Your turn:  If you have any comments or advice for this reader, please comment below or send me an e-mail at  I’ve recently been in e-mail dialogue with a concerned stepmother.  She’s stepparenting three elementary- and middle-school-aged children whose mother died several years ago.  My heart went out to her as I read about […]

Continue reading about A Reader Writes: If Everyone’s Fine, Why do I Feel Stressed?

Mama J on March 23rd, 2009

Like many people, I’m facing some financial challenges these days.  The mortgage assistance application calls it “income curtailment.”  And, no, the company hasn’t come through yet with any assistance.  I work for myself, yet only part time.  I actually made that choice about thee years after becoming a stepparent.  I admire women who have a full-time […]

Continue reading about Moms at Work

Mama J on March 18th, 2009

I am running a slightly edited version of yesterday’s post for the Wednesday stepparenting blog because I think the theme of “hosting a stranger” also applies to stepfamilies.  Your partner’s kids are your brave new frontier. Will you to rise to the challenge?  One of my loves is to coordinate international exchange students.  I match […]

Continue reading about Kindness to Strangers, continued

Mama J on March 17th, 2009

One of my loves is to coordinate international exchange students.  I match students from other countries with loving host families and I make sure they have a space in one of the local high schools.  But every once in a while I have to deal with a “situation” that results from some combination of clashing […]

Continue reading about Kindness to Strangers

Mama J on March 11th, 2009

(Most writers like the top ten approach, but I like for you to fill in the tenth!)  Various situations in my life continue to point out the extreme importance of communication.  The worst trap of all in a stepfamily is no communication. Assumptions fill the gaps and actions are based on the assumptions!  One way […]

Continue reading about Nine Tips for Family Meetings

Mama J on March 6th, 2009

I’m not quite sure why, but I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how fragile life is. Even more specifically, how fragile are the lives of flesh and blood (or fur and blood) beings. So much of the world’s actions or illness could wipe us out overnight. So imagine my contemplations confirmed when I read […]

Continue reading about Precious Life

Mama J on March 4th, 2009

You might think that this post relates to the stepparent being new in the family.  Instead, I thought I’d focus today on the new kid you and your spouse might bring into town:  your baby.  While your stepfamily may arrive at some household decisions together as a family, having a baby is an adult decision.  […]

Continue reading about The New Kid in Town

Mama J on March 2nd, 2009

For both new and existing subscribers, I thought you’d want to know more about this blog as it evolves.   I am a writer, parent, and stepparent who constantly ponders family issues and dynamics.  Raising kids is one of life’s greatest joys and challenges.  If you are among those who wish you could consult the parenting […]

Continue reading about More about This Blog