Love for Grown-Ups! The Garter Brides’ Guide to Marrying for Life When You’ve Already Got a Life by Amy Blumenthal Jacobs, Patricia Ryan Lampl, and Tish Rabe.

The book’s cover grabbed me and the chapters on blended family living drew me in. At first, I thought this wouldn’t be a book for my audience of stepmoms …. we’ve already met the man of our dreams (and his mini royal family). But the advice on blended family living is so concise and so practical I had to share. We can all benefit from reading stories and gaining advice and this book shares wonderful tips, insight and personal stories from the authors as well as countless other women interviewed.

Take this chapter for instance:

Chapter 3: Who Are All These People? (Friends, Family, Exes and Everyone Else)

I won’t give the book away but one of the topics they tackle is this: what to do when your spouse’s family doesn’t embrace you and/or your kids. Important topic and one that unfortunately, many stepmoms face. Agree very much with their advice that grieving the loss of their son’s last marriage may take them much longer than it did their son. Parents often need to understand and come to terms with many questions ranging from why their daughter-in-law left their son?, to why the marriage didn’t last?, or to why their son left his family?, etc….. Often times, there are no easily understandible answers to the questions in a parent’s heart. In addition, parents sometimes take much longer to grieve and become accepting of a new relationship. Remember it’s your role and not you that many parents struggle with in accepting. Sometimes parents put up a protective wall as they don’t’ want to get hurt again, “what if you leave their son?” may float in their mind and heart. I won’t disclose all their helpful tips and stories, you’ve got to read the book to find out more. And there is much, much more to this chapter.

The other chapter I found applicable is:

Chapter 4: “Nice Roast Beef, Honey, but Did I Mention My Daughter’s a Vegetarian?”

Loved the honesty and genuine truths throughout this chapter. The Garter Brides interviewed numerous stepmoms and these women really let down their hair. I was particularly drawn to a story where a stepmom’s wise counsel to her husband helped heal his relationship with his son. The story really touched me because I felt it is one so many of us can relate to. A stepmom saw the disrespect and hurt her stepson was causing his father (her husband) and gently helped her spouse see how enabling this treatment was good for no one. The father enforced “tough love” and in doing so the son cut off contact for a time but came back around after seeing the error of his ways and now the father-son duo have a tight bond. “Instead of losing his son by setting limits, as Sam had feared, now they talk nearly every day,” shared the loving stepmom.

As the Garter Brides write “Even adult kids and their parents sometimes need the path smoothed by a wise stepmom.” We do have so much to offer our stepkids and our spouse.

There is much more in the book. I appreciate the conversational style in which the book is written and the tips scattered throughout the book. I had the chance to interview the ladies on October 5th on my weekly web show, The Stepmom Connection. If you want to catch the interview, please click here…..

While the majority of the book is about finding your true love and getting married when you’ve already got your life, the information on blended families is definitely worth reading and learning from. One of my biggest pushes in our stepmom community is the power of community itself and in the importance of not feeling alone on the journey. The stories and tips in this book help you to feel a sense of connection while living and navigating the role of stepmom. That is not only enlightening but also empowering.

The Garter Brides would like to send one lucky reader a free copy of their book.

To enter:

please leave a comment below (a stepparenting challenge, comment on the review, etc….)

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Each counts as one entry. Make sure to leave a comment for each entry. Thank you!

I’ll pick one winner randomly and announce Thursday, November 3, 2011. Contest ends at 1AM EST on November 2, 2011.

The book can be purchased at any national retailer and as always through Amazon!

Look forward to receiving your entries and also to hearing your thoughts. Thank you!

Allow me to leave you with this sentence in the book which I think speaks to every co-parent out there “one thing everyone can agree on: battlegrounds aren’t good places to raise kids.”

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