1. What aspects of your life now would be hardest to change or give up for love and marriage? What would you absolutely not sacrifice? What parts are negotiable?
2. Has The Package Deal challenged any notions you used to have about getting involved with a man who has kids? Would children and an ex-wife be automatic deal breakers?
3. Statistics tell us that there are over 15 million stepmothers in the country today, yet many of them feel isolated and alone. Why do you think this is? Like Izzy asks, “Why isn’t stepparenting a mainstream discussion?”
4. Has this book changed your image of the modern stepmom? How does The Package Deal challenge what Izzy calls the “wicked lame” stepmother stereotype, and our romantic ideal of the “perfect guy?”
5. When it comes to girlfriends–how do women find their new BFF, particularly in a new and unfamiliar city?
6. Is it true that the mommy club is often closed to non-bio mothers? Why is this?
7. As the newest member of the traveling circus, Izzy struggled with how to fit into Hank’s existing family. “I’m not an extension cord. You can’t just plug me into the family power strip.” How does a blended family successfully create the right mix and whose job is it to make sure everyone gets a place?
8. Just before the boys move to Austin, Izzy dreads the “impending threat of dirt” until she realizes her apprehension has less to do with boy grime and more to do with her deep fears. Discuss what yours might be if you were Izzy.
9. In your opinion, what is the proper etiquette in dealing with your boyfriend/ fiancé/ husband’s ex-wife? How important is it to have a relationship with her and how close are you willing to get?
10. How do you think Izzy’s life would have been different had she been a co-parent with June in Texas? Discuss the differences between full-time and part-time and stepparenting.
11. Izzy used her own stepkid experiences to shape her stepmom role. How was Izzy’s perspective an advantage and a disadvantage in raising her two stepkids?
12. If you are also a stepchild, how did your experiences compare with Izzy’s?
13. When it comes to discipline, what is the role of the stepparent? And who makes this determination?
14. For Izzy, her stepkids were enough kids, but many “instant mothers” still want to have kids of their own someday. Discuss the dynamics of adding a new baby to the mix.
15. If you are a stepparent, how long was it before you said the L-Word to your stepkids? Do you think Izzy’s reluctance to “pour on L’amour” was justified?
16. What’s in a name? What do your stepkids call you? Was this your choice or theirs? How do you introduce each other?
17. Discuss Stepmom Rule Number Seventeen: No one gets it all. Do you agree that this is the reality for every stepfamily?
18. Do you have a Stepmom Rule of your own to add to the list?