Book Review of The Smart Stemom by Ron L. Deal

The Smart Stepmom: Practical Steps to Help You Thrive by Ron L. Deal – A Tool for Your Step-Parenting Toolbox


Ron L. Deal and Laura Petherbridge


The Smart Stepmom: Practical Steps to Help You Thrive







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Are you a stepmom who absolutely loves her stepkids but feels like an outsider in her own home?  Are you struggling to build a happy blended family and can’t seem to find a solid ground to build on?  This book may offer the foundation you need to truly thrive as a stepmom.  

“The Smart Stepmom: Practical Steps to Help You Thrive” by Ron L. Deal and Laura Petherbridge is a comprehensive guide aimed at addressing the unique challenges faced by stepmothers. The book is well reviewed in the step-parenting community, ranking well in categories related to step-parenting and blended families.

One of the strengths of the book is its focus on the emotional and practical aspects of being a stepmom. Chapters like “Can I Run Away from Home?” effectively address the feelings of isolation and being an outsider that many stepmothers experience. The book is full of relatable content and practical suggestions, offering advice on how to manage your own emotions, start new family traditions, and handle the dynamics between the stepchildren, their father, and the ex-spouse.

The book is well organized and easy to follow, with clear headings and special highlighted topics shown in shaded boxes. This structured approach is helpful in navigating the book and focusing on areas most relevant to your situation.

Interestingly, the book also includes chapters specifically directed at stepfathers, which is a unique aspect since many step-parenting books tend to focus solely on stepmothers. These chapters cover themes like supporting the stepmom, engaging as a father, and handling dynamics with the ex-wife.

Overall, “The Smart Stepmom” is highly recommended for its insightful and empathetic approach to the challenges of step-parenting. It’s seen as a valuable resource for both stepmothers and stepfathers, providing guidance on how to thrive in a blended family and foster positive relationships.


What we appreciate about this book

Practical Guidance: The book offers practical and actionable advice, which can be immensely helpful in navigating the challenges of being a stepmom. This includes tips on managing emotions, creating new family traditions, and handling complex family dynamics.

Relatable Content: The book effectively addresses the feelings of isolation and being an outsider that many stepmothers experience. This relatable content can help find ways to feel understood and less alone as a stepmom.

Easy-to-Read Format: The structured format of the book, with shaded text boxes, bullet points, and frequent headings, makes it an engaging and easy read.

Inclusion of Stepfathers: The inclusion of chapters specifically directed at stepfathers is a unique and really nice feature of this book. These chapters provide insights into how stepfathers can support stepmothers and engage effectively in the family dynamics.

Emotional and Spiritual Support: The book not only provides practical advice but also addresses the emotional and spiritual climate of the home. This holistic approach is valued by readers who are looking for guidance that encompasses all aspects of being part of a blended family.

Things to keep in mind while reading this book

While “The Smart Stepmom” by Ron L. Deal and Laura Petherbridge is generally well-received, there are some aspects that may not resonate with everyone.

The book includes religious content and ends each chapter with a prayer and some Biblical references. This aspect may be appreciated by Christian readers or those looking to grow a spiritual connection with their blended family.  It may not, however, resonate with those who practice a different religion or are looking for a more secular approach to step-parenting.​

While the book may outline certain issues, it doesn’t always provide concrete, actionable steps to resolve these issues​. That said, blending a family and thriving as a step-parent doesn’t always come with clear solutions, more often it’s a more fluid and messy trial-and-error fixer-up.  So put your seatbelts on, grab a copy of The Smart Stepmom, fill up your toolbox with some constructive insights and start thriving as a step-family.

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