Stepfamilies are complicated. When it comes to advice? Bad information can do more harm to your relationships than none at all. That’s why our contributing writers are hand picked. They’re therapists, lawyers, published authors and certified stepfamily experts. They’re also members of stepfamilies because we believe to really understand stepfamily dynamics, it helps if you’ve lived it.
Wednesday Martin, PhD, is an author, social researcher and stepmother. Her book “Stepmonster,” is widely considered the “go-to” resource for stepmothers, adult stepchildren, therapists and others who seek a uniquely candid, interdisciplinary and comprehensive look at the topic. Wednesday wrote about parenting for the “New York Post” for several years and has appeared as a step/parenting expert on CNN, “The Today Show,” “Fox Newshour,” NPR and BBC radio. You can find her work on PsychologyToday.com. Her new book, “Primates of Park Avenue: an Anthropological Memoir of Manhattan Motherhood,” is now available.
Mary T. Kelly, MA, specializes in working with stepmoms, stepcouples and stepfamilies. She has a psychotherapy practice in Boulder, Colo., and has been practicing for 18 years. She offers phone, Skype and Facetime coaching for stepmoms and stepcouples, as well as “intensive” one- to two- day coaching/therapy sessions. She can be reached by email at: email@example.com.
Laura Petherbridge is an international author and speaker who serves couples and single adults with topics on stepfamilies, relationships, divorce prevention, singleness and divorce recovery. She is the author of When “I Do” Becomes “I Don’t”—Practical Steps for Healing During Separation and Divorce, and The Smart Stepmom, co-authored with Ron Deal. Her website is www.LauraPetherbridge.com.
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 is a speaker for and co-founder of www.SisterhoodofStepmoms.com and the co-author of “Quiet Moments for the Stepmom Soul: Encouragement for the Journey.” As a stepmom coach, her passion is to help stepmothers define their own positive path to success. Heather resides in Cleveland with her husband, four children and two stepchildren.
Brenda Snyder, LCSW, is a licensed therapist with 20-plus years experience in treating depression and anxiety. She currently treats individuals, couples and families in private practice and specializes in coaching stepmoms and their families. Brenda’s services are available locally in Peoria, Ill., and remotely on the web. She maintains StepmotherSupport.com, a website with practical tips and advice for stepmoms. Brenda became a residential stepmother of four in 1998. Having seen her stepchildren into adulthood, her current household consists of her husband, their 13-year-old daughter and a goofy English Setter named Jax.
Eric Urbach, ESQ, 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.
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 webcam coaching. She also sees clients in her Tampa-based private practice. In addition, she is a licensed psychotherapist, National Certified Counselor and Distance Credentialed Counselor. Christina resides in Florida with her husband and their two children. Visit SuccessForSteps.com or contact Christina at Christina@ SuccessForSteps.com.
Jamie (Simkins) Rogers, LPC, EMDR, is a stepmom to three great kids and passionate about helping others 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. Visit her online at Cell2SoulHormoneCoaching.com, on which she offers a permanent 50 percent discount on individual hormone coaching for all stepmoms.
Emily Bouchard, MSSW, managing partner, www.wealthlegacygroup.net, is a family and money coach, specializing in the emotional impact of wealth. She founded www.blended-families.com in 2003 and is considered a leading expert in stepfamily issues. Emily has appeared on the Today Show and CNN, and has been featured in publications such as “The New York Times” and “The Wall Street Journal.” Along with coaching inheritors, couples and stepfamilies, she consults with advisors in addressing the qualitative side of financial planning and co-authored “Estate Planning for the Blended Family,” published by Self-Counsel Press.
Claudette Chenevert is known as the Stepmom Coach and works with women who are struggling to create a cohesive family life. As a speaker, author and stepfamily relationship coach, Claudette mentors and guides stepmoms to create a harmonious and thriving home life. Many families see results within two sessions and, by their 12th session, are thriving. For more information, visit www.StepMomCoach.com
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.
Deesha Philyaw hit the mom trifecta: She is a biological, adoptive and step mom to four girls ages 10, 15, 15 and 17. Based in Pittsburgh, Deesha is the co-founder of Co-Parenting101.org, and 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.
Pam Howard, LCSW, is the creator of Less Drama More Mama and a Certified Scream Free 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” from her website at www.lessdramamoremama.com/prevent
Ms. Taken is a stepmom, mom, wife and writer. She has an overly fuzzy and utterly useless watchdog and a small stack of restraining orders against the hubby’s ex. Ms. Taken devotes herself to increasing the space between—and decreasing the fury of—total breakdowns of order and decorum in her home. Her attempts can be further scrutinized at http://amothermstaken.blogspot.com.
Peggy Nolan, MA, RYT, is the CEO of Frazzled To Fabulous, www.frazzledtofab.com, a website dedicated to helping women reclaim the lives they were born to live. Peggy is a contributing writer to The Huffington Post and The Women’s Toolbox. She is the mother of two adult children, the bonus mother 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, NH.
Joel Schwartzberg is a nationally published essayist and the remarried father of a 15-year-old son and twin 12-year-old girls. He’s the author of “The 40-Year-Old Version: Humoirs of a Divorced Dad” and the just-released “Small Things Considered: Moments from Manliness to Manilow.” Learn more or contact him at www.JoelSchwartzberg.net.
Gayla Grace, MA, is an author, speaker, stepfamily coach and mom and stepmom to five children, ages 13-29. Passionate about empowering stepparents toward successful relationships, 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 offers support, encouragement and resources at her website and blog: www.stepparentingwithgrace.com. She and her husband, Randy, have been married 19 years and reside in Shreveport, Louisiana.
The Second Wife holds an M.A. in Adult Development and Aging and is a professional speaker, author, healthcare consultant and lover of all things wine. She loves looking at life with a sense of humor. After marrying the man of her dreams, who has three great kids, life became a comedy of errors: divorced, back together and four teenagers in the house, one of which is the dog. It’s complicated. If you enjoy a good laugh, join her at www.marriedwithscotch.com. Cheers!
Tammy Daughtry, MMFT, Founder and CEO of Co-Parenting International, is a marriage and family therapist and leads an organization dedicated to addressing the critical impact of co-parenting on children of divorce. As the author of “Co-Parenting Works! Helping Your Children Thrive After Divorce,” Tammy has been featured on more than 50 different media outlets across the U.S. and Canada. She is a national advocate and seminar presenter with more than 13 years in co-parenting and five years as a stepmom. Tammy lives with her husband, Jay, in Nashville, Tennessee. Tammy is available for consultation via phone, Skype and FaceTime. www.CoParentingInternational.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.
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 opportunities 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.