Chances are, you're a product of divorced parents...or know someone who is. Check out how one savvy Valley mom is shedding light on the sticky family situation, especially when it comes to stepparents.
Some of them can be considered evil, like in "Cinderella;" while others happen to be a blessing. Yep, we're talking stepparents, and one Valley mom's mission to spread the word they're not as bad as they seem.
"I referred to my stepmom as my 'bonus mom.' While she didn't replace my birth mom, she was a nurturing, caring woman," said Tami Butcher, Arizona author.
Tami Butcher is happily married with three kids, living a picturesque life in Chandler. Besides being a wife and mom, she helps run the family restaurant biz, owning the Valley eateries, Rustler's Rooste Steakhouse and Aunt Chilada's. She enjoys taking her kids to So-Cal, as her hubby Mike is the pitching coach for the LA Angles of Anaheim. Seems like a good life, right?
However, Butcher's childhood wasn't so perfect.
"No doubt, things were tough," said Butcher.
But not as bad as they could be.
At 11, Butcher's parents divorced, and as the oldest of 3, she blamed herself for their split. But as time went on, both her parents remarried, reinventing a happily ever after. And instead of being a product of divorce commonly being caught in the middle, Butcher considered herself lucky—instead of feeling torn, she had two moms and two dads.
"They were never considered 'stepparents.'"
That's why Butcher decided to reflect on her own family dynamics in her newly released children's book, "My Bonus Mom; Taking the Step out of Stepmom." Her goal—changing the face of divorce, shedding light on a usually dim situation.
"I want to plant a seed in children's minds that having a stepmom or dad can be a bonus. It's important they're raised to be open-minded and accepting of their parents' new spouses, instead of automatically thinking of them as mean."
The book is really for kids 10 and under, kindly capturing the mixed emotions children face along with divorce—dismay, fear, and anger. She writes in a way that allows children to look at the bright side, inheriting twice the attention, twice the love, and twice the fun.
"Often people focus on the negative instead of the positive. My bonus mom, Nancy, has been an incredible mother and grandmother to me, my sisters and our children."
The book also discusses ways for kids to bond with their new bonus parents, something Butcher says it's a must.
To purchase her divorce-related must-read, visit www.MyBonusMomBook.com. The book is also available on BarnesandNoble.com, Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Target.com, Pacific Four Sales, indiebound.org and FiveStarPublications.com.
— Nadine Toren
Arizona Foothills Magazine
Hey Bonus Families, "Here's Your Sign!"
Comedian Bill Engvall forwards a children's book that paints divorce in a positive light.
Author Tami Butcher has taken the "step" out of "stepmom" with her new children's book and help from comedian Bill Engvall. Painting divorce in a positive light, "My Bonus Mom!" draws experiences of Butcher's life in a way that everyone can relate to. Having divorced and remarried parents of her own, the author shares a relevant and necessary story.
— Michelle Bair
www.charged.fm - visit the website to read the entire article.
Aug 17, 2011
Author paints divorce in positive light with children's book
Tami Butcher found a perfect way to describe her step-mother. She called her a "bonus mom."
Butcher recently published her first children's book, called "My Bonus Mom! Taking the Step out of Stepmom," which talks about the positives that are present when a divorce happens. She draws from her own experiences after both of her parents got remarried...
— Travis Roemhild
Ahwatukee Foothills News - Visit the website to read the entire review
Aug 16, 2011
"Tami has thoughtfully and directly dealt with a topic generally associated with negative stereotypes in our society. While her words should be recommended reading to children involved in stepfamily situations, they are of equal importance to the adults involved as well. This book shows a combined family is not about making a choice of one or the other, rather it is an opportunity filled with endless positive possibilities. "The best interests of the children" is a frequent phrase in the world of divorce and stepfamilies. Tami successfully provides a road map with potential positive long-term effects for a child and family."
— Tim Mead, V.P. LA Angels of Anaheim
"I loved this book! If you have had to go through it, creating a blended family can be shocking and scary for both parents and children alike. This book brought tears to my eyes because it highlights the positive impact and additional love that can be created when done right. Great job Tami Butcher!"
— Bill Gibbs, University of Phoenix President, retired
"This is an excellent way to show children, through the eyes of the author, that they can have a great relationship with a new stepmother without being disloyal to Mom, and that divorces are not the fault of the children."
— Tom Horne, Arizona State Attorney General
"This book beautifully captures the stepparent and how he/she can be a wonderful added gift to a family. It is a great way to dispel the 'evil stepmother' label that has been drilled into our society by old fairy tales. Happily ever after and stepparents CAN go hand in hand."
— Bill and Gail Engvall, Comedian,
Television Star of "The Bill Engvall Show" and "Blue Collar Comedy Tour"
"I loved reading this book and cannot WAIT until it is published. This book gives a fabulous perspective on a situation that could potentially be sad for children. I would love to use this book in my classroom to open up discussions about how wonderful having a second mom or dad can be. This book approaches the topic in a non-threatening way. In most situations, divorce is looked at in a negative light; this book gives a refreshing look and an upbeat approach all children need when faced with divorce. Coming from divorced parents, I know how hard it is to accept another mother or father in your life without betraying the ones that you have."
— Rebecca Babcock, M.Ed, B.A. Elementary Education, 3rd grade te
"I love it! My Bonus Mom! is a breath of fresh air for children and parents alike in what oftentimes feels to them less than fresh. Tami has truly shown us what it's like to "live" in the glass that is half full and surpass our wildest dreams. This is a must read for all parents and would-be parents. Thanks, Tami, for inspiring us to live our lives regardless of the environment and be thankful."
— Scott Crouch, owner, Keller Williams Real Estate
"My Bonus Mom! is not only a positive message for children who are experiencing the loss of their once intact family but it also sends a message to divorcing parents on how to "do" divorce the right way. So many times children are not given the honest communication they need during the divorce process, causing confusion and fear. Thank you Tami for giving us this wonderful gift!"
— Dia Mundle, LCSW, High School Social Worker
"As a childhood friend of Tami's, this book portrays the family environment that became the envy of those who did not have a 'broken' home. This is a wonderful, personal story about the positive side of divorce for children. The rhythmic verse and playful illustrations will engage a child, enabling them to absorb the underlying message that will provide clarity and hope during a confusing and difficult time."
— Ginnie Henkels, Executive VP and Chief Financial Officer
Swift Transportation Company
"In this world of so many parents divorcing and remarrying, this book is delightfully positive for stepparents and will be an asset in the world of stepfamilies as well as in a therapeutic setting."
— Kim McDonald, LMSW, LISAC
"Wonderfully relevant and it works both ways. Tami Butcher reminds stepparents how much richer life is, thanks to our bonus children!"
— Lisa K. Johnson, President/CEO of CIS
"As the new Principal of Phoenix Preparatory Academy, I was challenged to find a quality teacher just one week before the students arrived. Little did I know that the ambitious smiling young lady in front of me would turn out to be such a gift for my students, my family, and me.
Hiring Tami meant that hundreds of inner-city middle school students would be exposed to a positive, friendly individual who was committed to making a difference in their lives. She was a good friend to her colleagues and was always the center of fun. I found out about Tami's Bonus parents when we danced at her wedding to Mike. Even after Tami left the Prep to raise Madi and her other children, we stayed in touch. We vacationed together and shared stories of our families.
I too was a child of divorced parents who had remarried, but when we were young, my parents were not able to set aside their hurt and grief in the way that Tami's were. As my parents aged, they all began to mellow, and I now consider my stepfather one of my best friends.
When I married, I gained a whole new family. As a stepmother to my older son C.J., I felt strongly that being a stepparent could be done better. For more than 24 years we shared a blended family. We lost C.J. to cystic fibrosis when he was 28 years old. The last thing CJ told me was that I was the best stepmom ...more than a stepmom ...that he was proud to tell people he was related to me. What a gift that was.
When I read "My Bonus Mom," I cried remembering so many lessons learned. I know you'll be touched as well."
— Lori Collins Walk, Arizona Educator