Category Archives: Other Mothers

No Word For Me

Today I googled the definition of the word stepmother.

Here is the result:stepmom definitionstepmother: noun. a woman who is married to one’s father after the divorce of one’s parents or the death of one’s mother.

The reason I was googling the word stepmother is because I have been stuck with my writing in trying to find a word for my kind of motherhood. I realized, if I can’t even put a name to my role in this family, how can I expect society to understand.

What one word would you use to define my role?

I also googled lesbian stepmother and I am not even going to tell you what the results were. Let’s just say they were similar to the inappropriate comments dads at our kid’s school used to whisper in to my ears.

Mother’s Day: It’s Complicated

Mother's DayMother’s Day is just around the corner. Most of us think of sweet old ladies, flowers and chocolates when it comes to this day. Many also feel guilty for not doing enough or wake up on Mother’s Day and say “OMG I forgot to get my mom a gift!”

Besides the normal thoughts and reactions to Mother’s Day there are a lot of very complicated feelings happening on this day.

This is a day when many women feel left out and unappreciated. Whether they are childless/childfree, stepmoms, lesbian non-bio moms, or any kind of other mother this day can be a sensitive day for them.

Often non-traditional moms go unnoticed on this day. The school may have had the small children make cards for their mom and did not think of making anything for the stepmom or other mom in that child’s life. The child may worry they will hurt their “real” mom’s feelings if they make a card for their stepmom.

Women who were unable to conceive or who had abortions often feel the sting of sadness on this day.

Women who chose not to have children feel judged by others.

Women who lost children feel enormous sadness on Mother’s Day.

This can also be a day of grief for people who have lost their mothers.

Yes, Mother’s Day is a happy day to celebrate and appreciate all those wonderful mothers out there, those women who do so much and often go unnoticed. But, let’s also make it a day to be sensitive to others and maybe start a tradition of reaching out to those other mothers and non-mothers in our lives.

When my neighbor heard about the book I was writing she told me the story of how her mom died when she was 15 and that she never had children. Mother’s Day was always a very difficult day for her but then one day a friend sent her a card on Mother’s Day telling her how much they appreciated her and all the wonderful things she has done. She said that card made her so happy that ever since then she has been sending cards to women on Mother’s Day letting them know how much she appreciates them and all that they have done. Now she loves Mother’s Day and looks forward to it every year. It is no longer a day of dread but rather a day to share appreciation.

I think the story of my neighbor is so beautiful. I challenge you all to pick at least one woman this Mother’s Day to reach out to and send a letter of appreciation to.

What are your Mother’s Day stories?




The image above is a from a page created by me during one of Marilyn LoRusso’s Vision Book Art Workshops.



Book Blurb

flowersOne of the most important things to have when you are trying to market your business is an elevator speech. An elevator speech is a simple blurb to quickly describe what you do.  Books also need an an elevator speech or book blurb. When someone asks me what my book is about I need to be able to answer them in 30 seconds or less or I risk losing their attention or worse, boring them.

I’m working on my book’s elevator speech. What do you think?

Heart Mothers is a book about women who feel they don’t fit in the “traditional mom” box. They could be single moms, step-moms, lesbian moms, adoptive moms, foster moms, women who chose not to or were not able to have children; the list goes on and on. Basically, I’m writing about the common thread I have found among women feeling like they are an outsider in the mom world.




The image above is a from a page created by me during one of Marilyn LoRusso’s Vision Book Art Workshops.


Time to update the dictionary

evil-stepmothers stepmother: a woman who has married one’s father after the death or divorce of one’s mother

We need a new word! The word stepmother needs to be updated to be more inclusive of the actual role. We all know what kind of images the word stepmom conjures in our head. The problem is a stepmom used to be the woman who stepped in, in place of the mother when the mother had passed away. Nowadays stepmoms are not replacing but are usually co-parenting with the moms. Often this co-parenting is not a mutually agreed upon or wanted arrangement between to the 2 women. It is a situation thrust upon the original/birth mom by the father/ex-husband who has chosen to marry a new woman, inviting her in to his children’s lives without the consent of the birth mother at all.

As the birth mother you suddenly find yourself sharing the responsibilities and decisions made about your children with another woman. This can be a very frustrating and threatening position to be in.

As the stepmom, you suddenly find yourself caring for another woman’s children. You may even love these children like they are your own but the fact is, they are not. These kids have a mother, and they most likely will remind you of this on a regular basis. You may care for them, sacrifice for them and give everything to them but when mother’s day comes along you may not even get acknowledged.

It is a painful situation for both women. The birth mother may feel insecure that her kids won’t love her as much as they love the new stepmom who may be younger and hipper and charming the kids with new toys and clothes.

The problem with the word stepmom is the word no longer fits. You are not stepping in for the mother. You very likely may be stepping on the mother’s feelings and this is probably why the word stepmom still carries such a negative association.

Unfortunately, in all my research, I have not been able to come up with a new word. I met a woman today who refuses to use the word stepmom because of the rotten connotation associated with it but this unfortunately leaves her in a place of pain. There is no word to describe her relationship with these kids. No acknowledgment of all that she has done and does do for these kids that she loves.

Please help me think of  new word, a loving, positive one that could describe the actual role of a stepmom.

Thank you.

I need a title

Don’t judge a book by its cover or by its title, especially my book, since it doesn’t have a cover or a title yet.

My book needs a title and I need your help. Please! I originally planned to use the title Other Mothers but there are already a few books out there with very similar titles and there is a children’s clothing store with that name. I’m back to the drawing board and decided I would try a little crowd sourcing.

Please leave a comment below with title suggestions. If I pick your title, I will give you credit in the book and will offer you a complimentary copy of the book when it is done.

Thank you!



We Are All Other Mothers

flowerIt took me this long to figure out that we are all other mothers. We all have a story, even those of us who look like the perfect “normal” traditional mothers.

This book is not going to be a celebration of the bliss of motherhood. That would be a fiction book. This book is about finding and creating connections between women and other mothers.

When I was a young mother I used to think all of those other moms knew what they were doing, like they were mother experts or something. I was so insecure and ashamed. My kids went to an expensive private school where many of the parents had big, fancy houses and drove big, fancy cars and were a lot older than me. Many of them had Master’s degrees or PhD’s. I was in my 20’s, most of the other mothers were in their 40’s and 50’s. We lived in a fixer upper “small” by comparison house and worked hard to pay our Bay Area bills. I worried they all judged me because I was so young (and I looked even younger than I was). I was terribly embarrassed of my used faded blue Nissan Sentra. I was embarrassed of my job as a chiropractic assistant.  I spent so much of my time worrying about what the other mothers thought of me I never took the time to inquire how they were doing. I just assumed their lives were perfect and they were doing everything right.

At a parent party I attended awhile back, I realized that all mothers just want to be liked and accepted like the rest of us. Everybody is busy, everybody is doing the best they can, and everybody feels inadequate at times. What we all really want is to be accepted and acknowledged. Everybody is going through some kind of challenge and in reality they probably are not spending much time worrying about what the other mothers are doing. If anything, they are probably thinking the other mother’s are doing a way better job than they are at parenting.

At this party, I learned one mom was dealing with the loss of her own mother. Another was dealing with a father-in-law suffering from dementia. One was dealing with her older son who was struggling with addiction; another was dealing with an abusive husband. One was a teenage mom, who is now 36 with an 18 year old, doing the best she can. Another was in the middle of a nasty divorce. And one wasn’t actually a mom, she was a friend of the mom and was helping out. She told me since she didn’t have her own kids she liked to play auntie.

If we’d all stop worrying about what the other mothers think of us and instead focused on getting to know each other this whole parenting thing might be a bit easier.

Oh, Yes I Can!

“Oh, Yes I Can!” is my new motto for 2013 and this is my new blog dedicated to the book I am going to finish writing! This is my year of saying yes to opportunity. I will be using this space to write about parenting and all things related to other mothers.

yes I can

This image is a page created by me during one of Marilyn LoRusso’s Vision Book Art Workshops.