My life changed so drastically in the year since the retreat. Before, I wanted a divorce. Now, I don't want one and it's not an option. I have faith in my husband and our marriage but mostly I have faith in myself. And the days I don't, my tribe builds me back up!
I can not say enough wonderful things about my weekend in Albuquerque for the Stepmother Retreat. My husband and I were granted full custody of my two stepchildren 5 years ago and I jumped on the chance to meet women in similar situations and learn from both Jenna and Barb. The resort was so relaxing and the food was healthy and delicious. Jenna and Barb targeted each of our concerns and offered realistic advice for each scenario we presented to them. I can’t remember the last time I felt truly supported as a stepmother before this retreat. I would highly recommend it to any stepmother struggling with her place in the family, dealing with depression/anxiety, missing who she “used” to be, or who just needs to meet and chat with ladies who really get what it’s like. I will definitely never forget this weekend and have been using things I learned since my return home - good things are happening every single day!
Attending one of Barb and Jenna’s retreats is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and your family! When I looked at myself in the mirror this morning, I recognized more of the former me and I was smiling. To me it says it all! Something in me has shifted and it is an incredible feeling.
I want to thank you deeply for this weekend. The time to unwind, share, listen and connect added--I'm sure--years to my life and will help bring life back into my home. I found my center again and have so many tools that I know will help me and my family moving forward. Most profound for me was understanding and EXPERIENCING what it means to take proper care of myself. I can recall now what a body at ease and a mind at peace feels like.
Thank you to Barb and Jenna for providing a safe and supportive place for Stepmoms all around. You have helped to enlighten me and to help me see things from a positive angle. You have saved my sanity so that I can get back to being that woman that I was before I was thrust into the stepmom role.
Words can't express how thankful I am to you both for the insights and the teachings you imparted over the last couple of days, but I will give it a go!
Firstly at a time where I felt like my whole life was crumbling around me you helped me lift my head up and glance at the sky and be hopeful and think hell I can do this. I know this sounds dramatic but I think when you find yourself giving 110% but you are exhausted, emotionally depleted, confused, anxious, feeling like you have lost yourself and not knowing where you fit in, it can get overwhelming.
Secondly, this retreat gave me the validation I needed to feel like I'm not insane, I'm not overdramatising and being a stepmum is hard and has it's unique challenges.
Thirdly, listening and learning from my peers (yep I have peers in this - there are other step mums who feel exactly like I do - who knew?) was a real blessing. Having woman ranging from their first year of being a stepmum to 25 years was amazing. We were able to share stories and brainstorm different approaches to situations we find challenging or discussing strategies to dealing with unresourceful repeatable patterns in ourselves and our partners.
Fourthly, man you ladies are funny. I loved your warmth, humour, quick wit and sass.
Fifthly, I will be forever grateful that this retreat gave me the tools to change my life forever! That means you were both partly responsible for shaping the lives and futures of 4 people back in Australia. How awesome is that! I knew traveling from Australia to America for this retreat was a big deal but it was an important step in investing in us as a family and now I know how I fit in and what kind of stepmum and wife I want to be. This retreat also showed me that I've done a hell of a lot of good in my time with my new family and it was a chance to celebrate that. It was a time to celebrate my husband for the awesome partner, friend, lover and father he is. He is amazing. It's given me the perspective I needed and I can start to take baby steps in reclaiming the woman I was and want to be.
You guys rock! THANK YOU!!!
Although I was unsure of what to expect, I am so glad I came. This retreat has provided me with all the I need to help me get back on track with my family.
Being a stepmom is a tough job. I felt isolated and struggled finding local and online support groups that I could trust. The Stepmom Sanctuary Retreat weekend created that exact environment that I was so desperately craving… other women just like me. My Tribe!
Barb and Jenna’s expertise, research and strategies are delivered in a fun and light-hearted way. Their fabulous sense of humor will keep you laughing the entire time. So if you’re considering this retreat, stop wasting time considering and come. You won’t be disappointed.
I will be forever grateful to these two amazingly brave and incredibly talented women who give up time with their own families to help women like us. Their love and passion for stepmothers knows no bounds.
Thank you, Barb and Jenna, from the bottom of my heart. You have forever changed my life.
Barb and Jenna are a stepmom-educating force to be reckoned with! This retreat has given me laughter were I had little, hope where I had none, an open floor to speak my mind, an opportunity to learn and grow as well as create bonds with amazing stepmoms from across the U.S. and Australia. I would not have had these profound experiences, or gained the knowledge and skills without Jenna and Barb. I came here with no expectations and I’m leaving with so many tools and a full heart! I cannot recommend this experience enough and I can’t wait for Part 2! I have found my tribe!
"I have been given many tools that I look forward to implementing in my marriage once I return home. Jenna and Barb are LOVE. They are true gifts to us stepmoms. I'm looking forward to updating them on what's going on in my life and continuing the bond I have with the other sister stepmoms I've met. All of these women are considered family... my family. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."
"When I signed up for the retreat I didn't know if I'd still be married by the time it occurred. When I got here, it was instant friendship. The other stepmoms were so nice and while all of our stories and stepfamilies are different, there are many similarities. Being able to to talk to them, Barb and Jenna was incredibly helpful. Having a different perspective put on the issues and challenges I am facing by others who have already conquered them was very eye opening. I would highly recommend coming to the retreat for any woman who is married/engaged/cohabitating with a man with kids. It was well worth the trip!"