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Ask Yourself

* Is living in a Blended Family or a Stepfamily “more than you bargained for?”

* Does step parenting feel like the most challenging and thankless job of all?

* Is the tension and conflict taking its toll on your relationships

* Are you becoming worried about your children and their well-being?

* Are you constantly arguing with your partner about the kids, discipline and parenting in general?

• Is your ex or your partner's ex causing real problems in your blended family and in your relationship

• Are you at the end of your rope and need some answers NOW

* Are you considering entering into a Blended Family or Stepfamily and want to be prepared?

The Package Deal

2009-07-04

Step Institute

The Package Deal: My (not so) Glamorous Transition from Single Gal to Instant Mom.
Author Izzy Rose

Book Review by Sheena Berg, Blended Family Coach

It’s so satisfying to read a well written book that combines all the elements of an entertaining story with characters that are real and engaging, a plot line that affirms the power of love, and humorous and heartfelt accounts of challenges, frustrations, emotional ups and downs, and small, cumulative successes of a life that could be your own. And wouldn’t it be even better if it were true?
The good news is that Izzy Rose has written such a book with The Package Deal: My (not so) Glamorous Transition from Single Gal to Instant Mom”. It’s her personal account of unexpectedly falling in love with a wonderful guy who comes as part of a precious package with two sons, ages 10 and 14, and their bumpy ride towards becoming a family. It’s not an advice book, or an expert manual for becoming a super step mom, but rather an honest, insightful and sometimes funny description of her unique story that resonates on many different levels with other step moms, or any woman poised to raise someone else’s kids. In fact, this book’s broader appeal is its “can do “inspiration for just about anybody.
Izzy Rose describes a seemingly dream life; single, successful, loving her work as a high stress TV producer, and living in her favorite city with her family support system close by. In other words, Izzy , in her mid thirties, was just “minding her own business”. Things changed dramatically when she fell deeply in love with Hank; kind, considerate, honest, brimming with Southern charm, and a single dad, very involved and intentional about parenting his young sons.
Suddenly, it wasn’t just Izzy and Hank in a love bubble; she found herself in an extended family relationship that included several people who were important and present and Izzy had to learn, slowly but surely, a new set of rules to make the whole thing work. Her once singular world was now shaped by the dynamics of a very kid friendly co parenting plan, the nuances of transitioning from girlfriend on the fringes to active stepmom, and the challenges of relocating without a job or a support system in a new role that she was ill prepared for.
She describes a fountain of advice from family and friends, in books by self styled experts, from blogging pals and in sessions with a helpful therapist. But this experience was uncharted territory, and as she took care of one situation another popped up, kind of like being on a rigorous trek without a compass or a map. Out of the emotional chaos several wonderful things emerged; with each challenge, setback or success Izzy developed her invaluable list of 21 Stepmom Rules which are peppered throughout the book. These “rules” made her stronger and more confident and helped her figure out when to let things go, when to step in, when to stay out, the value of supportive girlfriends and a good laugh, and the importance of realistic expectations, not taking things personally, and a healthy dose of flexibility,
One of Izzy’s most personal and emotional challenges is what she terms “The L Word”. Like many stepmoms, she agonized whether it was OK not to have instant feelings of love for Hank’s kids even though she loved him with all her heart. She describes feelings of guilt and self doubt and in doing so speaks for the many stepmoms who worry over the very same issue. Izzy confesses that she wasn’t instantly in love with the kids even though they charmed, amused, and interested her, and she cared about them. But her L word timetable had to be natural and real, as real as her relationship with the boys.
The Package Deal is the captivating story of Izzy’s introduction to an important new job she had no training for. Thankfully, she had a supportive husband who appreciated her sacrifices and struggles as she grew into her role as his wife and partner. If there is one important take away from the book, it is that the parenting role of the biological parent has to be defined and lived consistently so the kids benefit from boundary setting and structure and the stepparent feels valued and supported. This book is a great lesson in communication, cooperation, collaboration and closeness.
And an added bonus is the great recipe for Gram’s Rum Cake (page 202), which is truly delicious. But unlike this tried and true formula for delicious rum cake, there is no universal fail safe recipe for being a step mom. However, with the shared lived experience of writers like Izzy who provide insight, perspective and encouragement, many women will find the ingredients to make their step mom experience more enjoyable and satisfying.

 

 

 

 

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