Redeeming a Disdained Vocation


Redeeming a Disdained Vocation

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Every year hundreds of thousands of American women become stepmothers. Committing to partners who are already parents, we gain relationships with young people who may--or may not--be pleased by our presence.

When Dorothy Bass married a man with a four-year-old daughter, she was hesitant to embrace the title "stepmother," with its many negative cultural associations, and she soon realized she had very little sense of what this new role required of her.

In Stepmother, Bass explores the complex emotional, material, and spiritual terrain we share with our stepchildren, and with their other parents. Bringing together insights from sociology, history, clinical studies, and literature, she unpacks practical questions to help readers explore the deeper issues: What is my definition of home? How does this relationship affect all the other relationships in this family? And how do I deal with the emotional triangles of stepfamily life?

Bass centers us on the work to be done in our own hearts, where spiritual strength can grow and love can be intentionally built, bringing peace and hope instead of scarcity and competition. By being honest about our own pain and the pain of others, we open ourselves to the love and mercy often born from unexpected relationships. It is here that we make way for constructive family dynamics.


"The guidance Bass offers will serve women at every stage of what is not only a social role but a vocation that offers both new challenges and new avenues of grace."

Marilyn McEntyre, author of Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies and Dear Doctor: What Doctors Don't Ask, What Patients Need to Say

"This book is for anyone who longs to understand the complexity and beauty of the ties that bind us."

Laura Kelly Fanucci, author of Everyday Sacrament: The Messy Grace of Parenting

"This astute book will empower readers to transform difficult circumstances into spaces of compassion and grace. There is simply nothing else out there like it and no better gift to give a stepmother."

Bonnie Miller-McLemore, author of In the Midst of Chaos: Caring for Children as Spiritual Practice and Also a Mother: Work and Family as Theological Dilemma

Product Info

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506478678
  • eBook ISBN 9781506478685
  • Dimensions 5.25 x 7.25
  • Pages 202
  • Publication Date April 19, 2022