Written by Erin Gipford

Have you ever made a big, scary decision in your life? One that you know way deep down in your heart and soul is right but it’s so terrifying that it makes you ponder whether you have the courage to push the wheels into motion? Then, almost like magic, God (or whatever you choose to believe in) delivers everything you need to succeed in the form of guidance, connections and money at what seems to be precisely the right moment? This was my exact experience and it just so happened to involve my children’s stepmom!

Erin Gipford (Biomom) and Tina Gipford (Stepmom) co-write a dual memoir document their 13 year coparenting journey.
Tina (left) and Erin (right), co-authors of Step(Mom): A Dual Memoir, which focuses on their stepparent relationship over the past 13 years.

For those of you who haven’t experienced this yet, don’t lose hope. The stories inside this book will provide inspiration and will be the only proof you’ll need to move forward.

I knew for a long time that my next contribution to the world was going to be in the form of a book. Since becoming self-employed, I have found so much pleasure in soaking up other people’s knowledge and experiences and I knew I wanted to be part of it first-hand. Having no idea what form or subject matter this book would take, but God planted a seed in my heart and I was ready to do whatever it took to make it bloom.

What unique experiences could I possibly offer anyone in this great big world? What was I passionate about? What was I most proud of thus far? What had I struggled with, but ultimately overcame, in my 38 years on this earth?

I quickly realized these questions all had the same answer: CO-PARENTING.

When I first decided to write this book, I was ready to change the world via my words of co-parenting wisdom. I opened a fresh, blank page on my computer and…

NOTHING.

Nothing flowed. Nothing came out right. All the words were being held captive and I didn’t know how to open the floodgates. Over the next three months, I sat down and tried to write more times than I care to admit. Each attempt ultimately ended with “Select All” and “Delete.” By Mother’s Day morning 2018, I had rewritten THREE chapters and, out of complete frustration, deleted every… single… word.

Something wasn’t right. It shouldn’t be this difficult. I knew I was missing something.

But what?

I was on my way to church that same morning, tunes cranked, desperately trying to forget about my book frustrations, when it suddenly occurred to me that I was completely ignoring the third “player” on our co-parenting team—my ex-husband’s wife, Tina.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that almost all of my proudest co-parenting moments involved this woman. My heart started racing. Maybe Tina and I should write this book together? How cool would it be to share our stories and struggles from both the mom and stepmom perspective? But would she even consider it?

I sent her a text message as soon as I pulled into the church parking lot.

Me: Happy Mother’s Day to one of the best! Do you have big plans this afternoon? I have a sort of strange yet exciting question to ask you. Would you have time to talk when I drop Lance off?

Tina: Thank you, you too! That should work. See you at 3.

As I drove up their driveway, my emotions were on a rollercoaster. I was excited but nervous, scared but ready to face rejection. It was a beautiful, warm Mother’s Day afternoon, so we decided to sit outside and soak up the sun while we chatted. I pitched her the book idea and, without any bribery or arm twisting, she willingly hopped on board. We proceeded to share stories and reflect on the past 13 years. It was the perfect ending to the best Mother’s Day ever.

What’s funny is that, upon re-entering the house, my ex-husband, Shawn was sitting at the dining room table, I shot him an excited glance, to which he returned a “what the heck is going on” type of glance.

I just smiled and sent a wink his way, to ease his concern, and proceeded to head towards the door.

Now, over a year later, my relationship with Shawn and Tina has grown even stronger. Writing the book is still at the top of my “best things I’ve ever done” list. Yes, Tina and I have always got along so to say but I wouldn’t say we were BFF’s by any means. We kept our social lives separate and we just didn’t speak as open and honestly as we do now – post book.

We are grateful that our story has been touching so many hearts.

(Step)Mom: A Dual Memoir
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