Saturday, February 18, 2012

Being a mom is hard, but being a step-mom—that’s a whole new can of worms!

Long story short, my husband Jamie had two children from a previous marriage, as did I, so we both instantly became step-parents the moment we decided to start a relationship.  I had been a step-mom for six years prior to being with my husband, so I had a little practice, but Jamie, he came into the situation completely blind.My-Bonus-Mom-book-cover

I think it’s completely fair to say that both of us have had challenges adjusting to our roles as step-parents to each other’s children.  And while it was extremely challenging for us to automatically gain new children, it was even harder for our children to adjust to having a new parent telling them what to do. 

Even though I did by absolute best to explain to my girls the new role that Jamie would be playing in their lives, they were still left with a million questions and I was at a loss for all of the answers.  Unfortunately, my children had seen one too many movies about the Big Bad step-parent and naturally were a little leery of Jamie and his intentions.   Had their been a book that I could have read to them, that explained in terms that they could understand, how having a new step-parent isn’t at all what it’s portrayed to be in the media I think it would have made for an easier, less stressful transition all around…sadly there was no book so my children kind of went into the situation with many reservations and even more questions.

When I was approached a couple of weeks ago to do a book review I almost turned it down as I don’t normally have a lot of time (given my busy school and blog schedule) to think much less read, but when I found out  that it was a children’s book about step-parenting and more specifically step-moms I couldn’t resist!

"My Bonus Mom" is the story of one family’s transition from divorce to adjusting to life with what the author Tami Butcher calls her “Bonus Mom.”  The book is based on Butcher’s own experience growing up as the child of a divorce and the remarriage of her father to her bonus mom.  Beautifully illustrated and fun, “My Bonus Mom” explains in terms that a child can easily understand, the transition from divorce to remarriage. 

About My Bonus Mom author Tami Butcher:


As a child, Butcher grew up with what she lovingly refers to as her "bonus mom," a nurturing, caring woman many in society would refer to as a "stepmother." Butcher's parents amicably divorced when she was 11, and for the sake of Butcher and her three sisters, decided to keep each other fully involved in their children's lives despite the divorce. Eventually both her parents remarried, but they continued to share birthdays, holidays and special times together with their children, as well as with their new spouses. Because of her parents' efforts, Butcher and her sisters grew up feeling blessed for having two moms and dads instead of "stepparents."

Reflecting on her own family dynamics, Butcher realized that if she could plant a seed in children's minds that having a stepmother or stepfather can be a "bonus," then their minds and hearts might grow to accept their parents' new spouses instead of automatically thinking of them as evil as many childhood fairytales portray them. The product of that revelation was My Bonus Mom! Taking the Step out of Stepmom.


When I received “My Bonus Mom” to review I immediately read the book and was impressed with the beautiful illustrations and rhymes that make the book fun for children while still driving the message home.  After reading the book myself, my nine year old daughter asked me if she could read the book to the babies (one of these days I’m going to have to stop calling them that) so she sat down with them on the couch and read the book as they sat and listened.  Once Savanna had stopped reading, Lil’ Man asked her, “Manna (that’s what both of the babies call her), do you have a Bonus Mom?”  I thought the question was a great start to an important conversation so I took the opportunity and sat down and explained the concept of step-parents to all three of my children.  My nine year old does have a bonus mom of sorts in her father’s live in girlfriend of the past three years so she understood quickly and even smiled at the thought  of being able to call her dad’s girlfriend her bonus mom! 

I have to admit, being a step-parent isn’t easy and while there isn’t a book around that can fully prepare parents for becoming step-parents or children for gaining a bonus mom (or dad), this book definitely goes a long way in helping children understand that gaining a new step-parent can be fun and rewarding and not nearly as scary as they may think!   I love the concept of changing the step in step-parent to bonus…it makes the though of having a step-parent sound so much more fun and let’s face it, us bonus-parents can definitely use all of the help we can get!   I would definitely recommend “My Bonus Mom” to any parent struggling to explain to their child(ren) what getting a step-parent is all about!

My can find out a little more about the book My Bonus Mom and the author Tami Butcher online at the My Bonus Mom book websiteMy Bonus Mom is available to purchase online at for $16.95.

Disclosure:  I received the product above from the company or PR to facilitate my review…all opinions are 100% my own!

1 comment :

  1. Allison, this is such a wonderful review. I thank you so much for talking from your heart. I read your review out loud to my family and they were all so touched. You are a beautiful writer and I look forward to following you. Thank you again, and if you are ever in Arizona, please look me up and let's get together! Many hugs to you, Tami Butcher


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