the goodness that life has to offer. She is a therapist in private practice in Chicago focusing on relationships and addiction. Rogers is also a Hormone Cure Practitioner and helps women to balance their hormones naturally.
JOAN SARIN, MS, is a social psychologist, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) educator and Stepfamily Coach. Her 20 years as a stepmom and mom have provided her with abundant opportuni¬ties to convert her training in stepfamily dynamics and the theories of emotional intelligence into practical experience. She is a consultant in schools and trains children and parents to integrate EQ competencies into their daily lives. Her grown son and stepdaughter now live far away, leaving her and her husband to their cozy empty nest in Phoenix, Ariz.