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About Brenda

Brenda and Steve were married on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in May 1998.  On Sunday, after spending the night in a hotel, Brenda and her dog Lucy went from living alone, to living with Steve, his four children: Jason, 14, Laura, 12, Shannon, almost 10, Amanda, 8–and their dog Phoenix.  They added Alexandra, a fifth child for Steve, and a first for Brenda, in 2000.  Having read every book on stepfamilies she could find, Brenda–a therapist,  educated woman, and  all-around nice person–figured she could handle whatever this life brought.  Brenda remains happily married, has mourned the losses of both Lucy and Phoenix, (who have been replaced by a goofy English Setter named Jax), and is currently amused when she remembers her former naivete.  Her stepfamily has grown to include three stepkids-in-law ,three stepgrandsons  and three non-residential stepdogs.



This website, and Brenda’s decision to go into private practice in 2011, are results of her desire to provide guidance and support for the unique perspective of stepmothers.

Brenda Snyder, LCSW sees individuals, couples and families in her practice, located in Peoria, IL.    To schedule a local appointment with Brenda, call  (309) 693-2749.  Brenda offers stepfamily coaching by phone and on the web.  For more information about or to schedule a coaching session by phone or internet, email Brenda at stepmomcoach@outlook.com.  

Permanent link to this article: http://www.stepmothersupport.com/home/sample-page/


5 pings

  1. Silvia

    Hello, I’ve been with my partner for 3 years now. When we started dating he told he might or might not have a kid with another woman. He wasn’t sure of his parenthood because she was travelling with another man for a while. So he was waiting for her to accept taking the DNA tests. Every time we paid for it she never appeared. So last year he left a DNA a sample and about 2 weeks ago results came in, turns out the baby is his. Which I am fine with and its a topic we have discussed in several ocassions. Last year we decided to have a lawyer representing us, since she has blackmailed, threatened him and also has confessed she got pregnant on purpose to have him marry her. She even contacted his mother and told her she wants to have a familiy with him. So last Monday we ran into her in the street and she and her friend physically abused my partner and now she is harrassing me through social media and in anyway possible. We already went to the police and are waiting for trail on December (which is a long, long time). I know she has a history of violance and drug abuse, and from my point she is emotionally unstable. I am concerned of our physicall well-being. We know we want the baby to live with us, because that is no place for a kid to grow, but I don’t know if I can deal with that kind of person for the rest of my life. Has anyone been in this situation before?

  2. Rosa

    Hey I just came across this website while looking for some support. I’m a unique step mom. Our story is very complicated my husband and I love his 7 year with all our heart but his mom has ended up with custody. Not by force but out of manipulation. His mom means well but our situation tears me up inside. I have been there for her since she was a baby, the birth mom just basically walked out on my husband. So my step daughter who I always call my daughter has only ever known me and my mother in law. I’m not called mom though, which I respect but it still hurts deep down. She still calls him dad but doesn’t live with us. I just feel very alone in all this, like my feelings don’t matter to anyone. I got pregnant for the first time and had a miscarriage and it has made all this feel so much worse. I feel like motherhood has been torn away from me twice. All I have ever wanted was to be a good wife and mother to have children of my own and help them grow and learn. All I seem to be able to do though is help other people’s children grow and learn (I’m a teacher). I just need to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel or maybe someone else out there like me……

  3. mel

    I was the fortunate one to end up marrying my high school sweetheart. I was 24 life was great he had a previous relationship in which he had 3 children but their mom wouldn’t Let him had contact with them life continue. One day we find out they where taken to a shelter she was in drugs. We Did what we had to and after years and battles with the courts got custody. She disappear from their lives 17 years later she reappears I raised 2 girls 1 boy. As the time she appear the oldest at the time 21 had a baby girl and was having issues in her personal life and didn’t want my help little did I know the woman that dissapear 17 years ago had been talking to her and the youngest which is 18 for almost a year. They where both being cold different with me . the oldest has moved with her to a different state doesn’t talk to me living me broken hearted it was 17 years I can’t pick UP the pieces I try but I am broken . never did I tell anyone they where not mine never now I am empty handed the boy hasn’t spoken to her but is a matter of time. I need help….

  4. Sara


    I was wondering if anyone could give me some advise of just reassure me that they too may have felt like this at some point. My partner is very involved in his two kids lives (3 and 7), which i like, however he is also very involved with his ex. He sees her as part of our family even though she will not have anything to do with me. He will do anything she needs done around the house/ garden and at times it can feel like he takes her feelings into account before mine. Any decisions we make he takes into account what she wants or how she feels, it can feel like our lives are dictated by her. I have now started to queston whether I want to extend our family by having children of my own as I can often feel inadequate at times and it is often mentioned in conversation that I wouldn’t know how it feels or what to do as I am not a parent yet. Sometimes it can feel like they have a separate family together and I am just there to make the dinners and spend time with them when they are at my house. They also do birthdays together without me which I feel makes the divide even more clear.

    Any advice would be great.

    1. Kelsea

      Sara, I have been with a divorced man for three years now. He has two boys with his ex. I am 8 months pregnant with our second daughter. I can’t give you too much advice but I can tell you how it has been for me. Each time I have gotten pregnant, especially when it gets close to the time the baby is going to be born, me and my girls get treated like second hand shit. His ex has sole custody so she could get all the child support she wanted. But the boys are over EVERY weekend. He picks them up from school/camp 3-4 times a week and works 50-70 hours a week. I watch other people’s kids 9-12 hours a day during the week. Nether my girl nor me get any time with just him. And I have not had any time to myself other than to work (before I started watching kids) or go to a class in a year and a half. I beg him to give me one weekend to myself and he threatens to leave me with no job (stopped watching kids a couple weeks ago due to painful pregnancy, stress, and signs of early labor.) 8 months pregnant and with a clingy 2 year old. My piece of advice is to please consider what you want from life. There are men out there that either have never been married or had kids or that know what divorce means. It does not mean answering her beck and call like mine and yours seems to do. It means moving on and loving and respecting you, not her. Do NOT bring a child into the world with this man just to try to add up to her or to know what its like, because when he is going out the door to help his ex again and you hear “Where did daddy go?” and see tears fill up in your child’s eyes, the anger, pain, and regret you will feel will be worse than anything that is happening now.

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