The Stepmom Sanctuary Retreat lived up to my expectations of connecting with a group of women I can share my story with who don't think I am crazy for doing what I do, as hard as it can be at times. I got confirmation that a lot of what I had struggled through and learned for myself over the years is on the right track for me and my family. I got four days away to reflect on my journey as a stepmom and see for myself how much I have learned and grown as a woman. I realized how this role can break you down to the point where you have to choose to focus on healing and becoming whole yourself so your family can have the support they need on their own personal journey to healing. I discovered the empowerment and peace I have gained from changing my perspective over the course of almost 6 years as a stepmom. A lot of tears and frustration could have been prevented if this had been available when I first became a stepmom. This is the best gift you can give yourself and your family and is, without a doubt, worth every penny. Thank you Jenna and Barb for all that you do to facilitate these connections.
I was hesitant to attend the Stepmom Sanctuary Retreat in the days leading up to it. I'd participated in one of Jenna's online intensives six months prior and was finding good support through the Stepmom Revolution group. It was my husband who encouraged me to push through my hesitation and to go and "continue to learn and grow." And that I did, instantly recognizing that all of the tools and resources being taught and shared WILL resonate at some point as my role as step-mom grows and evolves. It was amazing to me that each stepmom in the group was battling a different issue or stage in their role, yet all of us were suffering and struggling with the same sense of loss of identity and self. To be able to relate to each other and offer support and work through those issues all together was crucial. I realize that I will never stop growing in this role and I will never stop needing help and it is such a relief to know that I have both Barb and Jenna, along with the othe stepmoms to turn to for support. I feel lighter and I feel a renewed sense of purpose and I feel that I belong. If you're reading these testimonials then you've already taken a positive step. My advice is take the next step and commit. Join the tribe. You are worthy of this nourishment and education.
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!