One of the hardest parenting journeys is that of the Stepmother, striking up a new relationship is hard enough, let alone getting involved with someone who already has children. But why do we always get a bad rap?

Sally Collins has put together Stepmother Love in a bid to break the cycle of the ‘wicked stepmother’. Stepmother Love tells the stories of ten women who have chosen to take on the challenge of making a positive contribution to the lives of their stepchildren.

I had the opportunity to ask the author of Stepmother Love, Sally Collins, a few questions:

1. What inspired you to put Stepmother Love together?

I wrote stepmother love because I was a stepmum wanting to hear real life stories about other stepmothers and find what had worked for them in building their new family.

I struggled to find a book on the topic that was told in the stepmother’s voice so I decided to take on the task and set about meeting with many different stepmothers to hear their stories.

Once I started it became clear to me that there are many stories out there that needed to be told.

2. How long do you feel it took to gain your stepdaughters love and respect?

I know I’m not alone is saying it takes time to build relationships between stepchildren and step-parents and this is something that can’t be forced or rushed. I can think of lots of special times where I became aware that we were becoming closer. They were times like when our first child Georgia was born so a new baby sister for them. Also their special occasions are important for this process too like special birthdays and graduations.

3. Have you ever had a ‘wicked stepmother’ moment?

Other than not letting them go to the ball until they have mopped all the floors, I can’t really recall too many. Oh there was that slightly bitter apple too…

4. Do you feel that people automatically jump to conclusions when you say you are a stepmother? How do you overcome that?

People can react in a very negative manner to the term stepmother and I include myself in that too in the early days.

I am used to the term now and think its important that we feel we can discuss families in all the shapes and sizes that they come in. If the conclusions that people jump to are that I am evil or mean I would hope spending time with our family would fix this.

5. What do you think is the number one thing to do to make the step relationship positive?

The number one thing has to be to make a conscious decision that you will do everything you can to make these relationships work. It requires work from everyone however if the stepmum is doing everything she can to have great relationships then there is almost nothing more she can do – the rest is up to the father and kids as to how they support or don’t support her.

6. Tell us where we can buy Stepmother Love?

Stepmother is available through all book stores and on my website www.stepmotherlove.com

Thanks Sally, I am sure this book will help many Stepmothers and stepmothers to be!

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  • I reckon it would be just as hard as being long term foster parents. Often they care for children with severe behavioural problems which they attempt to deal with when the child has had a chance to settle in first. They are often traumatised by child abuse or just neglected and not shown any love. I know a couple who fostered children for a few years. They chose to stop when the Foster Dad developed health problems – including heart. Some children take a long time to settle when they have been fostered, let go home to their parent/s, then fostered again to a different couple. Often fostering is short term and it is easy for the foster parents to develop a strong bond with the child/children then have to break that bond.


  • Sometimes, the real mums are way worse then a step mum


  • Really interesting article! Thanks for sharing this!


  • sometimes when i look at my step-daughter, all i see is his ex-wife in miniature. it is a hard thing to live with.


  • lol as long as you love your new step-kids and make an effort, they will eventually see the love


  • It is like saying……by marriage. I never do that unless it is obvious that an explanation is needed. As far as I am concerned my nephew by marriage is my nephew.
    My cousin by marriage is my cousin. I make no distinction unless it is absolutely necessary. They don’t always know enough of your medical history. I have explained my history as much as I can in case of an emergency but hopefully they never need to use it.


  • Love this book. Was luckily enough to win a copy.


  • I’m a stepmother too, but I luckily my three stepsons are all adults and live abroad. Not that I dislike them, but I never really have spent any time with them at all. In fact, I have only met one of them. Never met the other two, and they have never met me. My husband left his country to be with me and never went back. I would love to meet them and have be part of their lives too. At the moment I feel I am just the wife of their father, a stranger they know nothing about.


  • A great story, thank you for sharing :). There are so many different mixes of families these days that I don’t usually find myself thinking anything other than that they’re a family.


  • Im a stepmother and have been told im a cool stepmum so thats a good thing right???


  • I do sometimes wonder if it is the case that when a family with a step parent is getting on well and it is working out, that nothing is said……..?


  • No, no, no! Step mums can and are good but its hard to get rid of that evil step mother myth!


  • Great story, I’m a stepmother, but not a wicked one.


  • Off course they are not all bad. My mother had a stepmother and although he was not bad but she just couldn’t give her real mother love. But than again, each situation and story is different


  • i’ve got a few people I can recommend this book to


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