Meet Ms. Rose

IZZY ROSE is an Emmy award-winning television producer from the San Francisco Bay Area and the creator of stepmothersmilk.com, a blog and resource site for stepmoms all over the world. She’s the author of The Package Deal: My (not-so) Glamorous Transition from Single Gal to Instant Mom, which premiered on the San Francisco Bay Area best seller list and was a Target Bookmarked Break Out selection over the summer. She’s appeared countless times on television and radio programs in San Francisco, Austin and Memphis and is a regular contributor to Stepmom Magazine. Her work has been called “compulsively readable,” “laugh out loud,” “heartfelt,” and “ultimately reassuring.”

When she’s not writing about stepparenting, she’s busy collaborating with other authors. Her most recent projects, Spirited: Connect to the Guides Around You, the book she wrote with Rebecca Rosen (Harper Collins) released in February 2010. How To Shop For Free with Kathy Spencer (Da Capo Press) releases in December of this year.

ABOUT THE PACKAGE DEAL

An only child turned stepkid at nine, Ms. Rose started collecting stories about stepfamilies early on.

I am living proof that a stepfamily can work (i.e. survive without killing each other). Sure, we had some strange, strained years, (like when we started family counseling with Sister X, a nun turned hypnotist), but we made it through. And I wouldn’t undo any of it.

So when at thirty-five, Ms. Rose met Mr. Right, she wasn’t turned off by his profile: divorced with kids.

Because I grew up in a stepfamily, I wasn’t too spooked by the possibility that I might create one of my own, although the “stepmom” thing created some alarm. I mean, I speak the blended family language, but I have no parenting credentials. As a mother, I’m a virgin.

Like many women in their early to mid-thirties who have put career before marriage, promotion before parenting, Ms. Rose found herself confronting the new reality for many single gals: the dating pool has a new ripple in it. Many of the available men are hardly single.

A lot of us have taken our time choosing the right man to marry and once we find him, he often comes with kids and ex-wife. The Package Deal.

Like every woman who has ever fallen in love, Ms. Rose had to ask herself…
HOW FAR AM I WILLING TO GO FOR LOVE?

I realized that if I couldn’t accept that his kids were part of the deal, then I should let him go. Well, I didn’t want to let him go, so I dove in. Actually, it was more like a belly-flop. A real gut burner.

Soon after saying I DO, Ms. Rose moved to Austin, Texas with her new family. When she couldn’t find a Stepmoms Anonymous in town, she decided to start her own support group. In 2007, she launched www.stepmothersmilk.com, a blog and forum for new stepmoms. Today, Stepmother’s Milk is part of a greater online stepmom community with a growing presence, and Izzy Rose one of the Queen StepMums.

We’re reaching out to each other for support, sharing our stories and pushing a mainstream discussion. I represent a new generation of chic and sassy women redefining the stepmom role. First of all, there are just too many of us to ignore. Thousands of stepfamilies are forming every day. We’re everywhere! And we’re stepping out of our lonely shadows and demanding a voice– one that doesn’t apologize or believe that we are dismissible, second-rate mother figures.

We are helping to raise, and, in some cases, we are full-time parenting kids who didn’t start out as our own. While we may not be the biological mothers to our husband’s kids, we’re still playing a mothering role and there’s nothing insignificant or wicked about that. Some might even call it selfless. Without a doubt, it takes bravery. And a sense of humor. And liquor.

By putting my imperfect self out there and telling my personal story, I hope to inspire some laughter and provide hard-earned relief for other women who similarly struggle with The Package Deal.