The Erin Experiment

I am a social media geek, a wanna-be chef and queen of my domain. I created the Erin Experiment as a digital playground; what it turned into was a speaker's corner where I could talk about my life as a stepmom.

Erin is a winner of Top 25 Moms with Blended Families - 2012

What aspect of being in a blended family has surprised you?

I've been pleasantly surprised that my stepkids have accepted me; and look to me as someone they respect. There are numerous horror stories about stepmoms and their stepkids that don't get along; I'm happy to say my family isn't like that.

I've been a stepchild myself since I was 13. I was surprised to realize how much my own stepfather had done for me when I was younger; he's been a great source of inspiration for me and is my step-parenting role model.

What's a good tip for preventing sibling rivalry?

I have half-siblings from my mom and stepdad's marriage. Having the 18-year age difference for us while also being a parent to two kids that are five years apart has helped a lot. I'm able to approach sibling relationships as an adult but also as a sister with teen-age siblings.

If anything, I've learned never to compare one sibling to the other. Everyone is different and has their own unique personality, traits and talents.

What's one piece of advice you'd give to moms who are about to become part of a blended family?

The best advice I could give a woman about to become part of a blended family is to know yourself very well and be comfortable and confident in who you are before you blend yourself into a pre-set family. I was still figuring out who I was when I became a stepmom and I didn't trust myself enough to set boundaries. Those boundaries could have prevented a lot of headaches and heartaches in the past eight years.