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“…there are known unknowns; that is to say there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know…it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.” (United States Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld 2002) Donald Rumsfeld was talking about intelligence gathering and terrorism but there are parallels with stepparenting (or any type of parenting!) There are issues that you know will need to be faced and things you will need to learn (the known unknowns) but there are also things you never saw coming (the unknown unknowns). Surprises are great when they involve cake, weekends in Paris or diamonds but not so great when trying to navigate stepparenthood. ‘Stepmothering; Warts and All’ is the wisdom gleaned from experience and includes anecdotes from many stepmothers. It addresses the issues you expect you deal with such as: -Meeting your stepchildren for the first time (don’t dress like Lady Gaga or Lady Di). -Holidays (previous family holiday destinations – don’t go there sister!) - Your wedding (do you want your stepchildren to help you choose the flowers or actually carry them down the aisle?) -Discipline (“boots and all” or “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”). -A new baby (telling your stepchildren!) It also looks at some of the things you may not have considered such as; - Jealousy (insecurity about the first wife). - Coping with the fact he’s done all this before when you come to have your own child. - How much physical contact is appropriate with or wanted by your stepchildren? -Sharing your space (when they bring that hideous thing from their mother’s house and put it proudly in the middle of your dining table). -Feeling invisible (when the school only provides two tickets to the graduation so mum and dad can attend). - Attempting to smile when the children are reminiscing about those ‘happy times’ before their parents divorced. - Not having any idea how your stepchildren feel about…anything! “Stepmothering: Warts and All” is a chart-free, jargon-free and often humorous attempt to reassure stepmothers that you are not alone and you may even be ‘normal’!

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