Cosmic Cow Pie: Connecting the Dots


Are You A Step Monster?

Are You  A Step Monster?

Yes, I am!  Or I should say: I have been a Step-Mother for 35 years in August. 

Many times the Step-Mother in a family is considered to be a MONSTER just like the character in Cinderella. I don't think I was a monster and only the kids can tell now! We had a lot of fun but that was because I came from a divorced family and knew what I didn't want to experience again.

Family relationships are a factor in all major decisions. The differences can become daunting when buying or selling a home if there are issues going on within the family unit.

Eleanor Spackman Alden  from Denver, Colorado has written a life changing book for step family members to help adjust to new family dynamics in her  book, "StepWisdom."

Meet Eleanor Spackman Alden, LIVE in Williams, Arizona on Tuesday, August 3rd at noon PDT.  Come be part of the audience or join us on and ask step family questions.

Eleanor Alden

Eleanor Spackman Alden, LCSW, BCD is a psychotherapist in private practice and has worked with StepFamilies for over 40 years. She taught graduate school at Naropa University for over a decade, and prior to that taught physicians in a Family Medicine Residency program. She became increasingly concerned at the negative perspective of so many people that stepfamilies were second best or worse, and a sign of a declining culture. This viewpoint did not fit her knowledge of cultures in history, nor her experience as a therapist, teacher, or friend to so many who came from stepfamilies. StepWisdom grew out of the frustration with the present day "myth" about stepfamilies, and from growing up as a stepchild herself.

Book Cover



Contact Eleanor:


My Amazon and Barnes and Noble review on the book:

Perfect "Steps" To Creative Relationships After Divorce

"I am a 'step' individual in every category, step daughter, step mother, step grandmother, step sister, step aunt etal. I was excited to read "StepWisdom" to see what I could learn to improve those relationships.

My expectations were exceeded and I can't wait to share this book with others. Eleanor Spackman Alden has provided an easy to understand handbook for all types of relationships. She takes case studies of dysfunctional marriages and destructive divorces to illustrate certain rapport issues. Eleanor uses examples from the Bible, Greek mythology and Dr. Jung, a Swiss Psychiatrist to graphically depict specific behavior tenancies. She uses humor to lighten the load of uncomfortable situations and demonstrates how to correct the situation.

This book is a must read for any person wanting to nurture and progress to create loving and supportive family relationships in all circumstances. Reading this book can help avoid unpleasant interaction mistakes"

Please join us LIVE in Williams, Arizona on Tuesday, August 3rd at noon PDT on

If you have any quesitons for Eleanor you can leave them in the comments below or join us in the chat room on the show.

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Cosmic Cow Pie

Carra Riley

Comment balloon 26 commentsCarra Riley & Declan Kenyon • July 31 2010 06:48PM


This sounds like a great book for someone in that situation.  My daughter-in-law says it is REALLY hard being a step mom, and I've seen her struggle in that role.  'Think I'll order this book for her.

Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) about 10 years ago

Carra, Sounds like a good read!  I have a good friend whose second husband was more the real dad to her children than their biological father.  So, yes, step parents are very important!!

Posted by Sonja Patterson, Texas Monthly 5-Star Realtor Recipient for the Hou (Keller Williams - BV) about 10 years ago

Margaret ~ Eleanor will be delighted.  It is easy to read, makes sense.. then it is just applying the prinicples in the book.. not as easy! 

Sonya ~ It seems like most of us are touched by step family in one way or another.  Good when they are supportive.

Posted by Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon, Helping people Transition at all ages! (Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd) about 10 years ago

Carra, New name for me "step monster" but I can see how it would come about.  Eleanor sounds like a wealth of knowledge and it is great she is passing it on in a book.


Posted by Gloria Todor, & Doug Durren (484) 431-3686 in SE PA (Weichert Realtors) about 10 years ago

Gloria ~  I am laughing at the name... There was a movie about the step monster too!  Eleanor has a wealth of information and a fresh way of looking at the relationships.  If you miss the live show you can always go to and catch it on the archive. 

Posted by Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon, Helping people Transition at all ages! (Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd) about 10 years ago

Hopefully next year i will be in this situation. I need to read up on the changes and yes there will be changes.

Posted by Robert L. Brown, Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic ( about 10 years ago

This book will no doubt bring help to many as divorce is much the norm in society today. Our kids were grown when my ex and I joined the crowd and became ex's and one time is enough for me so no step monster.

Posted by Cameron Wilson, The Short Guy - Murrieta,Temecula,Menifee Californ (Labrum Real Estate) about 10 years ago

Carra, this is a really good post.  When I go into a home for a consultation, things going on in the family are evident from the surroundings, some good some bad.  Thanks for the information on the book.....somehow I don't see you as a step not at all:)


Posted by Ana Hitzel, Professional Home Stager Inland Empire ( AccentPositives Home Staging ) about 10 years ago

Robert ~  I think if you are aware of some of the feeling that need to be addressed everything will run smoothly.. hope you can join the show or watch the archive.

Cameron ~ It's funny my mother remarried when I was 40 so meeting new brothers and sisters was really a different sensation! 

Ana ~  Glad you don't think I would be a Monster... that is a good thing!

Posted by Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon, Helping people Transition at all ages! (Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd) about 10 years ago

Step Monster-catchy title.  LOL  This should be an interesting program on Tuesday.  Being a step parent can be extremely hard and I applaud the people who do it everyday and do it well.

Posted by Debbie Walsh, Hudson Valley NY Real Estate 845.283-3036 (Shahar Management) about 10 years ago

Carra, I could probably write a book on step families. Thank you so much for this book info.

Posted by Tracy Lee Parker, Buy*Sell*Lease (RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs/PLATINUM PROPERTIES & MANAGEMENT) about 10 years ago

Well, let's just say I could be when I needed to Carra.  Of course I could be a bear with the one I gave birth to as well.  :)  I would have loved to have had a book on the subject when I got started in the role.  Fortunately it all seems to have "worked itself out" as all the kids are grown now.  And my parents have been married 46 years so the role was one I'd never had first hand knowlege of when I stepped into it.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) about 10 years ago

Debra~ Yes a round of applause is due to all step family members who are making it work!  It is HARD...

Tracy ~  maybe this post will inspire a post to help others.  Sounds like you have been through a lot!

Tammy ~  I think the fun thing about meeting new authors is learning that there is a book about everything!  Sounds like you did a great job! That is how I was.. just thrown in the deep in and tried to swim!  This book.. would have made a huge difference is some of the experiences.

Posted by Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon, Helping people Transition at all ages! (Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd) about 10 years ago

Great subject!

Posted by Joshua Zargari, MJ Decorators Workshop (MJ Decorators Workshop LI staging and home decorating) about 10 years ago

Howdy and evening to you Carra

Carra, Eleanor Spackman Alden's book sure does sound like a mighty fine read for folks. And a highly helpful book for them also. It sure is nice of you to help get the word out about it.

Have a good one

Posted by Dale Baker, New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information (Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections) about 10 years ago

Glad people are talking about this more. I became a step-monster in 1989, and like you, had come from a divorced family and knew what I DIDN'T want to be.  Don't keep in touch with my ex-husband, but I still hear from his daughter, thankfully! We have a very special relationship, but it was a rocky road getting here! ;-)

Posted by Lori Cain, Midtown Tulsa Real Estate Top Producer (eXp Realty) about 10 years ago

Carra - That sounds like very worthwhile reading for anyone in a step situation. I don't think I've heard about a book on that subject before.

Posted by John Mayer, Your Beach Area Expert (Oikos Realty, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach Florida) about 10 years ago

Joshua ~ I think it touches a LOT of people!

Dale ~  We appreciate your interest.

Lori ~  Our experiences make us who we are.. so having a book like this might help readers in similar situations.

John ~  It makes me feel great to be sharing some new tools... ideas to help make life a little easier.

Posted by Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon, Helping people Transition at all ages! (Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd) about 10 years ago

I have been the "step monster" for 10 years now. One of them specifically refers to me by just that. I wish I would have gotten this book when I first took the role! The road has been a challenge to say the least. I love both of my step children very much. With none of my own, I have the advantage of not showing favoritism! But the struggle for the youngest (now 19) has been a rough one. I just continue to tell her I love her and hope that one day she will realize I am on her side!

Posted by Stephanie Reynolds, East County San Diego Homes 619-838-4408 (Integrity First Financial Group, Inc. ) about 10 years ago

Carra - I've never been a stepmonster, but I have had 3 or 4 of them, depending on how you count.  Some good; some bad.  It's definitely something that has to be worked on when blending families.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) about 10 years ago

Why yes I am a step-monster, how did you know? Actually, I have a great relationship with my step-daughter. I like to call her cell phone when I'm with her to find out what ring tone she has programmed for me. This month it's Bitch.  LOL.

Meredith Brooks' Bitch

Posted by Cynthia Larsen, Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA about 10 years ago

Stephanie ~ Sounds like you have it all under control now.. the journey is/wasexciting!  You are doing the right thing.. 19 is HARD..

Christne ~  Blended families is the best way to talk about the situation.. never easy and everyone has to work at it.

Cynthia ~ Too funny!  Sounds like you have a lot of fun with her.

Posted by Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon, Helping people Transition at all ages! (Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd) about 10 years ago

Hi Carra - Although I divorced many, many years ago, my current marriage came with no ex wife or children. Yay for me.  My husband, however, stepped into a ready-made family with 5 children.  And, I have to say, he's handled all these years (27) brilliantly.  Step-parents can really get a bad rap but it takes a truly loving human being to take on the casualties of divorce.

Posted by Pamela Cendejas, Second Self Virtual Assistance (928) 692-3235 (Second Self Virtual Assistance) about 10 years ago

Pam ~ you are so right and that is the bottom line in the book.. embracing the change as good and appreciating the new perspective!  I think the book could change the way we look at step families.. she talks about Geroge Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Moses.. all step family members.. so it is going to be fun to talk to her.. she should be arriving any minute now.



Posted by Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon, Helping people Transition at all ages! (Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd) about 10 years ago

Hi Carra--sorry I missed this program.  I must say that my Hubby & I were very lucky that our adult children were very receptive when we got marrried  11 yrs ago.  That is not always the case with second marriages.

Have a good week.

Posted by Mary Yonkers, Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor (Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate) about 10 years ago

I've always wondered what it would be like to get an instant family like The Brady Bunch.

Posted by Jim Frimmer, Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist (HomeSmart Realty West) about 10 years ago