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The Courage to Be a Stepmom: Finding Your Place Without Losing Yourself Paperback – April, 2003

4.1 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This revised edition is a phenomenal resource, written with a positive slant, that breaks the myths of stepmotherhood.

About the Author

Popular speaker, psychotherapist, mother, stepmother, and author Sue Patton Thoele has been a practicing therapist since 1974 and a stepmother for almost all that time. More than 500,000 copies of her books are in print and her work has been translated into nine languages. A member of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology, and of Spiritual Directors International, Thoele received her B.A. in drama from Kansas University, and her M.A. in psychology from Santa Clara University. She lives with her husband, Gene, in Colorado, and has two adult children and two adult stepchildren. The Courage to Be a Stepmom is her tenth book.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Wildcat Canyon Press; 2 edition (April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1571781293
  • ISBN-13: 978-1571781291
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #707,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Although I'd always been an on-again, off-again journal writer, I never envisioned actually writing a book. However, when I was forty-five, a Writing Muse grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and would not let me go no matter how much I resisted. And resist I did! To no avail... My first book, The Courage To Be Yourself, seemed to have a mind of its own and would not let me rest until I had completely committed to writing it. By the time the original book was published, a passion for writing had taken root in my heart. Having had a private psychotherapy practice for many years, writing about issues similar to those with which my clients and I grappled felt natural.

With the invaluable help of my husband, Gene, I've been incredibly blessed by writing and the relationships and experiences that have come from it.

Each of us plays many roles, and works in different arenas, during a lifetime. Below are a few roles I've played and some of the work I've done.

Wife, divorcee, wife again ... still "wife again"
Mom, single mom, stepmom ... once a mom of any kind, always a mom
Grandmother, mentor ... love these roles
Myriad acting roles in community theater

Public/keynote speaker
Seminar/group/retreat Leader
Hospice chaplain, trainer and counselor
Director of a counseling center
High school and adult education teacher

Please see: www.suepattonthoele.com for more information.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My new husband teases me good-naturedly for my collection of 16 stepparenting books (and counting), but it's important to me to do the best I can. I've read a ton on this topic, and though I think it's important to do that, the reading often drags down my spirit and I find myself anxious and saddened by the enormity of this undertaking. It's particularly difficult and overwhelming as a never-married, no children wife.
This book is has been an incredible relief. Ms. Thoele manages to candidly acknowledge the difficulties faced by a stepmother and to offer some accurate and helpful insights without ever losing her underlying message that this is possible, we CAN do it, and there are steps you can take to make this a positive adventure. She reminds us that the rewards we reap often correspond to the effort involved, and so there is great hope.
I find myself wanting to highlight far too much of the text to make highlighting worthwhile! I'm tremendously relieved that this book arrived shortly before my wedding, and I rate it in the "top 5" stepfamily books in my growing collection. Do yourself a favor if you're a stepmother: grab this book, sit down with a cup of coffee, and allow yourself some grounded encouragement from someone who has been there.
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Format: Paperback
The Courage To Be A Stepmom reflects author Sue Patton Thoele's considerable experience in the area of empowering and encouraging women to grow spiritually, intellectually and emotionally. Perhaps more importantly, Ms. Thoele's willingness to draw extensively from her own experience as a stepmother brings the subject matter alive and will leave most readers feeling that it really is okay to take some wrong turns on the long and sometimes arduous journey from novice to "stepmother emeritus."
The Courage to Be a Stepmom skillfully covers the basics-keeping expectations reasonable, going slowly, strengthening the marriage, and so on. There's good, practical advice to be found in its pages. However, it moves ahead of many of the contemporary books on stepparenting and stepfamilies in its ability to present its subject in the context of personal growth. Ms. Thoele, often through personal example, encourages stepmothers to continually look within and work with their feelings, expectations and beliefs as they face the challenges of building a successful stepfamily. The underlying premise of the book is that you have to be willing to grow yourself if you want to promote growth in your stepfamily, and secondly, that this is an extremely challenging, sometimes painful, but potentially quite rewarding process.
Particularly strong, I think, are her chapters on taking care of yourself. Sue Thoele adeptly blends together established concepts about nurturing the self with anecdotes derived from the nearly forty stepmothers she interviewed for the book. What emerges is a compassionate model for caring for others from a position of caring for yourself.
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Format: Paperback
The author, a psychotherapist and a stepmother, begins her comforting book by helping the reader understand the impact of her past and present on her family. She stresses the need for flexibility as stepmoms search for the courage to be "teachers of love and connection."
She discusses reasonable and realistic expectations and how the stepmom can exercise her right to boundaries without jeopardizing her marriage. The eight concise "stepmuddling" steps are a practical guide for getting through the typical stepfamily struggles.
Mrs. Thoele encourages the reader to be a "true friend" to herself by holding on to what sustains her and taking care of her marriage. She also provides tips to guide the stepmom in helping her own children adjust to the new family.
You'll find inspiration in "Gathering the Gifts," in which the author discusses the gifts that we receive from stepchildren and the spiritual gifts that we would not have so fully developed in perhaps another family situation. The "Twenty Guidelines for Stepmoms" are right on target and equally applicable to stepdads.
One sentence of the book speaks for us all as we struggle to find the courage that we need to succeed in our demanding role against incredible odds: "I believe that I did the best I could considering who I was at the time." Keep doing the best you can where you are.
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Format: Paperback
Sue Patton Thoele's book, "The Courage to Be a Stepmom" is well written and speaks to stepmothers as not just stepmothers but as women and caretakers who need to remember to take care of themselves as well as their stepfamilies.  Her book demonstrates to stepmothers not only the various stepmothering issues and coping strategies but also how to take care of their spiritual, mental, and physical well being throughout the process.  Ms Thoele's book also sites personal experiences from her own twenty-five years of stepmothering and her book is wholesome, healing, and easy to read. I enjoyed it very much and highly recommend it to all stepmothers as well as women thinking about becoming a stepmother. Thanks, Angela Thacker
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