Step-Wives: 10 Steps to Help Ex-wives and Stepmothers End the Struggle and Put the Kids First

Overview

Stepwives: (n) (1) ex-wife and current wife to the same man, mother and stepmother to the same children; (2) women destined to battle for the love and control of their families...until now!
Lynne and Louise were stepwives for ten years. While they managed a barely civil relationship, each was seething with anger on the inside. It all boiled over in an ugly scene on the day Lynne saw that Louise was wearing shoes identical to her own favorite ...

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Stepwives: Ten Steps to Help Ex-Wives and Step-Mothers End the Struggle and Put the Kids First

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Overview

Stepwives: (n) (1) ex-wife and current wife to the same man, mother and stepmother to the same children; (2) women destined to battle for the love and control of their families...until now!
Lynne and Louise were stepwives for ten years. While they managed a barely civil relationship, each was seething with anger on the inside. It all boiled over in an ugly scene on the day Lynne saw that Louise was wearing shoes identical to her own favorite pair, and then they knew they had to find a new way of being a family.
With the guidance of marriage and family therapist Marjorie Vego Krausz, Lynne Oxhorn-Ringwood and Louise Oxhorn developed a ten-step program that has helped thousands of women begin to go from sworn enemies to CoMamas. You don't have to follow the program together with your stepwife; even if only one of you follows the plan, your stepwife relationship and the happiness of your family will improve. Learn how to:

  • Establish a good working relationship with your stepwife
  • Put the children first
  • Understand your husband's/ex-husband's role and how he can help
  • Handle vacations, holidays, and other big occasions

Packed with quizzes, lists, and other helpful tools, Stepwives can show you how to step into her shoes and have a peaceful, cooperative relationship with your stepwife.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
"We were two women who loathed each other, locked in an intense battle for power and position for over a decade." That's how authors and "stepwives" Lynne and Louise describe their relationship before they committed to and figured out a way to get along as two women who -- for better or worse -- were now going to be in a long-term relationship with each other as mom/stepmom and wife/ex-wife. What they came up with was a program called PRESCRPTON -- an acronym for the key elements in creating and preserving a respectful relationship. Based on the virtues of consideration, empathy, and the premise that kids come first, their program has helped them go from sworn enemies to co-authors, co-lecturers, and some good "co-mamas"!
Library Journal
Oxhorn-Ringwood and Oxhorn present a refreshing approach to solving the problems of parenting after divorce. Once bitter enemies (Louise married Lynne's ex-husband), the authors, with the assistance of psychologist Krausz, created a ten-step program called CoMamas to help ex-wives and stepmothers build a healthy relationship that puts children first. They have coined the term stepwives to apply to women who are the ex-wife and current wife to the same man and parent or stepparent to the same children. Based on the authors' own experiences and illustrated with quotes from their diaries, the book offers practical suggestions for developing empathy and learning to lessen tension and support the children caught in a divorce. While their suggestions are commonsensical (e.g., the mother should refrain from calling when the child is with the stepmother), their sense of optimism and cooperative approach are highly unique. Resources and suggested readings are appended. Recommended. Kay Brodie, Chesapeake Coll., Wye Mills, MD Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743222464
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 5/28/2002
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,280,467
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynne Oxhorn-Ringwood (the ex-wife), Louise Oxhorn (the stepmother), and Marjorie Vego Krausz, Ed.D., M.F.T., conduct CoMamas seminars across the country. The CoMamas Association may be found at www.comamas.com. Louise and Lynne live in San Diego. Dr. Krausz, who has been working in the field of psychology for almost thirty years, has a private practice in La Costa, California.

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Read an Excerpt

Introduction

Stepmother. Ex-wife. Just the words are enough to make anybody roll their eyes, take a deep breath, and offer their condolences. But no matter which one you are, stepmother or ex-wife, once you've assumed one of these roles, the two of you are in each other's lives, for better or for worse. What exactly is your relationship?

To date, no name has been given to this relationship that millions of women are involved in. To answer this need, we've created the word stepwife. And since you're reading this book, you are probably a stepwife yourself, trying to make sense of the confusion caused when two women have been married to the same man.

We are stepwives: the ex-wife and current wife of the same man, mother and stepmother to the same child, destined to drag each other through the happiest and saddest occasions life presents. We've even been cursed with the same initials.

Had you asked us even a few years ago if we would ever willingly be in the same room, let alone write an entire book together, our answer would have been a simultaneous, "No way!" We were two women who loathed each other, locked in an intense battle for power and position for over a decade. Even after Lynne married Paul, our situation still did not get better. There seemed to be no way out.

Through it all, somehow we managed to put our (step)son, Evan, first, rarely behaving badly in front of him. In fact, teachers and parents would continually remark on just how civilized we were, how well adjusted he was. Little did they realize it was a completely different story behind closed doors. Then we let each other know just what our true feelings were and how much we hated being in each other's lives.

The stepwife relationship is ongoing and inescapable. No matter what you do, your stepwife is here to stay. And although we cannot make her go away, we can help you figure out how to handle having her in your life, even if it feels hopeless, even if you've been embroiled in an ugly battle for many years. It is never too late for it to get better.

Our book looks at this life from both sides: two women struggling to raise a child together in two different homes. We've opened up our private lives and the lives of others like us. Any woman who has ever heard the word stepmother or ex-wife will find this compelling reading. As we share the dimensions of our conflict, from the anger to the acceptance, mothers and stepmothers will appreciate that although they too may collide, they need not shatter. In fact, they can move beyond life as they now know it into a whole new world: the world of CoMamas — women who have learned to co-parent in a healthy, respectful manner.

So how did we do it? The miracle happened when one of us called the other to apologize after another battle. In that brief moment of truce, we found we actually agreed on something: Our situation had become unbearable, and we needed to change it.

To confirm our suspicions that other stepwives were also battling, we developed a Web site. Thousands of women all over the world have visited our site and told us their own horror stories about their stepwives. Their stories helped us and psychologist and marriage/family therapist Marjorie Krausz develop our step-by-step program, the PRESCRPTON, and later consult privately with stepwives and their men, conduct seminars and support groups, and write this book.

As the book evolved, with Dr. Krausz's help, we began understanding more and more about what makes the stepwife connection so inherently difficult. To begin with, you're predisposed to dislike each other, and it's usually downhill from there. But no matter how bad your situation is, we encourage you not to give up hope, because even if you think your stepwife would never work with you, you can still work our program alone. When you change the way you respond to your stepwife over time, you will change the dynamics of your relationship over time.

We now feel grateful for the insights we have gained, for helping each other fit some very important missing pieces into the puzzle of our lives. As we continue to heal, we rejoice in the knowledge that rather than living with an enemy, we each have an ally, someone with whom we can cooperate rather than argue. We have become CoMamas. And when we look into the future, to that inevitable day when we both get to answer to that sweet little voice calling, "Grandma?" we know we don't have to be afraid anymore.

So whether you're a divorced mother with a stepwife, a mother contemplating divorce, a stepmother, or planning to marry a man who has children, we are confident this book will help you. Let us guide you as you attempt to navigate the bumpy road ahead, for we have traveled that very same road. And although we still encounter bumps along the way, they are now few and far between. Follow us. Our advice is sound, our directions clear, and, most important, our son, Evan, is happy and very well adjusted. If we can do it, so can you.

Copyright © 2002 by Louise Oxhorn, Lynne Oxhorn-Ringwood, and Marjorie Vego Krausz

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Table of Contents

Introduction xi
The Children's Bill of Rights xv
Chapter 1 The Same Shoes 3
Chapter 2 The Program 23
Chapter 3 Wicked or Wonderful? What Kind of Stepmother Are You? 49
Chapter 4 The Princess Bride Ex-Wife and Others 71
Chapter 5 Second Wife Syndrome/Ex-Wife Envy 94
Chapter 6 The First Step 113
Chapter 7 The Man in the Middle and the Man on the Outside 128
Chapter 8 Living Arrangements and How to Survive Them 152
Chapter 9 The Kids: POWs or Respected Dignitaries? 179
Chapter 10 How to Be in the Same Place at the Same Time ... and When "In-Laws" Behave Like "Out-Laws" 203
Chapter 11 Situations That Go Beyond the Normal 223
CoMamas Commandments 243
Epilogue 244
Resources
Extended-Blended Family Form 248
What's Happening Form 249
Organizations 250
Books for Children 256
Notes 258
Index 261
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Introduction

Introduction

Stepmother. Ex-wife. Just the words are enough to make anybody roll their eyes, take a deep breath, and offer their condolences. But no matter which one you are, stepmother or ex-wife, once you've assumed one of these roles, the two of you are in each other's lives, for better or for worse. What exactly is your relationship?

To date, no name has been given to this relationship that millions of women are involved in. To answer this need, we've created the word stepwife. And since you're reading this book, you are probably a stepwife yourself, trying to make sense of the confusion caused when two women have been married to the same man.

We are stepwives: the ex-wife and current wife of the same man, mother and stepmother to the same child, destined to drag each other through the happiest and saddest occasions life presents. We've even been cursed with the same initials.

Had you asked us even a few years ago if we would ever willingly be in the same room, let alone write an entire book together, our answer would have been a simultaneous, "No way!" We were two women who loathed each other, locked in an intense battle for power and position for over a decade. Even after Lynne married Paul, our situation still did not get better. There seemed to be no way out.

Through it all, somehow we managed to put our (step)son, Evan, first, rarely behaving badly in front of him. In fact, teachers and parents would continually remark on just how civilized we were, how well adjusted he was. Little did they realize it was a completely different story behind closed doors. Then we let each other know just what our true feelings were and how much we hated being in each other's lives.

The stepwife relationship is ongoing and inescapable. No matter what you do, your stepwife is here to stay. And although we cannot make her go away, we can help you figure out how to handle having her in your life, even if it feels hopeless, even if you've been embroiled in an ugly battle for many years. It is never too late for it to get better.

Our book looks at this life from both sides: two women struggling to raise a child together in two different homes. We've opened up our private lives and the lives of others like us. Any woman who has ever heard the word stepmother or ex-wife will find this compelling reading. As we share the dimensions of our conflict, from the anger to the acceptance, mothers and stepmothers will appreciate that although they too may collide, they need not shatter. In fact, they can move beyond life as they now know it into a whole new world: the world of CoMamas — women who have learned to co-parent in a healthy, respectful manner.

So how did we do it? The miracle happened when one of us called the other to apologize after another battle. In that brief moment of truce, we found we actually agreed on something: Our situation had become unbearable, and we needed to change it.

To confirm our suspicions that other stepwives were also battling, we developed a Web site. Thousands of women all over the world have visited our site and told us their own horror stories about their stepwives. Their stories helped us and psychologist and marriage/family therapist Marjorie Krausz develop our step-by-step program, the PRESCRPTON, and later consult privately with stepwives and their men, conduct seminars and support groups, and write this book.

As the book evolved, with Dr. Krausz's help, we began understanding more and more about what makes the stepwife connection so inherently difficult. To begin with, you're predisposed to dislike each other, and it's usually downhill from there. But no matter how bad your situation is, we encourage you not to give up hope, because even if you think your stepwife would never work with you, you can still work our program alone. When you change the way you respond to your stepwife over time, you will change the dynamics of your relationship over time.

We now feel grateful for the insights we have gained, for helping each other fit some very important missing pieces into the puzzle of our lives. As we continue to heal, we rejoice in the knowledge that rather than living with an enemy, we each have an ally, someone with whom we can cooperate rather than argue. We have become CoMamas. And when we look into the future, to that inevitable day when we both get to answer to that sweet little voice calling, "Grandma?" we know we don't have to be afraid anymore.

So whether you're a divorced mother with a stepwife, a mother contemplating divorce, a stepmother, or planning to marry a man who has children, we are confident this book will help you. Let us guide you as you attempt to navigate the bumpy road ahead, for we have traveled that very same road. And although we still encounter bumps along the way, they are now few and far between. Follow us. Our advice is sound, our directions clear, and, most important, our son, Evan, is happy and very well adjusted. If we can do it, so can you.

Copyright © 2002 by Louise Oxhorn, Lynne Oxhorn-Ringwood, and Marjorie Vego Krausz

Read More Show Less

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2011

    Best book on for Stepmoms and ex-wifes alike

    I have been married to someone with an ex for 12 years and we have had more bad times then good when it comes to her and the kids. This book shows both sides of the story and how you can try to overcome some of the difficult times. I have read MANY books on step parenting and looking for something more on how to deal with Ex wifes from hell this book has been the best one hands down..If you need help and are looking for something to help you keep your sanity this book is a must read!!! I liked it so much that I am buying a copy for my step-wife and sending it to her. So that we can both remember it is about the kids (bottom line)!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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