The Other Mother
1 April 2017, 6:00AM
Don’t forget stepmums this Mother’s Day!
One in five families in Australia are blended* but stepparents – and stepmothers in particular – still struggle to find their place in the family portrait. And despite the growing prevalence of blended families, as a community we still struggle to find a dialogue to discuss the joys and frustrations of (step) parenthood. What’s more, many children find it difficult to find a way of expressing appreciation for the unique role ‘bonus’ parents play in their lives, for fear of diminishing their biological bonds. It can make Mother’s Day very awkward indeed!
In this brilliantly funny, deeply insightful and moving memoir, stepchild and stepmother Kelly Chandler explores the personal and societal challenges of being The Other Mother, and how blended families rock her world.
For Kelly, meeting the right guy was pretty straightforward – becoming a ‘spare mum’ to his two sons was more daunting. It took long enough to get on with her own stepmum, and Kelly suddenly found herself sharing responsibility for two mini-humans. Her party days gave way to early starts, jokes about farts, games of hide-and-seek, and delicate negotiations with her partner’s ex and a cast of many. When Kelly got pregnant, stitching together the patchwork quilt of their new tribe got even trickier.
Praise for The Other Mother
‘A pleasure to read, effortless and brilliant like the diary entries of Helen Garner. You’ll find yourself deeply in love with the family she has helped create. Chandler’s writing is so warm, genuine and funny you’ll want a spare mum of your own – preferably her.’ ANNA KRIEN
‘The Other Mother made me realise not only how crazy it is that stepparents are still the least heard voices in the family, but how much their experience illuminates everyone else’s. Chandler is fresh, funny, smart and real.’ CHRISTINE KENNEALLY
Kelly Chandler is a writer and editor, and has contributed to The Age, The Lifted Brow, The Big Issue, The New Zealand Herald and Griffith Review, among others. A former editor of Voiceworks, she was also chair of the National Young Writers’ Festival and journalist trainer at the Independent newspaper in Vanuatu. She lives in Melbourne with her husband, son, and two spare sons.
Publication date: April
Paperback: 288 pages
*Research by Drummond Street. More information available at Stepfamilies Australia: http://www.stepfamily.org.au/contact/